Armor of God

We are engaged in a battle when we are addicts and alcoholics. For all the talk of the medical, genetic or environmental causes of alcoholism and addiction, we cannot ignore the spiritual side of the affliction. I think even the founders of AA said that alcoholism is a spiritual problem. In acknowledging the spiritual side of addiction we cannot just assume that it is a problem in our relationship with God. The spiritual world has its dark forces, too. If you read the New Testament, demons were among the earliest to acknowledge the truth of Jesus. Jesus did battle with them, from His being tempted in the desert to casting them out of people they inhabited.

People who are “rational” scoff at the notion of demonic activity, yet it is a Church teaching that they exist and it is sensible to assume that they use whatever tools are available to them to destroy us and keep us from God.

If addictions fill the “hole in our soul” that should be filled by our desire for God, then possibly demons use them as the best means at their disposal to fill that hole and divert us from God. Our addictions satisfy a spiritual longing that is better taken up by devotion to God. But they are immediately satisfying instead of the longer time that spiritual conversion usually takes.

And so we are not just engaged in a battle against our desires. Our desires may be merely tools used against us. For whatever the reason, we who are alcoholics and addicts have an increased sensitivity to our desires and an inordinate need to fulfill them.

But we have weapons at our disposal. St. Paul writes:

Ephesians 6:10-17: “Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.

Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.

For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.

Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.

So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,

and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.

In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one.

And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

(Via USCCB.)

The Faith is our shield. Studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church (available in most bookstores, plus there are links to online versions of it in the sidebar), which is the summary of our Faith, is one weapon. Prayers to the Holy Spirit is another. Regular reading of the Bible is another weapon. Prayerfully study the Catechism and the Bible, and your “armor of God” will be strengthened against the onslaught of the devil and his demons.

I heard in an AA meeting once (and this has been repeated in various ways by other people) that meeting attendance interrupts the thought processes that lead to a relapse. If that is so, then there can be no better way to interrupt the slide to a relapse that calling upon the graces of God that result when you build up your Faith through the reading of the Bible and the Catechism. If a mere meeting can help stave off a relapse, how much more mighty a shield is there than Scripture and the Catechism?

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"