I made the choice in my early teens to never smoke, do drugs, drink alcohol, or sleep around. I wish I could say it was because I didn't want to displease God and be all religious about my choices - as many might suggest with their comments that I think I'm "holier than thou," "mister goody two shoes," or "self-righteous."
While displeasing God was certainly a factor, it had nothing to do with thinking I was better than others. Quite the contrary!
Infidelity, drug addiction, alcoholism and obesity run rampant in my family. Both sides of my family have struggled with these issues for decades. I have witnessed the loss of life and slow, progressive suicide committed by members in my own family, or the strange person they become when intoxicated. I watched many lose normal functions, such as breathing, as a result of smoking, developing Emphysema and other disorders. Far too many.
And it grieved me greatly!
So many with great potential, whose lives have been cut short or at least disabled by addiction, was my motivation for not following suit. Not just within my family, but far too many friends and others I have known throughout the years have limited their potential or ended their lives as a result.
Beyond learning from others' choices, there was also a large amount of distrust within myself! Because these addictions were part of my heritage, I was afraid that if I opened the door, even just a bit, I would find myself in the same boat.
After all, my drug of choice - food - led to obesity and a lifelong battle with being overweight. Those who don't battle this issue often make the profound statement, "Well, just stop eating," or "Move away from the donuts, cupcakes, and pies."
They assume obesity is caused only by overeating or over consumption of cakes and cookies.
Sure, I love a piece of cake on occasion. But, that is not the driving force behind my addiction. I am ashamed to admit that my addiction is soft drinks. Yes, I know how incredibly ridiculous that is! I agree! My addiction to Pepsi and Mountain Dew started as a kid, and is the driving force behind my battle with weight. And there are a few other contributing factors.
Knowing how difficult and challenging it has been for me to lose weight and conquer that opponent (my Goliath), reveals I could and would most likely become addicted to other substances if I surrender - something I simply choose not to do.
Thankfully, the temptation isn't even there for me, so why open the door to it when it knocks?
Do I condemn those who drink, smoke, or are addicted to other substances? Nope!
I have my own battle and vices I fight daily. I understand more than others often give me credit for when it comes to their battle.
When it comes to alcohol, I personally don't think there is an issue with people having an occasional drink. But, there is a huge difference between having a drink and becoming intoxicated to the point you become a threat to yourself or others. Then it has gone too far.
The problem with addiction is its companion called DENIAL. Denial feeds addiction. "One more won't hurt me. I can control it." "I'm not addicted. I can stop anytime if I want." And statements like that lead to destruction.
What is your addiction?
Is it alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs, vanity (pride), chocolate, porn or sex, smoking, food, shopping, television (entertainment), sleeping (yes, this can be an addiction), materialism, or a combination?
Here are three tips to help you overcome addiction:
1. Acknowledge your weakness.
As Dr. Phil says, "You can't change what you don't acknowledge." And he's right. It's okay to be weak. We all are! I personally know that I have lean on Jesus in my weakness because He is my strength when I can't stand against my temptation.
2. Seek help.
Just joining a gym won't help you lose weight. You need an instructor (personal trainer) or someone skilled and with expertise to help you with the right routines, nutritional education, and a plan that fits your body type, physical condition, mental condition, etc. Overcoming your addiction isn't just about joining a 12-step program, either. It is a lifelong journey, fought daily, and requires a team of support. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help. It's far more embarrassing to watch you act like a fool when you've had too many drinks at the bar.
See links and resources below
3. Surround yourself with support.
Overcoming addiction will not happen when you hang around the same people who contribute to your struggle. Build a community of support by being open, candid, and vulnerable to ask others for help and accountability. Their tough love, cheerleading, and loyal commitment to your success is vital.
Links and Resources:
Teen Challenge - Freedom from addiction for teens and adults.
Road to Freedom - Addiction aid and nationwide recovery centers
Blazing Grace - Porn addiction recovery
Find a Counselor in your area