The enemy hates us and wants to steal, kill and destroy us in any way he can. He knows our weaknesses, weak spots, fears, triggers, mindset, thoughts, feelings, breaking points and preys on them every second of the day. Addiction can take over your life. Beware!

Addictive Behaviors

Opioid, cocaine, nicotine, marijuana, alcohol, sex, porn, shopping, spending, gambling, smartphone, gaming, work, internet, social media, exercise, food, overeating and lying are just some of the addictive behaviors people are facing today.

When growing-up and asked, “What do you want to be when you grow-up?” No one says, “I want to be addicted to …” Nor wakes up one morning thinking, “Well today I think I’m going to become addicted to… Oh no!

Why people engage in addictive behaviors?

In my opinion, some people engage in addictive behaviors (legal and illegal) because of peer pressure, to fit in, curiosity, a challenge, quick relief, get away from reality, fear, stress relief, pain relief, bored, ignorance, comfort, feel good/happy, enjoyment, thrill, recreation, and for other complex reasons, to include genetics. Unfortunately, some people get hooked. Then there are activities that are part of our daily living that can get out of hand and become excessive due to lack of will power, self-discipline, self-control and moderation.

When you get hooked, you want more and more of it until it develops into an actual addiction. This is when you feel like you can’t live without it, you can’t function without it, it takes over your life and totally consumes and controls you.

How do you feel when you have an addiction?

Depending on the type of addiction, you might feel ashamed, start hiding, lying, stealing, feel stressed, depressed, tense, irritable, anxious, withdrawn, easily offended, always on the defensive, on edge, act out, can’t think straight, thoughts are distorted, can’t rationalize, not listening to anyone, and in extreme cases contemplate suicide or kill. The truth is, you are no longer you, you’ve lost control of you. You don’t care about adverse consequences, even when costly and detrimental to your health and relationships. You live in the moment and for the moment.

Deb’s Story…

Overeating food I really, really enjoy

Well, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my overeating habit regarding food I really, really enjoy (i.e., carrot cake, toasted coconut donut, nutty coconut ice cream, caramel popcorn with nuts, candy bars, chips). I have to make a conscious effort to be mindful, exercise a lot of self-control and talk myself out of overeating what I enjoy.

If it wasn’t because of my metabolism (which has slowed down over the years) and exercising my entire adult life (I exercise because I love to eat), only God knows what size I’d be today. I’ve had two overeating incidents, one in 2017 and the other one recently that became unhealthy. I suffered the consequences and had to regain control.

I’m sharing these two personal experiences with you because God told me to. For the past three weeks, people have been sharing with me their overeating struggles and this was my confirmation that I needed to share my story with you. I know there are people struggling with the same thing and with other things. Please know, you’re not alone. The struggle is real!

Things got so out of control…

Friday nights while watching Dr. Walter Pearson, Jr. (Pastor), I’d eat a box of the most delicious caramel popcorn with peanuts, either regular size or family size, it didn’t matter. By the time the sermon was done, the box was empty. I looked forward to enjoying my Friday night treat.

Then one Saturday night when I was getting ready to watch Dr. Charles Stanley (Pastor), I remembered I had a box of popcorn in the kitchen and ate it while watching. Now, it went from one box a week to two. When I’d go to Walmart, I’d buy eight boxes to last the month but instead I was eating popcorn during the week.

My friends knew how much I enjoyed eating this popcorn so they started gifting it to me. Now I’m eating popcorn daily, sometimes two boxes/bags a day. I’d sit down to watch whatever on the television, eating popcorn. Well, things got so out of control that my husband said to me, “Debbie, don’t you think you’re eating too much popcorn?” I was like, “Okay?” And oh by the way, I was also snacking on candy bars and chips. Totally out of control!

I lost my tooth, my time and my money

So, one day while eating the popcorn, I felt a tingling in my teeth. Every time I ate popcorn, there was the tingling which got progressively worse, intolerable. I could not take the discomfort any longer and on October 25, 2017, I went to see my dentist.

