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Don’t Do This!

You’re a counselor. A pastor. A parent. A residential addictions ministry leader. A church addictions ministry leader.

Someone is in your care. They are addicted. You are two weeks in and they’re doing well. You are pleased.

Then—they fall. What went wrong?

When folks get a couple weeks of freedom from addiction under their belts, two things tend to dominate their thinking:

  1. Their relationships. They “awake” after years of poisoning their brains with substances or images and suddenly realize how seriously they’ve damaged their marriage and family. The urge to “make it right” is consuming.
  2. Their finances. They have been lost in captivity for years. Now, overwhelmed by guilt from having squandered critical family resources, they believe they must get back to work immediately to begin repairing the financial wreckage left in their wakes.

These are both legitimate and important concerns. But if they are addressed before the person has established a solid foundation of freedom, the probability of a fall is high. I’ve seen it hundreds of times. When someone attempts to work on one or both of these issues before they find true and lasting freedom, the addiction will sabotage their efforts every time.

Resolving the addiction is foundational. Everything else must be built upon a firm and enduring freedom. Remove the foundation and everything else collapses.

So, whatever you do, please don’t allow people you are trying to help rush toward resolving relational or financial issues before resolving the addictive stronghold. This is a trap motivated by fear, but we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control (2 Tim. 1:7, ESV).

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