I’m An Addict

Hello. My name is David Hayward, and I’m an addict.

An ex drug addict once told me that he didn’t miss the drugs (the crime, anxiety, cost, hiding, hardware, etc.). He missed was what the drugs gave (the euphoria, peace, no need for meaning, highs, etc.). He didn’t miss the cause. He missed the effects.

There are many things I don’t miss about the professional ministry or the institutional church… the headaches, the praise/rejection cycle, the divisions, the arguments, the fishbowl, the constant criticism and questioning, the crap, the codependencies, etc.). But I miss its effects. I miss what it provided. Even though the fact of the ministry had become a horrible reality for me, I enjoyed the sense of destiny it gave me. I had a reason to get up in the morning. I had a purpose. I had a future. My trajectory was completely laid out before me, and all I had to do was walk it with confidence. And it was completely fueled by the prophetic words, the promises, and the praise of some who believed in what I was doing.

Now that’s all gone. I gave it up. I gave up the drug. I don’t want the drug back, but I miss the effects. Which makes me wonder sometimes why I gave up the drug. But I can’t go back. Because even though it certainly felt real and provided very real beneficial effects, I know now that it wasn’t real. It was an addictive lifestyle.

Life is way more boring. But it is way more real.

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  • kls

    having worked with drug addicts (and i’m not sure this will change the outcome of what you are trying to say), the “cause and effect” is very much a cycle, and mostly it is very hard to tell what causes what. the cause can be the euphoria, etc and the effect can be everything else. very hard to tell. chicken or egg thing.

  • Yes, David, I am tracking with you… the euphoria, the high and the surety that came before it all fell apart… that’s what
    I miss, that moment before I let the air out of that tight-high-pressured can and the worms, those damn worms just wouldn’t go back in that can for anything…

  • yes kls. the cycle.
    well said heidi.

  • Tiggy

    Are you still operating as an Independent Minister? Some have joined that Progressive Alliance to operate independently under their umbrella.

  • Lynn

    I’m picturing you as a little hamster, going round and round on your wheel. Then suddenly getting off and sitting there staring!

  • bob

    Often I was tasked with feeding my friends cats when he and his wife were gone for a few days. The neighbor had a very large Rottweiler dog who would, upon spotting me at their back door, rapidly run to the end of his chain, snarling and barking, sending me the obvious message that, if he could get loose, he would kill me.

    On one of my visits he ran to the end of his chain and it broke. I stood still and pulled my gun out. The beast immediately forgot about me as he realized he was no longer in his circle of hard packed dirt, but was now standing in cool green grass. He just sniffed the air as he walked around, free of his confines.

    The next day he was chained up again and hated me just the same for it 🙁

    Probably not analogous but, when he was chained, he probably didn’t really know he was chained, and when he was free, he really didn’t have the capacity to grasp what that meant…he just sensed a change.

  • Once I’d realized what drugs really did to me, I couldn’t go back, no matter how badly I wanted to escape. The high was ruined for me by knowledge. Ignorance was bliss.

    Once you’ve seen the man behind the curtain, you can’t unsee him.

    Truth, Reality and Honesty are worth whatever feels like loss.
    If we’re bored (which I also deal with) I think it’s because we’re still in transition, learning what it really means to live in freedom.

    Our entire paradigm has to shift. Our entire concept of “spiritual” life has to change. It seems we have to give time, time.

  • i’m not operating as a pastor at all. just online apparently.

  • My sensei/spiritual director has me doing a “fourth step” right now, dealing with the addictions that ministry carries (approval, activity, etc.)

    Addicts need to work the program. Then the program will work.

  • eleasah

    Christianity was also my addiction – I was even taught it was a ‘Holy’ addiction….but still, the coming down always showed me that something wasn’t right. its no fun being an addict to anything.

  • David, I was a pastor’s wife for many years and what you say in this blog post is almost eerie. It resonates powerfully with me. Thanks for putting my own feelings and experience into words so powerfully. You are a blessing in my life.

  • I heard a well known minister teach that we were to be addicted to God. Religious addiction is one of the hardest to spot. How could someone be doing something harmful when it involves God? We all know better, the hard way. Particularly Charismatic Christianity…it’s like crack! One taste and you’re hooked. That’s where most of the problems come from…people trading one addiction for another. They claim that their alcoholism or drug addiction is “under the blood”…no, they havn’t worked a program…Jesus delivered them…when in fact they have traded one addiction for another.

  • Jenny


  • obscuritus

    I, too, was born with the drug in my system. It was all I knew and there werer pushers all around me that made me think that not only was the drug normal, but also that everyone else needed to be “addicted” as well. I’ve had other addicts actually admit that the drug was the motivator for their spirituality, i.e., “reality”….I fully understand and appreciate what you say, nakedpastor, and am humbly willing to admit and embrace the apparently long detoxing process.

  • As a recovering addict I can completely relate.

  • Fred

    Was it really all fake?

