Rehab is rehab, right? The point is to get sober and stay sober, isn’t it?…
How Does the Christian Fight Addiction?
In the fight against addictions, Christian addicts learn quickly that everything begins with prayer. For some of us, even if we were Christians, this is a new practice and we find it takes real humility to go to God and admit we need His help. But when we do, He rushes to our rescue.
As addicts, we’ve been headstrong. We thought we knew what was best and we wanted our own way. But we’re learning a new approach to life: walking with God in a relationship of trust and dependence. Prayer is our daily, hourly communication with the God who is saving us.
Honesty and Humility
Many of us didn’t want to admit the reality of our lives and addictions. We could bear the thought of telling our 12-step group, but how could we possibly confess the truth to our churches? Some of us were leaders in ministry or respected members of the congregation. At least people thought we were good, upstanding Christians. Now we fear judgment and ostracism for having fallen into the web of sin and addiction. We would rather others not know.
However, in recovery, nothing less than complete honesty will suffice. When we are reluctant to be honest, we have to see that the issue is usually pride. We don’t want people to see that we aren’t as perfect as we have pretended to be. But managing our image will never get us well. We must first be humble and honest with ourselves and then carry this spirit into our interactions with others. We can never know when our honesty may save someone who is struggling and in need of help.
Strength in the Face of Temptation
When it comes to fighting addiction temptation, the Bible tells us to be strong—not on our own strength, but in the Lord. We are told to “put on the armor of God.” What is this armor that shields us from anything the world can throw at us? It is God’s spiritual protection. It is truth, Scripture, the Gospel and prayer. It is everything we need to stand strong when temptation confronts us.
God is not telling us to be strong and then leaving us to fight our greatest enemy alone. He is telling us that He is the one who fights for us. Our job is to get in fit spiritual condition and don the armor.
Patience With the Process
Patience in Christian recovery can be a significant challenge. When we finally get clean, we begin to lament the mess we have made of our lives, the missed opportunities and all of the things we want to fix and do better. We dive in head first, hoping to make up for lost time. And then, almost inevitably, our demons rear their ugly heads. For some it will come in the form of a slip; others will binge emotionally. We will make mistakes and we will be humbled.
We have to remember that in God’s economy nothing is wasted. He is in control and He can restore everything our addiction stole from us if only we will trust Him and trust the process. We get into trouble when we start trying to take over. And naturally, the underlying problem is usually pride. The antidote? Humility, trust and patience.
All of these are components of the 12-step program and foundations of Christian recovery. The Christian who is truly recovering is not only maintaining sobriety, but also growing in relationship to God and being conformed to the image of Christ.