Keys to Overcoming Addiction
A Weekend to Remember
A person can come to a point when a good majority of his or her thoughts and actions become sinful in nature. I know an amazing young man that knows this all too well. His name is Don and his story has to be told. He says, “for me there is no in-between. I’m either walking with God or I’m running with the devil.”. Living on the streets dealing heroin and other drugs, having sex with different women, stealing from stores and pillaging through people’s cars is a lifestyle far from glamorous. He made so many wrong decisions daily, knowing they were wrong, yet they seemed necessary for survival. After five years of running, God apprehended this young man.
He is grateful that God has intervened and is content with the process ahead; the road to recovery. While in that jail cell, locked down for 47 and a half hours straight and only 30 minutes every two days to come out to take a shower, make phone calls and interact with others he says he has never felt so free. His body is physically imprisoned but his soul has been set free because God met him right where he was. Finally, he was in that place of such brokenness that he was ready to receive all that God wanted to give him. The first gift was that of love, acceptance and total forgiveness. The second was freedom from bondage. He had been delivered from his drug addiction in an instant. The young man spent day and night for two months reading the Bible, being in constant communion with God and listening to Christian music.
The first gift
was that of love,
acceptance and total
The second was
freedom from bondage.
He had been delivered
from his drug addiction
in an instant.
Naturally, he thought he would take the easier road and was preparing to choose prison time at Tracy State Prison in California. God said, “son, I want you to take the road less traveled. Go into the New Life Recovery Program. I’ll be with you.”
Stop for just a second here and contemplate this situation. Can you imagine being locked in a jail cell with a person that robbed you at gun point? This was a monumental expression of grace. Instead of allowing anger to control him, he chose instead to forgive him and embrace him. I believe most definitely there must have been healing on both sides of that equation.
Shortly after that Don was released. This time it was sunny and beautiful outside and as he walked he recognized that the people and cars passing by were the same as what he had seen in his vision. It was a Friday afternoon and he would go to his program on Monday. He had the weekend to stay sober and make good choices. It would prove to be a great test. If he were to give in to his old way of thinking, he would think it was an opportunity to party one last time.
Now there is one thing you must understand about this young man’s character. He is very intelligent, strategic, and quite stubborn. He has never been fond of being told what to do. It’s hard for him to submit to someone else’s rules because he is independent and strong-willed. The decision to submit himself to the program went against his grain, so the fact he made the choice to go to rehab speaks volumes of his growth and the renewing of his mind.
The weekend was full of temptations. He could get high still pass a drug test in 2 days. He could flee to Oregon, run away from the consequences and start a new life. These choices were sounding real good to him but he resisted. His best friend showed up on the doorstep desperate need of a “fix” of heroin. Meth addicted women were sexting him when they discovered he had been released. He faced a ton of possibilities but every instead of indulging he confided in his mom. He opened up and was vulnerable about his weakness and the desperate need to lean on someone for help. The enemy was calling him back into a sinful lifestyle and he could have easily caved in but he cried out to God instead and played Christian music to take his mind off of it. He decided to take each thought captive and dispose of the unfavorable ones.
Monday morning came and the temptations intensified. It took every bit of strength Don had to put one foot in front of the other and walk into the rehabilitation center. His trust is in God that he is exactly where God wants him to be and that the beginning of a new life has started. He has passed the tests and is being promoted higher than he’s ever been in the kingdom. Just imagine a few short months ago he was shooting heroin, breaking into cars and doing unimaginable acts but now he is moving up in rank to a commander in God’s army set in position for greatness. His focus and his call is to co-labor with God to heal people and bring them to Christ.
When you realize addiction is a spirit, it becomes easier to deny that spirit authority in your life. When you realize the bad decisions are not coming from you but rather from partnering with the spirit in weakness, you no longer blame yourself and you can give yourself some grace. This understanding shifts your thinking and you can then embark on a journey of building yourself up through perseverance, strength, hope, humility and faith. There are several keys in overcoming addiction I’d like to point out in this story.
There are three keys in overcoming addiction I discovered in this story.
One key is perseverance. It is by no means easy to say no to something we have developed a habit for but knowing that we are resisting evil and that there are angels cheering us on and celebrating our successes makes each time easier and easier. The detrimental spirit gets weaker every time we resist. Our perseverance leads to victory.
Another key that is absolutely essential is accountability. Thinking that we can get through tough times on our own is prideful and dangerous. The enemy of our soul wants us to think we are strong enough. That way if we fail, we only let ourself down instead of a loved one or friend. Being accountable requires humility. We will be strengthened in our weakness.
The greatest key of all is relationship with God. We can call upon God in our time of need. He is our ever-present help we need to get through life. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He meets all of our needs. He battles for us, strengthens us, teaches us, champions us and comforts us. It is His pleasure to walk with us through the difficult things in life.
Matthew 24:13 (NKJV): But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV): No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Galatians 6:9 (NKJV): And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.