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Christians in Recovery

Susannah

Susannah
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"Recovery" is the word we use to describe healing from mental illness and addiction. To recover one must turn to God for help and change how they think and behave. Christians should do this with scripture as your guide. The best 12-Step program for Christians is Celebrate Recovery.

There are two kinds of addiction. Substance abuse and behavioral addictions. You become an addict when you have lost control of a behavior or a substance like drugs or alcohol. The process is simple. One seeks out a mood-altering experience. Because of the repetition compulsion in the brain, the experience is repeated. It then becomes a habit and preoccupation. As time goes by, this turns into an obsession and loss of control. This, in turn, affects your health and relationships. Sometimes it destroys your life. In extreme cases you may die. But all of this can be turned around if you surrender to Jesus Christ and make some important changes.

This thread has been set up to help people in recovery with support, compassion, and information. I will respond personally to your questions. If you need privacy start a conversation.

I am a recovering love addict, alcoholic and compulsive overeater. I also have PTSD and BPD. I have been in recovery since November 7, 1982. I have grown and changed. I have found God and Jesus. I now spend time trying to help others who suffer from mental illness and addiction.

Susannah

 

Susannah

Susannah
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Helpful Resources

Christian Love Addiction & Codependency

Christian Alcoholics
Christian Drug Addiction
The Stigma of Mental Disorders

Christian Books
 
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Susannah

Susannah
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No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:33

My Son's Prayer

When I had been sober for awhile, I was talking to my thirteen-year old son about my new found love of God. He nodded his head as I was talking, and for some reason I felt compelled to ask him if he believed in God. He replied, “Sure.”

I was a little surprised because he had never mentioned this to me before. I was very curious and pursued the matter. I asked him when he had started believing in God. He replied nonchalantly, “About a year ago.”

“What brought on this newfound faith?” I inquired. At this point, he hesitated. He didn’t want to talk about it anymore. I pressured him a little, because I really wanted to know. “How did it happen?” I said softly.

He looked at me a minute, trying to read my face. Finally, he shrugged and said, “Well, I asked him for something and he gave it to me. I guess I’ve believed in him ever since.” I was really on the edge of my chair now. I asked him what he had requested of God. He balked at this question and whined, “It’s personal, mom.”

I told him that I didn’t want to invade his privacy and I certainly wouldn’t force him to tell me about it, but I really wanted to know. After another hesitation, he finally said. “Well, mom, about a year ago you were drunk and screaming at sis and me and then you sat down on the floor and started crying. You were rocking back and forth, and it really scared me. I didn’t know what to do, so I went into my room and I asked God to please help you.

Right after that you got into AA and really started to change. I guess I have believed in God ever since. He gave me what I asked for.” I couldn’t say anything, but I hugged my son as the tears ran down my face. Miracles really do happen and in his own way my son had experienced a spiritual awakening. I have had many special moments since turning my will and my life over to the care of God, but that conversation with my son was one of the best.
 
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Susannah

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Divine Intervention

Why do we need God to heal? Addiction is a disorder of the mind. Even substance abuse is proceeded by a thinking process. The mind says, "I want this. I must have this." The ego is involved. It is inflated. It believes that life is not worth living without this experience or substance. When things get this far there needs to be a divine intervention. The ego cannot fix itself when it is out of control. This is where God comes in.

The only way for some people to stop addiction is to find a healthy substitute for the feeling of well being that was missing when our addict first got started. God gives us love and hope and happiness. Just to know him feels good. When the Holy Spirit touches your life there is a "peace that passes all understanding." This feeding of the soul will take the place of whatever pleasure one was getting from the mood-altering experience of romantic love, alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, spending or anything else.

If one has an addictive personality based on OCD then is is best to obsess on God rather than creature comforts. One cannot love God too much.

I base this theory on my own personal experience of recovery.
 

Susannah

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Moderation versus Abstinence

Some addictions demand abstinence after one has crossed the line between using a substance and abusing it. Other addictions, like food, must seek out moderation. In my experience this is harder because one taste of something triggers my need for more.

