Magazine Article

Confessions of a Recovering Addict

Jesus is stronger than any temptation

Beth Thomas
Confessions of a Recovering Addict
Photo by Platforma za Društveni centar Čakovec on Unsplash

I’m a recovering addict. There, I admitted it.

When I was little, my parents gave me every opportunity to make good choices and build a solid spiritual foundation. What I did with those opportunities was my own responsibility.

As a staff kid on an academy campus, I often heard students talking about TV shows or movies they’d seen. Naturally, my curiosity was piqued. They’d ask me if I’d seen the shows, and I’d self-​consciously answer no. They’d laugh and shake their heads, suggesting I was really missing out. More than anything, I wanted to fit in. I was sure that if only I knew what they knew, I’d be accepted. That idea backfired, unfortunately.

My parents had chosen not to have a TV in our home, but I began spending a week at my grandparents’ house every summer. I packed in as much TV as possible. There were no limitations, and if I didn’t like what everyone was watching in the living room, I could go into another room and watch something else—all day long. Addiction roots began to anchor in my heart, unfurling deep into my college years.

Television and movie characters became my friends, and I lived vicariously through them. When I wasn’t working or attending classes, I was seated comfortably in front of the TV, ingesting whatever came on the screen. My physical health suffered, and my spirituality dramatically declined. I resented family worship and my parents’ fixation on practical Christianity. I didn’t know that the enemy had pinpointed a weak spot in my character and, almost imperceptibly, introduced a preoccupation to draw my attention away from Christ.

One night I begrudgingly went to prayer meeting. As the speaker shared, a quiet voice whispered through the foggy shadows in my mind: You’re not ready for Jesus to come. I was strongly convicted that something needed to change.

I knelt and prayed in the pew, asking God to give me the strength to turn my heart completely over to Him. “I am powerless without You,” I cried. I gave Him permission to change my heart. As I left the meeting, I felt a renewed sense of freedom. I completely trusted that God would give me victory, and He did. As I gave Him every part of me, He helped me grow in spiritual strength.

The beautiful book Steps to Christ underscores this idea. “You are to give all—your heart, your will, your service—give yourself to Him to obey all His requirements; and you must take all—Christ, the fullness of all blessing, to abide in your heart, to be your strength, your righteousness, your everlasting helper—to give you power to obey.”1

Like me, you might struggle with addiction of some sort. Jesus is stronger than the temptation. In His amazing love He offers freedom, power, and strength to overcome—but it does require one hard thing: allowing Him control. “If you will leave yourself in His hands,” however, “He will bring you off more than conqueror.”2

1 Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1956), p. 70.

2 Ibid., p. 72.

Beth Thomas

Beth Thomas is an assistant editor for Adventist Review Ministries.