I want to start by making it clear that addictions can affect anyone, in any socio-economic class, at any place and in any stage of life. Addictions can vary as much as the people who are subjected to them. They can (and likely will) affect family, friends and coworkers. Gerald May defines addiction as a “compulsive, habitual behavior that limits freedom of human desire”. When someone has an addiction it seems impossible to overcome the draw of the addiction. And it is, if they are trying to do it alone.
To break free from an addiction one must focus on a freedom for a higher purpose and a life with Christ. Embracing the Holy Spirit gives us more power to experience the fruit of self-control. The Holy Spirit helps us develop self-control by offering a purpose beyond ourselves. When someone is being controlled by addiction selfish thoughts are all-consuming, but when they are able to let the Holy Spirit guide their life, they are living for God and able to bless others. The Holy Spirit offers a perspective beyond the here and now, and allows us to think of our eternal soul. Finally the Holy Spirit begins to fill them with a new passion; while it will not completely get rid of the addiction it will shift their focus to more positive things.
In order to break an addiction one needs to admit that they have an attachment to their idol. They need to confess to themselves and to God, and then give control to, and cooperate with God. They cannot simply give up control of their lives to God, but work in harmony with divine will. Support from the community will help fight the demons of addiction as well. This can be support from family and friends, from church and/or a support group made up of individuals who have gone through it before.
I encourage you to reflect on what controls you. Are you subject to a compulsive, habitual behavior? It may not be at the point that it is your driving force, but if you are not allowing the Holy Spirit to develop the fruit of self-control within you, this behavior could soon take over. Every Tuesday night a Celebrate Recovery group gathers at our church to help one another find the courage to be honest about life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups. Celebrate Recovery operates by asking the Lord to open their life to healing and change. Celebrate Recovery understands that life’s problems can be stumbling blocks or stepping-stones based on how you address those challenges.