John 3:16 Arrow For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life ^DREAM interpretation ministry




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OVERCOMING ADDICTION
#1
Our Next TOPIC is :


OVERCOMING ADDICTION!





Welcomeiiiiiii



Bless you ALL.
Pastor!


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#2
Welcome
to Overcoming Addiction
‘Addictive behaviour is just the fruit of a deeper issue – we need to discover the root’


Y
ou don’t have to look too hard to find evidence of the power of addiction in modern life. In daily conversation we often use the language of addiction without thinking – ‘I’m a choc-oholic’, ‘I’m a Facebook addict’ or ‘I haven’t had my coffee fix this morning’. Others talk of needing ‘retail therapy’ or a ‘detox’. More seriously, we hear the destructive effects of addiction in the news every day. In the UK… • • • The total cost of alcohol harm is estimated to be as high as £25.1billionayear Almost half of all regular cigarette smokers are eventually killed by their addiction As many as half of people sent to prison are estimated to be problem drug users The costs of these kinds of addiction are enormous – in wasted money and wasted lives. Even these statistics paint an incomplete picture as it is impossible to know the full toll these addictions take on marriages, families and individuals’ mental health. But substance addiction forms just the tip of the iceberg in our addicted culture. There are other serious forms of addiction too: sex addiction, including pornography abuse; eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia; and behavioural patterns such as shopping, gambling and even approval addiction. These also ruin lives and jeopardise futures. Of course, we need to look at an addiction as more than a problem to be fixed. We need to look with God’s eyes at the person. Addictive behaviour is just the fruit of a much deeper issue – we need to discover the root underneath it. There are major questions of identity which must be addressed. The good news is that, in God’s strength, any addiction can be overcome. Through His Word, by His Spirit and together with His people, freedom from addiction is available for you, starting today.
#3
Addiction

Where do I start?
What is addiction?

It can be explained in two ways – neurologically and theologically. Scientists tell us that addictions take root because of a flood of natural chemicals that are released into our brain when we experience the euphoric moment known as a ‘high’. It’s why many people get addicted to things other than substances – shopping, pornography or gambling, for instance – because the brain supplies its own ‘drug’ and we get addicted to the rush. Those chemicals help take away pain. They can help us block out bad situations or unresolved hurt. But they don’t last long, and they leave us wanting more. There is another explanation for addiction, and that is misdirected worship of God. Rather than finding satisfaction in the One who knows us and knows how to give us exactly what we need, we look for it in a ‘quick fix’ solution. Instead of going to the Healer with our pain, loneliness or anxiety, we block it out with pills or thrills of our own choice. It becomes, in Tim Keller’s words, a ‘counterfeit god’ to which we turn to feel better, and by which we ultimately become enslaved. The effects of addiction can reach beyond the addict himself. Once a serious addiction takes hold, friends, loved ones, work colleagues and others begin to feel the consequences too.

True healing from addiction therefore has physical, spiritual and relational implications’

Bill Radwell writes, ‘Addiction is a soul-destroying slow death in which the sufferer loses touch with the reality of who they are, who God is, and the world around them. It’s characterised by deception, shame and an escalating loss of control. At its worst, addicts may become reclusive and stop looking after themselves as they sink into the oblivion of being totally abandoned to their drug of choice.’
True healing from addiction therefore has physical,
spiritual and relational implications – we need to be aware of our bodies, our souls and those around us as we step into freedom. As Neil T Anderson puts it, ‘Freedom is the birthright of every child of God. It comes with the package.


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#4
Step by step
Your guide to overcoming addiction with God’s help


‘Taking hold of your new identity is the key to true freedom’

Overcoming an addiction rarely happens overnight, especially in cases where addiction is longstanding or involves substance abuse. Some suggestions of where to find professional help can be found on page 15. But these three keys from God’s Word will help you begin your journey into freedom.


