G4 Addiction

counseling
addiction

STEWARD all of my life for God’s glory

If the law of God can be summarized in a positive command, then we must end this study talking about how to “run to” God rather than merely how to “run from” sin. Life is not about what we avoid, but what pursue. How we run to God’s design for our life finds a unique expression in each person’s life. For this reason, you will do most of the writing in this chapter. It is your life that is being stewarded for God’s glory. The goal is that you would find things that you could give yourself to more ...

PERSEVERE in the new life and identity to which God has called me

Are you enjoying where you are? Even if you are not “there yet,” can you identify aspects of this part of your journey that make it significantly better than where you’ve been? Unless you can answer “yes” to this question and take delight in that answer, perseverance will be grueling.Striving without delighting is exhausting.One of the keys to persevering, especially with a struggle as recurrent as food-related struggles (with which we have daily interaction) is the ability to enjoy an imperfect ...

IMPLEMENT the new structure pervasively with humility and flexibility

As you reach this chapter the momentum of change has probably already fluctuated several times. Getting started was hard. It felt like an uphill battle. Old patterns of life didn’t want to let go of you and you didn’t want to admit they had a hold on you. Changing your eating patterns can feel like betraying a friend; breakups are never easy even when they’re good and needed.But honesty with self, others, and God has a great way of building momentum. You began to let go of the weights of sin tha ...

RESTRUCTURE MY LIFE to rely on God’s grace and Word to transform my life

This is probably the chapter you were looking for when you started this study. Thank you for your patience and perseverance in getting to this point. The foundation you’ve laid will help to ensure that your current efforts towards establishing a healthy relationship with food do not meet the same fate as previous well-intended efforts.You’ve probably known that in order to be a better steward of your body you needed more than food facts and an exercise plan. You needed to understand how you were ...

CONFESS TO THOSE AFFECTED for harm done and seek to make amends

You will only be as free as you are honest. Privacy kills change and fuels sin. Transparency kills sin and fuels change. Chances are this step may scare you as much as any step you have taken since the first one. But remember it is not nearly as scary to move forward as it is dangerous to go backward. Don’t allow fear to make you forgetful.When you are tempted to think, “This is not worth it. Too much is being asked of me. Why do I need to confess my struggle to others?” remind yourself of these ...

REPENT TO GOD for how my sin replaced and misrepresented Him

Should we really say, “God I am sorry my food portions were not ideal (either too large or too small)?” After all, haven’t we established that God does not have an ideal body type? Doesn’t the idea of repenting for a bad relationship with food wreak of legalism? Aren’t we getting dangerously close to holding ourselves to the standard of some fictitious “heavenly meal plan”?These questions push us to ask, “For what are you repenting?” As we will see, the most important part of repentance is never ...

UNDERSTAND the origin, motive, and history of my disordered eating

If only we could say that we eat because we’re hungry, and we stop when our hunger is satiated. But does anyone really eat that way? We eat for comfort. We abstain because of fear. We eat to socialize. We abstain to be liked. We eat to be entertained. We abstain to punish ourselves. With the briefest of reflections, we quickly realize we have a very complex and elaborate relationship with food. This complex relationship with food starts very young; actually, from infancy. Food is used to get a c ...

ACKNOWLEDGE the breadth and impact of my sin

Thank you for continuing on this journey. It takes courage to persevere in something that is difficult. You are to be commended for completing step one and beginning step two. In this step we will examine breadth and impact of our unhealthy relationship with food. In step one, we named our struggle, now we will examine it.It may be strange to realize that we all learned to start using food as both a self-soothing and punitive instrument as infants. Food is a primary tool in every parent’s motiva ...

ADMIT I have a struggle I cannot overcome without God

What is your goal for this study? We’ll discuss several self-defeating goals a bit later in this study, but for now let’s consider what a good, sustainable goal would be for this study:To develop and sustain a satisfying lifestyleThat seeks to honor God by being a good steward of the particular body He gave youBy relating to food in a healthy wayAnd recognizing that God gave us food to be enjoyable fuel“We need a new relationship with food altogether, seeing it as an aspect of life but not the r ...

True Betrayal - Step 9

Wed Aug 02 2017 (09:55)

STEWARD all of my life for God’s glory

It would be easy to want this study, like this season of your life, to just be over. But this study, like your life, has least one more chapter (and several appendices) left. When you put a great deal of effort, as you undoubtedly have, into getting past something, it can be easy to forget that there is something next. The fact that God has brought you to this point should be evidence enough that He has more in store for you and more to do through you. In Step 9 you will be doing most of the wri ...

