For a few people addiction is simply the result of a long term routine. It is similar to the routine you have driving home every day. You have gone this way for years. Now there is a way home that is one full minute faster. You try that way but it is not the same. You have always gone the other way.
But for most addictions it is much more complicated. Your addiction seems to have a life. You try to stop and it keeps dragging you back in (from now on instead of calling it it, we will call it Damon). You argue and fight with it (Damon), but Damon seems to always win. You plan on how you are going to stop and Damon sits you down at the kitchen table and tells you what you are going to do. You explain to Damon that you are really done this time. Surprisingly a new calm and confidence comes over you, He has stopped arguing with you.
The next day Damon sits you down at the kitchen table and explains to you that your boundaries are way too strict. Just because you have a gambling addiction doesn’t mean you can’t go to the Casino. Just last week you had to pick up Harry there when his wife refused to bring him home. You went there and everything was fine. Now the Guys are going to the Casino for just a little bit before they go to the game. You got away with going to the Casino last time. You can do it again.
You go to the Casino. You lose $1100. You only had $800 but Harry loaned you $300 which you promptly lost as well. This Damon guy is very tricky. If you love bar hopping His first trick is to flood your thoughts with how much fun it will be to go to the bar. When you defeat him on that he may stop trying to get you to go to the bar but now He whispers to you to just glance at your favorite pub and think about all the fun you had there. He helps you forget about all the destruction that was caused. Damon then explains to you that your problem was not drinking, it was going to the bar. One 6 pack would taste so good and you are strong enough now to control it. 48 hours later you wake up in jail.
Key Point #1 Strict boundaries are essential. Because you accidently got away with crossing the line means nothing. When you purposefully cross the line on borderline things, it will cause you to fall.
Damon also likes to tell you how bored you are. How frustrated you are. How you are going nowhere. How other people are letting you down. Take just a moment to think about specific ways he tries to trick you and deceive you. Damon seem to know whether he should come right at you with a full court assault or just try to trick you by getting you to lower your defenses. If you have been fighting addiction for a while you are getting better and better at fighting direct temptation. Now you need to shore up your defense. Great defense starts with working on your journal every day. I talked about journaling in my video “Quitting addiction exercises”. With journaling you write down all the overcoming addiction idea’s that apply to you in a notebook so that you can refer to them daily. This allows you to apply these idea’s consistently until you form new habits. Next we need to learn from history. In Genesis Eve was told to not eat the Apple. She loved God and was fine with not eating the apple. Then satan asked her: did God really say you could not eat the apple. Lie #1. He next told her about how great it would be to eat the apple. Lie #2. Then he said how she would be like a God if she just ate it. Lie #3 She had unlimited variety of perfect fruit to choose from. God said she could not have that one. Satan kept telling her that she had to eat it. She ate it. Let’s look at the event from Genesis 3:3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Now I will skip forward to the destruction that was caused by their disobedience.
16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.” 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Whenever I hear this Bible story I think. I would never have eaten the apple. She ruined everything by eating it. God was providing their food, was protecting them and was going to let them live this dream life forever. But, the problem is that Damon does not tempt me with an apple. He tempts me with the thing I want most. And if I give in, I have created new destruction which is a result of my sin. Yes Jesus died on the Cross for my past sin, but now I have started the mad cycle again.
To stop the cycle we have to shut Damon up. We do this by repenting of our sins and asking Jesus to forgive us. Next we read our Bible every day, start to learn how to pray and find a good Church. As we learn how to obey the Bible a great change will happen. When we are good with God, now we have the Holy Spirit advising us instead of Damon. He starts to tell us the benefits of doing good. He fills us with love and begins to fill us with joy. He starts to show us the purpose for our lives. If you never look back at your addiction or sin you will now live a great purpose driven life. If you do look back you will struggle back and forth.
Key Point #2 Get the addiction out, get the sin out and don’t even spend one second thinking about your old way of life. This gets Damon out and the Holy Spirit in.
Read Matthew 19
Father, help me to choose living in your light instead of gambling. Knowing that as I learn to like other things to do (over time) – my joy overall will increase.
4. Checklist for avoiding relapse: Write down what attitudes and beliefs led you into addiction. For me the love of pleasure was a priority. That attitude brought about a lot of pain and destruction. I am currently focusing on being very aware of how great things are when I worship God vigorously and pursue the correct passions and purpose. If I improve my awareness of how great things are when I am vibrantly living life God’s way, the next time I fall into heavy temptation I will have more bullets in my gun to fight back.
4. Pray: Father help me to focus on the fact that gambling causes destruction. It always has and it always will.
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 26: Which prayers are answered quickly – which prayers time more time and persistence
Day 27: How to fill the vacuum that addiction caused
28: Finding a good church
29: Knowing why you can’t quit can help you plan how to quit
30: How to eliminate the vacuum created by quitting
31: Tripping your addiction trap. Overcoming sloth
32: You need clean people around you if you are going to stay clean
33: Use real math not gambling math
Day 34: Don’t condemn yourself
Day 35: Don’t test yourself to see if it is safe to gamble a little bit
Day 36: Knowing why you can’t quit can help you quit
Day 37: Do not chase pipe dreams
Day 38: Getting the anger out
Day 39: The vice of greed
Day 40: Specific planning helps break addiction
Day 41: Embrace the truth about gambling. Know your odds of hitting the big score.
Day 42: Quitting permanently
Day 43: Financial problems
44: Overcoming cravings
Day 45: The importance of helping others right now
Day 46: The devil is always campaigning for you
Day 47: Who or what do you worship
Day 48: Finding peace
Day 49: Be faithful in small things and God will promote you to bigger things
Day 50: Do something good for somebody
Day 51: Pride leadeth to a fall
Day 52: How to be in God’s blessing