I am going to be real with you and I am going to try to be as brief as possible.
While drugs, nicotine, and alcohol have never been my vices, I still struggle with addiction.
My main addiction is to relationships and my secondary addiction is to sleep aids. Both are ongoing areas of struggle for me. But by God’s mercy and grace, I have begun the journey of recovery.
God has started a healing process over the last six years of my life and through this slow process, I am becoming aware of who I am and why I am. What I mean by that is that I am learning the causes behind the effects in my life. God is bringing me into knowledge of why I am more prone to certain behavior, more susceptible to certain sins – basically He is unearthing the root of all the chaos, confusion, and craziness in my life. And through this knowledge, He is healing me.
The trauma we may have experienced in our childhood, adolescence, or adult years can have devastatingly damaging effects on us that no one including ourselves are aware of. It can restructure the normal emotional and mental processes of our minds in such a way that leaves us stunted and handicapped – unable to function or behave in a healthy and balanced way.
A person who is addicted to relationships (codependent), approaches relationships from a wounded and broken sense of self. Its like being stranded in an ocean barely knowing how to swim. In desperation, you reach out to another person and cling to them for dear life. All the while you’re panicked and thrashing and riddled with fear and anxiety. It’s not long before you realize that the other person doesn’t know how to swim very well either. Now the situation is compounded. The sad thing is that even if you manage to break free and grab ahold of someone else, it always seems like the other person is a poor swimmer or an even worse swimmer than you are. The codependent person never learns to trust their own swimming abilities enough to manage on their own. They are panicked and frightened and keep finding someone to hang on to for dear life.
That’s not a healthy way to love nor is it a healthy way to live – whether its a friendship, marriage, work or family relationship.
Healthy individuals approach relationships like a capable and experienced
swimmer entering the sea. They come alongside another good swimmer and together they swim side by side. Both are able to give assistance to one another when needed.
I am not at the point where I can say confidently that I am a good or capable swimmer – but I can stay afloat and I am even learning how to swim a little.
As God heals me more and more in all areas of my life, I am realizing that the healing journey has its ups and downs. There are moments of great progress and moments of temporary relapse and struggles. I am realizing that each or our healing journeys are unique. I am realizing the need to be absolutely honest and transparent with others. Its okay to admit our struggles and weaknesses. Its okay to admit that there are still broken areas in our lives. It’s okay to be open about our fears and failures.
In my journey, there are times when I can see how much I’ve grown and how strong I’ve become. But then I hit a bump and stumble. Or I come to another area that needs to be dealt with.
Sometimes, I get stuck. I relapse into old thinking processes or behavior patterns. It doesn’t mean that I’ve failed. It’s just part of the journey.
At those times, I need to keep holding onto God’s hand. At those times, He often sends insight, comfort, knowledge, and encouragement through someone who has overcome their struggles in that particular area. Likewise, when you are healed and strengthened, you can then become an instrument of strength and healing for someone else.
Today, if you can relate to this message – if you are struggling with any form of addiction – at times it may feel hopeless. You may feel like no one understands – and may be they don’t. You may feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere. Like you haven’t accomplished much or have had to start all over from scratch while others are further ahead of you. You may feel like giving up and giving in.
Yes, it can be discouraging.
However, if you love God and are His child, I want you to know that all of your experiences, struggles, and trials that you’ve ever been through – no matter how devastating – are all part of His plan and purpose for your life. God’s desire is to bring healing to all of your trauma and wounds and to bring meaning and purpose out of them. Maybe you’re broken and handicapped in your mind, emotions, and spirit.
Don’t despise your weaknesses and infirmities. Accept your reality for what it is. Know that this is the life that God has scripted for you. Maybe you made poor choices. Maybe the poor choices of others that were beyond your control left you damaged.
Whatever it is, open yourself to God’s healing and remember that it’s a process. Sometimes you take three steps forward and four steps back – just keep going.
Dear one, trust God. He carries us when we are too weak to go on. He is always with us. Healing us. Bringing us into truth. The truth of who we are and why we are. This truth in turn liberates us.
As I end, I speak Isaiah 52:1-2 into your life and mine today:
Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; Never again will outsiders—uncircumcised and the unclean — who once abused and denigrated you move within your elect borders.
Shake yourself from the dust; arise, sit [erect in a dignified place], O Jerusalem; rid yourself of the chains around your neck and raise your head in freedom , captive children of Zion.
Be blessed, encouraged, and healed,