Jay's eDevotionals  

Jan 22

Helping Friends Break the Cruel Chains of Addiction

Eddie Olszewski was chained to a destructive addiction linked to alcohol and drugs. He courageously shared his story with his supportive Church family because the body of Christ is not a hiding place, but a helping place. Eddie chronicled how the chains formed when he took his first beer on a summer night at the age of 16. The barb gently slid into his spirit.  He was soon hooked to a cruel chain that would try to pull him down and destroy him.

Eddie sat on the front row of his mother’s alcohol addiction, which led to her suicide. Instead of learning from his mom’s tragic demise, he accelerated his addiction through binge drinking. He used his access to prescription drugs as a pharmacist to escape his pain through pharmaceuticals. Eddie hit rock-bottom when he was arrested for forging hundreds of prescriptions. His professional and personal life crashed. He faced the possibility of seven years in prison. In the middle of his mess, God arrived. He was sentenced to rehabilitation instead of prison. Some compassionate friends helped Eddie connect to the liberating message of Christ’s love and he exchanged ineffective religion for a transforming relationship with Jesus.
 
I asked Eddie to provide the steps he took to release the chains of his addiction.  Let’s learn his pathway to freedom:

1. He completely surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
2. He began to reprogram his flawed thinking with God’s Word. He read addiction recovery material and implemented those instructions.
3. He sought support from helpful people. Eddie linked himself to the body of Christ. He attended many support groups, including Celebrate Recovery and AA meetings. He eliminated friendships that would pull him back into addiction and focused on the people who were not “playing games but who truly wanted to walk with God and take a new path of sobriety.”
4. Eddie made a daily decision that he would NOT DRINK. For the first nine months, he thought about drinking all day. Yet, he resolved to refuse this toxic poison that was killing him. After nine months, he realized that he had gone an entire day without thinking about alcohol. He knew that he had crossed over into a new territory. He was now winning the daily battle, which would enable him to win the war.

Addiction has grown into an ugly elephant which dominates our national living room. The media bombards us with the deception that you must use alcohol to conform to our social standards. In contrast, God provides a warning that alcohol is like a poisonous snake. “Who has woe and sorrow; who has wounds without cause and redness of eyes – those who linger long over wine. It goes down smooth, but in the end it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper! Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind will utter perverse things. You will cry, ‘They beat me, but I did not know it! When I awake I will seek another drink.’” (Proverbs 23:29-35)
 
Follow God’s protective advice and avoid the chains of addiction by not playing with a poisonous snake. Alcohol is a subtle enemy. We all know that it’s not a sin to take a drink; but, it is a sin to let the drink take you. Wisdom calls us to avoid the chain-forming venom of the viper by not taking the drink.
 
As the body of Christ, we compassionately liberate captives. We plan to start a Celebrate Recovery program. In the meantime, extract yourself from self-defeating addictions by following Eddie’s prescription. Then choose to serve as a compassionate friend who helps set the captives free!   

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