by Deanne Baum
The only one who can break your addiction is you, but you can get help.
Overcoming an addiction seems impossible. Whether this addiction concerns alcohol, cigarettes, painkillers, over-eating, pornography, gambling, hoarding, or even self-harm like cutting, there is a solution.
I ran across a two-part news story by Angela Haupt about her son Mike Devlin, a 24-year-old college senior in Vermont.
Her painful story recounts Mike’s transition from painkillers taken for sports injuries, to total dependence while he began living “three different lives”. He stopped playing sports but believed he could still carry on as usual with school, study, working two jobs, and selling drugs to fund his habit. Mike eventually turned to crime to afford the cost of opiates such as cocaine and heroin. Finally, Mike ended up in a motel room, broke, where he ingested a cocktail of drugs, hoping to end his life. This was his “rock bottom” moment. However, Mike woke up and read a text message from his mother which said, “Just let me know you’re okay.” The care factor in his loving mother’s message provoked feelings of shame, pain and guilt. It also provoked deep feelings of surrender to giving life another chance. He decided to go to rehab and while there realized something in his mind led him to do drugs.
Mike learned over the next month what his underlying issues were. Mike was loved by his significant others while detoxifying and changing his daily habits. Surrounded by family and friends who visited, listened, and supported him emotionally without giving advice – that was left to the professionals (One Man’s Story: How I Beat Addiction” by Angela Haupt (U.S. News, Health & Wellness feature, July 24, 2013)
Where is Your Life Headed?
Mike’s life had taken a wrong turn made up of poor choices which led to even worse choices. To overcome an addiction, we must first make better choices. Wisdom should be used in all decision-making. How do we get from one end of the spectrum to the other? Perhaps you already know what led to your addiction, but whether you do or not, you can change!
God gave us all freedom of choice. (Deuteronomy 30:19) Human willpower is weak and our human nature weakens us even more. In Matthew 26:41 we read, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”. Our nature is selfish. We come first to others, no matter what harm or pain we may inflict. Can we do it on our own? We know we can’t…that’s why we keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
So what do we do?
- Admit there is a problem.
- Understand that we not only need to change but must genuinely want to change.
- Seek out support from family and friends. They most likely already know there is a problem no matter how careful you think you have been to cover up your behaviors. This takes a humble attitude, especially if your relationship has been strained.
- Pray about it. Ask God to give you the courage and character to change your life.
When you show God that you want His way for your life over and above your own way, He will help you and He can give you eternal life. This was made possible through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrected life (Romans 5:10). Turn to Him in faith (Hebrews 11:6). Nothing is too difficult for God for nothing is impossible with God (Jeremiah 32:27; :26; Mark 10:27).