This post is an excerpt from the study guide which accompanies the “Overcoming Addiction” seminar. This portion is an excerpt from “Step Five: CONFESS TO THOSE AFFECTED for harm done and seek to make amends.” To RSVP for this and other Summit counseling seminars visit bradhambrick.com/events.
Knowing that you should do something is different from knowing how to do it. Let’s begin to turn that next corner.
- Begin with those you trust most and move out from there. When something is hard, it is wise to begin where it is safest. Start with friends or family you believe are most likely to forgive where you have been deceptive and supportive in your continued journey. After these conversations, get feedback on the conversation. Learn from each confession as a way to become more confident that this is a wise step.
- Who have you already told?
- Recall how nervous you were in these confessions and the benefits these relationships have provided.
- Who should be in your second tier of disclosures?
- Who have you already told?
- Don’t dwell on their anticipated reactions. The more time you spend imagining how the conversation will go, the worse it will get in your imagination. This is the natural human tendency for anything we want to avoid. Know what you need to say (next section) and resist the urge to rehearse the conversation further than that.
- Be honest, simple, and concise. Your opening statement should be as simple as, “I have been addicted to [blank] for a while. I don’t want to pretend like the struggle doesn’t exist. I want to understand how it has harmed our relationship and ask forgiveness for the ways I’ve offended or hurt you.”
- Disclose where you are at this point in time. Confession is step five of nine, so it’s literally a mid-journey activity. Confession is not saying “I’ve arrived;” it’s acknowledging you have a ways to go. It would be appropriate to say, “I am at the point in my struggle where I am consistently resisting the urge to minimize my struggle, but am still in the process of learning how to overcome it.”
- Give your friend a quality resource on addiction. Again, this study could be a resource you could point your friend to if they would like more information. It’s free, sequential, and available in an assortment of formats (e.g., written, video, and audio) for their convenience.
- Don’t rely on just one person. The smaller your support network, the more weight each person will bear. You care well for your support network and increase the likelihood someone will be available in your moments of struggle when you allow your network to grow. Meeting with a pastor, mentor, recovery group, or counselor who is experienced with addictions is also a way to improve the longevity of your support network.
- Be patient with yourself. Chances are even this list is starting to feel over-whelming. That’s okay. Change is never easy and when we grow impatient with ourselves change becomes even harder. Remain committed to taking the next healthy, God-honoring step and you’ll reach your destination.
- Be encouraged by your courage. Courage isn’t the absence of fear. Courage is the continued pursuit of your goals in the face of fear. You’re doing that or you wouldn’t have reached this point. That’s not making lemonade out of lemons. It’s affirming the perspiration that came with your faithful obedience to God to reach this point.
Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. Often this is read as a marriage passage, but it is about friendship in general. Notice two things. First, implied in this passage is the mutual awareness of our struggles. Everybody in this passage is facing a challenge. Second, notice the number change from two to three. When we obey God by reaching out to other believers in our struggle, God’s presence is added to the impact of these relationships to magnify their impact.
If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Addiction” post which address other facets of this subject.