• Lane of Roses

Bittersweet: Finding Freedom From Secret Addiction

Written by: Janise Anderson

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Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,

and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

-- Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)


Food filled the cracks in my heart. Sugar, like glue, held together my broken pieces.


Wherever I was and whatever I was dealing with, sugar was there for me. During my senior year of college, binging became a daily ritual—a game to see how much I could eat without anyone noticing. Before I even swallowed, my fingers pried open the next wrapper—and the next.

I covered up my loneliness with empty wrappers, but nothing filled the hole inside.


The pressures and expectations of every day pressed down on me. But I did not have time to break down or fall apart. Instead, I ate until I felt like throwing up, took an antacid and ate some more.

I needed sugar like an addict needed their next hit. Without sugar, I crumbled.


Everyone around me seemed to be struggling with their own burdens. I wanted to carry their sorrows while still hiding my own secret addiction. By binging, I could hurt myself without hurting anyone else. I was drowning, but no one knew.


For years, I walked alone through this valley. I couldn’t find my footing on my own, no matter how many times I tried. In desperation, I cried out to God. Although my prayers were constant and genuine, my lifestyle did not change.


God kept bringing to mind Galatians 5:1 which says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (NKJV). Even though Christ’s blood had set me free from sin, I remained in bondage to sugar. How could I effectively serve Him if I was constantly entangled again with this sin? How could I be free if I was caught in a secret addiction?


Only truth could set me free.


I walked into a counseling office and made an appointment. It was my first real step toward real change. I needed to look past the surface and dig into the deeper problems. I needed to address the unanswered whys that I had been ignoring for years.


After that first meeting, I told my best friend and my mom everything. Over time, I trusted more people with my struggle.


Honesty hurt. But it was the good kind of hurt—the kind of hurt I knew would lead to healing. Freedom came one moment at a time. The struggle remained, but my strength grew as my heart healed. Psalm 34:8 says, “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man who trusteth in Him” (KJV). Food could never satisfy me like Christ could.


This same sin kept bringing me to my knees, but I was no longer stranded in the valley; I was climbing uphill toward hope. I still had bad days and bad weeks, but I no longer had bad months.

This time, I did not try to fight the battle alone.


When my family and close friends asked me how I was, I told them the truth. They prayed for me and walked beside me. I stopped trying to carry both my burdens and theirs. By acknowledging my weakness, I learned to rely on God for strength.


He broke the chains that I had locked around my own wrists. His love freed me from my shame and my sin. He lifted me out of the mire.


“You are mine,” He said. “And you are worth far more than this. Come with me, daughter, and leave this darkness behind.”


My God walked with me through the valley, and when I couldn’t take another step, He carried me the rest of the way. Safe in His arms, I stopped trying to be enough.


Finally, I was free.



Reflection

1. Have you felt trapped in secret addiction or sin?

2. How can you take the first brave step towards freedom?


Prayer

God, thank You for loving us faithfully. Thank You for offering us true freedom from every addiction and sin. Thank You for loving us despite our struggles and sin. I pray that You would show us how to find freedom from our addictions. Thank You for mercies that are new every morning.

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