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Overcoming Addictions 08/17/15

Must You Call Me Addicted?

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“Hello, my name is Beth, and I’m a recovering alcoholic.” That’s what I said at several AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings. But, what I would have felt more comfortable saying is, “Hello, my name is Beth and I drink a lot, I smoke pot daily and smoke cigarettes like they’re still 85 cents a pack. I’m not sure why I’m here, but I know I need to make some changes in my life. I’m not happy with the example I am setting for my children. I've heard people get help here, so I'm here.”

I never understood why we had to say we were alcoholics just because we drank a lot. I didn’t think I was an alcoholic or addicted. In fact, I really thought I could quit any of those things anytime I wanted. I just chose to do them. But, when the time came that I did try to quit, I had trouble with each of them. Have you ever been there? Where you thought you could give something up when you chose to and then found out you couldn’t? Are you still there? 

Random House Dictionary (Copyright, 2009) defines addiction as “the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.” It also states that the origin of the word meant “a giving over, surrender.” 

Some addictions are easier to pinpoint than others. Some are easier to get rid of than others. Wouldn’t you agree? Twenty-five years ago, only alcohol, narcotics and street drugs like heroin were commonly called addictions; mainly because of the extreme physical effects of quitting – DT’s for alcoholics (delirium tremens or "the shakes") and week long withdrawals including shaking, panic, chills, etc. for drugs. These often require a rehab program in a hospital or recovery center. 

Today, addictions include eating, smoking, pornography, work – the list goes on. Why? Because we are finally aware that we’re doing a lot of things that we’re ashamed of – things that hurt us or our families. And we can’t stop. That’s why it’s being called an addiction now. Anytime we do try to stop, we may not shake or sweat, but we think we need (our habit of choice) to cope with our lives, our family, our stress. Can you relate to this? We stop for a while and then something happens and we go back to it. Why do we do that?

What is the craving you have that you just can’t stop? Does it make you mad when someone says you’re addicted to it? 

Christ came to set us free from all that binds us and keeps us captive in this world. He really does care about us and wants us to be free. How can He help? He’s waiting for us to ask Him. His ways are gentle and kind and above all else, He is a mighty warrior in the battle for your soul. He doesn’t want to leave us “surrendered” or “given over” to anything but Him.

Prayer for Change

Lord Jesus, I often feel compelled to ________________ (explicitly state the behavior) to cope with life. I am seeing more and more that this is not healthy. I believe that you have a solution for me. Your Holy Word says that you came to set the captives free. I am captive to this behavior and I ask you to forgive me, cleanse me and set me free. Thank you for what you are going to do in my life to change me. Help me to turn to you and turn away from this destructive habit. It has such a hold on me that one would say I am addicted. 

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