7 Steps to Overcoming Addiction Part II: Steps 4-7

7 Steps to Overcoming Addiction Part II: Steps 4-7

This week is a continuation of the steps I have found to be quite successful in overcoming addiction. These steps are great tools to use in your battle against the bad habits you can’t seem to quit. For steps 1-3, go here.

Step Four: Find Accountability: Report to Someone You Trust

It’s important to remember when we are in an addictive state, we cannot trust ourselves. Our brains are preoccupied, and everyone is capable of rationalizing anything he or she wants to do. We can also be extremely lenient on ourselves when it comes to discipline and treating ourselves. This will make it easier for us to fall to our addiction.

For this reason, it is extremely helpful to have someone else involved in our addiction recovery. We want someone other than ourselves who sees the full picture of our experience that we might not perceive correctly due to our addiction. This person should be completely non-biased and be able to offer objective assistance.

It’s also worth mentioning it can be a lot more difficult to let someone else down than it can be to let one’s self down. Having accountability from someone else will allow you to report to another person at the end of each day, week, or month - whenever you think is best - so that you can have support in your efforts and be comforted that not just you will know about your failings.

Find someone you can trust whether it be a friend, teacher, parent, or paid professional to both share in the joy of your victories and protect you from despairing when you fail. Difficulties are always made easier when confronted with someone else, whether it be a "coach" or "teammate". Finally, the humility that having accountability will require is a tremendous leap forward in overcoming your addiction.

Step Five: Fasting

This is quickly being spread about more and more today by health experts as a great weight loss technique. Moreover, it allows us to practice self-control in an area very much in our control. Finally, Jesus Himself fasted for a great length of time before overcoming the devil’s temptation in Luke chapter four.

Now, I am not advocating that you start out your fasting experience with 40-day fasts. While many people grow themselves to that point and do it successfully as well-practiced fasters, it is good to start off reasonably, which can be just as effective.

While there are many ways to fast, the technique that I am familiar with is eating two small meals consisting of bread, water and fruit, if needed, followed by a final regularly portioned meal and diet around dinner time. This method allows for all the fasting effects- self-control, hunger pangs, and living out the trust in God: when we are weak, He is strong.

This may not be a healthy practice for everyone, so if you require a certain caloric intake, or have a medical condition, see that you meet your needs, and be sure to be speak to a doctor. The point is to strengthen our wills, offer our suffering to God, and find solidarity with the poor and hungry who do not usually get to end the day with a full belly.

Strengthening your will is key here. I know during my times of fasting and controlling my food intake that my decisions in the other areas of my life improved as well. Furthermore, there is a mystical assistance that falls upon one who fasts for the glory of God, to help themselves overcome their deficiencies, and be the best version of him or herself.

Even Jesus Himself pointed to this when the disciples were unable to pray the evil spirit out of the boy in Mark 9. He said, ““This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.” Difficulties can be overcome through fasting and prayer.

Step Six: Daily Prayer Routine

St. Padre Pio said “prayer is oxygen for our soul”. Our soul needs to be very much alive for us to overcome our physical addictions. Like they say, a dead fish cannot swim upstream, so how can we expect to fight against temptation and urges if our souls are struggling to breathe!

There is more prayer brings about that can be vital to our quest for freedom. It also builds our relationship with God, which will always weaken our relationship with sin and addiction. In fact, while it might seem to happen slowly over time, God builds us up more and more in our prayer life. He can teach us personally through our prayers how we can fight temptation and be victorious.

Prayer also calls down God’s favor and the help of all of heaven. We have access to armies of saints and angels who will assist us if we ask for help. We do need to be careful with our expectations on how this help will come about though. If we are humble and open, God will be pleased to offer great support.

In order to build up the habit of prayer, it's good to have a daily routine. Furthermore, we need to stick to this routine. It might be helpful to put our prayer times in our schedule ahead of time so that we can plan around them instead of planning our prayer time around everything else. If prayer comes first, then it is harder for it to fall away due to our busy lives.

Step Seven: Sacramental Life

Grace is God’s very help. We receive grace most significantly through the Sacraments and each sacrament gives grace in different ways. This grace is more than just a means to an end, it is an end itself, but still it is unsurmountable in its benefits for a soul working to overcome addiction.

Baptism is the doorway to the Body of Christ of which we become members through grace. It ushers us into the life of grace that builds us up and helps us overcome sin and temptation. Confirmation deepens this life and should be sought to receive greater power from the Holy Spirit in our quest for freedom.

When we go to confession, we can receive forgiveness of sins and reemergence back into the life of grace if it has been lost due to our sins. Furthermore, we can receive grace to overcome the specific sins we confess. Basically, the sins that we name and call out in the confessional are targeted and we can receive greater help in rooting them out of our lives.

When we go to the Eucharist, we receive much more than we bargain for. Our relationship with God is strengthened, our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ the Body of Christ is strengthened, and our concupiscence, which is our desire and tendency to fall to temptation and sin, is diminished. This makes the Eucharist a tremendous weapon in overcoming our addiction as it assists us in growing strong in our desire to do good and not fall back to sin and misery.

We could honestly go on and on and discover much more depth in the sacramental life, however, for brevity’s sake the treatment of our need for such a life has been simplified. There is much more to know, and it can be of great effect, so I recommend a deeper look into it. The grace we receive in the sacraments is irreplaceable and most helpful in one’s search for freedom from addiction. There is nothing better!

Conclusion

While some of these various steps might have been tried already and you are wanting in one’s battle for freedom from their addiction, all these steps together make for a powerful arsenal that will do much more damage to our enemy. I have personally found these seven steps most helpful in my own struggles and in the struggles of others as well.

Furthermore, once again, God is far above any system or 7-step plan and can bring triumph merely through our openness to such a program. We don’t limit His power, but still move ourselves forward to the battle to accomplish what we desire.

While the order that you complete these steps is not as important, your openness and effort is. Not one of these is arbitrary but is a great weapon to be brandished with full force.

I commend you for your efforts and you can count on my support and prayers in your journey. If you require more assistance and would like to sign up for Zenith Ministries’ One-on-One Mentoring program, please contact us at info@zenithministries.com or visit here. We look forward to your success!

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