Several years ago, I remember how I first reacted after learning the controversial news that there was a possible link between the overexposure to aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease.
As it turns out, further studies have not been able to confirm this link.
At the time, however, the news grabbed my attention. My doc had told me that I was already at risk for this disease (because I suffered a severe concussion as a young child). So once I understood the potential risks, it was relatively easy to cut out aluminum.
I didn’t care how well it kept my body odor from stinking up the joint, there would be no more deodorant containing aluminum for me.
Oh, that it would be that easy when it comes to stopping an addiction! But anyone who has ever battled an addiction knows that it’s never that easy.
One of the maddening things I’ve noticed about addictions is that we can’t seem to resist them, even when we know that they threaten to ruin us (and others). And it’s one reason why we absolutely need Divine help.
Over the years, I’ve noticed something else. Most of us start seeking God’s help for an addiction by asking Him to take away the urges. But what if that’s not the best place to start?
When the urges come, what if it’s best to start with the simple, yet profound, recognition that we can’t resist them without Him (John 15:5)?
Humbly surrendering to God and admitting our own powerlessness as a starting point keeps us from going down the well-worn path of trying to resist our addictions in our own strength. Ironically, the more we struggle to break free on our own, the more entangled we become. But as we stop trying so hard and accept that, in and of ourselves, we lack the power to resist—well, that is when we start to tap into God’s power to resist.
Perhaps this is what Paul was getting at in his own life when he wrote: “I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (Romans 7:19).
When we come to this point of appropriate helplessness, that’s when we see how much we really need Jesus’ help (Romans 7:25). Or, as Paul would put it in another place, it is when we acknowledge our weaknesses that Jesus is strongest in our lives (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
There is much more involved in walking away from an addiction, but we won’t get very far until we first surrender.