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Healing from Addiction

Angeline David DrPHMHSRDN


Angeline David DrPHMHSRDN

Health Ministries Director for the North American Divison of SDA




  • September 2, 2017
    4:15 PM
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Dear heavenly father we know that you are the Great Physician Lord we know that you have power to create tend to recreate and to renew our lives and Lord as we talk about the process of healing from addictions we know the Lord that it may take a lot of surrender but father were willing if we are not willing we ask that you make us willing Lord help us to cling to you because you are our life and we pray that you will continue to be with us and guide our presentation our thoughts may everything come to to have a higher and dear or more dear understanding of who you are we pray in Jesus name in man. Healing from addictions I want to start by sharing a little bit about why this is important to us as a church individuals yes but also as a church this is from councils on health page thirty the world is a vast Lazarou house in other words a sick house but Christ came to heal the sick to proclaim deliverance to the captives of Satan he was in himself health and strength and he turned away none who came to receive his healing power none he knew that those who petitioned him for help had brought disease upon themselves they brought it upon themselves yet he did not refuse to heal them and when virtue from Christ entered into these poor souls Listen what happened. They were convicted of sin. And many of many were healed of their spiritual disease as well as of their physical maladies maladies did we just learned that addictions has a spiritual illness component to it there is a spiritual component to the problem of the dictions. Going on the Gospel still possesses the same power and why should we not today witness the same results if Christ could heal two thousand years ago why can he not heal today. Now he may not heal in the same way. Or in the same timeframe. But he heals. He healed. Finally Christ feels the woes of every suffer and he is just as willing to heal the sick now as when he was personally on Earth you see Christ is willing. But here's the next part Christ servants are his representatives the channels for his working he desires through them to exercise his healing power. That doesn't mean we're just going to lay our hands on someone and you know or make clay out of mud and put it on their eyes and they'll be healed that's not what it's talking about but it is telling us that if we claim to be his servants then we have a responsibility to be his representatives and to share his healing with others so. Let's talk about healing from addiction why should we care. Let's look at again at the consequences of addiction. We talked about what are the fourth what are the areas that addiction is involved what are they they are physical mental emotional social spiritual if you were to go to the General Conference health ministries website you will see that we in health ministries define help in those four domains physical emotional mental social and spiritual that is what help is about so let's look at these a little bit more closely because we really want to understand what people are suffering with what is it that the problem is so the cognitive consequence of addiction preoccupation with substance use. Preoccupation with substance use now when someone is preoccupied with something are they able to put thought and effort into other things. No Just think back to when you were a teenager and you saw that person. And you just couldn't think about anything else and why even stay in school because. Preoccupation. Hopefully we've all grown out of that phase. Preoccupation it absolutely. Immobilizes from accomplishing the things that are important and necessary in our lives so there is also an altered evaluation of the relative benefit. And detriments or the pros than cons associated with that substance or that behavior so they're not able to actually recognize again what it was that this is a good thing or a bad thing. They're not able to see the distinction between good and evil is that important. What is harmful versus what is helpful and also they may have inaccurate belief. Except about the problems experienced in their life are due to other things not as a consequence of the behavior of the addiction so. You're you keep fighting with your family you're just fighting and fighting Well it's because they just don't understand it's because they don't know they. When really the problem is that addictive addiction whatever it is has altered our thinking we're not able to see and understand clearly emotional consequences anxiety emotional pain dysphoria increased sensitivity to stress how many of us who need to be more sensitive to stress. Don't we have enough stress in this world that we need to be more prone to it we don't need that which are we so increased sensitivity to stressors associated with the recruitment of brain stress systems such that things seem more stressful so we may actually have this misconception that it's worse than it really is. And what does that do to our behavior when we think that a situation is worse than it really is what does it do to our thoughts there's no way we can help there's no way we can get out of this this is impossible we're stuck. Things may seem futile and it may lead to just giving up which may lead to a cycle of more addictive behavior. Difficulty in identifying feelings and distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal and difficulty in describing the feelings to other people you know we're actually supposed to have a healthy grasp of what our feelings are telling us we really should have an understanding of why we feel certain ways you know one of the most important conversations we could have with young children when they're angry or when they're sad why are you feeling that way how are you feeling how does this make you feel because we don't want people to hide from the emotions that leads us to again suppressing the emotions right we internalize and that can lead to more stress certainly those addictive patterns as we've been talking about so being able to actually rationalize the feelings is an important way of us to actually take a hold and control the feelings so that they don't overpower us. Social Consequences relationships suffer and difficulty maintaining healthy relationships I mean you know you just have to think think about alcohol what it affects how it