4 Things to Remember When Struggling with Addiction
On July 25, 2018, pop singer Demi Lovato made headlines when she overdosed on heroin, sparking a nationwide discussion on the problem of addiction and relapse. While addiction is something we frequently see people in the public eye deal with, it is not a celebrity problem alone. We as Christians aren’t immune to the effects of addiction, and many of us struggle with it ourselves. In 2014, it was reported, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21.5 million American adults battled a substance use disorder.
What do we as Christians say to those battling addiction? If we are in the throes of our addictions, how can we win the battle? I think it is safe to say all of us have dealt with the effects of addiction in our lives, but in Christ there is hope.
Here are 4 things we can reflect on in the midst of battling addiction.
1. Addiction Is the Symptom, Not the Problem
People don’t set out to become addicts. Addiction usually happens because of one choice, and then it becomes a coping mechanism. When it comes down to it all, addiction is the same problem we all have...addiction is a sin problem. Our sinful nature comes out differently in all of us. For some it is drug addiction, some alcohol, and some pornography.
Some of us are addicted to gossip. Some of us are addicted to drama. We are sinful beings by nature. Paul writes to the Romans, “No one is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).
Our righteousness is in Christ, not in our deeds. We all struggle with sin, but we don’t have to struggle alone.
2. We Cannot Fight This Fight on Our Own
In order to win the fight with any addiction, we must involve God. While God can heal people instantly of their addictions, we have to do our part. We must stay in prayer, and we must stay in the Word. We must keep ourselves out of situations where we are bound to fall.
An alcoholic shouldn’t go to a bar to spread the Gospel. Paul gives us a warning in Galatians 6 where he says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).
To overcome addiction is to do the work; sanctification is a daily process, not a one-time thing.
3. Remember to Give Ourselves Grace
Sin will be a struggle from now until we are done in this lifetime. We will continue to stumble and fall, but nothing is a surprise to God. Psalm 37:24 says, “Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the LORD supports him with his hand.” God has you. If you fail, run to the cross, not away from it. You are never beyond God’s grace.
You are never beyond hope or help. Many times we think if we stumble, God will give up on us. That is never the case. God is much more forgiving than man, obviously because He sent His son to die for our sins...even our repetitive ones. By not forgiving yourself, you are saying what Christ did on the cross is insufficient.
Whether you stumble 1 time or 100 times, God’s grace is never beyond reach. Paul expresses his confidence to the Philippians saying, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
4. Our Struggles with Sin Will Always Be Present
Whether it is addiction or a struggle of a different nature, we have to remember we serve a good God who loves us in spite of our sin. We are able to boldly approach the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), and God will never let us down.
Take heart, Jesus has overcome this sinful world (John 16:33), and our hope is in Christ and Christ alone. Knowing that, I would encourage you, if you are struggling with addiction or with any sin, humble yourself, and turn back to our good Father. Seek help, and seek God’s kingdom. He will never let you down.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chelsi Woods is the coffee-loving Content Manager for Whole Magazine and a writer for the Reformed Outlook. She is a Jesus-loving, tattooed soccer mom to a beautiful, blue-eyed 12 year old girl and “Choo-Choo” to a 9 year old nephew and 4 year old niece. Her hobbies include communicating in gifs, playing guitar, and bad dad jokes. Chelsi’s passionate pursuit is to teach women solid, Biblical truths focused in spiritual growth, loving God with our minds, all while glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.