recovery in Christ when life is broken

How To Get Sober From An Addiction To… Porn, Drugs, Pills, Alcohol, Sex, Gambling, et al.

Walking into my first recovery meeting, I thought, “This is worthless. I don’t need a meeting with a bunch of quasi-ex-addicts telling old war stories about their binges. I need serious help…I need to get free from alcoholism and a meeting like this isn’t helping.”

Do you know what? I was right. 90 meetings in 90 days doesn’t get you sober…it might be of short-term help because it’s not 90 days in 90 bars, but 90 meetings won’t change your life long-term. How can I say that? Because the root problem isn’t where you spend your time or even what you put in your body; the root problem is spiritual. Whether you’re reading the Big Book or the Bible, both say the same: God alone gets you sober and keeps you sober (don’t be surprised they say the same thing…AA originated as a Bible Study). As it’s been said, “Alcohol wasn’t my problem; it was my solution.” Alcohol, pills, sex, porn, gambling, etc. is just the numbing solution to inner spiritual pain.

When I began recovery, I couldn’t imagine staying sober a week, let alone a month. I didn’t want to be sober and I didn’t know how to live without alcohol. What would I do after work? At a wedding? On vacation? On weekends? I didn’t have a category for life without my drug of choice because it had become central to every area of my life.

A guy who I had known for all of 5 minutes at that first meeting asked me, “Will you commit, by God’s strength, to staying sober for the next 24 hours?” I said, “Charlie, you don’t understand…I can go one day without drinking, but I need serious long-term help.” He said, “Don’t worry about that. Will you go 24 hours, by God’s strength? Don’t do it on your own; it has to be by God’s strength.” “Fine,” I said. “Good,” he replied, “call me this time tomorrow and let me know how you did.”

“Hey Charlie. Sober 24 hours.”

“By God’s strength?”

“Yes.”

“Want to go another 24?”

“Fine, but…”

“But nothing. Want to go another 24?”

“Yes.”

Another day passed.

“Hey Charlie. Sober 24 hours.”

Why do I tell you all that? Because that question, is what I’ve been asking myself daily for the last 10 years. Since that night on December 27th, 2005, and I haven’t had a drink.

So what made 24 hours seem so easy to say yes to and what made the thought of staying sober for a year, let alone 10, seem so impossible? The answer again is God.

And after 12 years of alcoholism, 24 hours of sobriety turned into a week, turned into a month, turned into three months, turned into a year, turned into 10 years. I never dreamed I could be sober 10 years…and the truth is, I couldn’t on my own. But, by walking with God daily, surrendering each day to Him, I could be sober one day at a time… for 10 years (3650 days).

Many of us trapped in addiction or harmful habits have tried quitting or making resolutions (Have you already relapsed from your New Year’s resolution?), but those attempts failed in frustration. But, what if, by God’s strength, you could stay sober for 24 hours? Just one day. Don’t worry about a year from now or the rest of your life – just 24 hours. Could you do that?

We believe that with God’s help, anyone with any addiction could stay sober for 24 hours. Soon 24 hour periods will string together to make a week, then a month and then years. But no single 24 hour commitment can be done apart from God. Jesus tells us to seek God and his will – only for today – and not to worry about tomorrow. God’s solution for us is walking with him one day at a time. Don’t worry about tomorrow – just seek him and his will for 24 hours.

“But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6.33-34)

So what do you think? By God’s strength, will you commit to staying sober for the next 24 hours?

If the answer is yes, call a trusted friend and tell him or her that by God’s strength you are committing to staying sober for the next 24 hours. Ask that person to pray for you and then report back after the 24 hours is complete. Make this a daily practice as you seek God and his will…this is accountability.

And then you might pray: “God, please keep me sober for the next 24 hours by your perfect strength. Teach me to seek you and your will today. Thank you for helping me.”

-John E.

Will Joy Ever Come?

I will always feel alone. Things will never change. God has abandoned me. God doesn’t love me. No one loves me.

Have you ever had any of those thoughts cross your mind? Maybe they have not only crossed your mind but you believe them to be true because your reality seems to affirm those thoughts.

We have entered into a season that should be marked with joy and gladness, yet for many it feels like pouring salt into the open wound of loneliness.  The holidays serve as a reminder of loss, broken promises, or abandonment that you want to run and hide from. It often appears easier to escape than to allow yourself to feel hurt and sadness and so you mask or numb the pain. That may get you through the holiday season but the pain and heartache will remain long after.

Loneliness is common to all and sometimes inescapable. You may fall victim to loneliness through no fault of your own and your circumstances have thrust you into it. Loneliness also comes through sin which bring separation from God and others. As a follower of Christ, you may experience loneliness for being an obedient disciple and forsaking the ways of the world.

I love the book of Psalms in the Bible because it is filled with honest, raw emotion and it teaches us how we are to handle loneliness and heartache.

Psalm 13

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?

    How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts

    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?

    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.

    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”

    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;

    my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing the Lord’s praise,

    for he has been good to me.

From Psalm 13 we see the psalmist openly convey his heart to the Lord and even question God. He’s completely honest about his feelings and doubts. After pouring out his true thoughts to the Lord he begins to pray that God would answer him and rescue him. The psalmist then moves to expressing his faith in the Lord and praising Him for the salvation of his soul and for His goodness.

When loneliness occurs, rather than seeking to escape reality or fill the void we should seek aloneness in the presence of the Lord. Cry out to Him just as the psalmist did. Ask God to search your heart and reveal sin in your life. Even though joy feels absent, thank God for who He is.

God, who is well acquainted with grief, sees and knows your heartache. He longs to fill the void in your heart. He has promised He will never leave us, He goes before us, and He will not fail us. He is the one who will meet all of our needs according to His glorious riches and satisfy us with good things.

Joy has come and is available to all who would receive Him.

-Johnna S.

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recovery in Christ when life is broken.