“Set free? When was I ever addicted? What does it mean, ‘addicted to me’?”
The waters surrounded me, even to my soul;
The deep closed around me;
Weeds were wrapped around my head.
I went down to the moorings of the mountains;
The earth with its bars closed behind me forever;
Yet You have brought up my life from the pit,
O Lord, my God. Jonah 2:5-6 (NKJV)
by Steven Gledhill for FREEdom from MEdom Project
The wind and waves are relentless, and hungry sharks are stalking us until they attack and tear away at our flesh. There is however a secret, not only to survive life’s challenges and intrusions from predatory adversaries, but to rise above and thrive in life’s tricky waters. God has sent to us a boat by way of His son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Savior and has extended His hand as a lifeline for our souls. We have an amazing opportunity to live on the boat and ride the waves.
You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NLT)
If poverty is my perception or realization of missing what I need, want, and deserve—a state of discontent; and if its true that poverty breeds contempt for that which is believed to be missing—that being control—then the escalating discomfort must be remedied. Even Adam and Eve, who seemed to have it all, sought a remedy for their growing need for more by way of indulging in forbidden fruit because of wayward choices, producing in them feelings of loss and a foreboding sense of inadequacy. Like me they covered themselves, hoping to disguise their guilt and discreetly veil their shame.
“Refusing to acknowledge the source of our anguish doesn’t make it go away. Denial protects the pain and makes it stronger.”
—Just For Today, Narcotics Anonymous
In actuality, as discomfort swells into misery, it arouses in me patterns of thinking, cycles of behavior, and systems for living presumed vital to manage this problem. There is surrender to a core belief deeply entrenched in entitlement that goes rogue and takes control. The erosion of sound values corrupts and diverts my moral sensibilities. To minimize unsettling discomfort, I will lie to protect myself, rationalize to defend myself, and isolate to shield myself from anything prohibitive of my approach to self-government.
As thought patterns and habitual behavior become so a part of my fabric for “living”, even when my life situations improve, the behavior continues with increased purpose and justification, generating a new set of conflicts and challenges. Feelings of unresolved, unfulfilled entitlement are on the loose and taking on water, though you don’t feel that. All you feel is what’s missing. The obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior (acting out) evolve into intensified rituals and routines that must be performed just to feel a sense of normalcy and balance. Any deviation from the process cannot—will not—be tolerated. As the behavior carries with it substantial risk and cost, and trying to reduce or extinguish the behavior becomes increasingly disruptive and painful, and to stop the behavior feels detrimental, it is addiction.
You might say that the deception of the addictive mindset is the effect of being a kind of “higher power”, which it is in the sense that it is more powerful than the willpower of the user. It is a counterfeit power believed to be the remedy for solving the prevailing problem of dissatisfaction—perpetual discomfort—running (and ruining) my life.
“The giving of oneself to a pursuit.” —‘Addicted‘ as defined by The Oxford English dictionary, 1884
“To devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively.” —Merriam-Webster dictionary, today
I will define addiction as the ongoing need for a remedy to improve my situation, which feels beneficial but is fleeting at best; and despite the adverse effects the remedy imposes upon the quality of my life, deepening my discontentment, I repeatedly settle for the instant gratification as worth the risk of the imminent harm to me and all others influenced by what I do.
To willfully aim to reverse the course of addictive behavior is recovery. The trouble is, recovery from addiction is an uphill endeavor that can feel impossible, and is especially challenging, particularly when my will is so vulnerable and so often compromised; and when giving in again and again to cravings and temptation, undermines my most sensible values and core beliefs; tantamount to moral treason.
“To get back (regain)… To bring back to normal position or condition (rescue)… To save from loss and restore to usefulness (reclaim)… The process of combating a disorder or a real or perceived problem.” —‘Recover’ and ‘Recovery’ defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5 (NLT)
This recipe for recovery into God’s best is not exactly a secret. It’s been around, available and accessible for a very long time. The Bible calls it salvation. Recovery is a synonym for salvation. Recovery is salvation; salvation is recovery. Sin addiction is a spiritual problem requiring a spiritual remedy—a spiritual solution that is in the message of salvation. FREEdom from MEdom Project is an echo of this salvation message, spreading the gospel of freedom through recovery into the very best of the new life experience God wants and has for you.
The government will rest on his shoulders… His government and its peace will never end. Isaiah 9:6-7 (NLT)
Everything in Christ-centered recovery God’s way hinges on three pivotal steps. They are referred to here as ABC Recovery: ADMIT my life is out of control and that I cannot on my own manage it… I can’t; BELIEVE that God is in control, able and willing to help me change… God can; and COMMIT to God since He is in control, able and willing to help me change… God will. If I believe that God is in control, then it makes the most sense to let go and turn over to God what I don’t have control over anyway. To go about my life any other way is to suggest that perhaps I know better and have some secret recipe to defy the laws of my addiction to me—MEdom. I need to let go of what I cannot control and let God do what God does when I let Him.
“Revived to life in the present releases the burden of the past, relieving the fear of the future.” —Tyler
“I read it; loved it… We often are not really facing how we have accepted a “status quo” Christian existence, plodding through our days not really alive to God… I liked your use of recovery as a synonym for salvation––that could be really helpful for people to take the religion out of the notions of salvation, and infuse the term with a restorative mentality.” —Fran Leeman, Pastor, LifeSpring Community Church, Chicago (Plainfield), IL*
Wisdom is adjusting my life to the truth. Foolishness is adjusting the truth to my life. The truth is that living and dying is a process, and truth is truth, whether I believe it or not. Addiction to me… recovery from me… either way, I surrender to the process. I need help to better comprehend the process of addiction and to sufficiently trust in the process of recovery into freedom; willing and able to truly live in the fullness of all that God wants and has for me; revived and renewed into the very best of a new life experience.
