We continue the Pray A to Z series, and O is for Overcoming Addiction. You can get caught up on the entire series here. You can download the free accompanying prayer cards here.
Today’s post comes from Bible teacher, speaker, and author of the new Bible study Red Hot Faith, Cindy Bultema.
Life wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.
As a red-haired, freckle-faced little girl, my childhood dreams included being a cheerleader, driving a fancy car, and wearing sparkly things.
However, my story did not progress as I had planned. My young adult reality would have made for a depressing TV movie: bullying, betrayal, and rejection. As I sought to fill my emptiness and loneliness, I sampled everything I could from the “smorgasbord of life.”
Food. Shopping. Alcohol. Men. Drugs.
Before long, I found myself as a single mom. Used. Abused. Alone.
Not knowing how to calm the caverns inside of me, I turned to outside remedies again. The bar became my nightly hang-out, and alcohol and cocaine use quickly consumed my life.
On the outside, everything looked fine. I worked hard and loved my 2 year old son. But on the inside, I was still empty and hurting.
In the midst of my mess, I reached out to a friend’s mom and shared the web of deception I had created, and an intervention was arranged. Compassionate Christian women held yellow pads filled with strategies. Go to AA. Pursue inpatient therapy. Tell my parents.
None of the proposals appealed to me. I left the gathering with a fresh sense of self-confidence. “I can do this. I don’t need their help. Everything is under control.”
I discovered willpower alone is not enough to overcome the allure of addiction.
Soon the cravings were overwhelming, and I caved in to my temptations. Before long I was back in the bar making the same self-defeating choices. “I’ll try again tomorrow” became my evening tune.
Two weeks later I accidentally overdosed on cocaine.
After driving myself to a med center, my parents were quickly notified. One concerned nurse informed my mom she should say her goodbyes to me, her only daughter. The doctor’s prediction as they rushed me by ambulance to a local hospital: I would be dead on arrival.
Thankfully I didn’t die like they expected (whew!), and the cocaine overdose became my “bottom.” Out of desperation and a determination to survive, once again, I asked my friend’s mom for help. This patient woman shared with me four simple words that have changed my life—
“Cindy, you need Jesus.”
And on that day, freshly discharged from the hospital, I cried out to Jesus and asked Him to enter into my life and save me.
Can I just say – best decision ever? Life has never been the same.
Willpower alone is not enough to overcome the allure of addiction – but Jesus is.
Jesus alone can rescue, redeem, deliver, restore, and open up prison gates and set any captive free. There is no one too far gone from His redemptive reach.
Now I wish I could share it’s been an easy, carefree journey of sobriety and freedom. Not so much.
Although Jesus delivered me from my pit of despair, I’ve also had to do my part, including:
- Pursuing a daily relationship with Jesus Christ through His Word and prayer.
- Renewing my mind with Truth.
- Leaving behind the “old” life, involving: letting go of any alcohol/drug related friendships, and avoiding tempting environments.
- Stopping secrets and lies, exposing all areas of my life to His Light.
- Getting to the “root” of the problem through Godly counseling.
- Asking for ongoing accountability.
- Discovering and practicing healthy new habits.
- Praying! I ask God daily to protect me from temptation, replace my cravings with His satisfaction, surround me with women to build me up, and fill my heart and mind with Truth.
The good news? This year I celebrated 18 years of sobriety. Yay, God!
Please know I’m not a trained therapist, just an ordinary girl transformed by an extraordinary God. There isn’t a day I don’t invite Jesus to do His powerful work in my life. I’m desperate for Him! But I must show up to do my part as well. Life’s worth it. Jesus is worth it!
How about you, friend?
If you’ve been searching for something to fill the emptiness and find yourself ensnared by the lure of addiction, please remember, willpower alone is not enough to set you free.
Sweet friend, you need Jesus. Please don’t wait another day.
With nearly 20 years of ministry experience, Cindy is a popular women’s speaker, author, and Bible teacher. But don’t let her cheerful smile fool you—Cindy has endured single parenting, overcome bondage to addiction, and survived tragic loss. Cindy’s Bible study, Red Hot Faith was released in July 2014. Cindy lives in Michigan with her husband and their four kids. Most days you can find Cindy walking her beagle Rocky, attending one of her boys’ hockey games, or serving hot lunch at her kids’ school. Visit Cindy at www.cindybultema.com.
Pull out your O card:
- Write down names of those you know who are struggling with addiction of any type.
- Pray for them to be surrounded with people who will speak the truth in love.
Pray for them to have courage to seek professional help.
- Pray they will know the personal and deep love of Christ.
- Pray they will not be held hostage to shame, but will know the freeing power of God’s forgiveness and the forgiveness of those they’ve wounded.
[tweetherder] Willpower alone isn’t enough to overcome the allure of addiction but Jesus is. @CindyBultema #PrayAtoZ[/tweetherder]
[tweetherder]Author @CindyBultema shares her story of Overcoming #Addiction as we #PrayAtoZ[/tweetherder]
[tweetherder]#PrayAtoZ for your community. O is for Overcoming Addiction. One story here:[/tweetherder]
[tweetherder]How can we pray for those caught in #addiction? One woman’s story here. #PrayAtoZ[/tweetherder]
Thank you for sharing your story. You are so right on- willpower will never be enough.