This series has covered general realities of fighting addictions. This final article offers a comprehensive look at the first month in overcoming.
There is no better way to finish a series on addiction than to focus on what will make us successful in gaining freedom from addiction.
As stated in the introduction to this series, freedom from addiction can only begin when we are brave enough to announce that we are sick and tired of this sticky sin that is keeping us from reaching our potential as Christians. We must enlist the power of God in our struggle, as well as rely on a loving, humble and loyal human “accountability partner.”
The specific areas of this series remind us that in order to win the battle against addictions, we must stop rationalizing and call the addiction sin. We must learn to hate the sin as much as God hates it and make whatever sacrifice is necessary to replace the addictive behavior with positive behavior.
The first month
So what should all of this look like in the first month after determining to break free? The following are six necessary steps to incorporate during the first month of recovering:
1. Appreciation of the severity of the situation.
This is not some ordinary, accidental sin that just pops in and out of our lives. This is an addiction. Research has proven that a normal human brain goes through a change when it becomes addicted to something. In short, our brains are working against us in this fight, and we need all the help we can get.
God provides merciful forgiveness, comfort and strength to keep fighting. The Bible provides valuable instruction and teaching that will keep us connected to Him. Our human accountability partner provides an extra conscience needed to destroy the lies and secrecy of addiction.
2. Increased daily prayer and Bible study.
As stated above, prayer and Bible study are the most important tools in overcoming addictions. In every moment of temptation or weakness, we should be praying to God instead of thinking of rationalizations to relapse. Our daily Bible study should focus on the fruits of the Spirit and replacement behaviors for sin.
3. Lack of privacy and comfort.
One of the biggest sacrifices is the willingness to tell our human accountability partner everything and make plans in such a way that he or she can find out about our actions if we fall back into the cover-up and lies that our addictions have lived in for so long. They are not around to condemn us, but rather to be a provider of encouragement, back-and-forth discussion and to ask the questions that we have been dodging for years.
This is another reminder that this is an addiction that we spent years digging ourselves into, resulting in a deep, dark hole that we are just now trying to climb out of. It is a long way up, and we are human. However, after every relapse, our attitude should be one of repentance, resolution to fix what caused the relapse and determination to not relapse again.
God understands sticky addictions and understands humanity. “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14, emphasis added throughout). Yet He also expects us to continually grow and improve. The more we come to hate the sin and replace it with the fruit of the Spirit, the more we will watch relapses fade into the past.
5. Disappointment and anger.
With each relapse comes the possibility of calling ourselves names, beating ourselves up and thinking that we should just give up, “because we obviously should be doing perfectly now that we have God on our side.” These attitudes only lead to more emotional neediness and an inclination to slip back into the false comfort of the addiction.
We must hate the sin committed, and we must truly repent of sinning. But God is most certainly NOT looking at us and saying, “I knew it. What a horrible person. I can’t believe he is still trying to overcome this. He should just quit.”
On the other hand, though, God most certainly recognizes “empty repentance” (such as saying “sorry,” but then not making any changes to our lives to prevent it from happening again in the future).
Once we repent and make the determination in our minds to change, God is there through the successes and the mistakes. “For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13).
6. A deeper understanding of the need for Christ to return to earth.
Recovering from addiction, if nothing else, shows us just how weak we are as human beings and how desperately we need Christ to come and rid the world of the evil that is Satan the devil. Imagine the driving voice behind all those rationalizations for continuing in destructive addictions gone forever! Christ will return and will remove Satan’s influence from the world.
Finally, when the dust clears and we are on our way to freedom, we need to be bold! Hebrews 4:16 says: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We can then state with boldness: “We are NOT addicts or smokers or gamblers or alcoholics or porn addicts. … We are NOW repentant sinners recovering from addiction with the help of God and loyal Christian friends.”
Cry freedom! Let’s finally wash the sticky addiction into the garbage where it belongs!
Download our free booklet Change Your Life! for more about how God wants us to respond to Him.