True Betrayal - Step 8

Wed Aug 02 2017 (11:13)

PERSEVERE in the new life and identity to which God has called me

At this stage in the journey it can feel like scary relief not to be actively dealing with a problem or to be constantly taming powerful emotions. After a season being perpetually “on” guard, “on” the lookout, and having to be “on” top of things, it can be unsettling to be able to be “off.” That is what you should begin to experience more and more of in this step; becoming comfortable getting to be “off” again. Until we are comfortable being “off” duty, we are living in the hyper-vigilant effect ...

True Betrayal - Step 7

Wed Aug 02 2017 (24:38)

IDENTIFY GOALS that allow me to combat the impact of my suffering

To this point we have emphasized knowing facts, understanding impact, and processing well over “doing.” A spouse’s sexual sin creates a context of grief and trauma. These affects are often overlooked in the name of “figuring out what to do.” When this happens the offended spouse is left feeling like no one “gets it” and as if all actions are only Band-Aid fixes, moral manipulation, or shifting responsibility. Hopefully the road we have traveled has alleviated the fear of this step.But in this st ...

True Betrayal - Step 6

Wed Aug 02 2017 (26:11)

LEARN MY GOSPEL STORY by which God gives meaning to my experience

There is another step to take in your personal recovery before your focus shifts primarily towards the possibility of marital restoration (if desired and possible). By this point, the line between personal and marital restoration may feel blurred as one leads more naturally to the other. As you read this chapter, it is important to emphasize again that you are not looking for the “explanation of” or “way to make sense of” your spouse’s sin. Sin is illogical. Trying to make sense of it will keep ...

True Betrayal - Step 5

Wed Aug 02 2017 (10:24)

MOURN the wrongness of what happened and receive God’s comfort

Unpacking your suffering story was painful and exhausting. The temptation is now to want to whatever is “next” just to get you away from the pain. God is more gracious than to drive you that hard and that fast. God wants to care for you as a person and that involves knowing when you need rest and comfort more than “progress.” This is one of those times. Mourning is how we find rest in the midst of something painful and sad without living in denial or surrendering to cynicism. Having identified t ...

True Betrayal - Step 4

Wed Aug 02 2017 (18:41)

LEARN MY SUFFERING STORY which I use to make sense of my experience

Medical professionals who work in the area of chronic pain often differentiate between pain and suffering. Pain is the physical experience (i.e., a pinched nerve) that travels from nerve to nerve and registers in the brain. Pain can be treated medically. Suffering, however, is the sense of hopelessness or despair that attaches to pain. It does not travel via nerve endings, but is part of our immaterial mind (not our physical brain). Hence there is no medical treatment for suffering. That is a wo ...

True Betrayal - Step 3

Wed Aug 02 2017 (27:18)

UNDERSTAND the impact of my suffering

It is one thing to experience the impact of your suffering; it is another thing to understand the impact of your suffering. You have been experiencing the impact full force since the revelation of your spouse’s sexual sin and (likely) even before discovery you were wrestling to make sense of its impact without the central piece to the puzzle. In this chapter, we will begin to understand the connection between what happened and the changes in your life, emotions, and relationships.In this chapter ...

True Betrayal - Step 2

Wed Aug 02 2017 (22:26)

ACKNOWLEDGE the specific history and realness of my suffering

Chances are your imagination has been running wild. When we don’t know the facts about a bad situation, we have a tendency to fill in the blank with the worst possible details. More painful still, our imaginations have the capacity to create more possibilities than could have really happened, but because we don’t know the truth we emotionally react as if every hypothetical were the reality.During this time of “acknowledging the specific history and realness of your suffering,” you will likely be ...

True Betrayal - Step 1

Wed Aug 02 2017 (48:32)

PREPARE yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually to face your suffering

You were not ready for this… and you should not have to be. Being ready would have meant living in fear, resentment, or numbed denial. Being caught off guard and overwhelmed is the best possible and healthiest response to sexual sin by your spouse. That doesn’t lessen your pain but it should help alleviate some of the sense of shame and failure you may feel.In these early stages, you do not know if you know the whole truth and you don’t know how to discern when you will have learned everything y ...

False Love - Step 9

Tue Aug 01 2017 (08:20)

STEWARD all of my life for God’s glory

If the law of God can be summarized in a positive command, then we must end this study talking about how to “run to” God rather than merely how to “run from” sin. Life is not about what we avoid, but what we pursue. How we run to God’s design for our life finds a unique expression in each person’s life. For this reason, you will do most of the writing in this chapter. It is your life that is being stewarded for God’s glory. The goal is that you would find things that you could give yourself to m ...

