In my last post I looked at whether addictive habits have anything to do with demonic possession. I concluded that there are definitely spiritual elements to addiction which are the basis of all forms of addiction. Without dealing with these spiritual roots the addictive fruit will continue to be produced.
Saying this there are things which we can do to overcome strongholds of addiction in our life, I’ve listed 10 that I can think of to get you started on the way to recovery.
1. Focus on Long-term Benefits
There are many good reasons and benefits of giving up addictive habits. Take some time to brainstorm and clarify the most important benefits for you, and personalise them so that they are meaningful for you. Yes, giving up an addiction improves health but why is this important to you? Maybe you want to have more time on Earth with your loved one, maybe you want to start a family before it is too late, or maybe you want to fit into your perfect wedding dress. Take 5 key benefits, write them down and stick them in a place which often triggers off an episode.
2. Implement Short-term Strategies
Develop safeguarding habits which act as boundaries around your addictive ones. This could be to throw away anything that could tempt you or make you think about your addictive habit at all. Think about developing rules you could put in place to help you and consider who can you get on board to help you stick to them. As it may not be possible to go cold turkey, you may also want to consider safer alternatives e.g. some people who smoke swear by chewing gum to keep their mouth busy.
3. Get some Accountability
Have you ever considered why support groups and initiative such as Alcoholics Anonymous are so successful? They offer two elements which we all need when tackling big issues in our life: practical support and care. If you don’t fancy joining a support group then consider finding yourself an accountability partner. It could be anyone you feel will be able to provide you with the support and care you need to move forward on your journey. Eke is my AP, he supports me emotionally, spiritually and practically in helping me eat the right foods and not fall into temptation.
On a similar note, make sure you tell others around you about your problem. The enemy often uses our silence as a tool to keep us stuck but by expressing your need to others you create extra safeguarding opportunities.
4. Use Tangible Evidence
Sometimes seeing is believing especially for the most stubborn of us, that’s why you should also consider getting some hard evidence to shock/motivate you into staying the course. Examples may include doctors’ reports and blood tests, or maybe a comparison of your physical age vs. your chronological age. Again, stick these up in places which trigger you to fall into addictive habits.
5. Address the Root
Counselling offers a great way to reflect on the reasons behind addictive habits and behaviours. If you are uncertain about counselling or can’t afford it then you may wish to speak to a trusted friend or a pastoral carer at church. Keeping a journal is also very illuminating as well as reflective meditation. Use questions such as “what is it I fear?” to prompt reflective meditation and then pray over what comes to the surface. Here is a link to a good teaching on discovering the root of addictions hosted by a dear sister in Messiah.
6. Develop Awareness
Become aware of any negative self-talk and excuses you use to encourage and make allowances for addictive habits. We often fall during times when we feel sorry for ourselves and our internal dialogue sounds a bit like this “this is too hard, I can’t do this now. I’ll just do/have this today and start again tomorrow” etc. Catch yourself making such excuses and then remind yourself of all the reasons why those excuses aren’t helping you move forward towards your goal.
You may also wish to give yourself sanctions whether real or imagined for giving into temptation or thinking about giving into temptation. Maybe have something akin to a swear box, every time you do something that you shouldn’t. Also reward yourself e.g. if you go a whole day or week without falling.
7. Practice Positivity
Write a short list of positive affirmations, words of encouragement and empowering scriptures to speak out over yourself every day. Or simply focus on one scripture or quote every day and repeat it over yourself. One that works for me in all kind of situations is “I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me”. It reminds me that I’m not alone and that I have hidden strength to overcome and be victorious no matter what it looks like on the outside.
8. P.U.S.H – Pray Until Something Happens
This basically means to be persistent in prayer. Continuously bring your request to the Throne of Grace and the Mercy Seat of YHWH believing that He answers prayers and that in due time your mountain will be removed.
9. Never Give Up
Remember that if addictions were easy to give up then they wouldn’t be problematic. You may fall several times, you may feel like you’re not making any progress at all, you may feel like quitting but don’t ever give up and don’t ever lose hope. Remember that saints are not saints because they are perfect, but they are saints because they believe in the promises of God. To this end love yourself, don’t look down on yourself but show yourself lots of grace.
10. Consider Deliverance
If at all you feel that an addiction may be due to spiritual entities at work in your life then you may want to consider deliverance. If this is the case prayerfully ask God to lead you to a ministry that will support you in this way, there are also some Christian counsellors which integrate deliverance into their counselling work. If you want any information on this please feel free to contact me. Here is a link to a teaching on Deliverance by Derek Prince, right at the end he leads the people into a deliverance prayer. The video is quite long but worth watching if you have the time for greater insight – I don’t agree with everything but it is a very good starting point.