Don’t give in to rationalizations. The physical and mental pain of addiction withdrawal is real, and you’ll likely start telling yourself it’s ok to take up the habit again. Don’t listen to the voice telling you to start back up. Don’t give up on yourself when it starts to feel hard. Every bit of pain will be worth it in the end.
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 and depressed. 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.
Solomon said that a wise man looks ahead. Bad emotions will hit you today. What bad thinking leads to your negative emotions? Do you have the habit of thinking about good things and being positive? Choosing the habit of sustained happiness.
Reward positive new things you do. I played the piano today which put my temptation down a bit. To reward myself, I gave a fist pump and complimented myself for my good decision.
Finally, form the habit of looking ahead to a good day tomorrow. Today will have valleys, but make sure you live in a way today that allows tomorrow to be great.
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.
Memorize John 15:1-6
CHURCH AND ADDICTION
Church is often an important factor in overcoming addiction. The right Pastor or Priest is even more important. We need to attend a Church that will consistently help us to fight addiction. A Church that will help us to never look back at the addiction that has caused us much pain and destruction. A Church that has a leader who will help us to increase our learning about how to conquer addiction until we are expert at it. A Church that has wise counsel so that we can learn rapidly. Many of you have attended Church for years but you will be shocked to hear me say that the Bible says over 100 times that we are to fear the Lord. A great Church teaches what the Bible teaches. They will teach you to obey the commandments because of a fear of the Lord.
Is gambling a Biblical sin? No! Is out of control gambling a sin? Likely! Does out of control gambling lead to sin? Almost always!
Study the Bible books of Matthew and 1 Corinthians. Then make it a priority to find a great Church. A Church that teaches obedience. Make a list of Churches you want to try. After you visit each one make an appointment with the Pastor or Priest to meet with them to see how much help they can give you with your addiction.
Do not attend a Church that tells you that you will go to heaven even though you keep committing the same deadly sins over and over again. Only Almighty God can give you grace. If they tell you that you will get to Heaven because you attend Church then change Churches. Find one that teaches obedience.
Some of you are currently attending a Church that says; our Church is the only way to Heaven. If they are not helping you with your addiction switch Churches right away. If what they are teaching is not helping you, that is 100% proof that they are not the only way.
So what Churches are good? Sometimes the Assembly of God or the Nazarine Churches are good, sometimes they are not. Ask people that you know; what Churches around here really help people change for the better? Then try them and see if they are good for you. The only Christ following Churches that I would avoid are the Jehovah’s Witness (who subtract multiple verses from the Bible saying they are not true) and the Mormons (Who add multiple verses to the Bible from the writings of a very mixed up man). Avoid Churches that give you a guaranteed ticket to Heaven. If it sounds to good to be true it is. However, sometimes these Churches are great at helping you with your addiction. You can attend their and believe and follow what the Bible says and be just fine.
Believing the Bible allows you to live in the light. It allows you to fight your way to joy through a relationship with Jesus. Find a Church that believes every verse in the Bible because it will be led by a Pastor who has real answers for you.
This week make it your written goal to find a great Church that can help you. Lastly keep working on your own to seek out help about addiction from experts, groups, books, web sites and everything else we can get help from.
Read Proverbs 23, 2nd Corinthians 9 and Matthew 1
Continue to read the Purpose Driven Life
If you are on track great; if not review the red letters from day 3.
Pray: Father give me wisdom to know what to say and do so that I can help other people. Pray: Father help people to be delivered from addiction and to be saved today.”
Day one: Quitting addiction exercises
Day two: It is important to admit you are powerless
Day 3: Learn the right way to live
Day 4: Getting rid of negative emotions
Day 5: Remember – money lost is not yours. Don’t try to get it back or you will lose more.
Day 6: can you increase your pleasure by gambling?
Day 7: Staying clean in all ways helps you quit the addiction
Day 8: Decide what pain and pleasure you want
Day 9: Analyze what leads you back to your addiction
Day 10: Change your emotions and your mindsets. Stop believing that your big score will come in.
Day 11: Where the Spirit of the Lord is – there is liberty
Day 12: Learn how to worship God. Also try to develop positive addictions.
Day 13: Write out a letter saying why you want to quit
Day 14: Overcoming cravings and negative emotions
Day 15: You have some self control
Day 16: Have a list of coping statements. Have a list of substitute activities.
Day 17: How to find living water that will always satisfy you
Day 18: Do not have faulty beliefs abourt gambling odds
Day 19: Interview with a professional poker player
Day 20: What we can learn from Adam and Eve’s mistakes
Day 21: more great stuff from Adam and Eve’s mistakes
Day 22: Self control
Day 23: What to think about to develop self control
Day 24: What are your values?
Day 25: How to pray to fight addiction
Day 26: Which prayers are answered quickly – which prayers time more time and persistence
Day 27: How to fill the vacuum that addiction caused