Old Habits

Conquering Addiction One Step at a Time


Syringe and drugs with out of focus female addict

Dear Christian Counselor,

 

I’ve asked Jesus to be my Savior, and I have the Holy Spirit in my heart. But I still give in to my addictions daily. Is it possible to be a Christian and a drug addict?

 

Bird


Dear Bird,

 

I am not at all surprised to hear that as a new believer you are giving in to your addictions. I did. It is a process, and being born again is just the beginning. You already are a new creation in Christ, and now you are in the process of living that out. Jesus Christ is a joy greater than our addictions. He is our Creator, our redeemer, someone who, by living in us, makes us righteous. He has already started you on this path. He is our greater desire, and He is able and faithful to give us what we need. As humans we were created to be dependent so that we would become attached to God. However we settle for lesser gods that do not satisfy or have the power to deliver. Ed Welch says in his addiction workbook called Crossroads, “Addicts know the deeper reality that life is set up according to kingdoms. Addicts know that there isn’t one square inch of neutral territory. Everyone is on their way to one kingdom or the other: for God or against Him. The central question is, Who will I worship? Who will I bow to?” Romans 6:19 says, “I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.”

 

Change will come, and you may be tempted to give up. If you take yourself out of the battle, the addiction will win. So start asking for help. Find someone in the body of Christ who can disciple you or a good Christian counselor who understands addictions. Find a group like Celebrate Recovery where you will find an accepting community of fellow strugglers. I’d also recommend reading the first nine chapters of Proverbs. We all will continue to sin as believers; however, God is doing a new work in you, changing the desires of your heart toward Him and not toward your addiction.

 

I personally know this road well and know how hard it can be; but I also testify that every inch moved in the direction of Christ is so very worth it. You will find the satisfaction and purpose in life with the Lord that you are looking for.

 

~Karen


Related Articles:

On Being a Struggler

Why Christians Make Miserable Addicts –Huffington Post

Our Free Handout, “What Do I Do Now?”

What is Going on With Him?

Dear Christian Counselor:

Family watching television, c. 1958

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been dating this guy for about 5 years.  Our dating has consistently been watching TV and the occasional meal out on special occasions.  I always assumed he couldn’t afford to spend much for dates.  However, last summer he and his mother went on several vacations together.  I told him I was jealous because he would go and do things with her but not me.  He will give me nice gifts and money or other provisions when I’m short of cash.  I like him and he’s good to me.  I often feel that the relationship is on his terms – he will do what he wants, but when I express an expectation, he bucks and tells me to just go by myself.  What is going on with him?

–Tired of Watching TV


Dear Tired:

You say that you like (not love) him, and you don’t say whether there is anything sexual going on.  If there isn’t, then decide whether you want to keep this guy for a friend because that sounds like the basis of your relationship right now – a friendship that keeps you both from being too lonely and gives you someone to lean on from time to time.  If that is the case, then “what is going on with him” is that he is content with the depth of your friendship.  If you are not, then I would suggest you make some new friends.

If you are sexually intimate with him, then I would say “what is going on with him” is that he is getting what he wants without having to make real compromises or commitments.  God intended our long-term, romantic relationships to reflect His own relationship with His people (Eph. 5:31-32) — which means an emotionally intimate and sacrificial relationship.  It doesn’t sound like that’s what you have.  If not, then maybe the real question is… what is going on with you?  Why are you willing to stay in a relationship that is not pleasing to God and not pleasing to you? That might be worth exploring with a pastor or a counselor.

—Louise

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