Because of the persisting stigma around addiction, those struggling with it often experience a range of negative emotions about their condition. We know by now that addiction is a disease, not a personality defect. We also know that there is no cure for addiction. However, when a large part of society still views addicts as morally sick or weak-willed, people struggling with addiction start to internalize these characteristics.
When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they are almost always going to slip up in their sobriety at least once. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates the national relapse rate at around 40 to 60 percent across all substance addictions. This statistic doesn’t include the number of addicts who try to get clean on their own and fail, which is another very frequent occurrence.
The result is that people who struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol become overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness. This crushing emotion often accompanies the belief that recovery is impossible. It can be difficult for someone trying to fight a battle with addiction to realize that there is a way to get better, and with the proper professional help, recovery is likely. As far as regaining hope is concerned, an addict can turn to the scripture to find hope, one of the key themes that the Bible instills.
If you or a loved one find yourself struggling with addiction, maybe it’s time to try a faith-based approach to treatment that instills hope during a hard battle. Road to Freedom is a recovery center that uses Christian themes to help addicts find reasons to keep battling their condition. For more information, call us at 844-402-3605.
The Hopelessness of Addiction
Why does addiction seem so hopeless? Let’s first look at the way addiction affects the brain. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug use basically hacks the parts of the brain that respond to rewards and causes the brain to release dopamine, the body’s pleasure chemical, in large amounts. Prolonged use of drugs trains the nervous system to not function normally without the use of drugs or alcohol, so in the immediate start of sobriety, an addict doesn’t receive as much dopamine as they normally would.
Understandably, this causes some harsh negative feelings. Withdrawal can cause depression and intense cravings among other emotions, but this can make it extremely difficult to get clean and stay clean. This leads a user to feel self-doubt, and believe that they will never be able to recover successfully.
Another cause of hopelessness in addicts is societal perception. Because a large part of society doesn’t see addiction for what it is, a treatable disease, addicts don’t often receive much peer support in their daily lives. Internalizing others’ opinion of addicts as lesser humans can make someone addicted to drugs or alcohol feel worthless, and in turn, hopeless.
How Can We Find Hope in Our Darkest Hour?
Hopelessness is an emotion many people struggling with addiction know well. Overcoming this feeling is the key to a successful recovery. Still, this is easier said than done. One way people have found hope to keep them on a healthy path in life for hundreds of years is through the Bible and the word of God. Some helpful verses that teach lessons of hope include the following:
Hope Wins Out Against Hardship
“You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety”
Many addicts will admit to feeling like Job, occasionally, after the Lord took everything from him as a test of his faith and devotion. If we think of addiction as God testing us, then we should have faith that any circumstance in our life is one that we have the strength to overcome.
Hope and faith were what caused Job to keep going, even when his life was decimated. If we think of a relapse as a symbol for each trial that God puts Job through, addicts know that with hope and faith, life will get better for them if they stay the course.
Hope Can Overcome Shame
“No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame”
Addicts frequently report feelings of shame about their disease. When society sees you as weak, it can bring about shameful feelings, but as the Bible tells us, hope is an emotion that supersedes shame. God tells us not to feel shame in our sins, as long as we confess them.
Hope Can Keep Addicts on the Path to Recovery
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
No one ever said addiction was easy to overcome, and until a person experiences it firsthand, there’s nothing that can prepare them for how difficult recovery from a physical addiction will be. Isaiah 40:31 says that unyielding faith in God can provide a source of strength to overcome all obstacles, which is what people struggling to fight addiction need to stay the course and not give up to their compulsions.
Be Grateful for the Hope You Have Each Day
Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!”
The Bible is clear in the fact that hope is a gift given to man each day he is alive. The kind of hope to overcome sin and hardship is not one to be taken lightly, and by studying the scripture, addicts can be reminded that they should derive hope out of their circumstances, whatever those may be.
Whether rich or poor, healthy or stricken with addiction or some other malady, the Bible can teach everyone a lesson about hope and faith. Hope is a gift that everyone should treasure, and a feeling that can keep us going, even against the greatest odds. Hope can help an addict feel something other than that he or she is worthless or defective, something that society still projects on people struggling with addiction.
If you or a loved one are in a battle with addiction, you can always turn to God to keep the hope that will help you recover. For more information about how Road to Freedom can help you recover in a faith-based setting, call us today, at 844-402-3605.