1. EMBRACE YOUR NEW IDENTITY ‘Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!’ 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)


The day you put your trust in Jesus Christ, you became a new person. Not new on the outside (sadly, for some of us!) but completely new on the inside. You were remade in the likeness of Jesus and ‘given everything [you] need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness’ (2 Peter 1:3 NIV). Taking hold of this new identity – and all the resources that come along with it – is the key to true freedom. Too often we skip over verses like these, or don’t take them seriously. We think we need more than what God has already provided in Christ to overcome addiction – like a 12 step programme, or an accountability group. While these things can help us in working out our freedom,
they will not in themselves set us free.

Steve McVey and Mike Quarles who have decades of experience in helping people overcome addiction, write: ‘No one ever got saved, freed, or sanctified by doing anything. No one ever will … Only God can change us, and our part is to exercise faith – that is, to believe the truth of what He has done and what He says. They got on to say, ‘We are saved by faith in Him alone and the Christian life is lived by faith in Him alone. We are also freed from addiction and sanctified by faith in Him alone.’


(Source: Helping Others Overcome Addictions, Steve McVey and Mike Quarles, Harvest House)

TRY....

Memorise 2 Corinthians 5:17 in your favourite Bible translation. To help you learn it, write it out beautifully and put it in a prominent place that you see often (e.g. In the corner of the bathroom mirror or on the front of your fridge).


2. EXERCISE SOME NEW HABITSSo be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise’ Ephesians 5:15 NLT There may also be some specific behaviours which you need to address, too, relating to the exact nature of your addiction. For instance, staying away from particular places at particular W times. At the very least being aware of them is common sense – and it may be hile actions and habits have no power in themselves to bring us freedom from addiction (see, for instance, Colossians 2:23), it’s important to start building in new habits which will help you to remember what God has done for you and to sustain your freedom. Daily time in God’s Word to remember who He is and what He has done for you is absolutely essential. Regular time in prayer and worship keeps our heart tender and our affections warm towards Him. Confessing sinful thoughts as soon as they occur to you will help you to resist temptation next time. the thing that protects us from slipping back into patterns of addiction during a weak moment. Write out a list of your ‘red flags’ (see pages 12–13) and make a plan for how you are going to avoid them from now on. For instance, if your problem is porn addiction, ‘I will stop watching TV or using the internet late at night’ or, if you always overeat when you are alone, ‘I will only eat meals with friends and family!
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#5
3. EXPERIENCE NEW COMMUNITY ‘Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently… Carry each other’s burdens’ Galatians 6:1-2 NIV


God created us for community and to be part of a body bigger than ourselves and our immediate family. We need to be constantly reminded of who we are in Christ

(see above, ’EMBRACE YOUR NEW IDENTITY’) and encouraged in our lifestyles (see ‘EXERCISE SOME NEW HABITS’). That’s why He gave us the church. Our churches should be places where grace is extended to those who are struggling with addiction, and the families of addicts can be supported while they find healing. Sadly this is not always the case, and addicts can be met with judgement instead of mercy, rejection instead of acceptance. You may need to find a supportive Christian community outside of your local church. Another local church may have a specific recovery group or ministry, or you may have to travel in order to find one. Once again, freedom is not found in a supportive community – it is only the truth about Jesus’ finished work on the cross which sets us free (John 8:32). But supportive, caring community is essential to anyone seeking freedom from addiction



TRY....

Freedom from addiction usually starts with the risky step of becoming vulnerable enough to tell others about your struggle. Find a group of people who can help and get started. Some suggestions of where to look for help are offered on page 15.





