Whatever your addiction is, it is important to fully understand the pros and con’s of your addiction at all times. We all would love to live in a fantasy world where we could just magically stop any addiction at any time. But it doesn’t work that way because there is always something we like a lot that keeps pulling us back in.
One secret to success is to understand what your addiction trap is. An addiction trap is any activity you do which will lead you back into full blown addiction. So we need to be aware of and very afraid of any activity which will trap us and cause us to be enslaved by the addiction.
For example we have the sugar addict. Sugar addicts don’t necessarily eat large meals. But when they eat one thing with sugar on it, it leads to 2 things then 4 things with sugar in it and so on and so forth. So in this case the trap is baited with sugar. In this example let us look at how 2 different people’s plans might play out.
In situation #1 our dieter is determined not to overeat today at work. In situation #2 our 2nd dieter has a blueprint for success. The blueprint calls for a small bowl of bean soup for lunch along with some carrots. The question is, which person would you predict will give in to the always available cookies. Person #1 who is very determined or person #2 who is very determined and who also has a plan? Yes both people can raid the cookies, but your odds of resisting cookies double or triple when you have a full stomach.
In this case we have sprung the trap (which is the cookies) before we got in it by making a blueprint for our success. In this scenario the addict understands that if they don’t prepare a good lunch they will be in severe temptation. So when the cookies are available their hunger may start them down a slippery slope which they likely can’t handle.
It is a similar story with a gambling addiction. If person #1 is determined not to gamble on Friday night they may succeed. But if person #2 is determined not to party on Friday night and they have a fully scheduled course of action to get them through the night they have an advantage.
Here is a key point.
The more addicted you are the more you need to be prepared for your every move. In this example person #2 has a plan to play pool with non gambling friends. Then they will hang out with Johnny who wants to support their dedication to change. Then they plan to go to bed at 1AM sharp.
In this scenario they now have some power and that power is their plan. And if they simply follow their plan they will spring the trap shut before they get caught in it.
What are your addiction traps?
Gambling traps are everywhere and they are like the beautiful woman enticing the rich old man. Just spending a few months with her will be great fun. I know she is likely a shark but I can handle it.
Know your gambling traps and fight them like the plague. Once you go near them they will suck you in.
1 John 2 New International Version (NIV)
2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God[a] is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
What if we made a commitment to be righteous for the next 24 hours? What if we also made a commitment to treat others with Jesus love? What if we also made a commitment to live as Jesus did? Would life be better or worse? Would our level of destruction decrease? Would our joy increase?
Many religious people say we can’t be righteous. But don’t believe them because their problem is they broke their commitment to righteousness and they don’t want to wallow in the mud all alone.
The problem is not that we can’t be righteous. The problem is that we refuse to do what Jesus wants us to do. This creates a void and the void is most easily filled with sin or addiction. But rapid repentance gives us a new chance to know Jesus.
Today pray about and make a commitment to righteousness, treating others with love and fulfilling your purpose or training to do so. Those who do this with a 100% commitment will love the results. In fact they will follow this up with a goal to live that way for a week. That will be so great they will extend it to a month and then a year.
You see, those who commit 100% will love this exercise and addiction will start to be a fading memory. The only thing that can stop you is your level of commitment. Lastly if you have already forgotten the “How to never stumble” article from yesterday – go back and print it out and review it daily. That’s what people who are 100% dedicated do.
Read Proverbs 26, 2nd Corinthians 12 and Matthew 3
Continue to read the Purpose Driven Life
Say this morning noon and night: “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”.
Lord Jesus, You said, “I have come to set the captives free.” We are captive and need Your healing touch. Free us, Lord, from our addictions, so that we will be:
…free from the cares and worries that stifle our happiness;
…free from sins that cling to us, and to which we cling;
…free from all compulsive behavior that prevents us from becoming what You, Lord, have planned for us.
Bring us, loving Savior, to the experience of abundant life which You promised. Amen.
