Because we have been wounded in relationships, our instinct is often to run from relationships. We don't want to be hurt again. This leaves an enormous void in our souls. And it is this void which we desperately try to fill with addictions and compulsions of various kinds.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. I Corinthians 13:3
This text focuses on two manifestations of religious addiction (compulsive altruism and religiously motivated self-abuse) and sums up the result: I gain nothing. The same could be said of all of our addictions. "I deliver my body to be burned" and "I gain nothing" are an accurate description not only of a particular kind of religious addiction but also of chemial addiction, work addiction, sexual addiction and relationship addiction, as well as many self-abusive compulsions.
We gain nothing for all the time and effort we spend on trying to numb the pain. It does not achieve the desired result. The void remains.
Although loving fellowship may be frightening for us, it is the path to recovery. The vulnerabilities of intimacy may remind us of earlier times of terror in life, but there is no way to recover in isolation. The net result of compulsions and addictions is "I gain nothing." But the net result of recovery is very different. There is something to be gained by all the hard work that recovery requires. Recovery builds in us a capacity to receive love and a capacity to give love to others. And that is a real gain.
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