To countless people, recovery means acknowledging that something is wrong with them. It means unwanted exposure and stress, and sometimes, it even means medication and uncomfortable examinations.
Sadly, these are not delusions or imaginations. The pain of recovery is very real. Yet, this is not the worst of it.
Recovery from an addiction to self-harm is not a fight against a destructive substance – it is a fight against a destructive self and therefore against your own mind. Sometimes, that can be more terrifying than any drug.
I know exactly what that fight feels like. I’ve been there. It’s like staring down Goliath with only your tiny will, like the river stones David chose. And then getting pummeled.
But remember the story of David? He beat Goliath. David knew what he was getting into and he knew the odds, but he also knew who was getting him out. He told Goliath:
Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee…for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into my hands. -1 Samuel 17:45-47
This battle is the Lord’s. Your battle, my battle – it is the Lord’s, and He will fight for you just like He fought for David.
David picked up those small, smooth stones and used them to change his life and the lives of his people. He overcame that monster of a man because God was behind him, and that’s how we must face our battles of recovery.
Still, recovery from addiction isn’t a battle of swords and spears. No amount of mental and physical training can prepare a person for this kind of fight. So you might not win as suddenly as David did. There will be setbacks, and you will lose battles. But that does not mean you’ve lost the war.
The first time I relapsed, it was devastating. I felt so pitiful and low; I couldn’t even “get clean” for a month. Then I read 2 Corinthians 5:17:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
So I picked myself up and tried again. I was new. I could do this.
The second time I relapsed, it seemed equally devastating. But in the aftermath, I realized that I wasn’t quite so down this time. I didn’t feel worthless or pitiful. Without realizing it, I had already given enough of myself to my Savior for Him to free me from the part of myself that held back.
So after that, I was done. I was actually done. But you’ve heard this before…
My point is, you cannot expect recovery to be immediate and final. Such high expectations will only cause you more pain and anguish when they’re not met. We are all human, and we will always make mistakes. You will relapse. But in the end you will be freed and you will recover.
But, eventually? One day you will be fully healed - you will be victorious and free.
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. -John 8:36
Keep trying, never give up, and don’t get discouraged. And above all, open your heart and trust God. Lean on Him and you will be free in more ways that you ever thought possible. I know because that’s what happened to me.This is the last installment of the "Redeemed" series. We've discussed cutting, eating disorders, pornography addictions and how you can help someone struggling with self-harm. We pray this series has blessed you and encouraged you in the battles you may be fighting right now. If you need prayer support, please add your name to our prayer list, and if you need accountability partners, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.