Emotional Challenges of Overcoming Addiction

Emotional Challenges of Overcoming AddictionA person in recovery from addiction tends to experience feelings more intensely. Why? Now that they are no longer  medicating their feelings with drugs, alcohol, or fantasy, they are fragile. They’re more acutely aware of their own painful feelings rather than the pain they’ve inflicted upon others. It’s not a surprise, then, when they move on too quickly. Expecting others to trust them too soon is unrealistic—trust is to be earned and takes time.

So, individuals in recovery need to remember the years of pain, deceit, broken promises, and hardships created in their  addiction. These events have hurt their loved ones more than they realize. Their loved ones require support throughout the healing process. No one can fix their loved ones or undo the damage they have done. But through recovery, there is an opportunity for healing in relationships. (more…)

Facing the Truth

Facing the TruthHave you taken an inventory of your life? The purpose of taking an inventory of your life is to face the truth about yourself. Truth is the opposite of denial. By putting the truth in writing, you demonstrate that you are ready to break free from the patterns and behaviors of denial.

But taking an inventory isn’t easy. Facing the truth is painful because you must also face the reality of what you have lost in your life due to your shortcomings. It’s never easy to look at your deceits, abuses, shame, and disappointments. But even though this is a time of discomfort, know that the steps of recovery will lead you to humility and to live a life full of happiness. It may not feel that way as you work on your inventory, but those who have made the journey before you will testify to that truth.

When Jesus came to earth, He brought with Him “grace and truth” (John 1:14, ESV). Here’s how the New Living Translation puts it: (more…)

11 Signs and Symptoms of a Reactive Life

11 Signs and Symptoms of a Reactive LifeWe deny
It’s easy to ignore our issues.  Like the disabled man in John 5 who waited for years by a pool to be healed, so we are looking for a magical cure to make us whole.  But healing doesn’t come instantaneously.  In fact, it takes hard work to stop reacting and turn to Christ who encourages us to “Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk!” (John 5:8).

We minimize
Let’s face it: Our issues are huge!  However, we try to make ourselves feel better by saying that they’re small.  Admit the truth, and you will be on the road to recovery.  The Living Bible puts it this way: “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there,” (Jeremiah 6:14). (more…)

Behavior Change and Heart Change

Behavior Change and Heart ChangeMost of us, at one time or another, have wished that we were a different person. These thoughts may come to us when things are not going well, or in times when we are in trouble. We may feel shallow or inadequate in these times. Our behavior may have been offensive or unacceptable to others, and we may be embarrassed or overcome with guilt.

When it comes to making personal changes in our lives, it can be just as difficult. Often the focus is on changing our behaviors and our habits, but these are often not long lasting. More often than not, our efforts are pointed at negative habits and behaviors, and we put a lot of effort into trying to avoid them. It often does not occur to us to ask ourselves what to do to replace these behaviors.

While heart changes are more lasting, they cannot be made all at once. This is the point of Life Recovery – it is a new way of doing life. Recovery is not an event, but a journey. (more…)

The Vicious Cycle of Addiction

An addiction is a lot like being on a merry-go-round, but with the exception that it’s not fun.

You turn to food, gambling, shopping, one-night stands, codependency, hoarding, or something else. The more you turn to your addiction, the more shame you feel and want to numb that feeling. So you go back to the very thing you don’t want to do. Now you’re stuck in the vicious cycle of addiction. And it’s going so fast that you don’t know how to stop.

The apostle Paul put it this way “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t” (Romans 7:18). To interrupt this cycle of addiction, you must break free from pain, acting out, shame, and relapse that keeps you in bondage.

Here is a more in-depth look at each phase.

Pain — Before you even realize you are dealing with an addiction, you’re in pain. You feel emotional, physical, spiritual, and relational pain. These painful feelings create a longing for you to get rid of the pain. Pain and addiction go hand in hand—they feed off of each other. As your pain increases, your desire for relief increases. Recognizing you are in pain and in need of help can be the first step in recovery. (more…)