Addictions suck, and that’s putting it mildly of course. Addictions claim lives, claim relationships, and claim our present reality. They steal, kill, and destroy. Sound familiar? Yes, they are a tool and a weapon of darkness and they come to take away.
Addictions promise so much, yet they never deliver what’s promised. Never. Ever does an addiction give more than it takes. It always leaves you weaker after each binge. It never fulfills, never produces joy, never reaps a bountiful harvest.
Instead it leaves us withered, tired, weakened, and still hungry and thirsty for the spots in our soul to be fed. Our addictions are an attempt to heal hurts, to pour salve over our wounds, to escape from our doubts, to relieve our fears, to become who we always dreamed of being. The addiction is a liar. It whispers that you can have both the addiction and an abundant life. It even promises to be the pathway to abundance. Yet, the path only leads to deeper pain and added salt to unhealed wounds.
All addictions are similar and we love to place them on a scale of not so bad ones to horrible, horrible ones. I think this is a way for us to feel better about our addiction. We say, “Well at least I’m not doing that. Or at least I’ve never done this.” Jesus calls that seeing the speck in someone else, when we have a log too. Addictions hurt. They hurt us because they stand in the way of us getting true healing. They hurt others because they stand in the way of us having authentic relationships.
Beware, the addiction could be what the world would call innocent: shopping, over eating, social media, pleasing others, perfectionism, or it may be those that the world may call more dangerous: alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc.
Listing addictions from mild to severe gets us nowhere, except to pass more judgement. Listing sins from mild to severe does the same damage. Its a lie we tell ourselves to feel better about our shortcomings when we stack them up against others and pretend ours aren’t quite so bad. Its also a lie when we tell ourselves that ours are so bad that we can’t be healed or forgiven or set free. No matter where your sins or your addictions fall on the meter that you have set in your mind, the truth is….We ALL have fallen short and are in need of the mighty grace of the Lord found through Jesus Christ.
Step one in talking frankly about addiction is realizing that addiction affects far more of us than just those who partake in alcohol or drugs. Addictions are the things we use to dull pain so that we can avoid feeling pain. They are the very things we run to when we are weak, tired, hurting, and in need of picking up. Sounds good right? We have a bad day at work, or we fight with a loved one, or we are just feeling bad about ourselves and we head to our addiction for a pain reliever. If it helps, what’s the problem?
Well, if it’s an addiction, it’s a false help. It helps us to avoid the issue, avoid healing, avoid dealing with the root of what’s hurting us, and it temporarily bandaids our hurts, without any true healing. Also, it usually adds additional pain. There are consequences to addictions like overspending, overeating, drinking or using drugs, and how you’ll be able to spot the addiction is that after temporary relief, you’ll feel worse because then remorse and guilt enter the scene usually followed by self defeating talk… “How could I eat that much? Spend that much? Drink that much?” ” I’m hopeless. I’ll never stop. I can’t stop. etc. etc. etc.”
Step two is realizing and confessing where true healing comes from. Jesus. He promised a better way. He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
He will do what He promises. You CAN trust Him. It is a process of renewal. It is a process to healing, and if you are humble and honest and cry out to our merciful Lord, He will deliver you and give you rest from the hurts of this life. He will heal you from the hurts that are out of your control and the wounds that are self inflicted. Our God is in the healing business and He is still at work in the earth. When we cry out, He answers.
Step three is to be honest about what is hurting you and causing you to need the addiction. Is it a current situation or is it old hurts from your past? Sometimes, we believe we are fine, but we have unhealed hurts from childhood that need to be released and dealt with so that we can experience health and joy now, not someday.
Step four Seek out a licensed mental health professional. We see dentists, primary health physicians, specialists of all kinds, and yet we often squirm at the idea of admitting we could benefit from a counselor. This is a big lie our society has fed to us and I believe satan uses it to keep us living in shame and fear. To admit we may need help to sort through our feelings feels like defeat or worse yet, people may think we are crazy. In reality, the EXACT opposite is true, seeking out help with a mental health counselor can be the beginning of our triumph over our past and the keys to our freedom and sanity.
The enemy working against us wants to keep us sick and in cycles of self defeating acts. The truth is we have weapons against darkness, depression, lies, addictions, and hurt. We just need to believe in their power and use them.
If you are hurting, seek help and be open to listening to the advice of a doctor.
It’s the beginning of your freedom. When we get serious about fighting back against the dark, and we seek the Lord, and when we begin to speak our affirmations, when we see our worth and our value, then our life changes. It is renewed. The old passes away, the new dawn begins, and the world looks brighter. Peace settles in, and comfort replaces our old anxieties.
When the dark tries to sneak back in, we have to repeat the process. Say our affirmations, pray to our Lord, and seek out help when needed. It’s an ongoing process to live a healed life in which we love ourselves and we are free from the bondage that used to enslave us, so we to continually guard it, continually protect it, and we fight for it when necessary.
This life is YOURS, you deserve mental health, total healing, joy, and peace.