affects families families that are driven apart but what about gambling. Excessive gambling. The financial burden that places on families doesn't that drive them apart as well or what about you know shopping let's talk of that again I mean you know you're spending all this money and. Your spouse is wondering how are we going to pay these bills. You know what kind of pressure that places and someone brought up to me during the break the. Addiction to hoard things. That strikes a chord we just can't let go and so we accumulate and accumulate simply because we can. And so then we need a bigger house because we have so much stuff. You know we want everything big and we want plenty of it. Right what kind of strains does that put on our families the gentleman who brought this up to me was saying that he had to clear out his on uncle's death. And he said I will never do this to my children. So the strain that we don't realize we're putting on other people. Because of these addictions. And then of course becoming reclusive or having those harmful dependencies on other people. So either way. Avoiding people or being too dependent on them there are ditches on both sides so if we are being very socially exclusive that's a problem or if we are so dependent on making sure people are around us all the time that could also be an issue and then the spiritual consequences of addiction. Again the morphological changes happening in our brain that numbs us from understanding spiritual things is important and in fact this is one of the reasons why we as a church have a stand against alcohol. No matter how much we take a stand against alcohol because we know it decreases the ability of your brain to make sound judgement. And that of course if we can't make sound judgment in simple things how do we make how do we judge between good and evil in the spiritual realm. We also lose interest in spiritual activities such as prayer Bible study church attendance you know honestly. Well maybe this is something anyone could struggle with not necessarily because of an addiction but when you're doing things you know you're not supposed to be doing the first place you want to go is church right. Now it's the last you the last thing you want to do is surround yourself with spiritual people because it just makes you feel worse right. Light exposes darkness and if we are living in darkness we don't want to see the light that's or selfish human nature. We also. Begin to question God we can lose faith in him we may see ourselves unworthy of him so we may go to either extremes again we may just completely dismiss God of our lives because he was the one who allowed the pain and because of that pain I'm driven to these addictive behaviors and he's not helping me get rid of it. Or I've just done so much bad. He just doesn't care about me I can I can never go back to him How can he love me after all I've done either way. And again effect on the frontal lobe may cause us to lose the ability to make sound decisions regarding our spiritual life and our beliefs is this an important issue for us to talk about in the last days why. Because the other consequence that I believe an addiction may have is on our witness. On our witness. You see we are living in a world where many people are suffering from addiction. Some of them know about it some don't. We may have people suffering from are struggling with things. That maybe it's not even an addiction it hasn't come to that point but they're struggling and they just can't break free of this behavior and all they want to know is that there is freedom. There is hope. And when we in our own lives can testify that there is freedom. When we can say I know what you're going through I've been there but God set me free. What does that do to our witness. You know in the church we're afraid to talk about the addictions that we suffer through and sometimes we want to be careful because we may go to the extent of glorifying the addiction itself. But really what we're supposed to be doing is overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. And our testimony is given so that others may gain strength as well in their journey and when we as a church can demonstrate to the world that there is freedom. The world is going to come looking for us. They will come wanting to know what is it that you've got. Let's look up a couple of verses here Revelation fourteen. My other favorite book of the Bible is revelation. Revelation fourteen we're familiar with this verse and it bears repeating and really reading Revelation fourteen versus six and seven. And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth and to every nation and kindred and tongue and people saying with a loud voice Fear God and give glory to him. This message was given to the church in the eighteenth forty's and it has that was supposed to be our message to preach throughout the end of time. And it says Give glory to God. What is the glory of God If you look probably the easiest way to find it is in Exodus Chapter thirty three when Moses on the mountain says to God show me your glory and God responds I will make all my goodness pass before you. And then as as God passes before Moses just his back that Moses sees Moses proclaims the goodness of God the character of God and you see we as a people are to give glory to God in our own lives by demonstrating his goodness. That has made us great that has set us free from our own addictions our own struggles and this is why surrender is the key ingredient in that freedom revelation eighteen we just read the first angels message revelation eighteen the Fourth Angel you knew there was a Fourth Angel right for thing Joel revelation eighteen chapter one chapter eighteen verse one and after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven having great power and the earth was lightened with His glory this is talking about his church. The glory of God So infuses and overwhelms us within the church that the whole world is lightened by it. And this is what will bring the second. So our witness. Is very very important. Our witness is lessened the impact is lessened. If we ourselves. Potentially less and if we ourselves are living a life that is not free. Right now let's not get despairing. Because we are all a work in progress it is not for us to determine when we have arrived. We are to stay on that journey with God So let's talk about addiction treatment and recovery we'll talk a little bit about what there are peas are types of treatments are done and then really we want to talk about what we as individuals