In our society today, the word “addiction” generally carries a negative connotation, along with the understanding that potential harm can come from being addicted. In theory, and unfortunately in most circumstances, that’s true. But what if there was an addiction that could truly change your life so that no matter how much the addiction grew, it could give you a great life and not a ruined one? Our heart’s desire is to help you understand that while an addiction can be devastating, it also can be one of the best things that has ever happened to you.
Please give us an opportunity to share with you our experience with addiction and the turmoil it brings, as well as the fact that not all addictions are bad for you. In this booklet, we’ll describe the hurt that addiction can and will cause, as well as the healing that can come by embracing the biblical perspective on being addicted.
—Frank and Kelly McCann
If you’ve decided to pick up this booklet and read it, maybe addiction has personally affected your life or you know someone who is addicted (a family member, friend, co-worker). You may be thinking, I need help and I’ve tried everything or this person I know needs help and I want to know how to help him/her. On the other hand, maybe the mere statement on the front cover has piqued your curiosity to the point that you’re thinking, I need to read that! Either way, we’re glad you’ve decided to read this message.
Addictions can be overwhelming, to say the least. Along with the fact that the addicted person is not thinking soberly (or with a clear mind), many times legal consequences and personal heartbreak accompany addiction. The Bible says in Galatians 6:5–8 For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. We’re told in this portion of Scripture that all of us are responsible for the things we do, and if we decide to do
what we want to do, whether bad or good, there will be a terrible price to pay for the bad things and a wonderful blessing to receive for the good things. In addition, the people who have been taught “the Bible” as well as those who have experienced problems because of wrong choices should be willing to warn others against making poor choices.
So often, we do not fully understand the consequences of our actions until it’s too late. Or, if we’re on the outside looking
in and our loved ones are not listening to solid advice, the situation can become overwhelming. Know this: a person’s addiction is his or her choice, and in most cases nothing can be done by anyone other than the person who has the addiction, no matter how hard you or another person may try to become involved. The good news is that when the addiction is good, the scenario is the same.
As someone who‘s been addicted to alcohol in the past and now as a Christian who’s experienced victory over that addiction, I find myself understanding both sides of the coin, if you will. Let me explain: I was given my first sip of alcohol at about 9 years of age. By the time I was 14 years old, I was obtaining a case of beer on a weekly basis for me and my friends to share. During my whole teenage life and into my early adult life, on at least four days of the week I was drinking and on at least two of those days, normally Friday and Saturday, I was intoxicated to the point that I would be stumbling. This behavior led to many other problems during my addicted life and even, unfortunately, after. I was taught to fear nothing or no one and never allow anyone to have an “upper hand” on me. Along with a massive inferiority complex and a violent temper, needless to say, I had problems.
I became a Christian at 21, and even as a Christian I’ve struggled on and off with my addiction and lack of self control.
Our Pastor (Scott Wendal) has said many times that when it comes to learning life’s important lessons, “more is caught than taught,” and I believe it. Consider this: what if you’re taught to drink and be violent, and you’re constantly around drunkenness and violence? It became a double whammy,
if you will. Sadly, alcohol use and lack of self control are pretty common behavior for teenagers and adults nowadays, and there isn’t much that society can do to prevent it. In addition to that, alcohol use is acceptable in just about every country in the world, and it’s deemed all right by many leading medical professionals to consume alcohol on a daily basis.
Here’s just one thing the Bible has to say about alcohol use and its effects: Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging [or will cause violence]: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. The Bible contains many other verses that mention alcohol and a lack of self control.
I chose this specific verse because the accepted “glass of wine a day” standard seems to be the popular stance when it comes to overlooking the effect alcohol has on people.
I’d like to thank you for taking a moment to read this booklet. I’d also like to express that I’m sorry you may currently be experiencing this hardship of addiction, whether it’s your own or someone else’s issue. I myself have experienced both my own struggle with addiction as well as the impact of others’ addictions on my life. My first memory of the effects of addiction in my life was when I was 6 years old. My family suffered a great loss when my uncle was killed in a motorcycle accident on Thanksgiving night. My life was forever changed. I didn’t quite understand right away, but as the years went on and my mother sank deeper and deeper into her alcoholism, the normal childhood that most children would enjoy was not what I experienced. Many nights I watched my mother drink herself into a dangerous stupor. I never told anyone—not friends, family, or teachers. I did my best to hide my mother’s addiction. Truly, I didn’t understand it and wasn’t sure why things were the way they were. The coping mechanisms I developed in the midst of this home life situation led me into my own addictions. I started smoking pot at the age of 13, and this soon became a daily occurrence and my primary addiction. The habit escalated into harder drugs and alcohol from there. I hardly spent any time sober. Much like my mother, I was a functioning addict. I did well in school, had good jobs, and took care of my teenage responsibilities, but my life was unfulfilled, and my decisions became more and more reckless. I dropped out of high school, got my GED, and worked full time, continuing to indulge in my addictions. Most relationships in my life were broken ones, and I found that I was so unhappy inside. The final breaking point, it seemed, was a fistfight between my older sister and me that landed my 65-year-old aunt in the hospital with a broken leg. This was when God opened my eyes to show me just how bad my life and my choices had gotten. That night I asked Christ to be my Savior.