WAS BORN in Salford, Manchester. I really struggled at school and left with no qualifications. It was then I met a group of guys who were taking drugs. They were smoking cannabis, taking amphetamines and using LSD. That’s when I started to use drugs. Before long, we were all using heroin. Eventually, I started to deal cannabis, LSD and speed. I then met a girl who was 11 years older than me called Lisa. She was an addict too. We moved into a flat together in Moss Side. That’s when I started to deal heroin. It wasn’t long before I was on the treadmill of crime, prison, crime, prison, crime, prison. After one sentence, I went on a nine-month bender when I wouldn’t let myself sleep. I’d just sit there making house music with my electronic music equipment, taking whizz and other drugs. Right out of the blue, I started to hear voices. I was later admitted to Cheadle Royal psychiatric unit in Manchester. Nine years later, I was still hearing voices. I was now an outpatient. By now I’d split up with Lisa and I was living in Rochdale. Then one Thursday, I got chatting to this guy on a bus. On the Sunday, I was taking my dog for a walk and I met him again outside the local hospital. He told me he’d been to a church that met in the hospital ground. The next day, I was walking past the hospital and I was looking for a church, but I couldn’t see it. On the Wednesday, I had an appointment with my new psychiatrist. This was my first appointment since moving to Rochdale. That afternoon, I was taking my dog for a walk past the hospital again, and I still couldn’t see a church. On the Friday, one of my neighbours knocked on my door. Her name is Dot. I asked her if she knew where the church was. She said, ‘Yes, course I do; I go to that church! I’ll take you on Sunday morning!’ On the Sunday, we walked into the church. I sat down next to Dot. There was a tap on my shoulder, I looked round; it was the guy that I’d met on the bus! And then five minutes later, I heard the words behind me, ‘Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!’ I looked round, and it was my psychiatrist! Remember, I was suffering from psychosis. I thought, ‘Have these guys been following me?’ The speaker asked if people wanted prayer. I thought, ‘What have I got to lose?’ I asked him to pray for my heroin addiction and the voices. As he prayed for me, I started to shake, tears started to run down my cheeks and it felt like there was fire being poured in my body! I realised that this must be God. Straight away the voices disappeared and within four weeks, I was off all the drugs! The next day, I prayed a prayer and invited God into my life. Within no time I realised that with God, nothing is wasted and that He could even use someone with a past like mine. I felt that God had a specific purpose for my life and that He wanted me to be a public speaker, that He was going to turn my mess into a message that would help other people. After studying at Cliff College I set up a charity called Proclaim Trust, which facilitates the work that I do. That episode in church that day changed my life. Now fifteen years later, I’m still changed, so I was changed and I’ve stayed changed! It just shows that with God’s help, anything is possible.
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#6
The Addictive Process



THE ADDICTIVE PROCESS, or cycle, is a recurring pattern that addicts keep going round and round in. Part of the treatment for addiction is to identify what the person’s cycle is: How does it start? What do they do? What happens afterwards?

RED FLAGS The first part of the addictive cycle is commonly described as ‘Red flags’. Red f lags are moments where something triggers the addict – it will be different for different people. For example, if the thing that particularly causes someone to be stressed and then to go for their addiction is being alone, then that would be their red f lag. When the red flag starts, it triggers off a sort of preoccupation; they start thinking about doing the thing that they want to do. For someone who is a shopaholic, it might be that they start thinking about going out and buying something. It’s usually triggered by pain or the prospect of feeling pain, so a typical example would be this: A shopaholic has got a job interview, and they are feeling stressed about it; they don’t want to make a fool of themselves. Their particular ‘thing’ might be that they are frightened that people won’t like them. If they have low self-esteem, they might fear that people will reject them, so for them that could be a red flag. This is a dangerous situation for them to be in. They will start thinking about going out shopping just before they go to the interview; that will make them feel a bit better and just take the edge off their anxiety. So they go to the shopping mall and into the stores and, before they know it, time has gone by because they have got so absorbed in the thing they were looking to buy. The interview is long gone, but in a way they feel better because they are not feeling stressed anymore; they feel happier than they did. So it worked! And that is the whole thing with addictions – people wouldn’t do it if they didn’t find that it worked. Addictions are extremely effective in terms of helping to blank out bad feelings, and to bring up some good feelings even if the addict feels bad afterwards. So that’s how red flags work. They are the starting point of the whole cycle and for different people they will have different red f lags, different things that trigger them, that stress them particularly, depending on their background and the areas that they are vulnerable in.

REFLEX The second part of the cycle is the ‘Reflex’. This is when the person begins to plot what they are going to do next and starts making a few choices. So going back to the shopaholic example, the person might start getting into their car, they might decide to go down the road towards the shopping mall; they will actually start making some choices about what they are going to do. They are not quite there yet but they are on their way; they have started the journey.