False Love - Step 8

Tue Aug 01 2017 (11:45)

PERSEVERE in the new life and identity to which God has called me

Take a deep breath. You’re probably thinking, “I’m ready to be done with this study.” If you’re at Step 8, you have come a long way. You have made many sacrifices and opened your life to many more people than you ever thought you would. Hopefully, you are experiencing the restorative forgiveness of God in ways that are incredibly refreshing. Let me ask you this question, “What does it look like to continue to follow God from here?” Chances are that you’ve put so much energy into getting “here” t ...

False Love - Step 7

Tue Aug 01 2017 (09:09)

IMPLEMENT the new structure pervasively with humility and flexibility

As you reach this step the momentum of change has probably already fluctuated several times. Getting started was hard. It felt like an uphill battle. Sin didn’t want to let go of you and you didn’t want to admit it had a hold on you. Honesty with self, others, and God has a great way of building momentum. You began to let go of the weights of sin that clung to you and run free from secrets (Heb. 12:1). That phase is almost always exciting and you can almost feel guilty about the amount of relief ...

False Love - Step 6

Tue Aug 01 2017 (32:50)

RESTRUCTURE MY LIFE to rely on God’s grace and Word to transform my life.

To this point you have admitted, acknowledged, understood, repented, and confessed. Each of the previous steps are vital parts of the change process, but are incomplete to create a lifestyle where purity and honor are defining marks of your life and relationships. Each of the steps to this point have been about “putting off” sin (Eph 4:22) or changing how you think about your sin (Eph. 4:23) more than “putting on” God’s character (Eph. 4:24). Lasting change replaces what it rids and builds somet ...

False Love - Step 5

Tue Aug 01 2017 (19:01)

CONFESS TO THOSE AFFECTED for harm done and seek to make amends

When we looked at the development of sexual sin in Step 1, we said a major threshold was crossed when sexual sin goes public (moving from images or conversations with anonymous people to arousing interaction with a real, known person). The same is true in the destruction of sexual sin; a major threshold is crossed as sexual integrity goes public (moving from private dialogue with God to public confession with real, known people).If you have made it through the first four steps with integrity the ...

False Love - Step 4

Tue Aug 01 2017 (14:38)

REPENT TO GOD for how my sin replaced and misrepresented Him

You probably feel like your soul has been laid bare in the first three steps. You have looked at yourself, your behaviors, and your life as a whole in ways that you have likely resisted doing for a long time. In this chapter you are going to bring that honest self-awareness before God. You are not bringing Him something (by way of information) that He needs in order to act. You are placing yourself in a position to receive what He has already done on your behalf. If you presume upon God’s forgiv ...

False Love - Step 3

Tue Aug 01 2017 (24:48)

UNDERSTAND the origin, motive, and history of my sin

Why? Why? Why?!This is a vexing question. As soon as you say “because…” you run the risk of blame-shifting and we’ve already spoken to the dangers of this. But in the absence of a “because…” it sounds like you should just be able to “Stop it!” and if that were the case you wouldn’t be reading these materials.Part of this confusion begins with how we commonly view people. It is popular to think of ourselves as basically good people who apart from outside interference would not do bad things; act ...

False Love - Step 2

Tue Aug 01 2017 (16:01)

ACKNOWLEDGE the breadth and impact of my sin.

The last chapter was painful. Looking at “what” types of sexual win you struggle with is hard. This chapter will likely be equally uncomfortable as you examine the “extent” of those sins. Unless you acknowledge the breadth and impact of your sexual sin, your efforts at change will be limited to the most overt and recent sins. Omitting this step also results in rooting your efforts at change in the powerful emotions you feel (shame in a “bad” moment; relief or pride in a “good” moment) rather tha ...

False Love - Step 1

Tue Aug 01 2017 (43:56)

ADMIT I have a struggle I cannot overcome without God.

This is miserable. Whether you are picking up this material for yourself or to help a friend, you’ve probably tried to avoid this subject for a while. Although unpleasant, this material is vital. It is vital for you personally if you are caught in sexual sin, because you will never know lasting peace and joy while the leach of lust drains your life. It is vital for you as a friend, because sexual sin is reaching epidemic proportions in our culture and must be addressed if we are going to do “rel ...

Overcoming Codependency - Step 9

Tue Aug 01 2017 (03:23)

STEWARD all of my life for God’s glory

It would be easy to want this study, like this season of your life, to just be over. But this study, like your life, has at least one more chapter (and several appendices) left. When you put a great deal of effort, as you undoubtedly have, into getting past something, it can be easy to forget that there is something next. The fact that God has brought you to this point should be evidence enough that He has more in store for you and more to do through you. In this chapter you will be doing most o ...

