Prior to being saved, I was a pack a day smoker for roughly ten years. But that’s not all. I was also an all-day-everyday marijuana smoker for equally as long. On top of that I was addicted to pornography and booze. While I didn’t start drinking until I was 16, I got introduced to the other vices around the age of 12. At one period of my life, I would become a regular user of cocaine, Oxycontin, and other pills.
So, the long and the short of it is, I have a little bit of history and experience with addiction myself!
The following information will be notes that I’ve adapted from a book that the Lord led me to through divine providence, immediately predicating my salvation. The title of the book is “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking” by Allen Carr, which contains principles universal to all addictions, and by understanding them, makes letting these deceptive sins go, much easier.
I also HIGHLY recommend the book “Addictions: A Banquet in The Grave” by Edward T. Welch as it goes much more in depth into the spiritual and biblical side of addiction.
The premise of Carr’s book is essentially as follows:
1) No pressure to quit.
2) Not going to bombard reader with health, financial, and other warnings that they already know.
3) Don’t stop using until you’ve finished the entire book. And if upon completion you don’t feel ready, no problem.
4) The key to becoming a happy non-user is to be able to properly understand and deal with the psychological, as well as physical mechanics of addiction, which, if not addressed, will ultimately lead to a sense of deprivation that will result in relapse.
So the below notes I’ve adapted to sin in general, which can be applied to any addiction. If any of the concepts seem unclear feel free to contact me, otherwise I’d recommend just read the book, which will definitely drive the point home.
The Easy Way
EASY WAY 1
-There is no such thing as ONE cigarette (or other sin), there is no such thing as cutting back as addiction cannot be controlled, soon doing full-time. It’s a cycle which must be repeated indefinitely, unless ended indefinitely. (Genesis 19:26)
-Those who only service their habit only on a limited basis are actually worse off than the “chain” or serial user, because they reinforce the illusion that smoking [or other sin] is enjoyable, as we mistake ending the state of “needing” (i.e. withdrawal), as fulfillment. It’s like wearing tight shoes for the pleasure of taking them off. (Hebrews 3:13)
-Smokers [or other sin/habit] smoke [etc.] to feel like non-smokers, or in other words to feel normal by taking away the feeling that only smokers [etc.] have, as its caused by the cigarette [etc.].
-The cigarette [or other said sin] ONLY appears desirable when we aren’t smoking [doing it]; Immediately regret; ALWAYS!!!
-Because we associate the cigarette [or other sin] as relieving withdrawal pangs (stress) after we quit, and happen to be stressed (for any reason even if irrelevant), we may subconsciously think the cigarette/sin would help/complete us/etc. but this is an ILLUSION
-Essential to remove the belief helplessly/hopelessly dependent on [this sin or that sin] or it will become reality!
-Even with easyway, responding correctly to these ‘triggers’ is the most challenging part and can make the difference between finding stopping an ‘OKAY’ experience or a wonderful/life changing one
EASY WAY 2 (reprogram brain)
-If smokers [or other addict/sin] using willpower manage to abstain for a few days, the physical component of the ‘pang’ disappears. It is the psychological triggers that cause the difficulty.
-The smoker [etc.] has become accustom to relieving his need to smoke [etc.] at certain times of the day and while doing certain things (even during certain emotional times), over time these associations CAN become quite strong. (this is often a major cause of relapse if not properly ‘worked out’, and the part that takes roughly 3 weeks to ‘un-learn’.
-It is essential to counter-condition your response in these situations otherwise you will interpret your conditioned (from brainwashing/voice of satan) “I want a cigarette [etc]” as a fact and then will feel deprived because you can’t have one.
-realize “I’m not being deprived of anything, I am feeling this way because of the sub-conscious associations caused from the addiction (the cigarette is what creates the perceived ‘need’ to smoke), Will not make any occasion more enjoyable. It will do nothing but create the void of addiction which is a chain reaction and must be continued indefinitely, unless I say no and choose to end it indefinitely.
EASY WAY 3
-It is essential to counter this conditioning from start and to do so effectively must replace fear and confusion caused by brainwashing/voice of satan with hard facts.
-realize “I don’t need to [smoke], and I don’t need to torture myself by regarding the [cigarette] as some sort of crutch or friend when I know for a fact it’s neither.”
-Smokers [or other addict] go for hours without smoking all the time and it doesn’t bother them at all, only when they feel like they are being deprived/aren’t allowed to [smoke]
-Willpower quitters (VS removing desire by seeing it for what it really is which makes stopping EASY) frequently doubt their decision to quit because they still suffer from the ILLUSION that they enjoyed [this sin or that sin], and this causes them a sense of deprivation which leads to failure.
-How to recondition fast? Tell self don’t need to [commit this sin or that sin] anymore, and allow self to be happy; it will take easily because it’s true.