My suggestion is that if you do not need a substance or behavior that you are addicted to in order to survive that you give it up altogether.
 

Susannah

Susannah
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Step One
Honesty​

Why recovery begins with honesty . . .

My husband was not feeling well for years. I could not get him to go to the doctor. Finally I convinced him, and the doctor diagnosed him with cancer. He made immediately started treatment. This is why honesty is so important in recovery. Until you have a diagnosis you cannot begin treatment
 

Susannah

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Step 2
Treatment​

Once you admit you have a problem and get help, it's now important to take your medicine. Your medicine at this point is God and his healing Grace. If you're an agnostic this might be a bitter pill to swallow. But once you feel the results you'll be filled with gratitude and joy. God will be your doctor at this point, and he will send assistance in the form of education, healthy thinking, and the strength to do things differently
 

Susannah

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Step 3
Do as You are Told​

Now it is time to do what God asks you to do. He will send instructions from others in recovery. He will talk to you if you listen. He will send you role models. From now, end every prayer with, "Thy will be done." You should now begin to feel the willingness and energy to change how you think and how you behave. You will be willing to say no to temptation. You are now aligned with God--the great Healer.
 

Susannah

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Step 4
Inventory​

It is now time to make a list of everything you want to change. This will include values, thoughts, and behavior.

When Christ said thinking about adultery was as much a sin and committing adultery, I believe he was saying that all sin starts with thinking about it first. So in recovery carefully scrutinize what you think, and think about something positive like how much God loves you and wants you to be righteous.

Your values are those things you hold dear. Wanting to the do the right thing is a value. Addicts often rationalize what they do as sinless, but this is not true. Value a moral life and God will help you fulfill this goal.

Behavior is the act of sinning. This must stop. Make a decision. Deal with withdrawal. Find a healthy substitute. Pray and meditate. Be optimistic. In time it will all be over.
 

Susannah

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Step 5
Confession​

Confess your sins to God, your pastor, and yourself. A burden will be lifted off of your shoulder when you own what you have done. Now your second chance begins. Don't blow it.
 

Susannah

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Step 6
Willingness​

Look at the things that are holding you back. Usually it is a fear of change. Pray to God for the willingness to take the first step toward a sin-free life. then "feel the fear and do it anyway."

If the willingness does not come right away then act as if it has. Take your list of changes and begin the work whether you are willing or not. Then built up momentum.

Willingness is a gift from God, so pray for it.
 

Susannah

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Step 7
Humility​

Once again we must ask for help in the form of a divine intervention. With a humble heart, ask God to help you let go of your sinful nature. Ask for the courage and strength to change; to give up bad habits and create new, healthy habits.

The process of change will be slow, but you cannot do it without God. Human beings don't usually have the courage to change on their own. They need help. They need guidance, support, strength, and love. All of these will come to you if you ask with a humble heart.
 

Susannah

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Step 8
Remorse​

Usually people in recovery feel toxic shame, guilt, and remorse. This is a hindrance to recovery. To lift these feelings, it can help to make amends. Start with a list of people you have harmed and apologize or repay them in some way.

If these people are unavailable to receive an apology, then reach out to somebody in their name and help them.

The list may include people who have hurt you as well. This is irrelevant. Just clean up your side of the street.

Pray for the courage to do this.
 

Susannah

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Step 9
Forgive Yourself​

It is time to forgive yourself for your sins. God has forgiven you and given you a second chance. Now it is your turn. To forgive is to let go of resentment. You may be angry with yourself for the wasted time and money that went into your sinful life. That is in the past. Live in the moment and look to the future.
 

Susannah

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Step 10
Relapse​

Many sinners relapse after a period of sobriety. To safeguard against this, consider a daily inventory of how you are doing. As you retire at night, think of the things you did right and the things you did wrong. Then pray for the strength to correct what went wrong and to remain vigilant in the future.

Satan tempts us all the time. He uses the human tendency to forget our resolve to get us to sin again. If this happens acknowledge the sin and work the steps again.
 

