This past year, I have had a lot of opportunities to talk with people struggling with various addictions. I am in no way a counselor. I simply try to come alongside people as an advocate and a friend. My desperate wish is that they find the same hope I have been given; and I am always willing to talk about whatever issues they are struggling with.
Invariably, I hear a recurring theme and it sends up flares and red flags every time. Once they realize that they indeed do have a problem, they decide to institute all of these boundaries and barricades to limit their access to their drug of choice. They decide that if they change cell phones, delete phone numbers, move to a new town, ditch their addicted boyfriend/girlfriend or simply don’t go to certain neighborhoods anymore that they will no longer be able to acquire whatever it is that they can’t break free of. People struggling with pornography get rid of their computers. Alcoholics tell the local bartenders and liquor store owners not to serve them anymore. I have heard all sorts of great ideas. These barriers to access are fine as a first step or as part of an overall strategy, but, for most of them, they believe this, in and of itself, is the solution.
I used this plan often in my own life and eventually failed each and every time. It will not work as a long-term solution. You need heart change…life change…you got to have Jesus in this thing or it’s not going to work. You cannot apply external controls to an internal problem and have success. You must be changed from the inside out. You must replace the desires of your heart and then you will naturally run “from” not “to” that thing that has you bound in slavery.
Satan knows your struggles and will always set a table for you with all of your favorite things. He wants us to fail. If an alcoholic secludes himself on a deserted island, crates of his favorite drink will wash up on shore. If you totally change your environment and your friends, you are going to run into one of your dealers at Wal-Mart or something and he is going to offer you what you can’t resist. If you struggle with opiates and break contact with all of your dealers, a half-full prescription bottle is going to fall out of your Grandma’s medicine cabinet while your washing your hands. That’s just the way it works. The only solution is for Christ to come in and take over your life.
People without addictions do the same thing in their Christian walk. We simply try to avoid those things that trip us up. If we have some pain in our lives that we just can’t get past, we simply don’t talk about it or shut down our minds when the thoughts of that experience come flooding in. If we have trouble spending more money than we make, we cut up credit cards or put ourselves on some sort of allowance instead of asking God to change our hearts and give us a heart for stewardship and self-discipline. If we struggle with gluttony, we stop eating at buffets or all-you-can-eat restaurants instead of begging God to fill us with his Spirit and yield to His leading. It’s all the same.
If you want to have victory over your struggles, whether they be addiction or unforgiveness, you have to let someone else have control of your life. You have to let God in and beg him to change you from the inside out. And I do mean beg. Cry out to God in brokenness and you will receive the healing in your life that you’ve always been looking for.
(more posts on “internal controls” to follow)
Honor all people, Love the Brotherhood, Fear God, Honor the King.
Love to you all.