-Ask self “do I really want to pay an assassin to kill and torture me with a slow horrible death, furthermore making me his slave?” How am I going to be able to be bold in my faith and stand up for what’s right/what I believe in (especially in the face of persecution) if I allow these sins/perceived temporal pleasures to reign over me?
-The challenge of the [committer of this sin or that sin] is to see through the brainwashing which results from (and must exist to condone) the “momentary pleasure” as an all-purpose stress-reliever/stimulant/relaxant/REWARD/comforter/friend, and to see it for what it really is: a drug delivery device, much like the heroin addicts hypodermic syringe. (and the devices of satan to actually kill us spiritually/physically)
-Quitting the sin is the death not of a friend but a terrible enemy
-Must use facts to see through the confusion/fear/doubt created to keep us trapped by the enemy (sin/satan)
-When we realize where the confusion, mental attacks, etc, is coming from.. we can say “away with you Satan, in the name of Jesus”, and Satan and his attackers must flee. Being aware of these attacks and who they are from, at the time it’s happening in our lives, is one of the most important things we need to learn.
-Accept the withdrawal pangs (psychological or physical), remember to breathe/pray/be mindful/meditate on the Word of God and these truths
-Physical nicotine [or other sin] withdrawal pangs is most accurately likened to hunger, there is no pain, and it’s a barely noticeable feeling, which is EASY to ignore and overcome once we understand where we stand, we only feel irritated and depressed when we feel like we’re depriving ourselves of our crutch/friend.
-Instead of feeling fearful and anxious about pangs, embrace them. Say to self “I know what this is, it’s the little monster (chemical addiction) or big monster (psychological factor) DYING. (it loses power over us as we refuse to serve it”
-Remember to think long term, the prize at the end (i.e. heaven with God for those who endure) the trials and temptations are only temporary and exist to strengthen/test us/build character
(Matthew 24:13, James 1:2-5)
-Abandon the ridiculous concept of smoking [or other said sin] being pleasurable for it’s own sake. Even with those that seem to be in the moment, i.e. like eating junkfood; we must realize that the sin is only pleasurable for a SEASON (Hebrews 11:25), then we feel spiritually guilty/unwell as well as physically and often emotionally unwell. (Philippians 3:18-9)
-Marijuana smoking [or other sin] works in same sinister way as the smoking (nicotine) trap, only even more subtle because this DRUG actually gets you high [or tastes/feels good] so it has a PERCEIVED benefit (unlike cigarettes)
-same drug addiction/un-remitting slavery/fears etc. no matter what form of sin
-Cannot be controlled/moderated (tolerance=need more over time, Matthew 6:24, sin leads to more sin/eventually doesn’t satisfy)
-other normal/healthy people do fine without
-EASYWAY METHOD (identify, clarify/dont accept as fact, rejoice for the many warranted reasons)
HOW TO EMPLOY EASYWAY METHOD
(Watch your thoughts (1 Peter 4:7, Luke 21:36, 1 Peter 5:8-9), be ready for the pangs, when they come, identify whether its the psychological component (~3 weeks) or physical (~3days), don’t accept it as fact, remind yourself of the truth; rejoice for the many warranted reasons)
PROS OF QUITING (list out the pros & cons)
-Right with God/Spiritual affairs (allowing sin causes extreme guilt/depression)
(will no longer be a stumbling block to others/our bodies aren’t are own/God’s temple)
(Romans 14:21, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20; Philippians 2:12-8)
-Free of slavery (being servant to that particular sin as it rules mind)
-not stink/be fat etc./social despisement
-not feel guilty/shame (spiritual or from fellow man)
-free of fear (getting low; not having supplies to feed this or that sin)
-re-gain confidence/courage (not feel helpless/weak)
-Able to run/adventure/be fit/diet & health conscious
-re-gain normal taste/smell (nasal breathing-no allergies)
-general health immediate & long term
-one less distraction
-removes high/low cycle of addiction/sin
-less spirit quenched/not at enmity with God
-will naturally seek God more
-less mindless action
-Arteries, heart, lungs, circulation, psoriasis, cancer, tonsil stones etc.
-clear mind, quickened, sober, not clouded/slowed
-more peace from presence of God, less chemicals, more oxygen in blood
-destroys the idolatry which results from sin/addiction
-less paranoia (marijuana, but also true of sin in general)
-no more withdrawal
-less munchies (marijuana)
-free of legal worries (marijuana)
-job interviews etc (marijuana)
A Mnemonic Device
The following comes from a book called “The Small Book” on alcoholism by Jack Trimpey, which can also be applied to fighting any sin/addiction:
Enemy Voice Recognition.
Accuse that voice of malice.
Self worth & control reminders (who we are, and the power we have in Christ).
Treasure your sobriety (clear conscience knowing you’ve obeyed Christ, are walking well pleasing in his sight, have done all to stand).