Overcoming Codependency - Step 8

Tue Aug 01 2017 (07:21)

PERSEVERE in the new life and identity to which God has called me

New and normal are words that do not belong together. But that is precisely what step eight is all about, establishing a new normal. In steps 2-4, you looked at the things that created an unhealthy normal. In step 5, you grieved that these things were ever “normal” for you. In steps 6-7, you began to piece together a new, healthy normal. Now, in step 8, you will begin to rest in that new normal and allow it to solidify.Unfortunately, prolonged relational dysfunction created a way of life that ma ...

Overcoming Codependency - Step 7

Tue Aug 01 2017 (34:37)

IDENTIFY GOALS that allow me to combat the impact of my suffering

One of the biggest challenges in identifying goals for combatting the effects of codependency is to be active without accepting false guilt or distorting how you allocate responsibility for change again. It is easy to think if there is something I can do that would be more effective than what I have been doing, then if I had been doing it all along everything would be fine. In order to help you avoid this mindset, we will order the strategies for relating more healthily in a progression that bui ...

Overcoming Codependency - Step 6

Tue Aug 01 2017 (31:56)

LEARN MY GOSPEL STORY by which God gives meaning to my experience

When you experience major relational upheaval, it feels like the rest of life should be put on hold. Yet, so often, when we face addictive or abusive challenges in our relationships, life continues “as normal” because no one else knows what’s going on. This can be both disorienting and offensive. Doesn’t anyone care? Can’t anyone see? We feel hurt, angry, and alone.However, so far this study has primarily been a major deconstruction project; we have broken down your experience and its fallout in ...

Overcoming Codependency - Step 5

Tue Aug 01 2017 (18:39)

MOURN the wrongness of what happened and receive God’s comfort

It is likely that we have related codependently, not just with other people, but also with God. This is not meant to call into question our assurance of salvation, but to recognize the likelihood that we have:Served God in order to get leverage over him to do what we think needs to be done.Thrown our emotions at God in prayer more than had a genuine conversation with him.Tried to make God feel bad because we interpret our hardships as if he were being mean or insulting towards us.This chapter is ...

Overcoming Codependency - Step 4

Tue Aug 01 2017 (17:09)

LEARN MY SUFFERING STORY which I use to make sense of my experience

At several points in the study you have probably begun to question God, doubt Him, be angry at Him, or wonder if what you think about Him really makes any difference. We’ve brought many painful experiences to mind. When we look at them, we naturally ask, “Where does ‘the buck’ stop?” It stops with God (or whoever, whatever is in control… if anything is).It has been said that animals divide between herbivores (those eating plants) and carnivores (those eating meat), but that humans are verbivores ...

Overcoming Codependency - Step 3

Tue Aug 01 2017 (27:19)

UNDERSTAND the impact of my suffering

After acknowledging the history and realness of our relational unhealthiness, we need to understand the impact of these experiences on our life. Unless we understand the impact, we will be forced to “just try to do better;” which is often what leads us to the dilemma of taking responsibility for things that don’t belong to us and, hence, leads us to be controlling.But the other rebuttal is, “Looking at the impact will only make me feel worse.” This is partially true, and why it is highly recomme ...

Overcoming Codependency - Step 2

Tue Aug 01 2017 (20:59)

ACKNOWLEDGE the specific history and realness of my suffering

There is nothing “fun” or enjoyable about this step. However, it is a good and needed part of the process. But do not allow these first two statements to cause you to think, “Alright then, let’s get it over with as quickly as possible.” That would be a mistake that would likely result in you missing the key information that is most important to glean from this step.Your goal in this step is to identify the unhealthy patterns of relationship that have developed in your life. Often we miss the pat ...

Overcoming Codependency - Step 1

Tue Aug 01 2017 (23:22)

PREPARE yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually to face your suffering

This may be the most confusing seminar topic ever. Is codependency really a thing? After all, no one can agree on a definition (this is true). Besides, the problem isn’t me; it’s the people who are hurting me or are destroying their life with addiction. You’re not going to tell me this is my fault, are you? Wait a minute, no one in my life is an addict and I’m not married, can I be codependent? These are just a few of challenges we will have to navigate on our journey. We will define the concept ...

