Redeeming the Addict

Surrender

Photo by nairvee

1. I admit I am powerless over my addiction—that my life has become unmanageable.

2. I came to believe that God could restore me to sanity.

3. I made a decision to turn my will and life over to the care of God my Father.

4. I made a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.

5. I admitted to God, to myself, and to others the exact nature of my addiction.

6. I am entirely ready to have God remove this from my life.

7. I humbly asked Him to remove my addiction.

8. I made a list of all the people I harmed in my addiction, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. I made direct amends to these people wherever possible.

10. I continued to take personal inventory and when I am wrong I promptly admitted it.

11. I sought through prayer and meditation to improve my personal time with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for me and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, I try to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all areas of my life.

Are you an addict? Do you know an addict? Addiction comes in many forms not just drugs, sex and alcohol. I must have ______ or I’m unhappy, irritable, frustrated or just plain mad. Whatever fills that blank is something that has captured my affections and rules my responses to life. Who ought to rule our responses to life? That’s right, Jesus. So if he isn’t ruling an area, that area has become an idol. Oh my, did she really just accuse me of idol worship in the 21st Century? Yes, I did but not without first recognizing my own addiction, idol worship. John Calvin said, “Our hearts are idol factories.” My idol of choice is to please you. . While the outward actions of pleasing others looks good and kind, the truth of the matter is that my heart is sick, dark and against God when this idol has control of me. Idolatry is an addiction. Well, it’s called sin, but the insanity of sin causes us to behave like addicts. But…

Hope for the Insane

What is the definition of insanity? 

Insanity is living as though a lie is the truth.

Take this little quiz. If these statements are true for you, then you just might be a people pleasing addict.

1. I can’t be happy if you aren’t happy with me.

2. I must do whatever you want so you’ll like me.

3. I must not tell you the truth, if it will  upset you.

4. If you are upset, it must be my fault.

Romans 1:21-23 says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”
How does people pleasing exchange the truth for a lie? Let’s look at the four points above.

1. & 4. God can control hearts, people can’t so if I think your happiness depends on me, I believe I have the same power as God.

2. What if  you want me to do something wrong? My highest aim must be to please God. If not, I’m exchanging him for you.

3. Gently telling the truth is one of the most loving graces we can give each other. If I can’t do that for you because I want to keep you happy with me, then I’m loving myself more than you.

There is a Rescuer, Jesus, Who is Our Hope

When God showed me the darkness in my heart and how addicted I was to people pleasing all I could do was throw my hands up and say, “Forgive me Lord, for loving myself more than you, for suppressing the truth about you and loving the lie. Help me, Lord.” I didn’t know the 12 Steps of AA, but when I look at them now, I can see I went through many of them as I ran to Jesus, from my addiction, my sin, the idol of pleasing people.

Another thing that helped me was a book called, Love Walked Among Us, Learning to Love Like Jesus, by Paul Miller. Mr. Miller takes a look at Jesus that is different from any book I’ve ever read. He shows how Jesus is compassionate and strong and isn’t concerned about how people view him, nor is he concerned about what they think he ought to do. He is simply about his Father’s will. He’s direct and loving and he always acts on the behalf of those he is loving for their sake and the glory of God.

The book answers questions like these:

* How do you love someone when you get no love in return, only withdrawal or ingratitude?

* How do you love wihtout being trapped or used by another?

* How do you love when you have your own problems?

* When do you take care of  yourself?

Mr. Miller shows us how Jesus answered these questions with his life and shows those of us who have exchanged the truth for a lie how to escape the darkness of our own hearts and love in the light of Jesus.

Maybe people pleasing isn’t your addiction and you probably don’t have little statues sitting on your mantle or a place in your courtyard to burn incense to your false god but is there anything you can’t live without?

Drugs? Alcohol? You spouses’s affection? Your spouses understanding and support? Your spouse’s faithfulness? Being rejected Me-Time? Respect from your children? Friendships?

Hum…

These are hard questions, nevertheless they are questions we must ask ourselves if we want to live a sane life; a life in the light.

Living Outside the Lines is Redeemed from Insanity

Are you an addict? Recovering addict? How did you change?

Are you a people pleaser scared and alone, wishing you could change?

 

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Comments

  1. i am a recovering addict. The process of "recovery" has led me in the direction of the grace of God…and all its ramifications…just like you:)

    another insanity definition that i like…and has been especially helpful for this people pleaser idol lover– "insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

    the end result of people pleasing and the contortions I must put myself into to "please" them, is misery. i compromise my principles, my wishes, my goals on an altar. what is that altar? the altar of my perception of what the other person wants…and it is often incorrect!

    if i'm going to sacrifice all those things on an altar, i should at least do it for a cause and purpose that is eternal…the altar of Christ…His goals, His glory, His principles! Then, in the end, there will be something left to hand onto.

  2. I'm a gluten-fast-food addict. It sounds silly compared to sex and drugs because I'm not hurting anyone–except myself. But it is an addiction. When I have a bad day, I fall back on these things I think will make me happy, even though I know they make me sick. It's that emotional satisfaction I'm looking for, however brief.

    I've been recovering for almost 2 months now. What set me on this path was a health scare. The problem is, I've been down this road before, trying to resist on willpower alone; it's not successful. I can only hope and pray I'll have the strength to make it this time, though a counselor did suggest I go through the 12-Step program.

    • Dear Angela,

      I am very happy you share your hear with me. I am a Biblical counselor. I trained at Westminster Theological Seminary. They have some great help for addictions. Your counselor was wise to direct you to finding a way out, going through steps. I encourage you not to try this on your own. We're made for community and this is a time to surround yourself with those who can tell you what you need to hear and give you hope to hang on when the going gets tough.

      Here is a step by step option you might like. It's called Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction (Study Guide) (Paperback), http://www.wtsbooks.com/product-exec/product_id/6
      A second option is Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave: Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel (Paperback), http://www.wtsbooks.com/product-exec/product_id/1
      The second one is by Ed Welch, one of my favorites authors on addictions and matters pertaining to physical problems.

      • Thanks Ali. The step-by-step guide looks good. Finding an accountability partner is more of a challenge. I appreciate your thoughtful response. 🙂

        • An accountability partner is definitely a challenge. I'll be praying that God send someone to you. Is there another friend you can ask to pray for this too? She might not understand your particular kind of addiction but hunger for creation over the Creator is in all of us and we seek to satisfy that hunger every day.

          By the way? How did you feel after sharing your story with me?

  3. Yeah, I don't have any friends who are celiac, so to them, it's either "why would you eat what you're allergic to?" OR "Fast food is disgusting; why would you eat it at all?" To be honest, I didn't start considering it an addiction until a counselor told me that's what it was. So I can understand why other people wouldn't get it either. I've been emailing another celiac person I met on Twitter and she's been very encouraging–she's just not a Christian as far as I know.

    I've actually told my story quite a few times. I'm a pretty open person, despite my better judgment. But it's easy to confess to a sin that most people don't consider one. I am a little concerned because I'm 2 months in, and I only gave myself 3 months to be gluten-free. I needed a measurable goal so I wouldn't feel overwhelmed, and even though I now want to extend it, I'm worried my inner self is going to jump on the end of that deadline.

  4. The 4 question insanity quiz (people pleasing) is thought-provoking. Is that in the Miller book? I've yet to read it, although you and several others have recommended it.

    My addiction to soft drinks sounds lame but it's real. I'm off them now, and would love to beat it so that I could have them in moderation (once a week) but right now it's an all-or-nothing attitude.

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