The Spiritual Roots of Addiction

Seth Haines was living an enviable life. A successful lawyer, family man, and elder in his church, Haines seemed to have it all. But when one of his children fell ill, he started to drink a little to numb the pain. Then he started drinking a lot. Soon his habit spiraled into a full-blown addiction. His new book, Coming Clean, is a raw account of his first 90 days of sobriety. Haines talked to us about his journey and the central role that confession and community play in finding freedom from addiction.

It seems that many addictions begin in the midst of crisis. What it is about pain that makes us so vulnerable?

It is true—addiction is often birthed from pain. For me, over-drinking turned into full-fledged dependence when Titus, my fourth son, was admitted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. He was failing to thrive, and I’d prayed for his healing without result. When his sickness seemed the direst, I gave up on both God and prayer. In the pain of that moment I wanted ...

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