and what we as a church can do so what is recovery now the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration they define recovery as this it's a process what is it. A process of change it's not an instantaneous remember that the addiction formed over time the recovery also happens over time. It's a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness. And they live a self directed life and strive to reach their full potential I should throw up mass flows higher key of needs again right we're as an individual you're no longer dependent on a substance or on another person for your life your health your well being you're dependent on God. But not on others or other things or even on emotions. Now recovery emerges from Hope again this is this is why we I truly believe you know there are a lot of people in the world who are teaching about recovery a lot of different organizations and entities talking about healing but there's one thing that sets us apart that we cannot let go of it's that hope it's an eternal hope it's an eternal hope recovery is also a personal path there's an. Process for everyone and it is also holistic. Addiction that affects your physical emotional mental social and spiritual health right so the recovery must also address all of those areas and it is supported through relationships and social networks again that social aspect is very important and it very important that it must include respect for one another earlier before we started our first session I mentioned that the North America division I'm looking at my brochures here we actually have a per a program called Journey to wholeness I have some brochures here you're welcome to grab one this program is a twelve step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and so forth in this brochure what you will see is that we actually take the twelve steps and we put Christ there because without him none of those steps are really long term effective. And these programs which we want to have in every community are here to help individuals recover from whatever addictions and one of the most important things that must happen in this recovery group is that there has to be respect for one another there has to be respect we cannot in any way denigrate any person's individual experience no matter how bad it is. That respect for someone. Helps them to realize that they have a supportive family they have the. Supportive community who was not there condemning them but is there to help them achieve God their God given potential. Recovery also include certain things it's very important that someone going through recovery also in gauges in prevention What does that mean that means you protect yourself if you know that driving down this road on your way to work will force you to stop at that little cafe and pick up that twelve pack a donut Maybe you should protect yourself and find another way to get to work. You know simple things that are taking you away from that experience that promotes the addictive behavior. Risk Reduction changing those unhealthy behaviors to healthy behaviors it's not enough just to take away a bad behavior because that just creates another void. You've got to fill that void with something good right. Remember the addiction is a result of a void. Someone is feeling empty and so if we just take it away they're feeling empty again they're going to find another addiction but if we replace it with some healthy behaviors that could fill the void in a more fulfilling way for example. Instead of smoking I would do this I taught smoking classes stop stop smoking classes and. Important distinction. And and you know a lot of the problems that people would face is that while during my break time I get together with my friends and we all smoke. And so I said well you know it's a good thing to go outside but how about instead of hanging out there where they're smoking habit if you take a walk it's going to eat up the same amount of time it's going to replace one behavior with another behavior and maybe bring of another friend with you who doesn't smoke so that you're talking you know and distracting yourself so it's really important to replace the void with something healthy. Recovery in Gage meant important to be engaged by building a network or a community and engaging basically in a future of recovery so we're not just temporary fixes this is long term this is a lifestyle. This is a lifestyle of recovery. So for individuals who are struggling with severe addictions one of the pieces that sometimes there are the recovery programs may miss is do they have appropriate housing. Do they have appropriate psychic psychiatric care would care support services so if we are looking to be a house of healing in our community if our church is wanting to be a house of healing sometimes it's just providing these kinds of resources that are the answer for someone what are the gaps that are missing around us and what can we fill now recovery maintenance is keeping it going right long term maintain the state of healthier hopeful respectful living so again this is a life time this is a lifestyle good health in every way is a lifestyle there are no quick fixes now treatment remember the five stages of recovery and there's a certain point where people need to receive professional care professional treatment so it is important that we do acknowledge the value of this treatment and there are many different kinds of treatments we're not going to go into all of them. But certainly some people do need ongoing treatment potentially even for the long term medications though remember this medications don't heal. Medications never heal. They only help to manage. Now sometimes you have to have them absolutely but they will never heal they only manage they cannot bring the recovery because recovery. Involves hope respect love support and you cannot get that in a pill. No matter what but you get other benefits from the pill it supports the medication supports that process and detoxification Also it doesn't change the underlying issue it's just a temporary or it's a it's a alleviation of the symptoms. So some people do have to go through detoxification recovering from an addiction and there are medicated there are very highly controlled places to go to get that care you want to be careful going through a detox it can be very dangerous very dangerous but again it does not cure we cannot expect to just go for detox after detox after detox thinking that that will cure we might become addicted to the detox right we're just switching one addiction