John loves the Lord and has a personal relationship with Jesus, yet can’t seem to overcome his addiction to alcohol. After 2 years of sobriety, he relapsed and is having trouble getting sober again. “What am I doing wrong?” he asks himself daily.
Being sober does not necessarily mean that you are free from addiction. There is a distinct difference between being sober and being “free.”
“How do I get to the place of freedom?” John has also asked himself.
Although his struggle is not an easy one, the explanation is simple. Freedom comes when one’s life is completely surrendered to God and the areas of struggle are completely given up to Him.
For most this is a process.
John thought that he was doing everything right. He attends church regularly, he attends Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step recovery meeting, and he reads his Bible and prays daily.
How did the relapse occur? His relapse occurred because he hasn’t completely surrendered his life and issues to Christ.
Job 11:13-15, says: “Surrender your heart to God, turn to Him in prayer, and give up your sins—even those you do in secret. Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless.”
The Lord requires John to dig deep in his soul and uproot even the deepest and darkest areas of his pain in order for him to be set free. John’s human nature is to avoid this process because searching his heart will be too painful.
A gentleman by the name of Reinhold Niebuhr wrote what is known as the Serenity Prayer, a prayer that is commonly prayed in Celebrate Recovery meetings across the globe.
The prayer reads as follows: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.
The key word in the Serenity Prayer is SURRENDER!!
There are several steps that John is taking to receive the help he needs with his situation. The first step he took was to ask for prayer from his pastor. James 5:14 says “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
John is also seeking the Lord daily, attending his recovery meetings at Celebrate Recovery and working with his sponsor. Sponsorship is an extremely important part of the recovery process. Having a sponsor will help to keep John accountable for his actions.
In addition, with the level of alcoholism that John has, he needs a more in-depth program to help him with his addiction. Joe Tarasuk, the owner of CrossRoads Freedom Center is working with a similar Ministry called Helping Up Missions in Baltimore to get John the help he needs.
The following link is to a helpful blog written by Pastor Gary Byers at Helping Up Missions: http://helpingupmission.blogspot.com/2015/09/loves-jesusbut-cant-stop-drinking.html
CrossRoads Freedom Center works together with other ministries in the community to help give men a “second chance.” What a blessing these resources-CrossRoads and Helping Up Missions– have been in John’s life!
Even though John is a Christian who loves the Lord, he is stuck in the cycle of addiction. To break this cycle, he will have to make the decision to continue to follow Jesus and completely surrender his heart over to Christ’s care and control. Diligently working his established recovery program, John will get to the place of freedom from his past, his pain and from his addiction to alcohol!
If you can relate to John’s story, it is important for you to take steps that will lead you to a place of surrender. You can start by talking with a pastor or trusted Christian friend. If you are not already in a recovery group, now is the time to get plugged in and make it a regular part of your life!
The Celebrate Recovery link below can help you find a recovery group near you. All Celebrate Recovery meetings in the State of Maryland are listed at: http://www.marylandcelebraterecovery.org/