Question:

Well, to start out with I have been hooked on a certain drug since my youth. I've tried quitting many times. Sometimes I will go a while without, and sometimes not that long. But it seems no matter how long I go without, I feel miserable and go through bad withdrawal (more psychological then physical). It just seems to worsen for me over time instead of lessening, unlike most people who go through withdrawal.

I feel so horrible without the drug, sometimes I have very intense negative, sinful thoughts, sometimes thoughts of suicide, or like I'm just going crazy in my mind. It scares me! Sometimes I feel angry with God even for not delivering me through my addiction yet, though I know it's my own fault because I know I choose to use willingly to help ease some of the pain.

I end up feeling so horrible about the thoughts I have after I stop using, that I feel like a bad Christian, and just have a careless kind of outlook on life, and am quick to anger and just end up getting into more sin it seems after quitting. I am trying my hardest to stay sober and do right, and sometimes I have a lot of faith and love for God. I feel high off of God almost and I don't need anything else, but then after a while the feeling disappears, turning into depression, pushing me toward using again. Then when I use, I still end up feeling depressed and ashamed and mad instead of putting my trust in God for deliverence.

I just feel like I'm in this never ending spiral of sin and depression and am ever wondering if I'm really saved or not anymore, or if I ever was since realizing this problem. I've repented of using several times with the intent of never turning back to it. I even had my church pray for me. Sometimes I just don't see how I can make it through life without this drug, but I know I'll never make it without God.

I have read much on how to cope with my symptoms of withdrawal but not a whole lot helps. I feel like God will remove His grace from me if I'm not able to give this up soon. I always feel like I am failing God. Even after I have gone weeks without use, I feel I am still letting God down when I sin in other ways.

I now realizing my drug use has been covering up a lot of feelings, such as depression and anxiety, that I now have to learn to deal with somehow. There's not really anyone I can talk to about my problem with and there really aren't any good NA meetings available in my area, so for now I'm wondering how I can put enough faith into God and be able to hold on to that faith through all of the temptations and trials I am likely to experience after quitting again? And how many times of repenting and turning away from the same sin will God accept until I am no longer saved? Continuously having to repent of my addiction is making me even more depressed.

Please help! I don't know what to do. I greatly look forward to your advice!


Answer:

One of the difficulties you are facing is that you are hoping that something external to you will cause you to quit. You do need to stop. Being high on drugs does hinder your relationship with God, but just like every other sin, the decision to stop has to be your own. God won't make you stop. He may give you plenty of reasons to stop, but you have to make the choice.

While I can't make you stop, I can help by encouraging you as you go through the time of adjusting to life without drugs.

I notice that you've never really been off drugs long. I'm gathering the longest you've been off is a few weeks. Depending on the drug you use, that might get you past the worse of the physical withdrawal, but it isn't nearly long enough to get past the psychological withdrawal. Thus, another problem is that you are expecting the battle to be short when you really have to be prepared for a very long battle.

Another problem that often arises is that when you do stop, you don't change your friends and contracts -- the people who encourage you to use drugs. To give up sin requires a radical change in your behavior. Going part way won't work. "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Corinthians 7:10-11).

One of the other problems I noted is that you are used to the drug dampening your feelings. You never learned to handle your true emotions. And being grumpy from the withdrawal doesn't help matters. Here is where having a trusted friend who can provide you a neutral judge of reality helps. If you can trust that person when he says you are not seeing matters accurately and that you need to calm down, then you can start the process of retraining yourself. "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much" (James 5:16).