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Overcoming Addictions 05/11/18

How to Avoid Temptation

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Those who have a few years of sobriety under their belts and addiction recovery specialists agree it's extremely important for people who are trying to overcome addictions and compulsive behaviors to avoid the people, places, and things that tempt them.

Makes sense - don't go near a fire and you won't get burnt. However, putting that into practice requires major shifts in who we pal around with, where we go, and what we do. We've already put aside our (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, porn, food, etc.) and may cringe at the thought of having to change more familiarities in our lives.

Addictions are crafty and sly. When we were feeding our addiction or giving in to an unwanted behavior, we lived in our comfortable world of sneakiness and half-truths.  So when we try to change, the cunning power of our addiction goes into overdrive and temptation whispers its ideas for half-change.

The Voice of Temptation

Temptation says:

  • "I can offer to be the designated driver! That way I can still go out with my friends even though I've quit drinking." (Don't change people or places)
  • "I don't need any sponsor or accountability partner. Those people don't know me and I don't need them." (Don't change people)
  • "I can sit in front of my TV for hours like I've always done. I just won't go to the refrigerator or pantry until breakfast tomorrow." (Don't change places or things)
  • "If I wean myself by cutting down on my daily intake, eventually I'll be able to quit." (Don't change things)
  • "I can check my email and get on the Internet without looking at porn. I don't need any filtering software. It will just slow my computer down." (Don't change things)
  • "I haven't (done whatever) in a few days. Just doing it once won't matter; I'm well on my way to getting clean." (Don't change things)

The Voice of Recovery

Recovery says:

  • Go to a Christ-centered recovery program and work at getting free! Make yourself get phone numbers from "safe" people you can call when you are feeling weak. (Change people and places)
  • Get rid of your cell phone number and get a new one. ONLY give your new number to safe people, not anyone who has any common thread to the behavior you are leaving. (Change people and things)
  • Identify the settings where you partake of your addiction. Do everything possible to not allow yourself to be in that setting! Make new safe settings. (Change places)
  • Make new friends at church. Get involved in small groups and/or Bible studies there. (Change people, places, and things)
  • Take new routes when traveling locally that don't allow you to pass by the places you used to purchase or partake in your substance or behavior. (Change places)


The Bible says in Romans 13:14, "But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don't think of ways to indulge, or provide for, your evil desires."

It boils down to this question: How badly do you want to be free? If you desperately don't want to be feeding your addiction or giving in to a certain behavior, then you have to avoid the people, places, and things that suck you back into your addiction!

There are many ways to make this a strategy for survival! Maybe you have some suggestions about how to avoid these temptations and why they are important. If so, please share them!

Copyright © 2010 Beth Livingston, used with permission.

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