Overcoming Addictions Part I
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."1
A Daily Encounter reader writes: "I am a controlling person and a perfectionist and am being self-destructive as I don't know how to give up my addictions. I keep trying and keep failing. I promise I will do better the next day and fail again ... and again ... and again. Please help me."
It helps to realize that God is merciful in that, when we have unresolved personal issues, He allows us to have symptoms. To put it another way, symptoms are nature's warning signal—a flashing red light—telling us that something within us is amiss and needs fixing. Symptoms can be emotional, physical, spiritual, an addiction, or a combination of any or all of the above.
Symptoms are also called the presenting problem; that is, the problem that we see. They are almost always the fruit of a deeper root.
For instance, a controlling person is one who is very insecure and needs to be in control of others and their circumstances to feel safe and secure. But this is a false sense of security as a secure person doesn't have a need to be in control of everything. The more insecure the person, the more need they have to control. They can be very difficult to live with.
The perfectionist is also an insecure person. For them to feel secure everything has to be perfect. They can never quite please themselves in what they do no matter how good it is. Neither can you please them no matter how hard you try and how well you do. They will search for a fault, and if there isn't one, they will make one up. They, too, can be very difficult to live with.
Regarding the addict, his or her addictions are usually a means of escape used to medicate or anesthetize the pain of their inner struggle. When they feel their pain—whether it is an overwhelming sense of emptiness, loneliness, anxiety, depression—they reach for the booze and another drink, another cigarette, more sex, become super-busy, go on a shopping spree, or whatever—a never-ending, self-defeating, downward spiral.
So how do we overcome? To be continued in Part II.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that Your desire for me is that I lay aside every weight and overcome the sins that set me back. Help me to understand why I act the way I do, and lead me to the help I need to overcome so that my life will glorify You in everything I am and do. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV).