God heals addiction. But the way he does that is not always by automatically removing your temptations and desire for that addiction without any work.
It’s not that easy.
You’re going to need some help. Find some friends, a spouse, a pastor, or a counselor - or all ofthe above - and start working through whatever enslaves you.
You are forgiven without this work. And don’t miss this - your forgiveness is not dependent on your ability to deal with your addictions. It’s not dependent on your ability to accomplish the following steps.
But dealing with your addiction and the patterns that you have formed over the course of your life is important. It is important and painful. And this pain - the pain of changing behaviors, the pain of difficult conversations, and the pain of hurt feelings - is all part of the way that God is at work in helping you deal with your addictions.
When we pray for daily bread, God certainly gives us our daily bread. But he does that through bakers and truck drivers and grocers. When you pray for healing from your addiction, he will certainly do that. But he might require counseling, accountability, and years of painful conversations.
So what do you do if you’ve been confronted with your sin of addiction?
First, rest assured that by faith in the promise of Jesus your sins are forgiven.
Second, “Go and sin no more.”
In the book The Power of Habit, there are some principles to changing habits that are helpful and can get us started in thinking about some practical ways we can wrestle with how to change the sinful habits we have created. Here’s a summary of a few of those steps applied to our conversations about addiction.
1. Identify the routine.
What is the sin that you are struggling with? I’m guessing that if you’re reading this book, you know what that routine is. But even this can be difficult. This is why so often in 12-step programs the first step is always admitting you have a problem.
What’s your addiction?
Be clear about your addiction.
2. Isolate the cue.
The way habits (and addictions) work is that something cues a habit into process. A cue triggers a routine and performing the routine gives a reward. Once you know what your addiction is, you can begin to try and understand what exactly triggers that behavior.
Almost all habitual cues fit into categories of: location, time, emotional state, other people, and immediately preceding action.
Write down these five things when the urge for your addiction hits. Where were you? How were you feeling? What time was it? What were you doing right before this? Who else was around?
3. Have a plan.
If you know what your addiction is and you know what is triggering it, it’s time to make a plan to change the behavior.
When those feelings are triggered who are you going to call?
Talk to your pastor about these things.
Find a counselor who specializes in addiction.
Share your struggles with your spouse or a close friend.