RITUAL The third aspect is the ‘Ritual’. This encompasses the whole journey between the first impulse and the final destination and because it’s a ritual, it’s something that is repeated and repeated and repeated. If we think of somebody who is a pornography addict, they will often go to the same newsagents to get the pornography, parking in the same place, maybe at the same time of day – it will all be very ritualised; the whole thing is like a repeated cycle. While they are doing this, the person is often in a kind of foggy euphoria, feeling quite good in a way because, by this stage, they are going down because they are so preoccupied with what they are going towards. One person has described it as ‘one’s whole being pulsing with carnal anticipation’, which is quite a good description, I think. It’s almost impossible to slow down or stop – all that matters is the object of the desire. So this is like an arrow that has been fired at a target – it has already left the bow and is halfway towards it.

RELEASE AND CONSEQUENCE The final part of the sequence is ‘Release and consequence’. At some point there will be a kind of ecstatic release- whether it’s winning money when gambling online or whatever it is – there will be a moment of adrenalin rush and feeling good, but it’s often followed by numbness, guilt, shame and an aching emptiness. The problem with that is that those are the very feelings that can trigger off another cycle, so typically a person will feel dreadful after they have done whatever they have done. They probably didn’t really want to do it; it certainly isn’t something they are proud of, and they start beating themselves up about it, feeling bad, feeling ‘Oh, I always do this kind of thing because I am just a rubbish person’. They start playing out the old tapes at the back of their mind about how rubbish they really are and, before they know it, they feel so bad they need to act out their addictive cycle again. So you can see how this is quite a nasty spiral that can keep repeating back on itself. Taken from Bill Radmall, ‘Insight into Addiction’, copyright CWR 2009. Used with permission
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#7
Your 28 Days of Change

Quote:God’s spirit is in you and... ‘He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world’ It takes time to change long-standing thought patterns, habits and behaviour. We need to keep coming before God in our brokenness and asking for His help. The rest of this Overcoming booklet is designed to help bring you before God for the next 28 days – to learn from His wisdom in His Word and to access His healing power through prayer. Make a decision to set aside the time each day to read and respond in prayer. Don’t worry if you miss a day or two, just pick up wherever you left off.


DAY 1
CUT THE CORD

‘On the day you were born your cord was not cut…’
Ezekiel 16:4 NIV


ARE YOUS TILLtied to the things of your past? Are you still being fed emotionally by relationships that need to be severed? You’ll only cut the cord when you realise that you can get what you need from a better source. Paul speaks of ‘...His power that is at work within us’ (Ephesians 3:20 NIV). What is that power? It’s the God-given ability to cut the cord that ties you to the old mud-holes of yesterday. If a pig and a sheep fall into the same mud, one will wallow and the other will try to get out. That’s because their natures are different. Whether you fell into the mud or were dragged back into it is not the issue. Your new nature won’t let you stay there. It’ll cry, ‘I don’t belong here! I want to get out! Help me Lord!’ Prayer Point ‘But I’ve really blown it this time!’ you say. Listen to these words from a man whose failures make yours look like charitable deeds: ‘When I kept it all inside ... the pressure never let up ... then I let it all out; I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.” Suddenly the pressure was gone - my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared’ (Psalm 32:3-5 TM). Pronounce ‘the last rites’ over your failures, forgive those who’ve hurt you, cut the cord that connects you to the past, and start moving forward.

Quote:Keep a notebook and pen nearby to jot down anything that occurs to you while you read, or quotes that inspire you to think differently. Trust that God will speak to you personally about your healing over the coming weeks. Remember, Jesus is on your side, willing you to succeed. Right now, He is praying to the Father on your behalf. God’s Spirit is in you, and ‘He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world’ (1 John 4:4).



PRAYER POINT :
Father, I come to You today with an open heart. I admit that I am not perfect and have many failings; I don’t want to live a lie anymore, where I portray myself as one thing but live a life inside of me that’s quite different. Lord, I want to live an honest life before You; help me come to a place of peace where secrecy and stress are things of the past, in Jesus’ name. Amen
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#8
DAY 2
You’re a work in progress!


