Thursday, November 15, 2018

Round and Round and Round it Goes... Addiction and Hope

Addictions, like many cyclic behavioural issues, are frustrating to both the addict and the people trying to live with them, or assist them to a fuller experience of life. There is hope and we believe the key is Jesus. One thing I often hear said is “I’ve been trying, but I fell off so now I am even worse off and it will be harder…” Well this is simply not true. The truth is you now have skills to build upon, like learning any new activity or behaviour each attempt to escape addiction and establish a new way of thinking, relating and living is a step closer to freedom. I love the power of God to set people free and continue to pray for this and believe we will see more of it in the coming days. I also believe in the often neglected but essential partner of this, the discipline needed to live fully and the effort it takes to learn to live well. When we are discipling people in the life of freedom, we need to see both a setting free from addiction (spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and physically) and an equipping to live life differently. This often takes practice and may take some time to get it right.

To understand a little more the extent of Australia’s problem with substance abuse I’ve included the below quote from The New Daily’s article about Australia’s 'toxic relationship with alcohol':

“…“It’s a damning indictment of this country’s toxic relationship with alcohol when we have more than a third of Australians affected by alcohol-related violence,” he said.

“These troubling findings are really a reflection of the extent of alcohol harm in Australia; the 15 lives lost and 430 hospitalisations caused by alcohol every single day.”…”

(Wiedersehn, Sarah. 2017, ‘Australia has a ‘problem’ with alcohol: poll’, The New Daily, 27 April 2017, accessed 3 May 2017, <http://thenewdaily.com.au/life/wellbeing/2017/04/27/australia-alcohol-problem/> )

We have a number of friends in our community right now who through their ‘toxic relationship with alcohol’ are flirting with death – we love them and it grieves us to see the damage this socially acceptable drug does to not only individuals but their whole family and community. Yet there is HOPE – His – Overcoming – Power – Equips! Jesus sets the captive free Luke 4: 18-19…

So if you or a friend have fallen (again!) take heart you are one attempt closer to victory. Ask Jesus to empower you to find both freedom and a new way of doing life.

How can you support someone struggling with addiction?

1. Pray for them

2. Love them

3. Do the above again

Here as some ideas we have gleaned over the years:

Don’t make them your project – be their friend.

Don’t give up on them – they may have given up on them-selves (you might be the only one who hasn’t given up on them) they may need to borrow your faith and hope for little while until they find their own.

Don’t take on their responsibility/s – sorry you can’t do it for them – it doesn’t work.

Do help them pursue their goals for life (not your goals for their life).

Do give honest feedback (speak the truth in love).

Do encourage them to find a web of support – they need a team to help not just you.

Lead them to Jesus – with him all things are possible!

Luke 4:18-19 was our commissioning verse when we were sent out to see Missionheart established – in it we are told by Jesus that he has come to set the captive (insert addict) free, and we know that who the son sets free is free indeed. There is HOPE, addiction does not have to be a life sentence and God, if we let him, can not only set the captive free but also restore, heal, reconcile, and transform anyone to live life fully as we were designed to do. 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” - Jesus (John 10:10 NIV)

Pray with us for our dear friends struggling with addiction – if you need help in this area let us pray with and support you too.

Freedom!

Jase

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