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 Can’t Solve the Riddle that Is Me”
UNDERSTAND the origin, motive, and history of my sin.

Overcoming Addiction, Step 3 from The Sam James Institute on Vimeo.

Memorize: James 1:14-15 (ESV), “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then desire gives birth to sin and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “Each person” – You must refute the lie that your circumstances are unique in a way that makes sin acceptable.
  • “Lured and enticed” – Temptation rarely feels like sin-chasing. We pursue the bait and ignore the hook.
  • “His own desires” – The why-questions will always be answered by personal desires that have become too large.
  • “Gives birth to sin” – Desire is more than a feeling; it is worship that will either conceive life or death in us.
  • “Brings forth death” – Echoes of this scary reality is what woke you up to your need for change.

Teaching Notes

“All sin is ultimately irrational….. Though people persuade themselves that they have good reasons for sinning, when examined in the cold light of truth on the last day, it will be seen in every case that sin ultimately just does not make sense (p. 493).” Millard Erickson in Christian Theology

“The voice of your addiction really is your own Mini-me. That’s your voice you’re hearing (p. 8)… That is what you did with your addiction. You practiced… Secretly, more and more of your life was becoming about your addiction (p. 24).” Ed Welch in Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction

“Addictions exert enormous control over human persons in part because they supply this need for an ordering principle… The person in the grips of an addiction finds that she operates in a profoundly simplified moral terrain, in which every activity, every relationship, every object of value is reinterpreted and invested with meaning only as it relates to the end of the practice of the addiction (p. 150)… Addictive objects are addictive because they enable persons to regulate their lives. That is why, among the various classes of mind-altering substances, very few persons are addicted to hallucinogens, like LSD or mescaline. Hallucinogens are unpredictable in their effects such that the user can never know what type of ‘trip’ to expect (p. 152).” Kent Dunnington in Addiction and Virtue: Beyond the Models of Disease and Choice

“Addiction can be interpreted as one available modern response to the lack of any common consensus about the telos of human action (p. 104)… Addiction is in fact a kind of embodied cultural critique of modernity and the addict a kind of unwitting modern prophet (p. 123).” Kent Dunnington in Addiction and Virtue: Beyond the Models of Disease and Choice

“Dysfunctional families don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel. Safe families do talk, do trust, and do feel!… What we don’t talk out creatively, we will act out destructively. Your church needs to be a safe place (p. 28).” John Baker in Celebrate Recovery: Leader’s Guide

“Behavioral psychologists have long known that intermittent gratification is a powerful means of conditioning. A habit is more strongly reinforced when the positive effects of the behavior occur intermittently than when they are constant. This is one reason gambling, fishing, hunting, and other behaviors that have intermittent and unpredictable payoffs are so addictive. It is also why attempts to moderate or cut down an addictive behavior usually fail so abysmally. In my struggle to make gratification less constant, I am actually reinforcing my attachment (p. 60).” Gerald May in Addiction & Grace

“Like the Israelites in the Exodus, we know we do not want to go back to imprisonment, and we sense we are moving on to a better existence, but still we must mourn the loss of the life we had known… It is important to note that the spiritual growth process involves far more relinquishment than acquisition. In our culture, we are conditioned to expect growth to involve acquisition of new facts and understandings (p. 105).” Gerald May in Addiction & Grace

“Addicts begin to trust the addictive mood change caused by their addiction to an object or event because it’s consistent and predictable… Because addiction is predictable for addicts, they believe it can be trusted (p. 12)… Addicts get intensity and intimacy mixed up (p. 18).” Craig Nakken in The Addictive Personality