I thought I was only going to get a filling, not a big deal, and get right back to enjoying my favorite snack. Well, that didn’t happen. I told my dentist everything. After she examined me she told me that I had to lay off the popcorn and that I needed a filling and a crown.

I was in shock, with an attitude. I was like, “What! Are you telling me I can’t eat any more popcorn? Why do I need to get a crown? Why can’t you do another filling?” My dentist calmly told me to not eat popcorn until everything was done. She explained that the tooth was beyond a filling and needed a cap and it was up to me. I told her I needed  a moment to think.

I could not believe this was happening. I’m getting a filling, losing a tooth and can’t eat popcorn. Whoa! I was very upset. Anyway, I got the filling and the temporary crown that same day and the permanent crown on November 8, 2017.

I had to turn it over to God

Unfortunately for me, I still had boxes of popcorn in the house and I felt I had to eat them. I tried to cut back but that didn’t work. My sad truth was, I was addicted to popcorn! Then I started thinking, “I already lost one tooth. If I don’t stop eating this popcorn, I might lose another tooth. No way! I got to stop!” As Ma use to say, “Too much of anything is good for nothing.” I lost a tooth, time and money! I had to turn this over to God because I needed Him to give me the will power to let it go. I’ll confess, It was hard at the beginning but it gradually got better and now I don’t miss it at all.

Out of control snacking

I had another out of control snacking incident. While at work I’d buy one snack from the vending machine to have a mid-morning snack. Then I started buying three snacks (different chips) to eat on my drive home. In addition, I started snacking on my drive to work. Now, I’m at Walmart filling-up my cart with larger snack bags because the ones in the vending machine were too small. Really! My husband noticed what was happening and he said to me, “Debbie, you’re eating too much junk food.” I was like, “Okay?” And oh by the way, I was also eating candy bars, carrot cake, toasted coconut donut, etc.. Yup, it was a hot mess!

Although I was exercising daily, I gained 10 lbs. and I couldn’t understand why. I’ve always been able to maintain my weight. So I asked God what’s going on? He told me, the sodium. Yup, because of my high salt intake, I was retaining water. On May 29, 2019, the day after my 57th birthday, I stopped eating chips cold turkey. I sure did! I replaced them with 0 to low sodium snacks. A week later I lost 7.5 lbs.. It’s all good!

Turn Your Addiction Over To God

People living with addictions have lost much more than I did. They’ve lost their lives, health, relationships, jobs, livelihood, money, freedom, quality of life and more. Some people can fight and overcome addiction on their own but others need help. The struggle is real! The good news is that you don’t have to do this alone. You can win this fight with God, a strong support group and the right treatment.

God will be with you and will give you everything you need to let go and take back control of your life, your health, and your future. He will restore you. Get professional help if you need it. Talk with your doctor, counselor, or psychologist and they will help you determine the best path to wellness for you.

Let go and let God!

Say this prayer…

 Father, I’m ready to live the abundant life Jesus Christ came to give me. I’m ready to let go and turn my addiction over to You. I want to be free, but I can’t do this by myself. I need You! Fill me with wisdom, guide and equip me with everything I need to overcome this addiction. Surround me with the right people that will give me encouragement, support and help. Give me the courage and strength to say no, to walk away, to not look back, or go back. To look forward and move on and live the good life you planned for me. With you Lord, all things are possible. God Almighty, thank You for the great things You are doing for me, in me and through me. Dear Lord, hear my prayer, in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

What are you struggling with? Be honest with yourself. What are spending most of your time doing? Think about it. What are you addicted to? Drugs, porn, alcohol, work, food, lying… It’s time to turn it over to God. It’s time to let it go. It’s time to take back control of your life, your health. It’s time to get the help you need.

Share your story of overcoming addiction and inspire and encourage someone today. Send your prayer request if you’re struggling with an addiction. I’ll pray for you and in agreement with you.

Bible Reflection

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” Psalm 37:23-24 NLT

“You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.” Psalm 71:22 NLT

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” Isaiah 40:29 NLT

“For I know the plans I have for you, “says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life  and have it abundantly.” John 10:20 ESV

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.” 1 Peter 5:7-9 NLT

From Deb’s Red Heart to yours…

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