Recovery is defined as, “return to a normal state of health, mind or strength.” Think about your life before you started using. Is that the life to which you wish to return? Likely, burdens drove you to search for comfort in substances. Your substance brough comfort, helped you forget, made you feel numb, or allowed you to face the day. If this is true, would you want to go back? What if there is another option? What if you could actually experience freedom?
Every addict has suffering. You are running from something too painful to bear. Your “drug of choice” makes life tolerable. Yet the very thing that comforts you is destroying you. You are trapped and hopeless. If being in recovery means you have to face all you have been trying to forget, I understand why so many don't even attempt it. We are broken. What can fix that? Do we really want to return to that “normal?”
You have probably been told that you are an addict or you are an alcoholic. Your struggle with addiction has been attached to you as an identity. Having an addiction does not define who you are or what you do. The Bible tells us that we can have a new identity, a new nature. Jesus left heaven and came to earth, died a brutal death and was raised again to save us from sin, so we can have a new identity. This is good news for those who struggle with addiction. When you truly understand and believe what Jesus accomplished at the cross, it changes everything.
A hopeful passage in the Bible says:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
This means that if we believe in Jesus, ask him to forgive us, trust him with our lives, and follow him, we are new. The old person is gone and we have a new nature. We are now reconciled to God and we no longer have to fear his wrath or judgment. Jesus, who was perfectly God and perfectly man, became our sin so we could have his righteousness. Not only are we made new and given a new nature, we now have all the love that God has for his own Son. Imagine that! There’s nothing for us to bring, and nothing we can do to earn it. Just believe in Jesus and receive the gift that he offers; a new life.
Those who believe in Jesus are given a new nature. We don’t have to return to “normal” or simply be in recovery. Going back to that place in my life does not sound appealing! I want something different. I want freedom.
If you also want freedom, not simply recovery, visit a Recovering Hope meeting (find a meeting here). Or send me an email (connect@hopeforaddiction). I would love to talk to you. I’m not saying it’s easy. Having a new nature doesn’t mean you will be without pain. But it makes change and freedom actually possible. And hopeful.