recovery in Christ when life is broken

Showing items filed under “Keys To Recovery”

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.

What is at the Heart of My Addiction? Idolatry.

 

What you love most will control your life. We humans can fall in love with almost anything: a person, a place, a pleasure, a dream, a career, money, knowledge, family, social status—anything. If you want to know what you love most, just look at what your life revolves around. What have your calendar, bank account and thoughts been centered on this month?

It is natural for you to praise, invest in and give attention to your loves. God created you to be a worshiper. Worship is a natural response to someone or something that has captured your heart. You will serve what you love most. The only thing is, God created you to be a worshiper of Him. In fact, God commands you to love Him most.

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the great and first commandment” (Jesus Christ, Matthew 22:37–38).

God does not need your love—He is sufficient in Himself. God tells you to love Him most because He knows that it is the best thing for you. When He created you, God set eternity in your heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11). You have an eternal longing hardwired into your heart.

Misplaced worship is the spiritual problem at the heart of your struggles. An idol is anything that captures your heart above God. The desire of your human nature is to worship created things rather than the Creator (Romans 1:20-25). But, when you treasure things of this world more than God, you will be left empty because of unsatisfied eternal longings. Trying to escape this emptiness by medicating your pain with things of this world instead of turning to God will only leave you addicted to your coping mechanisms, broken and feeling more unsatisfied. Trying to fill eternal needs with anything other than a personal relationship with the one true eternal God is the pattern that leads to addiction, pain and death. Only Christ can satisfy your eternal longings.

One of big of the goals of re:generation is to bring to light the idols at the root of your struggles. When your idols are exposed, you can then take steps to reorder your priorities and redirect your heart to God. True recovery is not so much about managing your addiction, but redirecting your heart to Christ—the One who eternally satisfies.

Consider these questions and fill in the blanks to help you identify some of your idols:

  • Who or what (besides Christ) dictates the decisions you are making right now?
  • Who or what do you rely upon for security, affection, acceptance, meaning, approval, satisfaction, and protection?
  • What do you get overly emotional or defensive about?
  • Where do you seek acceptance or try to avoid rejection the most?
  • What controls your thoughts, emotions, time, activities, finances and attention most (examine your calendar and expenditures this past month)?
  • Jesus + _______________   = I’m okay.
  • I cannot be content if I don’t have ___________________________.

 

Do you have certain answers that keep coming up? An Idol can be anything—even a good thing that we look to for life from apart from Christ. For you, is it a person or relationship? A position, achievement or outcome? Approval, affirmation, or being right? A number in your bank account or IRA? A specific weight on the scale or clothing size? Someone else’s happiness? Your child or your child’s success? Your health? A comfort, pleasure or dream? 

God loves you. Turn your heart to Him through Christ. Only His love can satisfy (Psalm 103:2-5).

 

If you would like to learn more about this topic, watch the re:generation teaching on Step 4, Inventory and Alonso's story.  If you want to know more about how to begin a relationship with Christ, check out How Freedom Can Begin Today.

If God is revealing some of your idols and recapturing your heart, leave a comment. Let others know what God showing you and the scripture He is using to change you. It will encourage others in recovery.

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recovery in Christ when life is broken.