Dealing With Addictions, Part 1
July 10, 2021
Becky felt upbeat and confident as she walked through the halls on her first day of high school. Many of her friends were nervous about making the move from junior high to the much larger high school. But at the end of last year Becky had been chosen as a junior cheerleader, and during the summer she had gotten to know the other cheerleaders and popular athletes. While her friends worried about what to wear on the first day of school, Becky got to wear her cheerleader’s uniform and was instantly guaranteed a spot among the coolest kids in school.
But, unbeknown to others, Becky had developed a destructive habit during the summer—she’d begun drinking. Soon she was known as the life of the party. Cheerleaders were supposed to keep up a squeaky-clean image, and Becky’s Christian parents certainly expected her to stay away from alcohol, but she just got better at hiding her habit of drinking. On homecoming weekend Becky had the biggest thrill of her year— she and the other junior cheerleaders got to cheer at the varsity game, in front of the huge homecoming crowd. At a postgame party Becky sat quietly drinking until she eventually fell asleep on a pile of coats.
The next morning Becky woke up and didn’t remember a thing about the party. For the first time she felt regrets about her drinking. She’d been invited to a party with some of the coolest people at school, and she couldn’t remember talking to even one person! The whole party was a blur.
Later that year Becky and her friends listened to the teacher talk about the dangers of alcoholism. Becky paused when the teacher wrote on the board, “Blackouts—loss of memory.” Remembering the night of the game, Becky wondered, Could I have a problem? The teacher went on to write more warning signs: “Frequent absences from work or school; drinking in the morning; drinking every day; drinking alone” (adapted from Becky Tirabassi and Gregg Lewis, Just One Victory [Campus Life Books, 1987]). This is the way it is with sin—many times it comes in little by little. Then one day you realize that this sin now has a big hold on your life. You are chained to it. But the good news is that Jesus can free you from these chains of sin. How? All you have to do is ask Him to help you every day— sometimes many times throughout the day. Romans 8:38, 39, NKJV, says, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” This means that no sin or addiction can separate you from His love if you surrender them to Him. If you haven’t accepted Christ as your Savior, now is the time. Let Him help you with whatever is in your life that distracts you from being His child.
Memory Text: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 7, The Nature of Humanity: “The image of God in them [Adam and Eve] was marred. . . . [Their descendants] are born with weaknesses and tendencies to evil. But God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself and by His Spirit restores in penitent mortals the image of their Maker.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 116, 117
Read 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.
Your older cousin Brad is just like Becky in the illustration. You hear he has a reputation of always being the life of the party, usually drunk before the party’s over. You don’t want to say anything, but one day some friends are discussing alcoholism, and one of them says to Brad, “Man, if anyone’s got a drinking problem, you have! You’re wasted every chance you get.” Brad says, “You’re crazy! I like to drink, but I don’t have a problem.” Then he turns to you. “I don’t have a problem, do I?” What do you say?
Read Genesis 3; Psalm 51:10.
Although we are born with the tendencies to sin, we can call on God and He will keep us and prepare us for heaven.
What tendencies are in your life that you need and want to turn over to God?
What are some things you need and can do to make changes in your life?
Unscramble the words in the word bank. Then using the correct words, fill in the blanks in the verse below. The verse is from the New King James Version.
sselemalb ydob gnimoc yletelpmoc ecaep devreserp yfitcnas luos tirips snainolassehT
“Now may the God of Himself you; and may your whole,, and be at the of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 5:23).
Read Psalm 118:21.
You’ve probably been hearing all your life that addictions are bad. In church, in school, and at home you’ve been told to “just say no” to drugs—even though you may get a different message from your friends or from the movies and popular music. But is “just say no” enough? What if you’ve already said “yes” to drinking or drugs? Does that mean you’re an addict? And if you’re not addicted, does that mean it’s safe to engage in these activities once in a while? What about other addictions? Can you be addicted to TV, to the Internet, to computer games, to gambling?
The problem of addiction is a big one and a serious one. You need to be aware. What are the signs of addiction? You may be addicted to some substance or activity if:
Look up the texts and fill in the blanks. If you don’t have these versions of the Bible, you may go to www.biblegateway.com. You will find there the versions you need.
1. “Who is always in trouble? Who argues and fights? Who has cuts and?
Whose eyes are? Everyone who stays up, having just one more. Don’t even look at that stuff up in the glass!
It goes down so easily, but later it bites like a poisonous snake. You will see weird things, and your will play on you. You will feel tossed about like trying to on a ship in a storm. You will be bruised all over, without even how it all happened. And you will like awake asking, ‘When will morning come, so I can drink some more?’” (Proverbs 23:29-35, CEV).
2. “So whether youor or you do, do all for the of” (1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV).
3. “We know that the persons we used to be were to the with Jesus. This was, so that our would no be the slaves of” (Romans 6:6, CEV).
4. “Jesus said, ‘I tell you most solemnly that anyone who a life of sin is in a- life and is, in fact, a . . . So if the sets you, you are free through and through’” (John 8:34-36, Message).
5. “Do you notthat your bodies are temples of the, who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your; you were bought at a price. Therefore God with your” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20, NIV).
Read Romans 6:6.
Review the memory text.
Maybe you’ve been reading through this week’s lesson getting worried. You’ve tried a few drinks with friends, and you’re wondering whether you’re getting addicted. Or you’re starting to worry about all those hours you spend online. Maybe you’ve identified something else in your life—something others would think is quite harmless— that’s turning into an addiction for you.
Remember that addiction is real, and it is serious. Addiction makes you a slave, and God wants His people to be free. Nothing should control your life except the Holy Spirit. Nothing should get in the way of your ability to make good decisions, relate to other people, and follow God. Drugs, alcohol, pornography, TV, the Internet, even books or music or food or shopping—anything that becomes an addiction places you in chains.
Determine to be free. Don’t let yourself get chained up. Look at the areas of your life in which you think you may be at risk for addiction. Decide today to turn those areas completely over to God and take the steps you need to be free. (If you believe you’re already addicted and want to know more about the steps to freedom, stay tuned for next week’s lesson!)
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17.
The following table represents an average day in your life. Each cell represents an hour of your time. Label the segments to show about how many hours you spend at different activities (e.g., about eight hours for sleep; six hours at school, etc.). When you’ve finished, look at your chart.
Are there any activities that you think are taking up too much of your time? Could any of these be considered addictive? What if something is starting to control your life? What about your thoughts? For example, a teen may spend two hours a day playing video games, but what if the six hours in school are all spent daydreaming about video games? Could that be an addiction?
Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? If not, won’t you take a few moments now and pray, inviting Him into your heart? He loves you more than you can possibly know.