Just A Thought On The Term Recovering Addict

Can I be honest with you guys? There has been something bothering me in reference to the term addict. Not the word per se, but how some people use it in conjunction with another word…recovering. To me it almost seems like an oxymoron. Makes about as much sense to me as what my mom use to say whenever we got in the car “We’re off like a herd of turtles”. Everyone knows turtles do not take off and they do not travel in herds.

Now, I know many of you are probably thinking that Stuart has gone crazy. I also understand that this post may rile some feathers but please bear with me as I try to explain why I feel this way. And it has been a while that I have felt this way.

First off, when you recover anything you are basically reclaiming or regaining something. Like how you recover from a sickness and regain you health. Like how you would recover something stolen from you by someone and regain your property. Secondly, an addict is someone who is physiologically or psychologically dependent on something such as drugs, sex, alcohol, food, control, cigarettes, coffee, etc. So to me, just based on definition, when you add recovering to the word addict it means something totally different than what is meant by the person. I know what they mean but I wish they would use a different term of recovering.

I have been going to Celebrate Recovery for seven and half years now. I started going because of the depression that resulted from a failed marriage.

It is a wonderful program based on Biblical principles to help someone overcome/recover FROM their hurt, habits, hang-ups and addiction. Every Thursday night, with the exception of a few I have been there…listening. And every time someone introduces themselves they “Hello, my name is______ and I am (either) an addict or recovering addict.” One night not too long ago I could not take it any longer and I spoke up.

Hello-My-Name-Is-Label-LB-1992

I looked at the guys and told them how I felt. I told them to please stop looking at themselves as a recovering addict. The addict in you was part of your old self, not the new self you have in Christ. Once you accepted Christ into your heart and asked him to forgive you, you became free. You are no longer an addict but a new creation in Christ. You are in the renewing of your mind stage…not the addiction stage any longer.

I then told them of my addiction to alcohol, how I stopped and why. I shared with them that when I go to the grocery store I have to avoid the beer section because every time I go by it, I just stand there for a second and then walk away. Do I want a beer sometimes?

Yes, a good cold Corona would be nice. But I know where it could end up. It no longer has a hold on me. I am not a recovering alcoholic.

I have shared with them my addiction to pornography. I am not a recovering porn addict. I do not crave it. I do not plan my day around it, nor do I get upset if I can’t watch it like an addict does. I walk in the freedom Christ gave me. I am still in the renewing of my mind part, with this one, just like they are with their stuff. Have I fallen and watched or looked at anything pornographic? I must tell the truth and say yes, I have. And felt miserable.

But, at the same time I understand their need to say recovering. It keeps them on their P’s & Q’s. One guy told me that saying that keeps him humble. I was like “brother, if that is what it takes for you to have your freedom then by all means keep saying it.” I then told him if you fall, remember you are not bound to your old ways and that part of exercising your freedom in Christ is by going to the throne of God, ask for forgiveness and get back up. Then stand tall knowing you are forgiven.

For those who use the term recovering addict I mean no disrespect at all by this post. I’m just voicing my thoughts. I applaud you in your decision to allow God to break those chains. I recommend reaching out to someone you trust to talk to and have them pray for you and with you. If you want to talk to me please feel free to do so. You can send me an email or message me on Facebook or Twitter. I will be more than happy to talk with you and pray for you and with you, if you would like.

God Bless,

Stu

23 thoughts on “Just A Thought On The Term Recovering Addict”

  1. Words matter. How we use words matters. It’s understood that interpretation takes a few twists and turns along the way. But it’s important to use words to convey our meaning accurately.
    (You did well with that conveying part, by the way. 😊)
    Anyway, all that to say that you make a good point.
    This part: ” if you fall, remember you are not bound to your old ways and that part of exercising your freedom in Christ is by going to the throne of God, ask for forgiveness and get back up. Then stand tall knowing you are forgiven.” Excellent!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I never refer to myself as an addict or having addiction tendencies…I refer to myself as, “I was an addict.”
    Amen to every single word you wrote! I think it matters. Like kathy said, our words are powerful. They can build up or tear down.
    For me; it’s our with the old and in with the new.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, Everytime I went up on stage I would give my name and say I struggled with _____ in the past and now I am walking in freedom. And then teach the lesson.