for another so remember the changes in brain chemistry nearly all addictive drugs directly or indirectly target the brain's reward system with that dopamine. So the dopamine again we've talked about over stimulation of the system produces the euphoric effects sought by people who use the drugs and teaches them to repeat the behavior again like them out the rats pressing the bar because they want that that stimulation. The good news is that our brains can be rewired now it was maybe only fifteen years ago that we thought that your adult brain was your adult brain there was nothing you could do once you reached your adulthood your brain is what you've got for the rest of your life but no we are finding now that our brains are constantly forming new connections even through adulthood and older ages it's constantly learning it's constantly trying to uproot improve and become more efficient so this is why you know there's a lot of promotion of healthy brain exercises right you want to keep your brain active learning music learning a new language doing things that are forcing your brain to form these new neural pathways in fact there was I don't have the slide on here but there was an experience. And the facts are a little fuzzy for me right now but. A gentleman who had had a had a. Believe a stroke and he lost all ability to control his body to speak and all of that but his family didn't give up on him and so they actually with a lot of care a lot of personal attention over a period of year he was able to finally regain his ability to speak and to move about on his own and he eventually even became a professor and only university his recovery was so impressive and he after some after certain number of years he was hiking on a mountaintop somewhere I forget where and he had a heart. Attack and died. So years later in the years after the stroke now it just so happened that they wanted to see what was going on in his brain after that stroke they had found that ninety seven percent of his brain was damaged by that stroke. Ninety seven percent but he was able to recover simply by exercise. Exercising the brain retraining really learning all those things to the point that he could become a university professor our brains are so magnificent in fact your body is so protective of the brain it will shut down every other system before it sacrifices the brain. It will even steal food from the rest of your body in order to keep your brain nourished your brain is that important. So as we practice healthy habits in place of the harmful ones the healthy habits gradually become easier to do practice makes perfect Do those healthy habits and they become easier they become habitual over time our brains can learn to like doing the good things and to dislike the bad things our tastes can change our desires can change and it involves that rewiring of the brain your brain is ready it's raiding to be rewired but it takes some effort on our part. For that to happen. Cravings however are nother thing cravings we may always have to face cravings because remember we live in a world of sin. And until this world is renewed until this mortal shell put on immortality we may still have to face some of those cravings The question is do the cravings have to overwhelm us and that's where we can say no by the grace of God. There are all we're always going to face to chew ations that arise that tempt us to fall back to the addictive behavior there's always going to be stress there's always going to be a situation at work or at home or wherever it is something is going to happen that's totally going to upset things and we're going to want to go. To that thing that makes us feel good again that candy bar that whatever it is the alcohol the relationship whatever it is that's what makes me feel good and that's what I need right now let's look at First Corinthians nine First Corinthians nine twenty seven. Let's read starting with verse twenty five and every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things now they do it to obtain a correctable crown but we and incorruptible I therefore so run not as uncertain so fight I not as one that beat of the air but I keep under my body and bring it into subjection So you see we are in a race aren't we it's a marathon we don't do sprints in this life. And so we are constantly having to bring our body into subjection. Because we want that prize. When we know what the prize is we're willing to give up anything in order to attain it and we know our prize is eternal. And it will completely fulfill every single desire and more. And so if we keep our eyes on the prize we will bring our body into subjection second Corinthians twelve seven. And lest I should be exalted above measure here Paul is sharing through his personal story lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations there was given to me for in the flesh. Even the great apostle Paul had a Born In The Flesh and what did he do about this he calls it the messenger of Satan to buffet me. For verse eight for this thing id sought the Lord to ryse that it might depart from me he didn't want to struggle with this anymore. He wanted to get rid of this issue now I'm not saying it's an addiction some people think that it was poor eyesight we don't know what it was. But this is what Christ said to him said to Paul as he prayed and prayed Lord I'm serving you can you please take away this infirmity from me Christ says to him My grace is sufficient for the for my strength is made perfect in weakness you see the cravings are not there just. Let me say it this way it could very well be that we need to continue to face the craving. Because we need to continue to look to Jesus. And it may be that if he were to take this away that maybe we would take our eyes away from him too because we know we can't face this on our own that may not be true for everybody I don't know the story of your life and why God has put certain things in your lives but it may just be. That he is waiting to heal you. At the very end when he comes because he wants to make sure that you stay surrendered to Him The good news is that complete recovery from addiction is possible again it's a chronic disease which we've talked about we'll look at that a little bit more it can be managed successfully now as I've treated patients with diabetes with heart disease you know a lot of times I say you can manage this you can keep this under control what they want to know is can I get rid of it. And you know what I have to tell them it's my duty to tell them you can be free from this you