Make is a priority to Journal your pleasure and destruction daily. Track your worst addiction and every day you return to it, rate your pleasure from 1-10 with 10 being the highest score. The next day go back and add column 2 which is the destruction rating. Rate the destruction from 1-10 with 10 being the most destruction. Now add a 3rd column which is your net pleasure gain or loss. So if your pleasure rating is a 7 and the destruction rating is an 8 you have a negative one. Now you are learning something.
We realize that our addiction is destroying us, but we exaggerate the pleasure and under-emphasize the destruction constantly. This daily scoring forces us to be honest with our pleasure increase. Being honest helps us break habits.
Every alcohol or drug detox program should include Jesus. WWJD – What would Jesus do if he were magically changed to being addicted to drugs or alcohol? Forced into having the same habits and mindsets that you or I may have.
The first thing He might do is to go after change with more passion than anyone in sight. Sometimes the most enthusiastic person at AA is a bit annoying. But then we start to figure out that that is the type of person who changes more than any other type. For Christians Jesus said that the lukewarm will be spit out of his mouth (Revelations 3:16). He insists that Christians be fully dedicated to following Him.
Next he might attack the lust cycle that was placed on Him and replace it with a love cycle. Americans are the richest and most successful country in the world. But we rank about 30th in the world for happiness. Why? Because we focus on lust which kills joy instead of love which grows joy. Lust for sex, drugs, booze, money – the list is endless. This fatal quest is empty, meaningless and it kills our joy. One advantage Jesus might have over some of us in changing would be that he knows it kill our joy. Many of us are just starting to suspect it. Or may even be fighting that fact. Trying to prove it wrong.
Next He would pray about the condition. Not an endless prayer asking Almighty God to help Him. Just a simple time of spending time with His Father. Getting direction, getting marching orders for what to do next. Getting strength from the love which flows from the Father into anyone who repents and spends time with Him. Giving the Father time to sort out the confusion addiction brings. Giving the Father time to fill the mind with new thoughts and habits.
Next He would spent time in the Bible. Listening to chapter after chapter of the New Testament. Letting the Word wash Him clean of the bondage which was cast upon Him. Allowing the Scripture to inspire Him, teach Him, fill Him and change Him. (Obviously this is a parable because Jesus is the Word and sin could never continue to have power over Him).
I could go on forever but lastly – He would focus on spreading love to every person He came into contact with. He would rebuke the lifestyle of lust and embrace the lifestyle of love with a passion never seen before on planet earth.
You might say – buddy you don’t understand. He would feel rotten and have all of these terrible habits. True, but unlike us He would never again look to the left or to the right. He would follow God’s plan with a 100% focus which would not allow Him time to mess up.
Why is that – it is because He would never be confused or distracted in His recovery. He would “know” how great life is when lived correctly. He would “know” how destructive it is to look back at satans traps. He just would fight until He was whole again.
What do you do that leads to drugs or drinking? Do you hang out with the wrong friends? Do you fantasize about getting high? Do you do other activities that lead you to start again?
Most people start their habit because their activity of choice brings them pleasure. Once this habit is a long term problem we start to become aware of the consequences our addiction brings with it and we then realize we don’t want to do a certain activity anymore. The problem is that although we now realize the pain our addiction is causing us, we still remember and like the pleasure that sometimes goes along with it. So the question is, can we increase our pleasure in life for the month by overindulging in an addiction? The answer is almost always no.
When we overindulge to increase pleasure what we are always doing is what I call “selling our pleasure backwards”. An extreme example of selling pleasure backwards is the heroin addict. A heroin addict will tell you in the early stages of addiction how great this drug makes them feel. They get high and have pleasure for 4 or 8 or 16 hours per day. But when we fast forward 18-24 months we find a person whose pleasure has diminished from hours to minutes or maybe even to seconds. Their only joy is the first few minutes or seconds of their new high. And after this limited pleasure quickly fades they remember again the wreckage that their life has become.
