19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Genesis 50:19-21 (NIV)
The Israelite patriarch Joseph’s story starts with his sale into slavery and ends with this magnanimous statement he makes to his brothers (who sold him into slavery). What a testimony of God’s providence and redemption!
A married Christian brother I know well has shared his story about addiction in several spaces. Here are some excerpts of that story.
"For me, my secret was that I was addicted to pornography. It had started as a child and escalated into my adulthood. My life was held together by a string of aliases and hidden credit card transactions, as my acting out habit escalated.”
“I abandoned all the remaining spiritual and marital standards that I held for myself and became more flirtatious with women. My internet habit transferred itself to work, and I used various pornography and chat sites (while at home and the office).”
“Each discovery of my actions (by my first wife) led to less than honest apologizing, more acting out, and to more discoveries. This cycle took its toll on the marriage…I chose to move out and one year after moving out I got divorced and shortly thereafter I re-married. ”
“Acting on my triggers, I set up an email address and took explicit pictures of myself with the intention of responding to and posting my own online ads. Because I had not done this in a while, I left a trail that (my second wife) discovered. During the admission that proceeded, I could hear the pieces of her already tentative heart shattering to the ground. I thought I had managed to destroy a second marriage, effectively continuing from where I had left off in my previous marriage. The realization that I was powerless against my addiction created the deepest sense of despair and desperation I have ever known.”
“The honesty and deep soul searching through the (recovery) program led me to confront my denial and accept that I needed help. For the first time in my life, I was able to look at the full timeline of my life and connect hurts to my coping mechanisms and addictive habits. I learned that people who had hurt me a lifetime ago still figured in the way I made decisions. The program changed my thinking about asking others for help. It opened my eyes to people’s willingness to help.
“…it is only by God’s grace that we find ourselves on the other side of things that were meant for our destruction which God uses for our good…and the saving of many others.”
If you or someone you know may be dealing with a destructively compulsive habit/addiction/preoccupation, ask these questions (of yourself or the other person). If the answers (to the majority) are “yes”, reach out to us confidentially at email@example.com. We can help.
- Do I obsess or fantasize about my habit?
- Do I try to control my behavior?
- Do I lie, cover up, or minimize my behavior?
- Am I frequently trying to understand or rationalize my behavior?
- Have my behaviors affected my physical health?
- Do I feel guilty or shameful about my behaviors or feel defiant and prideful?
- Do I feel my emotional health has been affected by my behaviors?
- Have my actions affected my social life?
- Has my work life been affected by my actions?
- Have my choices affected my character, morals or values?
- Has my spirituality been affected by my behaviors?
- Have my choices impacted my financial situation?
- Have my behaviors led to contact with the police or courts?
- Has my preoccupation led to insane or strange behavior?
- Has my preoccupation led to loss of memory?
- Has my preoccupation led to destructive behavior against self or others?
- Has my preoccupation led to accidents or other dangerous situations?
- Do I keep overly or unnecessarily busy?
- Do I feel depressed a lot of the time?
- Am I able to share my feelings? If not, why not?
- Have I changed my physical image to support my addiction?
- Have I made promises to myself/others that I have broken?
- Have I denied that I have a problem?
- Has my addiction affected my self-esteem?
- Have I tried to relieve my pain about my behavior? How?
- Have I tried to manipulate people into supporting my addiction? How?
- Have I given up my hobbies and interests? What are these?