can live a life style that will get you free from all these medications from all these symptoms all these bad problems however as soon as you go back to the old lifestyle guess who's coming back. So we can manage our recovery and we have we seen that both behavioral therapy with the medications is the best way to ensure success for the patients most well meaning good meaning doctors physicians therapists will not want to keep you on medications for the rest of your life. They really don't but if that's what's needed for you to have the health and abilities that you have then that's what's needed. They're going to help you hopefully some of them are better than others I know that I worked with many of them some but they're going to try to help you get to a place where you can manage things so well that you have the least amount of dosage necessary. Again the treatment must be tailored to each patient to their use of the victim of substance or behavior as well as their medical psychiatric and social problems recovery is possible here we have some brain scans of dope a mean remember that he's very important for addictions right on this side this picture here this is a healthy person and these active areas these colored areas the Greens the reds those are areas of active the mean transport active dopamine activity so so your brain is functioning and in a normal capacity. This is the brain of a methamphetamine user one month after they stop we know meth these drugs affect your brain activity right look at it one month after they've stopped is it's starting to look similar to that sort of there are still some areas that are don't have quite the same. Activity this is fourteen months after they stopped using now we can see a lot more look at those reds coming back into the picture so your brain does recover and that's very important your brain is able to recover its abilities what about relapse relapse relapse again is falling back into your old patterns your old habits it's interesting. Talking about chronic diseases even patients who are doing really well in controlling their diabetes their hypertension there may come a time when they kind of fall off the wagon again and if we look at this graph is showing the relapse rates for people within I believe this is within a one year period. So forty to sixty percent of people who stop a drug behavior drug use behavior within one year they fall back into usage forty to sixty percent that's a high percentage. Type two type one diabetes. Thirty to fifty percent almost the same hypertension fifty to seventy percent of them fall back into those old behaviors that brought them the hypertension in the first place and then asthma fifty to seventy percent fall back so when we see is someone who is really lapsing with an addiction our response can be moderated as we see that this is a problem that everyone faces relapse is a real problem. Relapse rates over the various types of addictions we've talked about numerous types of addictions they all appear to be over seventy percent in a one year period so we should maybe almost I hate to say this but we should almost expect people to struggle. OK now expecting them does that does not mean we want them to there's a difference but knowing that it's a high possibility helps us prepare to help them addiction recovery is anything but a straight line. Wouldn't that be wonderful. I mean couldn't we just go from A to B. and be done with it but no it's not treatment of chronic diseases all of the chronic diseases involves changing deeply imbedded behaviors and as a dietitian I can tell you it is very difficult to change eating patterns. It's very difficult. And lapses this is important as well elapse indicates that the treatment may be we stop the treatment and maybe we need to restart the treatment to help them or maybe the treatment needs to be adjusted a little bit and I had to do this a lot with my patients is that OK this this problem you're having trouble with this aspect so let's try something different that may work better with your your world or maybe we need to look at alternative treatment all together. And you will see doctors changing medications this one just isn't working right for you we need to try another one. How about bouncing back how do we bounce back. First of all you want to recognize that you did slip we need to confess right confession is good for the soul when we accept the facts of what happened we're we're at a better place to actually do something about it but denial doesn't really help. Denial doesn't help it may not only confessing it recognizing it acknowledging it may not make us feel good right now. But trying to hide the truth. Will make us feel worse for a longer period. We want to redouble our. Efforts to overcome. And to better understand what's happening this is really important understanding what was the problem why did this happen what were the triggers that led to this so we want to think of relapse as a learning opportunity we want to think of this says OK Something went wrong let's figure this out so that we don't fall into this again. It's a brief lapse in judgment we want to recognize that short term failure does not mean long term success is impossible short term failure does not have to equal long term failure and you know we need to accept this fact even as Christians struggling with life in the sinful world is that sin we may fall back into our sins our cherished sin but that short term failure should not mean that we give up entirely. It just means we need to reassess what's going on. We need to analyze the situation and I identify what happened Come now let us reason together say at the Lord right think about what happened what were the feelings and the thoughts that led you to that behavior to fall back into into what was going on what was the environment that you were in or even what who were the people you were with. Right we all give in to a little bit of peer pressure now and then so maybe we need to think about finding different peers. That's a hard place to be but God always has so much more for us. He never takes away what is bad for us without replacing it with what is so much more beautiful even the people in our lives. We want to develop a specific coping plan. To avoid those negative situations so here are some some tips for how to avoid negative situations some coping skills use distractions as I mentioned those patients who are recovering from smoking you know distract yourself from the smokers by taking a walk go somewhere else keep yourself occupied with other