Are you addicted? Are there times you want that thing, crave it, covet it more than almost anything else? Times it is the only thing you can think about?
You can be free!
Millions worldwide struggle with debilitating addictions. Reacting to stress, trying to find excitement or meaning in life, or attempting to escape reality, they turn to drugs, tobacco, unhealthy foods, possessions, screens and other physical and mental “release” that turns out to be repression. Even activities like exercise or work, which are beneficial in balance, can become enslavements in excess.
People consider indulgences like pornography or marijuana or excessive alcohol to be freedom. But then they find themselves craving it, ruining their minds, their bodies, their marriages, their families and the lives of others because of it. Alcohol seems like freedom, but when you look at an alcoholic or other addict, you are looking at slavery.
“[W]hatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved.” That statement from 2 Peter 2:19 (Revised Standard Version), rings tragically true for many—perhaps for you.
Do you have an addiction that seems impossible to overcome? Are you discouraged? Are you just trying to “manage” it, hopeless that you will ever overcome it? Do you want to give up?
No matter what addiction you have, you can conquer it!
How? Start here: “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25). Your Creator’s eternal spiritual law of right living is perfect, holy, just, good and loving (see Psalm 19:7; 111:7-8; Romans 7:12, 14; 13:10). It shows you the way out!
Turn your attitude toward God. And—even if you feel you don’t know how—pray (Philippians 4:6; Hebrews 4:16). Then read God’s Word to learn His will (Ephesians 5:17). Read God’s commands for moderation and temperance (Philippians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 9:25) and His outlawing of selfish excess (Proverbs 23:29-30; Ephesians 5:18). Understand that addiction is a battle of the mind: “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15).
God’s law of selfless love will help you understand the way out of addiction. But how do you actually get out?
You must not only intend to obey God’s law, you must also do it (James 1:25). That is the hard part. In fact, it is actually impossible to obey God’s law perfectly—and God knows that! The strength to do comes from God (Matthew 19:17-26). Sincerely, humbly, believingly, obediently turn to Him, and God will bless your efforts (Philippians 4:9).
The first and most effective way to be free of addiction is to not let it begin in the first place. If you are battling the tentacles of an addiction, let that suffering motivate you to not let any other addiction even start!
Heed James 1:14-15. If something physical is tempting you, immediately remove it from your environment—or remove yourself! Flee from it! (1 Corinthians 6:18). If you start to think, I’ll just end up eventually succumbing anyway, reject those thoughts! Escape the temptation! Take that action, and God will give you strength, both this time and the next (James 4:7-8).
Then what? You must replace the bad with the good—your enslavement with freedom (see Ephesians 4:25-29). Take out the sin and put in prayer, reading the Bible, helping others, laboring, exercise, right music, productive reading, working, family time. Herbert W. Armstrong taught: “The way to put a thing out of the mind is to put an opposite thought in the mind.” Remember: The mind is where the battle is won.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
If you truly turn to your Creator, He will help you! Take the first step. Pray to God. Read these scriptures. Learn God’s law. Understand that it frees you. Act on it. Struggle! Fight! As you do, you will allow your Creator to come into your life. He will be able to exert His power and, ultimately, His Holy Spirit in your battle. He will break you out of addiction and lead you to the abundant life He created you to live! “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
Now take on your addiction. And remember Jesus’s words: With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.