People’s lives are unmanageable when they can’t use their feelings appropriately. If we insist on feeling a certain way based on external events we will continue with our habits.
If we insist on thinking a certain way no matter what we start to control our destiny. When we develop a habit of thinking a certain way we can next develop a habit of planning our actions in a more concrete way. I sometimes have such a lack of control of my thinking/feelings that I write what I “should think” on a paper 50 times.
For example Bill is a self-employed house handy man free from drugs for 15 days. But today things are not going well and all he can think about is drugs. But he 100% knows drugs always end badly. But he can’t stop thinking about drugs. He also has a job he needs to work on today, but he 100% does not care because all he can think about are drugs. In a last ditch effort he calls his pastor.
His pastor says: “you need to focus on something else. Has your life been better in the last 15 days? Are you sleeping better, are relationships better, are finances better, are you in a better place with God. What can you do today for 15 minutes to start to turn this around?
Bill says: “for a few minutes I am going to write down what is better in my life. Then I will know what I should do today. Then I am going to write down 50 times what I will do today.” He then proceeds to write 50 times: work, pool, Ronny, TV, Bib St, 12, LTH. Which translates as: work 9-5, play a little pool, hang out with his buddy for a bit, watch TV for an hour, Bible study and prayer, go to bed on time, which LTH (leads to happiness).
We all want to be happy. We just remain confused, thinking out addiction is a magic key to happiness.
Today: change your thinking, change your focus, do whatever it takes to accomplish this. Bill made it through the day. He ended the day with prayer and Bible study which changed his focus for the next day. Bill is gaining traction.
It is wise to spend enough time working on getting your addiction under control? Every time you do what you need to do to change you are putting another bullet in that tiger who is trying to destroy you.
The great thing is that you get to choose the weapon you need to have to succeed in killing your enemy! I would be scared stiff if I had to attack a tiger with a low powered .22 caliber rifle. However if I was sitting in a tank I would have no fear at all. I would go right at him. So the question is: how do we attack this vicious opponent with the proper weapons?
First of all set up a time and a place that you will use every day for your attack. The greatest hunters are not always the most accurate shooters in the world. But they are always people who consistently hunt all the time. When hunting season opens they are there hunting every morning and they are back at twilight because there are often great chances at that time as well.
When you set up a specific time to attack your addiction every day you are using a high powered weapon to attack. Don’t just say I will work on my addiction at 7:00 every day. Say instead “I will work on my addiction from 7:00 until 7:30 every day”. Also be specific about where you will work on it if space is a problem. If you have a spouse and a couple of kids tell them clearly that this is your space for that time every day.
Exercise #1 – Say to yourself: Drinking/Drugs have caused me pain, they have in the past and they will in the future. It may be helpful to complete this exercise morning noon and night.
Temptation to gamble is like a huge bonfire. The more fuel we put on it the hotter it burns. Giving in to temptation is like putting gas on a fire. Doing other activities and thinking about other things is like putting water on a fire.
Exercise #2 – Repeat this statement twice each day: ”This temptation will disappear if I don’t act on it. If I fall it will return and it will be even stronger next time. If I don’t give in it will go away and someday it will go away for good. I have the discipline to overcome this”.
The Great Race
Quitting addiction is like winning a motorcycle dirt race. Imagine a grand 10 day race. A race through the muddiest swamps in the world. A race where there is a narrow straight road that is very tough to stay on.
10,000 riders join this race – 500 are paid 1 million dollars and 500 are paid $500,000. But despite the huge prize pool only a few will finish this race strong. The problem is that you are allowed to go through the mud if you want to. It seems like the faster way but it never is.
When you leave the straight and narrow road you feel the excitement. Water and mud are splashing everywhere. For a very short time you are passing other riders and having fun. But very quickly the fun ends and you are stuck in the mud. For some being stuck in the mud is just a short delay. People come by to help and you are on your way – a bit behind but back in the race. But for others being stuck in the mud causes bigger problems. While flying through the mud you did not see the stump. You hit it and your bike broke – but just a minor repair. Still it is a pretty big delay. But for others being stuck in the mud causes real injuries – your bike got stuck so fast that you kept flying and broke your arm. For others you were flying so fast through the mud you saw the tree – you turned to avoid it. But you smashed right into the tree. Your bike is pretty mangled. Now you are 5 hours getting repairs. For others you were flying so fast you left all help behind. You drove deep into the mud, crashed and were stuck in the mud and were all alone.
Jesus has things for you to do. You can’t do them if you get struck in the mud. You know that if you get back into your addiction it will drive you relentlessly until you are exhausted, depressed and completely stuck in the mud. Satan will do anything to convince you that a few moments or hours of his pleasures are worth it. But Jesus is waiting right there for you today. To give you rest and joy. To help you stay on the straight and narrow so that you can do what He wants you to do. Religion will tell you that it is an option to do the things Jesus has for you to do. John 15:1-6 will tell you to do them or you will be like a branch that is thrown in the fire and burned.
John 15 New International Version (NIV)
The Vine and the Branches
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
But when we do what Jesus wants us to do the results are exceptional.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Many have such habitual sin habits that it takes a long time for us to shape up enough for verse 7 to be true for us. My attitude for verse 7 is – if it is not coming true for me, I still have too much habitual sin for it to be true. However, lately for me I am reading the Word more, getting the sin out more, investing time in prayer. Shockingly, verse 7 is more true for me today than I ever could have imagined.
Say twice each day – “Addiction drives people relentlessly until they are exhausted, depressed and completely stuck in the mud.
Memorize John 15:1-6
Read Matthe 1, Proverbs 24 and 2nd Corinthians 10
Continue to read the Purpose Driven Life.
If you would like to start living in God’s blessing pray: “Father – I plan to start doing things your way, obeying your commands, studying the Word. Please bless me when you are ready to do so. I am planning to do my part and I will patiently wait for you to bless me when the time is right.”
Day one: How to overcome cravings
Day two: Would believing in a higher power be good for you?
Day three: Quitting addiction exercises
Day four: Does God answer pray?
Day five: Starting to understand that we can’t increase our pleasure for the whole month by going back to our addiction
Day six: Planning our day to keep addiction temptation to a minimum
Day seven: We find liberty (or start to find liberty) from addiction when we find Jesus
Day eight: First fruit of the Spirit
Day nine: Benefits of worshipping God
Day ten: Getting rid of negative emotions and overcoming cravings
Day 11: How to be blessed by God and self control
Day 12: Have a list of coping statements
Day 13: How to have living water so that you will never thirst again. How to become a christian.
Day 14: Adam and Eve show us what we do that causes things to go wrong
Day 15: Consequenses of doing wrong
Day 16: Self control
Day 17: What leads back to using and self control
Day 18: How to pray to fight addiction
Day 19: Can we get our prayers answered?
Day 20: Overcoming relationship problems
Day 21: Finding a church that can help you
Day 22: Overcoming addiction exercises
Day 23: Don’t worship pleasure – serve others instead to find real joy
Day 24: Always planning will help you stay clean
Day 25: Don’t condemn yourself
Day 26: Knowing why you can’t quit gives you clues to help you quit
Day 27: Knowing why you can’t quit gives you clues to help you quit
Day 28: Anger leads bad to addiction – get it out