things enjoy able things I mean you can't distract yourself by with pain that doesn't work it's not as an enjoyable experience we also want to think about the consequences of the behavior remember what it does and remind yourself that I don't want to go down that road again I don't want to be there do a healthy activity instead and remember that God gives complete freedom. As we heard this morning in our Divine Worship message you know all the things that we do ultimately a veil very little or nothing it's really about what God is doing but he is telling us that we have a place we have a role in this we are to do things but ultimately the power comes from him. Which leads me to this quote which I think is absolutely wonderful this is manuscript one hundred thirteen in from eight hundred ninety eight. The power of God is the one element of efficiency it's how many elements of efficiency are there one and it's the power of God That is the one element of efficiency in the grander work of obtaining the victory over the world the flesh and the devil so it's the power of God That's the only thing that does it it's. No argument no there's nothing else that does it the power of God But there's no but here by the way I just said that there's no but here it's just the natural next thing to say it is in accordance with the divine plan that we follow every ray of light given of God. It's his power by the way follow everything he says. Going on this I love this man can accomplish nothing without God and no but and and God has arranged his plans so that as to accomplish nothing. In the restoration of the human race without the cooperation of the human with the divine it's not that he can't do it it's just that he's arranged it that way that's the way he wants to do it so let's not argue with him let's just say that your plan that's what you want to do. So you need my cooperation I love this sentence the part man is required to sustain is in measurably small. In measurably small you cannot even find it with a microscope yet in the plan of God It is just that part that is needed to make the work a success you can't do it but God is telling you to. What ever you try to do it's not going to make a difference because it's so immeasurably small but with unless you do it it's not going to work you have no power we have no power. But without the little steps we take God cannot accomplish his work either. He it's his plan I can't explain it I don't understand it. But he said this is the way it works so this is the way it works. Let's just believe it accept it. And go on. Following every ray of light that he has given to us. Now there are two aspects of recovery that I think are really important to spend a little extra time in these are the aspects of loneliness we've been talking about how addiction is a social issue right there's a social component so loneliness and resilience so let's talk about loneliness. Did you know that. Almost fifty million adults in the United States suffer from chronic loneliness This is not just oh I don't have anywhere to go Saturday night this is day after day after day they feel alone and we know that we can be surrounded by people and yet still feel alone. And those are adults over age forty five if we look at those over age sixty five one point one million of chronic loneliness. We know that loneliness is precipitated because we have long work hours we're very busy were so busy busy busy looking at everybody's Facebook posts were so busy busy busy we don't have time to sit down for dinner because I'm so busy. Right. But the good news is that loneliness is not inevitable. Now the desperation for human contact can lead to self focus this is interesting and could also potentially lead to some addictive cycles so we are we were all created with the need for human contact weren't we what did what did Adam say as he was walking around the perfect world. Where there's nobody for me the doggie has a dog. I mean but there's nobody for me and you're right. We were created with that desire for social contact what we. I find is that individuals who are desperate for that contact can actually lead to being self centered and that can then lead them to further isolation because well you're not fulfilling my need so I'm going to withdraw from you and these can then result in those unhealthy behaviors those addictions the self harm Here's a research study that was actually just published this year in June from the society of Personality and Social psycho. Psychology. And what they are they are actually talking about this reciprocal relationship between loneliness and self centeredness and this is some of the quotes they say loneliness in the current year so for example if you're lonely this year. Predicts self centeredness in the subsequent here beyond what is explained by current year demographic variables beyond what is explained by self centeredness in the current year so even if you're self centered this year and you're lonely you're going to be even more self-centered next year. Even taking into account depressive symptoms and overall negative negativity. And it's interesting that self centeredness in the current year so that was loneliness if you're lonely this year you're going to be self centered next year and they also found that being self centered this year predicts loneliness in the subsequent year so it's a it's a cycle lonely self-centered lonely self-centered chicken and egg there are over and over again. Social isolation and loneliness living alone had a significant. In equal effect on the risk of premature death. Loneliness can actually increase your risk of dying early and this risk was equal to or exceeded the effect of other well accepted bris factors such as obesity. So being lonely can be just as bad as being obese and greater here's the good news greater social connection was associated with a fifty percent reduction of dying early Is this what the church is about. Partially. But this is an aspect that maybe we neglect as a church we are supposed to be promoting life. And yet people even in our own churches are dying early because they are alone. Resilience resilience what is resilience it's the process of adapting well in the face of adversity trauma tragedy tragedy threats or significant sources of stress it is common. Do you undergo stress trauma crises I mean we've seen we're seeing it all around us aren't we we see this in the world all the time now and resilience is our ability to cope with that. The good news is that it is common in other words people are resilient praise