I wish I could say my life turned around right then and there, but that wouldn’t be true. It took quite a few more enlightening experiences to get my life on the right track. I was 19 when I had my first child. I was a single mom, and I was determined to give my child the best possible life. I gave up the drugs for the most part, but I continued to use alcohol socially. By the time I was 21, I was at the bar every weekend binge drinking, still functioning as a mother, working, and keeping my home. But the effects of the partying were taking their toll. I was unhappy and hung over when I was with my son, and by the time I was feeling better it was time for another week of work and time away from my son.
Slowly, I started to pull away from my “friends” and focus on my son and my work. Soon the Lord brought Frank into my life. After Frank and I got married and the ”bliss” wore off, the problems began. As Christians, we both knew we needed a close relationship with the Lord, and we weren’t including Him in our marriage. We began attending Valley Forge Baptist and started going to counseling with Pastor Lamar Eifert. It was during this time when God truly became a central part of my life, and my life started to change. When Valley Forge Baptist announced it was starting a Reformers Unanimous (RU) program, I knew that was where God would have me to serve Him. I’m so thankful for the program; God has used it to help me grow closer to Him, and He has provided me an opportunity to be with people who’ve shared in the same hardships of addictions that I have.
As Kelly and I share our hearts about the effects of addiction, you may be thinking by now, These two people are crazy. Maybe you’re thinking, That’s all no big deal…I’ve experienced the same and worse! You may know where we’re coming from then! We’ve both seen the struggles that come with addictions in our own lives and in the lives of our family members. It’s sad to know that many people we love dearly have permanent medical repercussions as a result of their addictions or have suffered a premature death because of a lifetime of addictive behavior. A continual heartbreak for us is that we currently know people (in and out of our family) who suffer from addiction. In contrast, we’ve experienced victories in our lives and seen victory in others’ lives. It may seem that what we’ve communicated thus far about addiction is nothing but doom and gloom. What about the addiction that was mentioned earlier, the one that can develop and give you a changed life?
Frank & Kelly:
One thing that’s true about addictions, no matter what they are, is that they change lives! An addiction can change your life, and most of the time it will impact or affect the lives of others around you. As you may already know, an addiction can be defined as “an unusual great interest in something or a need to do or have something.” So let’s look at how having that unusual great interest in something can be a help. Please keep in mind that this information is from a biblical perspective, and everything we’re about to share with you comes from God’s Word, the Bible! We’re told in 1 Corinthians 16:15-18 the following regarding addiction: I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) that ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth. I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such. The verses above tell us that people who
are addicted to helping others and are committed to the ministry of the saints are a help to themselves and to others. People with a heart for service don’t focus on their own needs and wants because they have the benefit of others in mind. We are told by the Apostle Paul that it refreshed his Spirit (gave him a fresh perspective for serving others)and he needed to remind people that being addicted to helping others pleases God. A person can be truly successful as a servant of others only through a relationship with Jesus Christ! Is it really that simple? YES!
We’re told in Galatians 5:16 to …Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? As Christians, we should have the “mind of Christ.” What is the mind of Christ, or His mindset? We’re told numerous times in the Gospels that Jesus did all things that pleased God always! Everything that Jesus did pleased God the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit! In Philippians 2:1-5 we’re told what the mind of Christ was and is to this day: If there be therefore any consolation [comfort] in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship [friendship] of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory [disagreements or self-serving attitudes]; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
What does all of this mean? How can this help me with my addiction or equip me to help others? We’re glad you asked. If you or anyone you know has ever been addicted to anything, you understand that simply stopping wrong behavior is very difficult, and for most people not possible. Any time you take something out of your life (or create a void), you have to replace it, because there’s a permanent need for that void to be satisfied. If you’re truly interested in leaving behind your old life, your habits, and most of all the problems that come from addictions, and you want to help others do the same, you have to consider what Jesus can do for you. Ask yourself, “Has my own way of doing things worked?” Why don’t you give God a shot at changing you and giving you the ability to help others? Take your addiction (whatever it may be) that’s hurting you and replace it with an addiction that can and will always help you and others around you. Be addicted to Christ!
Frank & Kelly:
Our last thought is this: Please understand that this is not an overnight process. It takes time to start applying godly principles in your life. Even if you’ve been a Christian for a long time, being addicted to Christ takes effort, willingness to make tough decisions, heartache (at times), and most of all, you will make mistakes, so be patient. We can tell you, this addiction is the best decision we’ve ever made in our lives, by far. The victory and joy outweigh the problems by leaps and bounds. Christian—remember what 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior, Jesus has something to say to you. In Luke 19:10 Jesus said to those who were questioning who He was and what His intentions were toward people: For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Keep reading to learn how you can know Jesus and be a “great” addict and not a “ruined” one. At Reformers Unanimous we are “addicted” to helping individuals find that there is actually an addiction that can help them and not hurt them. No matter what the addiction is, one thing is always true about them; addictions change lives!
1 Corinthians 16:15 tells us that people that truly follow Christ addict themselves to helping others. What’s your addiction? The information below can be the start of an addiction that can change your life for good, FOREVER!
Do you know for sure heaven will be your home?
First, realize God loves you.
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Second, realize that everyone is a sinner.
Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Third, realize sin has a price that must be paid.
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Fourth, realize Jesus Christ died to pay your price.
Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Finally, pray, ask Jesus Christ to be your Savior, and claim His promise of eternal life.
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”