So… did I or anyone I knew or know change for the better, move away and even fully out of the misery of addiction?
What I cannot attribute it to is human will power, human intelligence, this or that group therapy practice ALONE. All of these tools helped and help but relationship and surrender to God are -THE- deal along with these other helps in the road to recovery. This is my personal experience of recovery over four plus decades.
Nobody “white knuckles” their way to a fully changed life regarding actual addiction.
It’s also important to understand the term itself has to do with an inability to free one’s self by one’s self. The repetitive, mostly unrelenting urge to yield to the given addiction over and over is what addiction at core, is about.
Temptations never fully leave. They may ebb and flow like any tide, but must be dealt with as long as we live on this earth.
Discovering and sanely dealing with “triggers” that move one to “self-medicate” and dealing honestly with those root causes and stimulants to whatever addictive stimulant, depressant or other sort of destructive behavior and acting out -this is what I’m talking about when using the word “addiction”.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, there are lots of therapies that do help, that give one a “handle” on our downward, spiraling habit patterns but in the end, I found in Jesus Christ my Higher Power and recognized that until and unless I sought Him out in a daily, actual conversation including application of His Word (in fact, the whole of The Bible) that I could not “walk in the light” and continue to escape the darkness that had such powerful control over me.
Two verses that came to me again and again have comforted and pointed me toward Him and freedom from addiction over the years:
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” -John 8.31,32
“if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” -1 John 1.7
I think it’s no reach, and safe to assume that John ministered to various addicts over his years of ministry.
It’s also safe to say the western world is fully loaded with addicts of various kinds.
In only a very brief unpacking of these two verses, let me explain key parts of my own sobriety by the grace of God.
Considering the second text first:
“IF”- personal choices, small, large, consistent decisions that line up with what Jesus says, did and does. We need a Savior from sin, ourselves, our temptations and from eternal separation. A massive word, “if”.
“WE WALK”- not merely thought, prayer, emotional commitment and wishing… practical STEPS, walking, movement away from X and towards God, others and loving ourselves rightly as opposed to everything BUT walking our sobriety out.
“IN THE LIGHT”- an actual, living, conversational relationship with God and in brutal honesty, with the people of God daily, moment by moment regardless of the cost and obvious pain involved with a perfect God and truly imperfect people. The “light” of the Gospel of Christ as well as open, honest living before people. This is what He did, this is what we must -do-. God-conscious choosing, living.
“WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER”- only THEN as we walk in the light do we have genuine fellowship, even of a spiritual nature- with others as opposed to wearing masks and duplicity, deception to cover our addictions.
“THE BLOOD OF JESUS CLEANSES US FROM ALL SIN”. I fully realize that this is often the deal-breaker for many addicts. I can only say that if you fully study what in Christian theology is called “the atonement” you will only then begin to understand what this verse and in fact my Lord and Savior is all about. Love overcomes. Addiction destroys. Humans in all our ability and power are not God. We cannot redeem ourselves, period.
Our repentance and God’s forgiveness extended to each one of us are not optional matters. Until and unless we are willing to face the first, the second is as out of reach as is our sobriety.
To highlight the John chapter eight text:
FAITH, IF, CONTINUING, WHAT JESUS SAYS IN THE FOUR GOSPELS STUDIED AND APPLIED, GENUINE ACTION IN LISTENING AND LEARNING, all after which we are on the journey and path of KNOWING WHAT JESUS CALLS “TRUTH”, and the result, FREEDOM in all areas of life. Yet it’s all about HIS Word, what HE identifies as Truth, and what HE defines as Freedom.
At such a crossroads, some (as the old song goes) fall down on their knees while others blow right by, on to the next ditch.
I fully get that some will never agree with many points I raise here, but as I said, this is my personal experience and in fact, what I consider reality far exceeding nay-sayers.
God offers grace! Will you choose serving Him and others or a “life” in the service of your addictions?
Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn