Recovery from Addiction is Possible
In my blog Life At the End of The Trail we talked about what happens to people when they do not break the chains of their addiction. We talked about where they would be 25 years later. Now I want to talk about what you can do to experience recovery from addiction.
If you want to break the addiction in your life or know someone who does, this blog’s for you. Unfortunately, there are many people who never come to this point, and as they say in Narcotics Anonymous, these are the people who end up in jails, institutions, or dead. But to the fortunate ones who say, “I really want help.” There is help. There is hope. While it won’t be easy, the chains can be broken.
So how does someone break the chains of addiction? That’s a good question. Books have been written on it, but let’s give it a shot. Who knows? It might just change your life.
Step One: Come out of denial
What is denial? Denial is all the false beliefs our addictions hide behind. Like a living thing, an addiction will fight to stay alive. Its first line of defense is to remain hidden, so it constructs powerful arguments for why we are not addicted. How many times have you or someone you know who has an addiction come up with crazy statements to pretend they don’t have an addiction? For example:
- I can quit anytime I want.
- I just use my addiction when I want to.
- My addiction isn’t hurting anybody anyway.
- Oh well, it’s too late.
- I can’t change anyway.
- I’ll quit someday, but I’m having too much fun now.
These and other statements prove the addict has not yet come out of denial and is not yet ready to start the long journey to freedom. Allie put it really well: You must admit you have an addiction and then have the will to change it. You must understand that it will not be easy.(Allie) When somebody who’s addicted says, “I can’t go on like this; I will do whatever it takes to be set free,” then you know there is hope for that person.
For example, I received this comment from Kitty: Dawson, I have been struggling with an eating disorder for several years. I’m anorexic. I know that if I don’t quit, in 25 years, I will be dead.(Kitty) It would appear Kitty has faced the cold reality of her addiction. She seems serious in her willingness to change.
Step Two: Admit You Are Powerless
Just about every program teaches that the addict must admit they are powerless over their addiction. This is a difficult thing to do because many addictions make a person feel powerful while on the high. It’s humbling to say, “I cannot help myself by myself; I am powerless over this monster called addiction.” For many, they have spent years with the false belief they have all the power. It’s a huge step to come forward and admit to another person, “I am powerless over my addiction. I need help.” But it is the only way to begin the recovery process.
It takes a lot of humility to break free. And there is that old enemy called shame, always there, ready to discourage someone from going forward.
Step Three: Turn to God
The most well-known and used program that helps people overcome addictions is the 12 Step Program. Five of the twelve steps deal directly with one’s relationship with God. Only God can empower an addict to make the changes necessary for freedom. I received a very moving story from a guy named Dan. Once you have read his story, you will see how important a relationship with God can be:
I was addicted to sex for 25 years, since the very earliest experience. At the end, I had truly come to the end of my trail. I didn’t feel human anymore and I thought I’d never be able to feel enjoyment or sense beauty ever again. I had the stink of death on me, and I would have been happy just to die in the dessert away from humans and have my bones bleach in the sun. All the years of trying to quit and relapsing again and again accomplished nothing. I thought I was headed to Hell.
I drove all the way across the country. Halfway through Texas, I asked God what I was doing out there, and at that moment, I saw a sign in the middle of nowhere. It read: Trust Jesus.Well, I’ve been doing that ever since, and He’s real and true. He’s freed me from sexual addiction. He’s showed me that the Bible contains all that we need to know. Jesus is the one who came, not to break us or put out our little flame of life, but to set us free. (Dan)
Very few people have left God out of their recovery attempts and been successful.
To the person who is serious about breaking free from their addiction, whether it’s cutting, gambling, drugs, eating disorders, etc., there is hope. People all around the world are overcoming their addictions one day at a time and staying clean. You can too.