‘… Until we all … become mature’
Ephesians 4:13 NIV


BIRTHANDGROWTH are different processes, both naturally and spiritually. There’s a big difference between being saved and being whole. One happens instantly, the other is the work of a lifetime. When God saves you, your spirit is immediately changed but your emotions, your appetites and your attitudes still need working on. In each of us there are things that need to be healed, and until they are, we struggle with them. What are those areas in your life? Are you dealing with them? Those who tell you, ‘If you were really a Christian you wouldn’t act like that,’ forget that falling down is just a part of learning to walk. You can know what to do, yet struggle to do it. Sin is not necessarily the problem; sometimes it’s how we medicate the problem. For example, we go out looking for intimacy and end up with sex, or go out looking for peace and come home with a bottle of alcohol. And all the while, our real needs are never addressed. The answer cannot be found in people or things, it can only be found in a relationship with God! Real peace comes when you turn to Him in your weakness and allow Him to do for you what nobody else can. Only He can regenerate your spirit. Only He can satisfy your emotions. Only He can bring you to the place of maturity and wholeness. Why don’t you come to Him today.
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#9
DAY 3

Don’t be undermined

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character”’ 1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV



GODTOLDHISPEOPLE,‘If you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble’ (Numbers 33:55 NIV). Was God being uncharitable? No, He just understood that if His people hung out with the Canaanites, they’d pick up their habits, seek their approval, live by their values and end up worshipping their gods! That’s why He laid down His law so clearly! John Maxwell says, ‘You’ll acquire the vices and virtues of your closest associates. The fragrance of their lives will pervade yours.’ He’s right! You can tell yourself that a bad relationship won’t hurt you; or that your good will rub off on them. Prayer Point But who are you kidding? If you put on a pair of white gloves, go into your back yard and pick up dirt, the dirt won’t get clean, but the gloves will definitely get dirty. Right? Wake up! A toxic relationship is like a malignant cancer cell – if left unchecked, it’ll rob you of your health, and maybe even your life. Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote Don Quixote, said, ‘Tell me your company, and I’ll tell you who you are.’ Take another look at the influences in your life today, for they’re doing two things: a) moulding you, and b) motivating you. If a constant drip can wear away a stone, then the wrong influences can undermine you little by little. But you are not a stone: you can move.

Prayer Point

Lord, I pray that You would help me to develop a Godly character and start to live my life according to Your principles and not mine. Lord, I often refuse help or advice because I think I know best but today I break that stubbornness in Jesus’ name and pray that I live life on Your terms and not mine. Put around me friends that build me up not pull me down, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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#10
DAY 4
The danger of little things

‘Catch … the little foxes that ruin the vineyards
’ Song of Songs 2:15 NIV



ONCOLORADO’SLONGPEAK lie the remains of a giant 400-year-old tree. Age, storms, and avalanches couldn’t bring it down. What did? A tiny beetle you could crush under your foot. It ate right through the bark and devoured its heart. Be careful: it’s the little foxes that ruin the vineyards. Little attitudes – but if you practise them often enough, they become fixed attitudes. Little indulgences – but if you give place to them long enough, they desensitise you to sin. got hooked on a fantasy, and ended up releasing a tiger that: a) can devour them, and b) will never willingly go back into its cage. Before a moral problem got out of hand in the Corinthian church, Paul hit it on the head. Listen: ‘I also received a report … One of your men is sleeping with his stepmother. And you’re so above it all that it doesn’t even worry you … You pass it off as a small Remember when certain things bothered you? Now you don’t give them a second thought. You’re being desensitised! Every alcoholic started by telling himself, ‘I can handle it.’ Every victim of internet pornography (and they’re getting younger every day) started with a look, thing, but it’s anything but that. Yeast, too, is a “small thing,” but it works its way through a whole batch … get rid of this “yeast”…’ (1 Corinthians 5:1–7 TM). Strong language! Why does God make such a big deal out of this anyway? Because sin hurts us, and anything that hurts one of His children, makes Him angry.
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