You can tell which books on my shelves have impacted me the most by flipping through them. They are the ones whose pages are frequently marked and dog-eared. Addiction and Grace by Gerald G. May, M.D., is among my Top 10. In it, May invites us to be honest with ourselves about our addictions (attachments, idols) so that we can receive God’s grace and even God Himself in ways we never believed possible.
It is compelling. With humble candor, May offers personal examples and walks his reader through the process by which we attach ourselves to lesser gods (e.g.: food, sex, money, work, identity). Instead of giving us steps to climb out of our addictions, he unfolds a tapestry of grace that draws me to its beauty again and again. In my recent post “As Good as it Gets?,” I wrote about our diversions from desire. In Addiction and Grace, May writes that “addiction uses up desire”, that it “displaces and supplants God’s love as the source and object of our deepest true desire.” Some of you will read these quotes and feel enticed. Others feel so deep in your addiction that to read about God’s love being the source of our deepest desire seems almost offensive, like an unrealistic Sunday School answer. Wherever you find yourself, I encourage you to read and risk hoping for more.