From Addiction To Freedom

Addiction is everywhere. It comes in many forms and fashions. It is not prejudice when choosing who it will inhibit. It knows no boundaries. This blog is not about the types of addictions or who are the ones more likely to become an addict. It is not even about whether addiction is a disease. Today I write about addiction from the aspect of being free from those chains.

“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” 1 John 2:16.

When I was 15, I picked up a habit that eventually would become my addiction. What I thought was cool, would become the very thing that led me to believe that I was so ungodly. During my life, this habit would become my coping mechanism and security. It would be my way to escape for just a few minutes to clear my head from the chaos. Smoking had become a part of my life that would become my shame and antagonist. It would be the very thing that the adversary would use to condemn me. But it would also become my victory and freedom. Even cancer did not scare the smoking addiction from my life. Little did I know that God still had His hand upon me even though I felt so far away from Him.

Be patient with me as I venture off into a story from the Bible that sums up the hope that I have in God regarding the addiction that I had to cigarettes. I have read the story of Job many times and I always finished it knowing that God is always going to be our biggest fan and He will not allow the adversary take that which He has placed His hand upon. Unlike Job, I know that I brought illness upon myself through continuing to smoke when I knew that it was a sin. I was damaging the very thing that God had created so uniquely, my body. God removed the hedge about Job knowing that in the end, Job would repent and return his heart to God. I know that because God is a just and faithful God, He will not only deliver me from an addiction, but He will be the healer of my mind and body. I also knew that I would have to return my heart to God and walk in thankfulness everyday for the rest of my life.

So, back to my tale of addiction and freedom. After 35 years of smoking, I had grown tired of it. I wanted to be rid of the smell, taste and cloud that I was walking with everywhere I went. I was tired of the cost, not only financially, but also the cost of feeling like I belonged. I asked God to take it from me. Whatever I needed to do to let go of this mess, I wanted Him to let me know and lead me through it. When I began to ask Him to take it, I could feel myself become afraid that I had asked for more than I wanted. I did not want to be ill the rest of my life. I was not ready to leave my grandbabies. But yet, I knew I still wanted to quit smoking.

On March 31, 2018, I became very sick. I had been fighting it for months thinking it was just allergies, but that evening, I just could not fight it any longer. I had lost over 20 pounds in a month because I had no appetite. I was always fatigued and did not want to do anything after work but lay in bed. I was taken to the ER and after a few hours, I was diagnosed with COPD. My heart broke and I began to cry. I wasn’t angry, I was so disappointed with myself. I was heartbroken because I picked up a habit when I was 15 and now, I would be wrestling with that decision every day. It was already after midnight and it was now April 1, 2018. This would become my quit day.

It has been a year since I last smoked. I was told that I would need to use patches and gum/lozenges to get over the addiction since I had smoked for so many years. I was also told that it would take a few months. I read that most long term and heavy smokers have a relapse or two and it is completely normal. I used patches for 12 weeks and never looked back. Cravings have come and gone, but at the end of the day, I let it go. I did gain weight, but its better than not breathing.

The most amazing thing about this last year has been the rekindling of my relationship with God. It has become so beautiful and faithful. He has taken me and loved me beyond by guilt and shame. He has released me from my failures, and He has covered me with grace and mercy. He proves to me everyday just how much He loves me. This has become my security and my coping mechanism. God is my stress release and calming breath. Oh, how He loves me.

See, even in the middle of addiction and temptation, we know that Jesus carried that to the cross so that we may find peace, mercy and grace.

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same tastings we do, yet he did not sin. So, let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:14-16.

#freedom #hope #smoking

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