A more common example is one who parties their head off in High school or college, then graduates and parties for the next few years with hardly a break. What was new and exciting in school is now the norm. There is nothing new about getting smashed now. What is new now is the cautionary tale you feel obligated to add to your stories. It now goes like this; I got smashed out of my mind last Tuesday. We were all over town, we even saw Harry our old buddy who moved away but is back visiting. I was so late to work I thought for sure I would get fired this time.
Now instead of partying, you are just plain getting high to erase the pain of a list of problems you now have. Paying off that DUI. Another relationship down the tubes. Finances in the toilet. Always feeling tired and unhealthy. The short time of pleasure you now get when you start using for the day has been partially or completely overrun by the problems the addiction has created.
The point of this article is that most people can never increase the amount of pleasure that they can have in their lives for the month through drugs or alcohol. If you have been clean for a while you can go back to your addiction, have a binge and have pleasure. But you are simply stealing pleasure from the future and selling it back words. The extra pleasure you are stealing now will be stolen back from you later with interest. The interest you will pay is a decreased amount of pleasure later and an increase in the amount of pain and damage you will have.
One important note: In an interview with a rehab director I was warned that many people on hard core drugs will relapse, have a binge and overdose. After being clean for a while they can’t handle the drugs. He said “At our center we don’t consider relapse as an option because we have seen too many people die.”
Let’s continue to watch people who are trying to quit to see what they are doing. TJ read in Philippians “Let your moderation be known to all men” and he wrote that in his journal. He also wrote about things that he does (even good things done in excess) that leads him to alcohol and drugs.
Sue is trying to memorize the principal that she will not gain extra pleasure (for the month) by going back to her addiction. When she is tempted by her addiction she is telling herself; if I give in to this temptation I will not get more pleasure, I will just increase the pleasure now and decrease it later. And that will come with a severe price.
Instead find other ways to enjoy life that will help you beat alcohol and drugs. Learning how to pray can bring you great joy. Read the Bible and read Christian books which can help you find your purpose. To change his thinking Tom decided to read “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby. It might change your life to try something like that. Today make it your goal to replace your addiction pleasure (which comes with pain) with the pleasure of trying to help the people around you and by trying to bring them joy.
I want to recommend two activities for you. First make a list of other pleasurable activities which you do less because of your addiction. Refer to this list when you are tempted and do one of the activities instead of the addictive behavior.
Next, say to yourself every morning and every evening “I can’t increase my pleasure this month by going back to my addiction”.
Tom is trying to make it a habit to say three times every day: “This temptation will go away if I don’t act on it. If I give in it will return and it may 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 self control to change”.
God has unfailing love for us. Every day I will add another verse that talks about His unfailing love. Psalm 13:5
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
Why do we read the Bible every day? Because in the Bible we have all the guidance we need to be all God wants us to be in all of life’s decisions.
Read Matthew 2 and first Corinthians 2
Continue reading the Pupose Driven life.
I need your help. My new book “What the Bible Says About Addiction” is available for sale on Amazon. If you want a copy please purchase one and leave a good review. This book along with this course will help you change twice as fast. Writing a good review is your way of helping the next person. I need a few people to help me by buying and reviewing this book. No one knows it exists and I am sure it will help a lot of people. Click here to access my new book at Amazon.
When you are a Christian guilt is left behind. Your past is buried in the deepest sea. Jesus Christ is all about the future not the past. He is all about what are you going to do now. If your past haunts you ask Jesus to start to blot that memory out of your mind. Ask him to make you stronger and tougher if there are always things that bring the past back. Remember that Jesus can answer anyone’s prayer that He wants to, but that He tends to answer the prayers of people who are fighting to get the addiction and sin out and who are working to fulfill their God given purpose.
When we have truly repented of our sins before God we will be free from our past and can live in his love and joy.
“Your altitude is determined by your attitude”
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It is a scientific fact, the more you write out and plan what you will do instead of your addiction – the higher your odds of success become.
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