The Fight to Stay Free
My Struggle with Addiction
A person in addiction recovery has to fight against everything in their minds and bodies that want to push them toward thinking and behaving in an unhealthy manner. My struggle with addiction always pushes me toward the fight to stay free.
Addiction is all consuming. Whether it’s another new sweater, an affair, financial debt due to gambling or over-spending, another bottle of vodka, or the last eight-ball you’ll ever shoot, it’s a daily struggle. It’s a daily fight to stay free.
It has been (it seems) my entire life’s journey (a bit of an exaggeration) in cyclical motion between addictions. When I “kick-the-habit” of one addiction, the next thing you know - there's another come to take its place. They sneak up on you and you find yourself way in it before you even know you're in it.
Guilt and shame are close companions of addiction, and sometimes depression tags along for the ride. I’ve never met a recovering addict who isn’t familiar with those three.
What I find especially difficult is the fact that I’m a recovering addict and a born again Christian (banging my head on my desk). I shouldn’t be having a struggle with addiction, or temptation, at all! I should be walking in the freedom Jesus gave me, right? Isn’t this what we deal with inside our heads, in our hearts? Enter centre stage: guilt and shame and their little friend.
When you think of all the people that Jesus helped, the blind, the homeless, the unclean, the prostitutes, the widows and orphans, how can you possibly think that you are unworthy, unloved, and undeserving, of all the blessings God has to give us for us to bless others.
Why then do we sometimes revert to living under Satan’s yoke? When a person walks through life under the burden of guilt, shame and depression it is extremely difficult to believe the truth of God over the lies and half-truths of Satan because we are very much aware of our proclivities, we’ve lived our past and are likely hanging on to what Satan tells us because what Satan says is sprinkled with truth, we can believe it. But God’s agape love is so foreign to the heart of someone who has suffered trauma and addiction. It’s almost incredulous. We are so hard on ourselves for even being tempted that we actually convince ourselves that we might as well spend, eat, starve, or drug because God can’t possibly love me.
But then God shows up and says to us, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV
He doesn’t say, “You! Again! How many times does my Son have to die for you? Get over it!” No. Instead he says,
“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 ESV. This is how I fight to stay free when I struggle with my addiction.
Know this friend, Jesus really does love you. It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to be tempted. God’s Word is our foundation; it holds us up while Satan tries to make us slip up. There’s nothing we haven’t endured that Jesus didn’t endure. Be powerful not pitiful.
Give all your anxieties to God for He cares for you.