I GREW UP IN THE DAYS of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll, but I could not indulge myself like my friends did.
While my peers were getting drunk, stoned, lost in their music, and trying to defy the “establishment”, I began working at fourteen years old to help my parents with the bills.
I could not afford to be irresponsible and out of control or risk going to jail.
When I think about God’s grace and mercy, I cannot help but to see how he knew me long before I knew him. Or myself.
It is clear to me that I have an addictive personality, but it took almost two decades to see that my addictions were not recognized by society.
In the 1980s, workaholics were called “achievers”, and we were praised for working sixty to eighty hours, six or seven days a week.
I was addicted to making money, and putting deals together gave me the same euphoria I heard people say they got from cocaine.
The only difference is that my habit made me money while theirs cost them a small fortune.
I was also addicted to winning, and I remember how important it was for me to receive the top performer awards as often as they were given out.
Like the gold star a child might get from her first grade teacher, I was as good as dead if someone achieved more than me, and I could not rest until I could get ahead the next time.
Which I did.
Just like the drunk who cannot relax until he gets his next bottle.
I was addicted to love, men, and sex, too.
It was difficult to see this truth about myself because I did "the right thing" and married my first three real boyfriends.
It was also difficult to see that I could be addicted because my second husband and I had sexual anorexia.
But, I was addicted and didn’t know it.
Until I divorced my third husband and in so much pain from the failure—again—that I entered counseling and accepted a challenge to not date another man for at least a year.
Unless you’re willing to give up something you believe you need for at least four seasons, you may not be able to see the power you have given to a person, place, or thing.
I once told my wise, old uncle, who was trying to teach me about personal power, that I could think of nothing that had power over me except my parents.
He challenged me to give up television for a year, which I did at fifteen. It was my first experience of going through withdrawal.
So many habits while acceptable and appearing benign, take on a voice that whispers, and later screams for their position in our lives.
You need me.
You’ll be naked without me.
Let me in or you will die.
I’m not saying that watching television or drinking a favorite beverage or playing golf or exercising or love or sex is bad, wrong, or even addictive.
I’m just saying that we do everything we do for more than one reason, and sometimes the underlying reason is because we believe we control things we enjoy, until the opposite becomes true, and they control us.
The year I did not date men, I went through a painful withdrawal like an alcoholic who wants to face the truth that his bottle keeps him in hiding.
I thought I was going to die, that I would never be able to survive several months without a man in my life, much less a year, and I would lose my best opportunities for love.
And that voice!
The little voice inside my head that whispered its promises of freedom if I would only surrender.
In the end, my counselor was right, and I was addicted to love, men, and sex.
By the time the year was over and he instructed me to date, I was keenly aware of how I wanted to hide my fear of the big bad world in the arms of a man.
Addictions are the passageway into solitary confinement where the oxygen is limited.
If I am unwilling to die to my desires, I will never break free, and my addictions will suck the life right out of the real me.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13
As always, it is my intent and hope that my words may encourage you wherever you are in your journey.
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If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.--Jesus (Mark 4:23)