Morality tends to be something spiritual carved into your soul and intellect. Values are influenced emotionally by what is “believed” to be important and are willfully assigned value. Do your values shape your morality or do unshaken moral standards shape what you value?
Ask God to show Himself to you if you still are not certain about Him. It is your expression of hope. When Christ shows up in your circumstances and delivers, you will be changed. And that then changes everything. Your values about what you own change as you are willing to let go of entitlements that own you in exchange for that which God owns and values for you; and wills for you to own.
When you come to realize something so profound to be true and right in your deepest sensibilities, agreeing with it intellectually and morally, it changes you. Sensible reason is set free, no longer held hostage by impulsive emotion. It’s that truth that sets you free. Know that being right is far better than feeling right.
“Without the guidance this program gave me, who knows where I would be today. Today, I am happily living out my life… and recommend this program to anyone who is addicted… This program laid a foundation that I neglected to build growing up. It gave me real direction and the resources to make clean decisions. My life is in no way perfect. Life still has its problems, but I now can rationally work my way through them.” —Edward, Recovering FREEdom from MEdom Client
To encounter the presence of God is certainly powerful. To live in the experience of God’s presence is transforming; empowering you to become more like Jesus. Then, while you cannot on your own make the world a better place, you can have your own place in the world and make it better.
I hope and pray that you will find the resources and opportunities offered here compelling as you discover and examine powerful truth that makes perfect sense. Please take your time getting to know your way around this website. Begin to let go of what is getting in the way of the blessing. Experience by faith the transforming work of God in your life to move from that place of dissatisfaction into the reality of a satisfied mind.
“So good!” —Rich Wilkerson, Senior Pastor, Trinity Church, Miami, FL*
In relationship with Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12 (NIV, slightly modified)
God’s love for you is never in question. What’s in question here is God’s life for you. Do you want it?
The following pages, ADMIT, BELIEVE, and COMMIT, will open your eyes to identify the problem of dissatisfaction, resistance against effectively managing the problem, and in-depth insight into what is necessary to solve the problem.
To begin to understand the process and progression of FREEDOM FROM ME’DOM principles…
>>> click here on GETTING STARTED.
The following summarize the ABC steps into recovery God’s way:
ADMIT Identify and Understand the Problem
Entitlement: deserving to be right and in control
“When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves.”
—Viktor E. Frankl, Renowned Austrian Psychiatrist
“I can to some extent control my acts. I have no direct control over my temperament. If what we are matters even more than what we do—if indeed what we do matters chiefly as evidence of what we are—then it follows that the change which I most need to undergo is a change that my own direct, voluntary efforts cannot bring about.” —C.S. Lewis
Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:14-15 (NLT)
My addiction to sin is my addiction to me—MEdom. MEdom ranges from hoping and trying—even fighting—to survive, to being willing to risk all to gain all since I am, after all, entitled. I deserve it! Compelled by a core belief of entitlement, I cannot help but be self-absorbed into something that I cannot manage on my own.
For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. James 3:16
BELIEVE Assess and Challenge Ambivalence
FREEdom: Freedom in God versus MEdom: Freedom from God
Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” John 5:6
Ambivalence can offer resistance to continuing a pattern of behavior when I want to avoid painful consequence, or resistance to recovery when when the pain subsides and I remember the pleasure while forgetting the pain. Healthy ambivalence accurately assesses gain and loss, measuring benefit (reward and pleasure) against consequence (risk and pain), promoting enough discrepancy as motivation for something authentically better.
If your life is a house and your preoccupation with dissatisfaction—addiction to self—is the fire that out of control is burning down the house, at what point do you considering challenging your resistance to the change required to solve your problem? What will you do when it finally dawns on you that everything is on fire? What will you do when the fireman comes in to rescue you from the fire? Will you let go of it all and go with him to get well?
Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” John 5:14 (NLT)
COMMIT Take Action to Solve the Problem
Catch the Vision for a New Life Experience!
FREEdom from MEdom Project is an interactive online support resource to guide you along a pathway to receiving God’s best for your life—experiencing freedom from my preoccupation with dissatisfaction through transformative Christ-centered recovery. You will identify in reading the articles that there is a clear cognitive-behavioral approach to discovering Biblical truth concerning transformative recovery. Through interactive participation in FREEdom from MEdom Activities, you get to participate by way of recovery lessons and application challenges to assist your recovery.
Jesus modeled recovery: ADMIT – “I can do nothing on my own. BELIEF – I judge (have authority) as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because COMMIT – I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.” John 5:30 (NLT)
Do you want God’s best, or are you settling for yours? It is time to It is time to act to begin solving your problem. your problem. Accept the hand of the fireman and follow His lead.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (into God’s best His way), and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
“The world of addiction is a world of taking and being taken; the world of recovery is a world of giving and being given. In which world do we choose to live?” —from Narcotics Anonymous, Just for Today
Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But when God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. Titus 3:3-7 (NLT)
* Pastor Fran Leeman, LifeSpring Community Church, Plainfield (Chicago), Illinois, commented on A Man After God’s Own Heart about King David’s addictions, and Are You Numb to the Glory? Rich Wilkerson, Senior Pastor, Trinity Church, Miami, Florida commented on the article, JACKPOT!! (Where is God when Evil Wins?), Pastor Aaron Koehler, Pastor, Community Christian Church, Yorkville (Chicago), Illinois commented on the article, When the Levee Breaks (Restoring Trust)
NOTE: References made on this website to individuals are done so with their permission to publish their stories. Their names have been changed, including the quotes given the names of U.S. presidents.