Confronting addiction in ourselves

If you are reading this maybe you are looking for some inspiration concerning yourself or someone close to you. Maybe you are looking for an easy solution or a quick fix answer to the issue of addiction. So not to mislead you, I must tell you that there are no simple answers to addiction.

Maybe you are already aware of that fact. If you or someone you know has developed an addiction and needs to change, you understand there are no easy solutions. It might be that the addiction has grown over several years holding you, or the person you are concerned about, in its grip. Sadly, getting free from this grip will not come easy or quickly.

If you are still reading this, and have not been put off, then maybe you are serious about bringing change and you have some of the determination you will need to at least start this long road. If you are not the one who needs to change, I must warn you now: the person who needs to change should take the first step themselves... your job is not to badger them to bring about the change, as this might only bring about short-term or surface change, most likely to please you. Your role is to pray for them and be there to support them when they start to falter...just like Jesus was for Peter in the Bible, in a favourite story of mine (Matthew 14:30 & 31)

Change is something that most of us find a struggle. Change is about stepping out, doing something different and that involves uncertainty. It is always easier to stay with what we know. To stay with the familiar, the safe and it involves little or no effort. Change. Think of the effort involved for Peter, in the story mentioned above! How many of us have walked on water recently? Peter did! We don't know how far, or how many steps, but the fact is he did!

Keeping a vehicle moving involves little work and we can almost fall asleep doing it!! But when we need to stop or turn the vehicle around, bringing change, we must think and apply more effort. Especially if it is going downhill! For many of us, change brings new and maybe exciting opportunities and challenges mixed with anxiety. (See the page about my journey for details of the changes I made)

Confronting your addiction, or helping someone to confront theirs, can be the start of the road to freedom, but also the road to pain.

How long ago did you begin taking 'it'? It was so easy to start with your 'drug' and then continue with your 'taking' or 'indulging' in 'it'. Maybe it was all good at first, but you found yourself taking more and more to get the same affect. Taking 'it' during the week instead of just at weekends. Lying to cover-up or taking it in secret. We can easily over-indulge to find relief from stress or anxiety, but that is a short-term solution and long-term it can develop into a problem for us. But maybe you are already too aware of that. Has it affected your job? Your relationships? Your finances? If it has you know it is becoming a problem. When we try to deal with 'it,' we realise the hold 'it' has over us. Someone once said:

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.

This is only partly true. The chains of habit are never too strong to be broken...just more difficult to break. Freedom from your addiction is always possible. It will usually involve a high price, and maybe a lot of effort and time on your part, but you should never say: "it is impossible to stop". Freedom is always an option it just depends on what price you are willing to pay.

The truth is we do not realise the hold anything has over us until we try to live without it. This is a challenge for all of us! Not just those on the 'drugs'. The fact is drugs are all around us and being willing to look at our own 'intake' might be a good way of challenging the other person to think more about theirs! Besides, don't forget when you point the finger there are always three pointing back! The Bible talks about a plank and a speck in Matt. 7:1-6!

So, back to the 'drugs,' how do you start on the journey of giving up? Well, whatever your level of consumption, what do you need to not do or take, for a day, a week etc that could be controlling you? What effect does not taking 'it' have over you? Be honest! The only person you are kidding is the one looking back at you in the mirror! The apostle Paul, in the Bible, warns of the need for self-discipline (1Cor 9: 24-27). Are you running to get the prize? Self-discipline is not easy, but you actually receive power through the act of surrender! In AA they don't say "try really hard not to drink," for instance. Instead, they surrender their will to God and then deliverance becomes possible. Surrender does not mean defeat; it could in fact be the way to victory!

For some, this decision could be fatal. Some people could die trying to give up. That is why with SOME drugs, you MUST seek medical help before you think about stopping. You will know if you need to. Maybe in the past your body has done or felt strange things when you have tried stopping so you went back to the drug. That is called withdrawal and can be very dangerous for some. For others it could result in headaches for instance. Some people will then give up trying to stop, or slip into depression, as they lapse, then relapse, going back to the drug, then resigning themselves to being a prisoner to their drug. But this is no reason not to confront the drug, 'the addiction,' and for some, it has resulted in going on to live meaning and purposeful lives. A life without the 'drug'. Yes, it IS possible!! See our testimonies page.

One of my favourite verses is John 10:10. Jesus said: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;" [sound familiar?] "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." I know which bit I prefer!

Some people on the other hand have accepted the 'Anonymous' groups' label once a .......always a..........and have learnt to live with their addiction trying to control it like a caged bird. For many of them it is a lifelong struggle. You might be like the apostle Paul in the Bible, in 2 Corinthians 12, who had to admit that this was part of him, and God was able to use it to keep him humble. We never really knew what he was referring to, so this verse is no cause for justification! Maybe that approach will work for you, but not for everyone. Which category do you fall into? You will never know until you try. Why not start today! Some of the most unlikely people have confronted and dealt with, getting mastery over their addictions, some people have died trying.

The Gospel is all about change. The Gospel offers us a new life. When we come to Jesus and give our life over to Him, we cannot possibly stay the way we are, we must change. Did you know that:

God loves us so much that He accepts us the way we are, and He loves us so much that He will not let us stay the way we are!

The message of Jesus is not just about bringing change then leaving us to go back to the way we were. But keeping the change going is easier said than done and can involve significant effort. Who has not fallen back into their old ways after introducing change into their life? Grace. The Gospel brings the message of change but also the message of grace. This means that if we mess up, grace picks us up again. If we mess-up we do not beat ourselves up but pick ourselves up and try again. But how does this work? Should we put less effort into our lifestyle change because of grace? Because we know that it is not a problem if we fail. Paul or our modern-day translators almost under play the answer in the Bible: 'By no means' (Romans 6:2). Surely the answer should be, as one of my lecturers at Bible College once said, an emphatic NO!!

Paul continues: 'we died to sin; how can we live it any longer?' it is just like being brought some lovely new clothes but choosing to put on the old dirty rags that we have just taken off. We now have the freedom to walk away from sin/our addiction – we are no longer enslaved to it. Did you hear that!! You are free to walk away! It no longer has mastery over you! This must surely bring freedom and liberation to us. Ideally this will then lead to us indulging in our addiction less and less.

What are you enslaved to at the moment? What are you giving mastery to in your life now? Do you know that change is possible? Please feel free to contact us if you would like to have us pray for you or discuss this further.

Some people find the following prayer to be a comfort:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.

God bless you and whatever you decide we are here......God is even closer!