Posted by: Arden Compton | August 29, 2013

Once an addict always an addict? Not!

“Once an addict always an addict” is a very common belief. Most professionals believe this is true, and unfortunately most people struggling with addiction also believe this is true. It is understandable why this seems to be true. Given the tools and the approach that most people use, the pull towards the addictive substance or behavior always seems to be close by, even after years of abstinence. People will call themselves a “recovering addict” even though years have gone by since they had a problem.

I disagree with the premise “once an addict always an addict.” Here’s why. First of all, with God all things are possible to them that believe (Mark 9:23). That has to include being free from addiction. Christ didn’t say “all things are possible to them that believe, except addiction and really serious life-long problems.” So I know that it is possible for a person, with God’s help, to be completely free. I have seen it. Isaiah said, “… though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow;” (Isaiah 1:18). Jesus Christ has infinite healing capacity, and none of our problems have him stumped. He can help us with any challenge, and in fact would love to help us. So, why doesn’t Christ just heal everyone in the world, fix all the global problems, and make everything all better? A really important principle is agency, or free-will. He will never violate a person’s free-will. He allows us to choose, and he allows to suffer the consequences of those choices. He does this out of love, because that is the only way we can increase our wisdom, compassion, love, and ability to do good. He allows us to make our choices and learn from the results. Christ is there every step of the way to help us as we turn to him. He is there to heal us from the affects of sin, as we turn to him. He is there to heal us from he affects of the choices that other people make that end up hurting us in some way. No matter what challenges we have in life, whether the challenge is there because of choice we made, someone else made,from our DNA, or seemingly random events, Christ can help us and heal us. A better question to ask ourselves is, “Have I learned what God wants me to learn from this challenge?” If we haven’t learned what we need to learn, then it would be a disservice for the challenge to be taken away – it is there to help us learn something important. Just imagine a grade school teacher teaching basic math: 2+2=? This simple problem may be challenging at first. Would it be helpful for the teacher to simply tell the students the answer before the child has learned the principle. It would be a great disservice to just take away the challenge if a principle needed to move forward has not been learned. At times we are in very difficult, painful circumstances, and we may cry out, “God, please take this away! Why does this just go on and on? I can’t take it any longer!” When we are in he middle of such circumstances, it can be hard to see the good that can come from the problem, we just want the pain to stop! There we have to trust God’s wisdom. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). When I am in difficult circumstances, it gives me hope to say, “I know that this problem is for my good. Even though I can’t see how, I know this will help me in my life. In fact, this problem is perfect for my learning, growth, and progression. What have I done to contribute to the problem? What does God want me to learn from this? What is the best thing for me to do now?” This is true for all problems, not just addiction. As I ask myself these questions in prayer and meditation, I feel hope, and over time the answers and solutions come. Sometimes a problem is fixed in a day, some problems have taken me years to work through as God has humbled me and helped me to see where I needed to change, what I needed to let go of so I could be more Christ-like. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it.

So, have hope, and trust that with God’s help, you can learn what you need to learn to be completely free from addiction. There will be other challenges in your life, because there are still things for you to learn. Every challenge is perfect for you learning, growth and progression! I have seen so many people be free from addiction. They no longer refer to themselves as an addict, or a recovering addict. It is just a problem they used to have that doesn’t matter any more (except the good they learned from it).

God bless you on the journey of your life!

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