If you’re addicted, please listen. You may feel like you don’t have it in you – like you’ve tried to get sober and failed. You feel like you’re at war and you’re getting the snot knocked out of you. It feels like you are starving and you have no more supplies, and you’ve been out there forever, fighting. You’re bloody and beaten. And your enemies are coming over the hill charging at you; you feel like they’re going to finish you off.
“Would you like to surrender?”
You say, “Surrender? But I’m at war here!”
Too often our pride, arrogance and self-reliance, which hasn’t been working well for us, keeps us away from what could make us better. After we beat our heads against the wall long enough, we start to think there’s no hope. We can never be saved, never be redeemed, never come out of this Hell.
Never too late
God has a message for you. You may think it’s too late or you’re too far gone. But you’re not. Remember the story of the prodigal son. The son asked his father to give him his inheritance early. He then took off to a far country and squandered everything. He completely turned his back on his father and blew his inheritance on food, alcohol, women, parties and wild living. Sound familiar? When the son finally hit bottom, he returned to ask his Father not to take him back as a son — He knew he no longer deserved that privilege! — but instead to hire him as a worker in his field. This father did something nobody expected. He ran out to meet his son, hugged him, welcomed him back and restored him to his full position as a loved son. Jesus wants to do the same for you.
A story from Kindergarten
There’s a great story about a little kid in kindergarten which makes the point I’m praying for you to see.
The kindergarten teacher gives out a piece of paper to each of the kids and instructs them, “Draw a picture of anything you want.”
The kids are happily drawing, but one little girl messes up her drawing. She tries to fix it, but that only makes it worse. She starts crying hysterically. Hysterically! She’s bawling and wailing.
The teacher says, “Suzie, Suzie! What in the world is the matter?”
“I ruined it! I ruined it!” Suzie cries. “Everything is ruined! I did it wrong!” She hands the paper to the teacher, crying uncontrollably.
The teacher looks at her for a minute, and then takes Suzie’s first piece of paper and puts it down on her desk. She then hands Suzie a new piece of paper.
“Here,” she says. “Here’s a brand new piece of paper. Start again.”
That’s what God is saying to you today. It doesn’t matter what happened before. “Here,” He says, “Start again.”
God promises His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) and that we should come to Him, lay our burdens at His feet and He will give us rest for our souls. (Matthew11:28-29) The best move I ever made in my life was believing God. I pray you will too.
The addicted person needs to understand that with the help of a suitable recovery program the seed of renewal resides within every suffering person.
It’s not embarrassing to need help. There’s nothing to be ashamed of in needing help. We all need help in many areas. We need teachers to help us learn. We need doctors to help us when we’re sick. We need mechanics to fix our cars. The question is where to get the right help.
In the early nineties, I was editor of a magazine called Back Pain Magazine.
What I learned from running that magazine was there were a lot of different ways to treat back pain.
Here’s what I found. If I went to the surgeon, he would say, “I can heal your back pain. I need to operate on you.”
If I went to the chiropractor, he’d say, “I can heal your back pain. I need to adjust you.”
The doctor would say, “I can heal your back pain. Just take these drugs.”
The physical therapist would say, “I can heal your back pain. I need you to do these exercises.”
The acupuncturist? “I can heal your back pain. I need to stick a few needles into you.”
The yoga instructor? “I can heal your back pain. You need to meditate.”
The reflexologist? “I can heal your back pain. I just need to massage your toes.”
And on and on and on.
So, through that job and my own experience, I learned there were many different treatments for back pain. Believe it or not, most of them worked—but not for everybody. Some of them worked for some people but none of them worked for all the people. In the right circumstances, nearly every one of these treatments could be quite effective for someone.
The same holds true for addiction. There are different ways to treat addiction. Just like back pain, what we do need you to do is to get better! It doesn’t matter which way you gain victory over addiction and live a life free from addiction. It just matters that you do it! Here’s what I mean. If you want to go to New York from Florida, there are a few different ways you can do it. You can fly, take a train, ride a bus, or drive a car. You can hitchhike, go on horseback or walk. Some of them take longer, and some of them are better and much more efficient than others. It really depends on how motivated you are to get there, how quickly you want to get there and what you are willing to pay. They will all get you there!
There are resources and ways available to you right now to insure you live a life free from addiction. In my “Free for Life – Overcoming Addiction” online program, I talk about all the different paths to recovery and which ones I believe are most efficient and effective. It doesn’t necessarily matter which one: a complete surrender to God (always my personal favorite), a 30-day rehabilitation program, a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, individual Therapy or Counseling, Intensive Outpatient Programs, Long-Term Rehab Programs (90 days to 1 year), Celebrate Recovery program and there are others. There are many good options. Like back pain, not all work for everyone and some work better for some people than others.
Many people today say they’re simply too busy with family, jobs and obligations to go and get help for their addiction. That excuse doesn’t fly anymore, as now many treatment centers like Transformations Treatment Center in Delray Beach, offer Intensive Christian Outpatient Programs (IOP). These programs allow people to maintain their jobs and sleep in their homes and yet get the treatment they need. People receive treatment in a condensed format usually two or three group sessions a week with a variety of days and times to choose from. I personally know people who have come through this type of program with outstanding results. If you’re not willing to go full-time into a treatment program, then this is definitely the next best thing. For more information, if you’re a family member of an addict or struggling with addiction yourself, call Tom Bello at 877-958-1892 at Transformations Treatment Center. Tom is a true brother in the Lord and genuinely cares about people and their recovery.
Jack Alan Levine, nationally known author, speaker and addiction expert, has spoken on “Overcoming Addiction” at Iron Sharpens Iron Conferences, Florida Men of Integrity Conferences and Strongman Conferences. Jack developed the “Free For Life – Overcoming Addiction” online program to help addicts and their families. To learn more visit LifeSolutonSeminars.com.