Christians And Addiction: The Seven P’s Of Counterfeit Affections

Christians And Addiction – The Basics

Christians And Addiction

Two Hearts: Orphan Vs. Sonship

In his later years, Saint Augustine became rather enamored with love being rightly ordered.

By this ordering, he was referring to putting God – the highest Love – first.

Similar in substance to the contemporary A.A. slogan that “anything you put before your recovery, you’ll lose.”

That is, there appears to be a very crucial positioning that one is to operate from to attain human flourishing.

This is the crux of Christian recovery.

Augustine understood that removing God from the starting point not only undermined logic and rationality in a philosophical sense, but regarding the affections it was suicide.

If God is love, and if His image we reflect, then love must be an organically human trait.

It’s as if love is not so much a feeling or ability – the Romeo and Juliet persuasion – but an essential nature to mankind.

Love is not what one does but it’s the center of one’s being. Thus, humanity’s most basic need resides within herself, the kingdom of Heaven respectively.

The Seven P’s Of Counterfeit Affections

Jack Frost in his book From Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship brilliantly catalogs a love wrongly ordered.

He brilliantly demonstrates how humanity seeks her most basic emotional need extrinsically, that is outside of her nature.

He first organizes counterfeit vs authentic affections under the two parent categories:

==>The Heart of an Orphan (wrongly ordered)

==>The Heart of Sonship (rightly ordered)

He then highlights the big players in the spiritual orphanage, calling these perversions The 7 P’s of Counterfeit Affections.

the 7 p's of counter affections
Christians And Addiction

“We begin chasing after counterfeit affections. Having shut ourselves off from the genuine affections of family and friends, we start looking for counterfeit affections – substitutes for the affections we left behind at home or never had.

We were created for love and family (the relational/social essence of humanity); consequently, without them, we will find something to bond to as a replacement, even if it is unhealthy or destructive.

I classify counterfeit affections under the “seven P’s”…Passions of the flesh (Biblical speak for the ego) often take the form of various addictions: food, alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, escapism – whatever seems to comfort our lonely and insecure heart.

Some people turn to possessions, thinking they somehow will find their heart’s rest through worldly gain.

Still, others seek position – the praise of man, seeking acceptance by striving to be seen or by slaving away in an effort to win the approval of others, especially of those who can advance our lot in life. Performance feels that there is something more you must do or put in order before you can find rest and feel good about yourself.

People is a belief that a person or spouse is the answer to all of your needs instead of making God’s love your primary source. Place is the ungodly belief that ‘If only I had a better job, I would be happy…if only I lived somewhere else…if only I could run away and escape..’

Finally, power-seekers desire to control their own life and destiny, with little desire to be open or real and with little sense of need for anything from anybody. Control of emotions, people, or circumstance is their way of making sure they are never disappointed or hurt again. This, of course, is totally unrealistic. Counterfeit affections bring no true fulfillment.”

Christians And Addiction

Addiction Is Another Word For Counterfeit Affection

Addiction, as mentioned above by Welch, is a disorder of worship; worship is the natural rhythm of one’s worldview (See my article on Worship).

Be it a harmonious melody or a sensory bombardment, the rhythm exists in an orderly fashion or a disorderly one.

A rightly ordered love begins with affections positioned inward and directing out (love is relational and something given rather than taken).

A wrongly ordered love begins with affections positioned outward and directing in, this the advent of counterfeit affections – ground zero for addictions.

Welch calls the worldview behind these counterfeit affections a “false religion.”


Well granted the true religion begins with Love, then these false religions beget an insatiable desire to be loved.

It’s the failure to recognize Love as a form of one’s being but as a commodity to be acquired. It denotes a lack, hence the concept of harboring a heart of a spiritual orphan.

Love, in its purest form, is recognized in the space between two people.

We can become so caught up in the psychobabble of concepts and diagnoses that we forget our essence doesn’t exist merely within us but between us, connecting us, forging us together.

Further, considering our essence is the group, collectively, then a lack can never exist unless as a species we do.

Therefore, one must acknowledge its abundance, hence the concept harboring the heart of Sonship (Biblical terminology for not merely dependence but provisions – consider the lilies as it were.)

Christian Recovery, consider the lilies (Luke 12:27), when God guides, God provides 
Christians And Addiction

The Dangerous Lie Of Our Culture

We let romanticism’s tomfoolery convince us that love is a static entity that is discovered by patiently sitting in the magical and wildly self-centered soul-mate-waiting-room.

We fail to comprehend that our essence is love-in-relationship.

It is either governed by passivity (waiting for the ground to produce harvest) or intentionality (creating an optimal environment and mastering the harvest).

Additionally, it should be noted, if one were to look at the Christian concept of the Trinity, we could see a relational essence demands an intentional, assertive, and creative love.

So much so that it organically needed to create things just to share and express its love.

This is the nature of our being, the image we reflect, that our ancestors wished to communicate, to relay to future generations for a grand harvest of human flourishing.

Frost concludes that as orphans we have now been adopted into God’s family (Biblical language for awakening to the truth of our essence) and don the capacity to recognize our abundance, as sons and daughters in the celestial family, a love rightly ordered.