How Can We Overcome an Addiction?


How can you get control of an urge or addiction? When I find out, I'll let you know! Seriously though, the first step is to admit to yourself and to God that you have a problem. You can't do anything about a fault until you see it. If you don't see the danger clearly, how can you begin to see it from God's point of view? I can't see to read without reading glasses. It would not do me any good to pick up a book or paper and just look at it; I could do that all day but, if I don't have my glasses on, I can't see the individual letters and words, so I would get no understanding from it.

Let's put our spiritual "reading glasses" on and look at ourselves honestly from God's perspective. What does He see when He looks at you or when He looks at me? What is He looking for when He sees us give in to an addiction? Does He expect us to fight our battles on our own? These are questions we have to look at to be able to see ourselves as we really are and get help overcoming.

So if the first step is to really see yourself, then the second is to admit your fault to yourself and then to God. But God doesn't just have us stop there. He expects us to get help from each other. He wants us to find a friend who has proven himself or herself to be trustworthy, and admit to him or her that we have a problem and ask for help. "Two are better than one…for if they fall, one will lift up his companion…And a threefold cord is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

If you think your problem is too personal to share with someone else, you can always go to your minister or to an elder in the Church and counsel with him without having to be specific. As far as that goes, you can ask anyone to pray for you without telling the person why. "I've got a problem I need you to help me pray about," should be sufficient.

The apostle Paul admitted he had a problem, a "thorn in the flesh," that troubled him. We don't know if it was an illness or a personal problem. He prayed three times to have it removed. What did God tell him? "My grace is sufficient" is what He said in 2 Corinthians 12:9. Also in Romans 7:18-25 Paul states that he had struggles with sin that he could not handle on his own.

Paul seems to have finally won the battle because he said in 2 Timothy 4:7: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

Asking people to pray without being specific will work for some, but for me I finally had to talk to a trusted minister and be specific about my problem with an addiction. I had "gone it alone, just me and God" for years, because it is not easy admitting a weakness to another person. But when I finally admitted to my minister what I was wrestling with, I had a breakthrough. It may not work the same for you as it did to me, but you have to try something.

It may take some other method to help you in your fight. We are expected to try, try and keep on trying until we find a way that works for us individually. It boils down to you and me having to make the final decision for ourselves and then God will help us. His help may not be the kind of help you expect, but it will be the kind of help you need. The problem is not going to suddenly go away. It is something you and I will have to fight for the rest of our lives. The reward for winning that battle daily is worth it in the strengthening of your faith.

Our Christian battle is a solitary one that begins with our admitting our problems first to ourselves and then to God. God has a system in effect to help us. We are part of a body; God expects us to use the rest of the body. We started out alone on this journey, but God doesn't expect us to stay alone. Use your brothers and sisters in the Lord; there is strength in numbers. After all, the prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16). We are not in this alone. God has promised never to leave us (Hebrews 13:5).

May God grant you peace and help in time of trial.




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