Below is a video from the presentation of “Overcoming Addiction.” For the various counseling options available from this material visit

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

“I Want to be Free… Sometimes and Sometimes Not”
ADMIT I have a struggle I cannot overcome without God.

Overcoming Addiction, Step 1 from The Sam James Institute on Vimeo.

Memorize: Romans 7:18-19 (ESV), “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “For I know” – These verses are the Bible’s “introduction to addiction and human experience” passage.
  • “Desire to do what is right” – There are times when you want to be free from your addiction.
  • “Not the ability” – Our sin nature is stronger than our personal will to be good apart from God’s grace.
  • “I do not the good I want” – There are times when you don’t want to be free from your addiction.
  • “Keep on doing” – The result of these truths is that our addiction continues until we fully surrender.

Teaching Notes

“I woke up and knew I couldn’t take another drink. But I also knew I couldn’t live without one (p. 15)!” John Baker in Celebrate Recovery: Leader’s Guide

“This is, of course, what is utterly puzzling about addiction – that we should repeatedly and compulsively do that which we know is damaging us (p. 12).” Kent Dunnington in Addiction and Virtue: Beyond the Models of Disease and Choice

“If addicts really believed that there were no positives to the addictive behavior and only negatives, they would be acting irrationally to continue to engage in the behavior… An accurate evaluation of what role the behavior plays in the life of the addict appears to be an important element in fostering serious consideration of change (p. 144).” Carlo DiClemente in Addictions and Change

“I am not being flippant when I say that all of us suffer from addiction. Nor am I reducing the meaning of addiction. I mean in all truth that the psychological, neurological, and spiritual dynamics of full-fledged addiction are actively at work within every human being (p. 3)… It is as if these severely addicted people have played out, on an extreme scale, a drama that all human beings experience more subtly and more covertly (p. 43).” Gerald May in Addiction & Grace

“It takes choice and commitment to continue to obtain effective access and to seek the addictive behavior when there are negative personal and social consequences that begin to emerge… The addicted individual appears to be functioning more on autopilot than choosing. Nevertheless, a chosen commitment to the addictive behavior continues (p. 50)… There are virtually hundreds of little decisions that are made daily and weekly to ensure access to the behavior. Arranging schedules, making excuses, sneaking off for periods of time, and minimizing consequences are all part of the process of protecting continued engagement in the addiction (p. 52).” Carlo DiClemente in Addictions and Change

“In addiction, as in all of life, we overcomplicate things in order to avoid facing the truth (p. 179).” Gerald May in Addiction & Grace

“We are as sick as our secrets (p. 59)… Remember it is always better to tell the ugly truth rather than a beautiful lie (p. 60)… Truth often hurts. But it’s the lie that leaves the scars (p. 79).” John Baker in Celebrate Recovery: Leader’s Guide

“Do this work with someone else. Addictions are private, so doing this in public is a way to take a stand against your addiction (p. 3).” Ed Welch in Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction

“Should addiction be understood as a disease or as a choice? This is the most longstanding and contentious question in addiction research. The question, however, rests on a false dichotomy. The false dichotomy arises from a failure or an inability to conceive of a genuine space between compulsion and choice, between, in philosophical terms, determinism and voluntarism… The philosophical category that covers this terrain is the category of habit (p. 31).” Kent Dunnington in Addiction and Virtue: Beyond the Models of Disease and Choice

“Actually, the addiction becomes a constant companion, a friend, and something to count on for a predictable effect or outcome. Some commentators on addiction describe it as a love relationship because of the intensity of the bond and the commitment to the behavior (p. 61).” Carlo DiClemente in Addictions and Change

“Perfection is not your goal; trust is. When your aim is perfection, you are actually headed away from God because you are trusting in your own acts rather than trusting in God (p. 36).” Ed Welch in Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction