Retouching…or Recovery?

Can an addict ever be fully recovered? Are there some slaveries that will never fully recede, no matter how hard you fight them?

Can your heart and thinking change as well as your behaviour? Or are you destined to remain  a non-practising version of the same old model?

Most of the literature I’ve read on addiction says this:  they never really go away – you just get better at managing them.

For some people this is the rational voice of realism: a reminder that no-one is beyond temptation – especially in a familiar guise.

For others, it’s a life sentence. A prophetic shadow that blights the future as well as the past.

But  like so much, perhaps addiction – and recovery – are  matters of definition.

If  addiction is simply behavioural –  then recovery, though not easy, starts to look quite neat.     An in-house affair. Quick.  Achievable. Self-motivated and self-willed. Replacing the old behaviours with something less destructive. Shopping, not drinking.  Exercise, not binge-eating.

These new patterns can be improvements.   But are they freedom? Or  just longer chains?

If hope lies within, then what happens when I lose faith in myself?


I believe that recovery – real recovery, is possible.

I believe that there is hope.

That hope is a Person, not a programme.

It’s more than the shape of my body, it’s the shape of my heart.





7 thoughts on “Retouching…or Recovery?

  1. Good question. Here’s some thoughts (at least in terms of an eating disorder)-

    – being honest. With God and with other people.
    – talking about your feelings instead of channelling them into food
    – setting and celebrating targets that include, but aren’t limited to weight. Eg; taking risks. Making mess. Sharing with others. Reminding myself that the government is upon His shoulder, not mine.
    – asking for help
    – finding a focus that’s bigger than myself. That’s why reading my Bible really helps – it broadens my world and reminds me what’s real
    – replacing old thoughts and lies with truth. I’m not shameless and useless. I’m loved and forgiven. My guilt is nailed to the cross.Telling myself this, even when I don’t feel it.Re-reading His promises.
    – being thankful
    – recognising that heart change takes time and a lot of prayer.
    – coming back to Jesus. Over and over and over. Asking him to help me in every single thing.
    – Getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other – in His strength.
    – recognising that everyone has struggles, not just me.

    I’d love to hear what others suggest!

  2. I think you are right – full recovery can happen. I have a friend who was an alcoholic and now she is a different person – she is a christian, her attitudes are different and she can drink alcohol without it being a problem. Which is amazing cos mostly what people say is that once you are an alcoholic you will always be one – but through her testimony she really believes that full recovery means that the alcohol has no chains on you and she can take it or leave it. Which she has shown. It leaves me praising God for what he has done in her life :)

  3. This does sound good, but again can recovery be real in practice? What do I say to my wife who is battling with a life long self loathing, which brought on (and still brings on) binge eating? She hates herself and cries to God for help (she is a Christian) but things just seem to go worse for her. She is blaming God for the bad things that keep going wrong and I feel she is about to blow. There are othere things wrong in her (our) life but she just feels incredibly low (had antidepressants but off them now) and she can see no end to her missery. She can’t see why God hasn’t helped her with her problem. Any thoughts?

  4. Help – I’m so sorry – it must be such a painful and difficult time for you both.

    There aren’t any easy answers and I don’t think there’s anything you can say that will change your wife. But I do believe that God in His grace can work a miracle in her and in your marriage. I don’t say that lightly – but because He’s doing this work in our marriage, with very similar issues.

    – I’ve emailed you directly with some thoughts and our details if you’d like to talk any more.

  5. my story seems to be the other way round. It was christianity that got me into that situation in the first place, and me ceasing to believe in god that let me begin to respect and see some worth within myself again. People won’t like that but in my case it’s true.

  6. Hi Emily

    I’m sorry you’ve had a tough time …though I agree, all of us need to convert out of religion! Religion enslaves us to a set of rules we can never live up to. But Christianity is the very opposite. It’s grace – independent of the good or bad I do. We give up on Him, but I’m thankful Jesus never gives up on us.

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