the Lord now it doesn't mean that the person doesn't experience those difficulties difficult situations or other stressors it just means they're able to cope with it it's not you know. Trying to remember the quote. Christ said. Be of good cheer. In this world you shall have tribulations but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world. Trouble is inherent in this life. So let's not focus on the trouble let's focus on the ability to live freely by God's grace. So resilience involves behaviors thoughts very important thoughts and actions and that these can be learned and developed in anyone and how do we what are they of factors that affect that resilience. Listen to this again having a caring and supportive relationship both within and outside the family very important. And if we don't have a nuclear family that is caring and supportive our church family should be the. At our church family should take that role this relationship should create love and trust you you cannot just manufacture love and trust at the blink of an eye these are developed over time with a lot of personal contact with people and it also provides role models so important for our young people that they have good God leave role models resilience can also be affected by the capacity to make a realistic plan. And to carry them out so if you are able to actually accomplish something that you know was a bit of a challenge you've had success you're going to become more resilient but if we are shrinking away from problems all the time we're not giving us ourselves the opportunity to actually develop that capacity so we're not developing our resiliency we need to have a positive view of your self confidence in your strengths and abilities because they were given by God. And if you don't believe in yourself remember God believes in you he gave you something. He gave you something that's just for you. Because he wants you to develop that. Skills in communication and problem solving communication problem solving these are good life skills and if we are having problems with this maybe it's worth taking a class reading a book you know just finding someone and just starting to talk to them learning how to communicate in beneficial ways not in harmful ways. And the capacity to manage strong feelings and impulse affects your resilience managing our feelings our feelings can sometimes get the better of us can't they. Sometimes they override. Reason they can't they can even override the truth. We need to be able to properly manage those feelings and those emotions. More ways of building resilience make connections again social connectedness and you know if if you are in a place where this is not fostered maybe you are the agent of change that God has been waiting for maybe you are the one to begin making that difference avoid seeing a crisis as an insurmountable problem it's impossible I'd never do anything. With perseverance with faith and with God on your side every problem is surmountable we can move mountains Remember we can move mountains with God except that change is a part of living change happens change can be good. So accept that and lead and go with it move towards your goals and make sure you have some realistic goals as well no pies in the sky make sure it's really realistic take a decisive action you know taking a decisive action Ellen White Actually I don't have the reference for this but she actually says. Long delays tire the angels long delays tired the angels and in fact she even says it's better to make a decision and to move forward even if it's the wrong decision than to not do anything at all. Now you want to do it in subjection to God Of course because he can turn everything right and make sure you're using it as a learning opportunity but don't just sit and wait and wait and wait hoping that the perfect situation will come around and the answer will be spread lit around across the sky. Make a decision and surrender the results to God. Look for opportunities for self discovery in the song that says I communed with mine own heart it's it's a good thing to think about where am I every now and then. And to surrender to surrender that to God nurture a positive view of yourself don't always think of yourself as negatively you know be realistic and we also have to acknowledge the fact that we cannot know ourselves because our heart is deceitful above all things just partly wicked but God is the one who tries the hearts and He can reveal the truth to us keep things in perspective maintain a how hopeful outlook in take care of yourself live a life of wholeness live that life that you know you should be doing the habits you should be doing the exercise the food the sleep sleep is hugely important. And you know do the things that you know are right and are healthy for your body and give your body a chance. How to Help yourself this is again I'm taking from Dr Torben Berglund realize that addiction is normal. That's kind of harsh. It's a normal. There are there are many people who struggle with addictions you're not the only one. It may be in it's normal because we're living in a broken fallen world it's not normal because it's what God wants us to experience but let's not break ourselves over it realize that self discussed will only make things worse be kind to yourself God extends grace towards us let us accept it. Seek understanding of your real needs and appropriate ways to meet meet them remember those fake fillers that lead to addictions where we need to assess what is my real need is it social connectedness is it a sense of myself worth what is it that I'm really lacking. And. Find a way to fill that in the hole some way realize that fake fillers with never fill truly fulfill acknowledge the emptiness or pain you are trying to manage through the addiction remember an addiction comes to those who are in pain who are hurting who feel like there is something missing in their life so once we acknowledge that that has happened then we can seek for healing. We must. Accept the fact that bad things have happened to us and then we must say God I can't do anything with this it's driving me to destruction can you. Take it get connected with others do not fight alone and I know that there's a stigma about seeking help from a counselor a therapist there are many wonderful Christian counselors and therapist and that's what I recommend you go to a Christian because they understand the spiritual implications there is no shame in asking for help. Get your real needs covered by something that can truly fulfill count your victories