It takes time to make enough changes so that you can live an abundant life but if you are fully dedicated it will happen
It is healthy to take a day off once a week. It is important to take a rest from work but in 2017 it is also important to take a day off from everything we do that adds stress to our lives.
We have talked about learning what negative emotions or behaviors lead back to addiction. Now it is helpful to understand how good activities “done in excess” also lead back to addiction. For example: we have a person (clean from gambling for 18 days) increasing their exercise program. This is highly recommended behavior. But if after 6 straight days of running 2 miles per day they run 3 miles on Sunday to really up the ante. Then they felt really charged up so they decide to do a little extra work to get ahead financially. But 45 minutes into the work their friend asks them if they still want to play a bit of pool. They say “just give me a few minutes and I will be done. An hour later they realize their buddy went out.
They next day our overachiever gets up feeling very tired. One mistake at work turns into two. When they get home they are hoping to get some support from their buddy. But 10 seconds into the phone call you realize they are still a bit miffed about being blown off yesterday.
This leads to losing enough money on Monday to make Tuesday just as bad a day as Monday was.
Let’s do a count of the # of staying clean commandments that were broken. #1 even though running is a great way to help stay clean. After 6 days (Okay for some of us after one day) resting for a day was in order. Commandment #2 broken – people are more important than fighting for a few extra dollars (if you have enough for basic necessities). Commandment #3 broken – stay moderate in all things even if they are good. Commandment #4 broken – God says take a day off. It is shocking how much easier it is to avoid addiction when we always do things Gods way.
Commandment #5 broken – call your sponsor or someone who can help you (or at least distract you for a while) when you know you are in trouble.
List your positive behaviors which you have done “in excess” in the past. Things like games, too much work, TV, Sports etc. We overdo because we don’t focus on moderation enough. We keep going because we are not content with our life. It is better to “be content” with a small house, an average job and a regular life than having a mansion, a high paying job and an attitude of “I have to fight to get more, more, more.” We also need to be content with the amount of pleasure we try to have today. Todays “extra” pleasure is tomorrow’s disaster. If we are not content with todays “moderate” pleasures” we will have destruction as well as less pleasures later in the week/month.
Pray every day – Father, take away my __________ and help me to be content.
Pray every day – Father, take away my __________ and help me to be moderate in all things.
Robert Perkinson from the Gambling Addiction Client Workbook says to memorize this statement. “If I continue to gamble I will lose everything”. Say twice every day of your life, “If I continue to gamble I will lose everything.
Practice humility. Pride is sometimes a key driver to gambling. You know you are better than those bad poker player you play. You always have a new system that is going to break the bank. Then you go broke again. Be humble. Dont ever tell yourself that you can figure out a system to get rich quick. The Bible says that pride goeth before a fall. So those of us who know we will break the bank have been prewarned that we will fall.
Proud people love boasting and self glorification. Other people don’t love it. Proud people pretend to be better than who they are. This habit hurts your attempts to fufill your purpose. Purpose driven people downplay their strengths and bend over backwords to treat people with love.
Proud people will not give up their will. Everyone wants you to change but if you do than you lose. But if you embrace love instead of pride you can start to succceed.
Pray over Scriptures that say, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,”(1 Peter 5:5-6; see James 4:6-10). And, “He who is least among you all is the one who is great” (Luke 9:48; Mark 9:35; Matthew 20:26).
Pray for humility, pray that God will keep you from temptation, pray about sins that lead to gambling, pray about everything.
Read Matthew 17
The Gambling Addiction Client Workbook noted the following: “Sloth: Laziness of the will that causes a neglect of duty. Are you lazy or given to idleness, procrastination, nonchalance, and indifference in material things. Are you lukewarm in prayer? Do you hold self-discipline in contempt? Would you rather read a novel than study something requiring brain work such as the GA (1989b) book? Are you fainthearted in performance of those things that are morally or spiritually difficult? Are you ever listless with aversion to effort in any form? Are you ever indolent to the extent where you perform work carelessly?”
Thank you for reading day 33 to get free from gambling.
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
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