Denial is the first obstacle to overcome when you have an addiction or other life destroying problem. You can’t proceed in getting your life back in order without admitting you have a problem. You can end up ruining your life and finding nothing but darkness.
After the holidays, at the Celebrate Recovery program I’ve been attending we started from the beginning of the 12 Steps and discussed denial, which, as the book we’re using states, is not just a river in Egypt.
Getting started. Step one:
- We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18
When addictions and compulsive behavior, we lose control and go on a downward spiral and eventually into the pit of despair.
Recently, a friend pointed out that people who aren’t on drugs can be as “sick” as people who are abusing drugs. I would use “sick” to describe people with problems as sick only in a metaphorical sense. When people are upset, frantic, they can make themselves physically sick.
I know what it’s like to be in a dark place, to feel isolated from the rest of the world – that nobody cares, that I don’t matter. Romantics (I’m a recovering Romantic) eventually get hit with the harsh realities of life, and become cynical. They are two sides of the coin. This is the case shown in lines from the Romantic poet Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage:
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean — roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin — his control
Stops with the shore; — upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.
A nerd who lived across the street from me said that when you are in a blackhole, you travel so fast, much faster than the speed of light, that you don’t realize you are traveling. I’ve been there. I kept engaging in impulsive, sinful behavior, full speed ahead. I road over speed bumps, tore right through them. Nothing to put me in check. I didn’t listen to any counsel, not the pastor, not my parents, not my daughter, nobody!
Finally, I fell into the pit, the pit of despair.
What is depression?
feelings of severe despondency and dejection.
“Self-doubt creeks in and that swiftly turns to depression.” -Bing
We don’t need to doubt ourselves. For the Christian, there is a loving God who accepts us for who we are. When we follow His precepts, God prospers us. And Jesus is with us always, though our good and bad times, and even when we are bad, God loves us. He just doesn’t like what we are doing.
King David fell into the pit of despair. After feeling depressed David, as a result of committing adultery, writes “Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long?” Psalm 6: 2-3
But David confessed his sin and God delivered him: “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2
Depression is driven by a state of mind. It can’t be treated by drugs. You may feel better for the moment, but in the long run drugs make it worse because you are not dealing with the sin, as David did, that caused it. The only reason for drugs is to temporarily relieve symptoms or if you are treating a physical problem, and not a matter of the heart. Only Jesus can heal your heart.