not your losses and help yourself by helping others this is our full help yourself by helping others listen to this from Christian Temperance and Bible hygiene page one forty nine one who is weekend and even degraded by sinful indulgence may become a Son of God It is in his power to be constantly doing good to himself or herself good for their dog Their Well good to others and helping them to overcome temptation and in so doing he will reap benefit to himself. And that powerful. And he may be a bright and shining light in the world and at last hear the benediction Well done good and faithful servant from the lips of the King of Glory. One of the most powerful ways to overcome what ever it is whether it's an addiction or not but it is to help others and if we are robbing ourselves of that joy of helping others we may be robbing our first selves of the one thing that is going to make the difference it's so easy. To get caught up in our own pain our own struggles I know. I know. We want to just hide ourselves. And protect ourselves but that's not what God did. When there was a problem what did he do he gave up everything and he said I will go where the problem is and I will help those who are causing the problem and in helping others we will help ourselves I don't know how many times there were in my work previously. Where it was just a rough day. And I said Lord I don't want to see my patients today I really don't want to sit here and listen to them because they're just going to lie to me. I have to hear there's a story in. But every single time every single time without fail. As I sat there. And one patient would come in there was usually the last patient of the day at the very end of a very long day. Who would come in. And just tear my heart apart because of what they're going through. And as I heard them and then as I as I then began to say let me share with you some things that will help you. And then as I would close with prayer with them as I would say can I pray for you before you go. And they would say yes. And during that prayer when I would be in my mind just saying Lord I'm so tired but my words would be words of comfort coming from heaven I don't know how and that patient would begin to break down crying. And I would leave work that day feeling so energized. Not because of anything I did but because God was using me in even in my own brokenness even in my own time of need he said I am going to use you to be a blessing and you will see what I can do in your own life. All you have to do is take hold of the calling that I have given you to be a light to the world Daniel Chapter twelve. Daniel Chapter twelve this is a verse that I hope everyone memorizes its the closing of this very precious book Daniel Chapter twelve in verse three. And they that be wise shell shine as the brightness of the firmament and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever God is calling us to live to day as stars as the lights in the world even despite our own Proca ness even despite our own struggles our own pain our own need of healing he is saying you can be a light in this world and I promise you. You will be as a star shining in the brilliance of heaven for ever and ever but you've got to learn how to. So I pray that anyone who has experienced brokenness who has experience even an addiction pain loneliness whatever it may be whatever has gone on in your life take it and surrender it acknowledge it accept that it happened but it's in the past and God is going to take it and make it into something more beautiful it's a miracle only he can do he brings beauty out of ashes. So I pray that that is your experience as we continue our time together this weekend but even for the rest of our life time on this earth because in eternity we're not going to remember any of that. The former things will never come to mind. And we will live truly and completely free. Let's pray together as we close our time. And let's I'm going to ask you to kneel as we pray as we consecrate ourselves to him. Dear Father in Heaven Lord we have had just immense time together and Lord I feel your blessing and I pray that every single person who has heard this message has heard something for them that this is relevant for them right now. Because that will mean that the message came from you not from me Lord it's from you and you are calling El every one of us to live a life that is free. And that is abundant you wish for us that we would prosper and be in help even as our soul prospers and you came Lord Jesus came to this earth to give us an abundant life. Lord we know that this world is full of struggles with full of pain and sorrow and it's only going to get worse father when you have told us this but I pray that we will rejoice in that there is a future to come there is a hope so Help us Lord every single one of us to cling to that hope there may be people today who have to surrender their hearts to you maybe they've never yet done that fully. Or there may be others who have surrendered but they took it. Other There may be some of us who don't want to send surrender were afraid. Of what might happen we've been so long trying to protect ourselves but Lord it hasn't helped it hasn't worked. Every soul I pray that you will speak your peace. I pray Lord that your promises. Their minds and their souls. And they will take hold of. Or that we will cling to you because you are our life and there is no life outside of you. Father help us to remember that whatever we may cherish these are only temporal but you have planned much greater things for us. Take our hearts for we cannot give it it is your own we belong to you and we wish to give ourselves over to you but we are unable. So give us both the will and the power to do your bidding. Any pains any broken hearts I pray that you bring them to complete healing. And that we will take every opportunity to share the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living that we will be ministers of life until life to those around us who are seeking for hope I thank you so much I thank you for the healing you've brought I thank you for the messages we are hearing I thank you Lord. Together for good. Love who are the called according to his purposes we give you all the glory we give you the. Joy sing. Everlasting. Greatness Jesus' name. This media was brought to you by. A website dedicated to spreading God's word through sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about. You would like to listen to more service. To visit.


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