Susannah

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Step 11
Spiritual Strength​

What stands between people and their sins is Jesus Christ. You must maintain and personal and soulful relationship with Christ. Here is a list of ways to do that.

1. Meditation
Get quiet and listen to the Holy Sprit.

2. Prayer
Talk to God (out loud or in your head) as if you were talking to a close, personal friend.

3. Humility
God is a higher power. You are a lesser power. You know this. You are humbled by it.

4. Study
Read, write, learn, listen.

5. Simplicity
Slow down. Experience and appreciate the simple things in life—nature, music, friends.

6. Solitude
Take some time to be alone and listen to your own inner music. Putter around your nest.

7. Submission
Surrender everything to God—as you understand God.

8. Service
Reach out to people in need and give of yourself and your resources.

9. Confession
Find someone you can trust and confide your deepest,
darkest secrets to them.
Release the shame.

10. Worship
Be in awe of God. Bow your head—metaphorically or literally.
Be thankful for the grace that has been freely given to you.

11. Celebration
Be grateful! Raise your hands in joy and celebration. Sing, dance and be merry.

12. Guidance
Work with a mentor who is in constant contact God.​
 

Susannah

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Step 12
Service​

Studies show that the best way to maintain what you have learned is to teach it to someone else. Find someone and become a mentor. Offer them everything that was freely given to you. You will find joy in teaching others.

Finally, be a good role models for others. Give credit to God for your recovery. "Go in his name and because you believe others will know that he lives."
 

Susannah

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Recovery is a process. An addiction, or loss of control, takes time and so does recovery. Once you have a list of thoughts and behavior that you want to change, you start with behavior modification. You stop drinking. You stop using drugs. You stop watching porn. Then you find a substitute. You read the Bible. You go to church. You help others. When this becomes a way of life., you move on to other sins that are holding you back. Victory over them will enhance your life. You whittle away the things on your list. God will always be pleased if you are making progress. Your goal is to be the best person you can be [self-actualize]. There is always more to do so this should keep you out of trouble. God will be there the whole time. "If you are on the right path, invisible hands will come to your aid." Joseph Campbell

 

Susannah

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Underlying Issues

It is only natural be drawn to mood-altering experiences. We all enjoy feeling good. But to be safe from addiction, our primary happiness should come from our relationship with God. He will guide us toward moderation of earthly pleasures.

The question for addicts is whether the pleasure we seek is a want or a need. If you need a mood-altering experience to distract you from such things as chronic depression then you have to be careful because you will have to repeat the experience over and over until you are dependent or addicted.

Underlying issues include anxiety, depression, fear, anger, low self-esteem, the loss of self, ghosts from the past, unresolved grief--anything that makes you feel bad every day.

To stay in recovery long term it is important to treat these underlying issues. If you do not want to turn to pastoral counseling then I offer you the following suggestions.

1. Identify the underlying issue and admit that it they are a problem.

2. Find someone who understands your issues and talk to them. This person will be your enlightened witness.

3. Write in your journal. When you write, things pop up from your unconscious. Analyze your dreams and write them down.

4. Feel the pain that you have been running away from for so long. Sit in it for awhile and just grieve.

5. Turn to God for strength and healing. Ask for his help and comfort.

6. Look at the root of your issue and do such things as accept what happened in the past, forgive those who hurt you, forgive yourself etc.

7. Stand tall and move on. Enjoy life to its fullest. Stay close to God.
 

Susannah

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SteveBolts has agreed to bring back the Recovery Forum in a smaller size. It will have more than one thread. PM him if you want to share with him what you are looking for in a Christian Recovery section. I will not be the moderator because I am just another addict trying to get better. I have come a long way, but I am not finished. But I am a healer, or what you call a wounded healer. I have been under Satan's thumb and God has rescued me. He then told me to go forth and spread the word that we need God to recover from addiction/sin, and that psychology is just a tool in God's arsenal. God will give you the armor and sword and shield, and others in recover will help you put it on. All of this is color coordinated. LOL
 
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