Short Term Pleasure at any Cost
Don’t Ruin Tomorrow Today
Everyone who has a bad habit ruins tomorrow. The big problem is that for many people tomorrow is now today. Today they are stressed out, strung out, and totally frazzled from what happened yesterday.
This mad cycle will continue until you put in the work to snap out of it. So first remind yourself 3 times every day how you will feel tomorrow if you live a vibrant Christian life today. Next remind yourself (use this one only if reminding yourself is not a trigger) 3 times every day how you will feel tomorrow if you go back to your abomination. Lastly remind yourself 3 times every day for the rest of your life – “I will not ruin tomorrow today.”
Addictions have many causes, mental, physical, and spiritual as well as many others. But for hardcore long term addiction improving your spiritual life can really help. Having said that, keep in mind that if you have a long term problem you need to consistently try everything that you can in every way to try to quit.
So we will start out with a prayer. The prayer is “Father, help me to care only about quitting my addiction”. Obviously when we pray help me to care only we are not excluding caring about things like family or responsibilities, we are merely trying to exclude things that may lead back to addiction.
Example #1 We have a hardcore user, now clean for 9 days is called by a buddy who invites him to a sports event. The second he is invited he knows all his buddies who use will be there. But what is the harm they won’t be using (much) at the event. He goes and the very next day he is in full swing on a drug binge, the type that has almost always ended with him being broken in the past.
In this example he fully cared about quitting his addiction but he also badly wanted to go have fun. And let’s be honest when we are disciplined and schedule an alternative event it will not always be quite as much fun (from the viewpoint of a messed up addict). But if he had cared only about quitting his addiction he would have turned down the first offer where he knew he would fall into severe temptation and he would have found something else to do. He might be doing something only 80% as fun that Friday night, but he could keep his joy for the whole week and he could have his life back.
Example #2 We have a user clean for 5 days now. He has been reading a book on controlling his emotions because he knows that when things go bad he always needs to use. On Sunday he wakes up highly determined to stay clean. He goes to church, after he gets home he reads his book and even underlines the parts he wants to think about later in the day and meditate on. Very strong indeed. Then his wife starts to nag him about their finances. He immediately blows up and gives her a long thorough piece of his mind. I don’t need to tell you how this story ends. But I will, up in smoke.
When we pray Father, help me to care only about quitting my addiction, we are directly asking God to help us pause before blowing up. We are asking Him to make us realize how important it is to fight to control our emotions. Our partner or boss wants to start a fight but we now care only about quitting our addiction. Instead of blowing up we calmly give a short explanation and leave the room. If your boss or husband insists on ragging at you, plan a short well rehearsed speech that will diffuse the situation. When they keep coming at you give them a well rehearsed puzzled look which will say to them, what is wrong with you. Then just stop talking.
Example #3 We have the hardcore drinker. Clean for 6 days now she is in the mood for a good movie. She loves her HBO and likes to rent movies often. She starts to watch a movie and notices that there is a major theme of smut and partying going on. Well, she is not going to give up that quickly for a movie that she paid good money for. After the movie ends she can’t get to the liquor store fast enough. The next morning she wakes up and wonders who she is with and where she is.
A great alcohol detox program (or drugs) involves learning from others. Let’s continue to watch people who quit to see what they are doing. Joy focused on reading books that will help her control her emotions and the things that are out of control in her life.
Get books, articles, advice and add them to your journal. Underline key points of advice and review that advice often until it becomes a habitual part of your life.
Ty made it a habit to tell himself to turn away aggressively from thoughts of drugs 5 times every day. For busy people we should say it 5 times per day, for others we need to say it every hour. To turn away aggressively means to turn away instantly from any emotions, situations, temptations, wrong people or anything else that may trip us up.
Every day Tom worked at analyzing what he was doing that leads him back to drinking. Over time he started to really understand how his mind and emotions played tricks on him. This knowledge gave him more skills on how to fight his addiction.
Sin sometimes leads to addiction. For movie watching, wait for the movies to be on TV instead of paying for them. It is much easier to change the channel on a freebie. You have instant clean options with regular TV.
Remember that if you just quit your addiction there will be a void. Fill your mind with good things. Even when you stay clean from your addiction, if your mind is filled with dark evil things you will never find real joy. When we pray Father, help me to care only about quitting my addiction, we are directly asking God to show us if our movie channels or our this, or our that, are leading us directly or indirectly back to our addiction. This is exactly the type of prayer that God answers. He wants you to be clean, filled with light and be fighting to get the darkness (sin) and addiction out.
Key Point #2 Always be analyzing what you are doing that leads you back to your addiction. Then find ways to make the changes that will help you succeed.
God has unfailing love for us. Every day I will add another verse that talks about His unfailing love. Psalm 21:7 For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (NIV)
This answer by Jesus makes it clear that forgiveness is not easy for us. It’s not a one-time choice and then we automatically live in a state of forgiveness. Forgiveness may require a lifetime of forgiving, but it is important to the Lord.
We must continue forgiving until the matter is settled in our heart. When we don’t forgive we open up the door to addiction
Some of you have been advised to go to rehab but you won’t go. I love Amy Winehouse who sang “They tried to make me go to rehab but I said no no no.” Sadly she is no longer with with us. If fear is a problem for you, do a study of scriptures that talk about fear. First John 4:18 says: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” We can pray this prayer as often as possible as long as we pray it sincerely. “Father fill me with your love” because when His love is inside of us the fear starts to leave, the anger and other negative emotions start to leave as well.
David Hawkins book Breaking Everyday Addictions noted the following. “Stage two denial – In this stage, people have admitted that they have a problem but deny needing any kind of support. Addicts in recovery may revel in their newfound sobriety but see no need to take precautions against relapse.
I have met and worked with many people who are proud of themselves for facing their addiction. Having seen the light, they now believe themselves strong enough, smart enough, brave enough to avoid slipping back into the same old turmoil.
Stage three denial. Here, people may be willing to participate in a recovery program for a time but are unwilling to make a full commitment to “go to any length” to deal with the addiction. They fail to realize that recovery is a never-ending process that demands physical, emotional, and spiritual regeneration.
In each stage pride can present a huge obstacle. Individuals frequently maintain a willfulness to do things their own way”.
I can tell you that after many years of doing things my way I am now convinced that my way leads to disaster. Now the new me believes that doing things God’s way leads to long term joy and the beginnings of blessing. Now I believe that going to any extremes to quit my addictions is exactly the way I want to go. Now I believe that if I “care about other people” and go out of my way to help them the way Jesus wants me to – I will and am living a happy life.
Addiction is usually accompanied by an unknown attitude of: “I have to have short term pleasure at any cost.” To fight this attitude pray: Father: take away my love of pleasure and fill me with a Spirit of toughness. A Spirit of toughness leads to God’s joy because we are saying that we will stop doing the wrong behavior. We will instead be tough and switch to an activity that we only sort of like. But it is an activity which avoids destruction and leads to long term joy and a chance to find our purpose.
“The desire not to be anything is the desire not to be.”
Ayn Rand (February 2, 1905 – March 6, 1982)
Read Matthew 3 and First Corinthans 3
Continue to read the Purpose Driven Life
Today and every day say as often as it takes: I will turn away aggressively from thoughts of drugs/drinking. (Use this technique only if it is not a trigger).
Today Joy added key idea’s to her journal.
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