    I had a conversation with someone once who told me he had never experienced God. I told him, I don’t think that’s true. I think he probably legitimately experienced God within the confines of a certain (institutionally) religious setting. Now he had turned his back on that institutional setting as irrelevant, or inappropriate, or contrived. But just because the institutional setting was not his thing doesn’t mean he never experienced God within it. Just because he rejected the setting and style of the experience doesn’t mean that the experience itself was not real.

    He had to admit that this was a possibility…

  • Donna

    this is a great topic and so true..I love what Lynelle wrote…knowledge can spoil everything and you can’t “un-see” the man behind the curtain..hmmmm. @*&%!! so what to do? Can’t we still be around the drugs but kinda just not partake? While I am hanging out trying to figure out my new found “freedom” I feel like I’m at serious risk for other addictions!..I’m bored and “displaced” Could this really be alright with God? I seriously thought He orchestrated the whole thing, the revelation, seeing the truth ( and the not so true) the leaving, etc. but then I felt like I was just nowhere..in some weird transition period that seems to be lasting longer than I thought it would…So I catch myself looking back..but then that’s what Lot’s wife did and I don’t want to be her! (Her affections lay with what was behind her and not before her) I have to remember that God led me out of captivity and danger for a reason..I just need to find that reason and not get distracted,tricked, seduced, or otherwise addicted along the way!…I will try to give time some time 🙂

  • @ Donna,
    Beautifully said!

  • Donna, I totally get what you’re saying. At the end of this post I’ll put something I wrote. I think we have to really be melted down; broken down . . . so we can rebuild and relearn. It’s an uneasy place to be.

    I was raised in religion. Left religion and became dependent on drugs, got religion again and left the drugs, left religion again and went back to drugs . . . then, I started doing recovery! I needed something to numb me out, and religion very much did that. The longer I’ve been out of organized religion, the more my creativity and my true self have begun to resurface.

    One of the ways I’m experiencing this is by starting a blog at the first of the year.

    Here’s what I wrote about being liminal

    Neither here nor there
    On the cusp
    Rite of passage
    A deep process dissolving and remaking you into something new.

    Life is a series of transformations
    Our job is to allow the transformation to take place.
    Be sculpted, renewed, changed
    A process of constant renewal

    You need to feel your own essence –
    who you are when you are not acknowledged and supported
    by someone else.

    Liminal Lynelle
    Spending much of my time in this in-between place
    Disassembling, then regrouping
    Liquifying, then solidifying

    Putting the hard stuff in the waters of reflection
    Seeing it for what it is
    Choosing what stays
    What goes

    There’s another one about being a liminalist at: http://theeternaldance.blogspot.com/2011/02/liminalist.html

    (and Fred, I agree that we can still have experienced God in the midst of all the dysfunction)

  • p.s. Part of what I wrote in the last post was inspired by Thomas Moore, in Dark Nights of the Soul

  • p.p.s. How do you attach a picture to a post?

  • thanks lynelle. i don’t think posting a picture is possible.

  • Oh, I just meant the profile pic. No big deal, though.
    I’ll just float out here faceless! 🙂
    Actually, my picture is on facebook and my blog, so I don’t think I’m very anonymous!

  • oh. go here:
    and enter your “gravatar” and it will automatically feed your pic to such sites as this one.

  • Chris

    I’m guessing with this post you couldn t take the heat so you had to get out. i’m sure everyone in here that is stating that they got out of the ministry for one form or another hello!! we are in the world we are faced with trials and tribulations the devil will never leave you alone he doesn’t want to see you live for God I just had to read your post i’m ashamed too but where did that say give up.

  • eleasah

    Chris, perhaps David just discovered that the true walls of the church were surrounding the entire planet and that he may have wanted to discover being led By God in the day to day – anywhere and everywhere….i know for me, it has taken all the faith I have to let go of the props of structured Christianity and trust the Holy Spirit to still lead and use me everyday. for one thing, I’m way more available to those people in my life then I ever was before, and not just within the context of ministry but in the true context of my own shared humanity. God is a lot bigger now than i ever knew and there’s a lot more Grace to live each day with Him than what i had previously known.

  • I love eleasah’s response. Yes.

  • obscuritus

    To you, eleasah, I’d tip my hat if I was wearing one! I am so encouraged to know that what’s in my head is in others’ too! Your comment has been my journey to date….thanks for following the Holy Spirit to post it. You have blessed me.

  • Anne

    My youngest daughter and I have often talked about the correlation between our past fundievangacostal experiences and addiction. The article and comments have been very inspirational to me and I have forwarded them to my daughter.
    Gratitude to all for sharing your truth!!

  • nice to hear from you anne.

  • John

    I’m an addict. I think I may be dieing because of it. I weigh one against the other. I want to live, and not die. It’s a close call. But the fact that I’ve realized this at all is a step in the right direction. Unlike yours my church is alcohol. May us both win.

  • thanks john. good luck to you. i appreciate your comment.