Overcoming Addiction - Step 9

Tue Aug 01 2017 (07:48)

STEWARD all of my life for God’s glory

If the law of God can be summarized in a positive command, then we must end this study talking about how to “run to” God rather than merely how to “run from” sin. Life is not about what we avoid, but what we pursue. How we run to God’s design for our life finds a unique expression in each person’s life. For this reason, you will do most of the writing in this chapter. It is your life that is being stewarded for God’s glory. The goal is that you would find things that you could give yourself to m ...

Overcoming Addiction - Step 8

Tue Aug 01 2017 (08:49)

PERSEVERE in the new life and identity to which God has called me

Are you enjoying where you are? Even if you are not “there yet,” can you identify aspects of this part of your journey that make it significantly better than where you’ve been? Unless you can answer “yes” to this question and take delight in that answer, perseverance will be grueling.Striving without delighting is exhausting.One of the keys to persevering, especially with a struggle as recurrent as an addiction, is the ability to enjoy an imperfect, in-process life. God does not just delight in ...

Overcoming Addiction - Step 7

Tue Aug 01 2017 (11:39)

IMPLEMENT the new structure pervasively with humility and flexibility

As you reach this chapter, the momentum of change has probably already fluctuated several times. Getting started was hard. It felt like an uphill battle. Old patterns of life didn’t want to let go of you and you didn’t want to admit they had a hold on you. Changing your addictive lifestyle can feel like betraying a friend; breakups are never easy even when they’re good and needed.But honesty with self, others, and God has a great way of building momentum. You began to let go of the weights of si ...

Overcoming Addiction - Step 6

Tue Aug 01 2017 (27:14)

RESTRUCTURE MY LIFE to rely on God’s grace and Word to transform my life

This is probably the chapter you were looking for when you started this study. Thank you for your patience and perseverance in getting to this point. The foundation you’ve laid will help to ensure that your current efforts towards sobriety do not meet the same fate as previous, well-intended efforts.You’ve probably known that living an enjoyable sober life required more than insight and remorse. But you needed to see more clearly how your AoD of choice was being asked to fulfill a bigger role th ...

Overcoming Addiction - Step 5

Tue Aug 01 2017 (21:08)

CONFESS TO THOSE AFFECTED for harm done and seek to make amends

You will only be as free as you are honest. Privacy kills change and fuels sin. Transparency kills sin and fuels change. Chances are this step may scare you as much as any step you have taken since the first one. But remember it is not nearly as scary to move forward as it is dangerous to go backward. Don’t allow fear to make you forgetful.When you are tempted to think, “This is not worth it. Too much is being asked of me. Why do I need to confess my addiction to others?” remind yourself of thes ...

Overcoming Addiction - Step 4

Tue Aug 01 2017 (16:55)

REPENT TO GOD for how my sin replaced and misrepresented Him

You probably feel like your soul has been laid bare in the first three steps. You have looked at yourself, your behaviors, and your life as a whole in ways that you have probably resisted for a long time. In this chapter you are going to bring that honest self-awareness before God. You are not bringing Him something (by way of information) that He needs in order to act. You are placing yourself in a position to receive what He has already done on your behalf.If you presume upon God’s forgiveness ...

Overcoming Addiction - Step 3

Tue Aug 01 2017 (14:26)

UNDERSTAND the origin, motive, and history of my addiction

It is unfortunate that this step will likely not be as satisfying as we would like. We often fall into the trap of thinking that if we understand the “why” better, then the “what” will be easy, or at least easier. There are at least two realities that disrupt this seemingly sound logic. First, sin is not rational, so it refuses to play by our rules of logic. Sin is not a simple behavior that operates according to single-variable motivations. Rather sin is a condition and a predator. Sin has its ...

Overcoming Addiction - Step 2

Tue Aug 01 2017 (25:30)

ACKNOWLEDGE the breadth and impact of my addiction

Thank you for continuing on this journey. It takes courage to persevere in something that is difficult. You are to be commended for completing step one and beginning step two. In this step we will examine the breadth and impact of our addictions. In step one, we named our struggle; now we will examine it.As we consider the impact of your struggle, I want to ask you to wrestle with a difficult question. Be as honest and objective as you can. One of the primary goals of this chapter is to help you ...

Overcoming Addiction - Step 1

Tue Aug 01 2017 (31:04)

ADMIT I have a struggle I cannot overcome without God

Thank you for the courage and humility represented in your willingness to engage this material. Doubtless, if alcohol or drugs have disrupted your life and hurt those you love, many people have tried to force you to change and make you admit the problem. That is a hard context in which to explore the possibility of change. That is why it is important for you to know that every decision in this study is yours to make or not make. Like it or not, for better or worse, the direction of your life is ...