      I truly wish more people could realize the power of the words they speak even when defining themselves.

      Like

  3. Stu, thanks for sharing. We are all recovering from something in our lives. It may not be addictions, but the feelings of grief and anguish can be just as challenging. In seeking Christ, we can find the freedom and strength to move forward one day at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The feeling of grief and anquish would be more challenging in my eyes…as you can’t really stop the grief. It’s always there it just changes a little as time goes by. I’m not saying it gets easier because it doesn’t. One day at a time indeed. That is the only way to move forward and heal.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Stu.
    I wish I could be as sure of myself and my recovery as you are. The truth is that some of us struggle and are recovering daily. I used to introduce myself with my past struggles, like you mentioned. Hi my name is Doug, and I used to struggle with porn, anger anxiety(pick one or think of something else entirely and it probably applies to me). That was true, till it wasn’t. If I let my temper get away from me in the afternoon, I couldn’t very well say I used to struggle with anger later in the evening. My current struggles are depression and regret, and I would like to think I am recovering, and sometimes I see some progress, but others, it can feel like I am deeper in despair than ever.
    Please don’t take this the wrong way. I am a huge advocate of CR, but the truth is that I could go so far and no farther thru the program. It isn’t the fault of the program, but for reasons I won’t go into here, there were limitations I could not work around, and had to find different avenues to my recovery.
    I’m glad your faith is easy, and I hope your recovery remains as sure as it seems. It isn’t so easy for some. It isn’t so easy for me. Maybe that is my own fault, or maybe God has a different plan for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brother, thank you so much for your comment. I agree there are limitations within the program and some of those said limitations ticked me off.

      God works with each one of us differently. I so wish that my desire for porn, sex and masturbating would have gone poof like it seemed for some but it didn’t. It was a very very hard road but it got easier. Have I fallen? Of course! Especially in that first year.

      Many nights have I cried out to God asking for help to not do what I wanted to do.

      Oh gosh I hope I have not portrayed my faith as easy. If so forgive me. It has been a struggle for real. I’m just a forgiven sinner no longer bound in his past sins.

      If you want to chat brother my email is stubaby777@gmail.com

      Like

      1. No worries, Brother.

        If I am completely honest, your post caught me in a season where I am strongly wishing for an easier faith, and I lashed out. Seems I have a good day, and then 2 or 3 really tough ones. Your post landed squarely in the middle of the latter, and I was a bit combative.

        I know a few folks who have that easy, unshakable faith. One is my best friend and the leader of our CR ministry. Sometimes it can be damnably difficult to relate to him without some measure of what I confess is probably jealously. I reacted similarly to your post.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree Stu! And agree with Kathy and Amy! You really explained this very well! 👋 Great post! Very powerful words! We are no longer slaves to our sin. We are no longer addicts of whatever we desired, if we belong to Christ. He gives us a new heart, a new mind in Him! He is ever transforming and renewing us day by day!…I had to chuckle when you mentioned that we may think you crazy…I could just hear someone’s mom yelling, “Are you crazy Stuart?!!!” 😲 But for the record, I did not think it 😂 …sounds like your mom and mine would have been good friends. My mom liked to say stuff like the turtle thing 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Completely agree. ” Recovering FROM addiction” – yes. But “recovering addict” says (to me) – “once an addict, always an addict” – which I definitely don’t agree with, and I’m surprised at any Christian who uses the term. Surely if God can create a universe, He can break us out of addiction!? On a more mundane level, I used to be addicted to tobacco, but I haven’t smoked (or vaped, etc.) since 1997. I fight addiction (to porn) but I have faith that (with God on my side) I can break free from addiction – and recover!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t stand the term once and addict always an addict. That says God is a liar. And can’t keep His promises.

      Congrats on the no smoking. It’s tough!

      Fighting porn is the hardest thing ever! But you can do it!

      Like

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