Many people struggle today with destructive addictions, and repeatedly fail in their attempts to overcome them and recover. As a counselor I have seen up close the damaging effects of drug and alcohol addiction, sexual addiction (especially internet pornography), and others, like addiction to gambling, addiction to work, and even addiction to food (emotional eating).
The cycle of addiction can be stopped and the road to recovery started. How? God has provided directions in the Bible. Scripture is our “road map”, to guide us (“His word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psalm 119:105). The road always has hazards….the most dangerous being one’s self. People tell themselves, “I can break this habit on my own” (self-deception); “No one needs to know about my secret obsession” (isolation); “Everyone has weaknesses, so I can’t be an addict” (denial).
Accountability is our “compass” to stay on the recovery road. There are many excellent recovery programs that provide accountability. One I highly recommend is Celebrate Recovery (CR), which follows eight principles (based upon the Beatitudes of Christ), and 12 Christ-centered steps. The eight principles members embrace on the road to recovery:
Principle One: Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.
Principle Two: Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover.
Principle Three: Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.
Principle Four: Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God and to someone I trust.
Principle Five: Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.
Principle Six: Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.
Principle Seven: Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.
Principle Eight: Yield myself to God to be used to bring His good news to others, both by example and by my words.
In his foreword to the Celebrate Recovery Bible, Dr. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life, writes,
“You may think recovery is only for drug addicts and alcoholics – people whose lives seem out of control…..The Bible teaches that all of us have addictions in our lives. Sin is addicting. We’ve all blown it; we’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all hurt ourselves…other people, and others have hurt us.”
The goal of Celebrate Recovery is to help people recover from their “hurts, hang-ups and habits”, and pursue a life of freedom!
After years of counseling people, extensive reading on the topic, and attending workshops, I’m convinced walking the road to recovery and experiencing freedom every day requires the following: Daily surrender to God as our true “Higher Power” and source of all strength (“I can do all things through Him – Christ – who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13). Daily submission to accountability, through community (“Two are better than one…If one falls down, his friend can help him up…though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
If you or someone you know and care for are struggling with an addiction….struggling to follow the road to recovery, please take the necessary steps to get help! Make an appointment to talk with me, or any of our therapists at PCPC!