Staying Sober-ish

You can sneak this drink, this peek, this pill. One little thrill won’t hurt, especially if the spouse is away.

If you don’t hear these voices, move along, move along; this conversation might be beneath you. But if these voices come calling from time to time, I suppose I’d like to tell you this: welcome to the human experience.

Do you wrestle with the haunting addictions, with the voices of the human experience? If so, I’d love to hear your two cents. How do you kill the demons that don’t seem to die? It’s a personal question, I know.

This is a tiny excerpt from this month’s first Tiny Letter–my bi-monthly newsletter. It is a more personal Tiny Letter, one in which I write openly about the struggles of maintaining a sober-ish life. It’s also a Tiny Letter in which I’m asking you to give a little feedback. I’ll collect this feedback, and will repackage it in the hopes of shedding a little light on the human experience of addiction (to alcohol, pills, puking, shopping, the internet, whatever) and sobriety.

If you aren’t a Tiny Letter subscriber, would you consider subscribing today? And if you subscribe, would you consider throwing your thoughts into the ring? And once you’ve subscribed, once you’ve given a little feedback, would you invite your friends? Sober-ish is, after all, a community effort.

CLICK HERE to subscribe, and I’ll send you the Tiny Letter. And for those of you who are already subscribers, I hope you’ll consider sharing the Tiny Letter with your friends and family; I hope you’ll invite them into the conversation.

(As always, this post on addiction, recovery, and healing process is brought to you by Coming Clean: A Story of Faith, a Christianity Today 2016 Book Awards winner.)


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  • 1lori_1

    Seth, I have known several Christians who,once converted never drank/did drugs again and had no temptation at all, like the desire just disappeared. I have always found it hard to identify with these stories, although I know they are true. For some of us it is an on-going struggle of giving/taking back. God deals with us all differently I think,whatever the issue is. Then of course free will plays a part. There were two separate occasions in my life where I was on my way to the store to get more wine and the need was overwhelming. I stopped and fell to my knees both times and He delivered me immediately from that tangible “thing” that had that hold on me. And if He would do this then, why not trust Him each and every day with it? Well, because we tell ourselves all sorts of things about why we don’t have a problem and how it’s not interfering with anything or hurting anyone, etc, etc. So I totally know what you are going through. I believe the wrestling is somehow all part of the plan to change something in us and who knows, someday this side of Heaven, those voices/desires will cease for good. For me, it’s a minute by minute, day to day thing, silencing those voices and fears that whisper and clamor for attention. Thank you for being so honest about your journey. I still drink, and I do have a buddy system worked out with a personal friend who keeps me accountable to myself and God. I once quit for three weeks and sometimes I wonder what would change in my walk and my life if I quit entirely and maybe someday that will happen. Well, I guess that’s more than two cents. We are all in this together.

    • sethhaines

      Thanks for sharing this. And yes, I think the wrestling is a part of the plan, at least I hope. Thanks for your three cents. 🙂

  • Heather Bradford

    I am a food addict and 10 months ago my disease progressed to a scary place. After four years of one tragedy after another my drug of choice for soothing the pain became a moment to moment need. I’ve always struggled with my weight and was never able to stick to any diet for longer than a few weeks. Last summer I started binging on junk food every night and was rapidly gaining weight. I was also so sick that I doubted I would live much longer, and I was glad that it would soon be over. At 325 lbs I cried out to God for help, told him that I couldn’t stop and needed Him to step in and do something. He worked a miracle and managed to cause a 12-step meeting for food addicts to lose their location and go in search of a new one. Two weeks after I started praying for help I saw them on the calendar at the church where I work. I went to the meeting the next week and I have been abstinent ever since. For me, a huge part of my addiction was the biological abnormality. Once I completely removed all flour and sugar from my diet the cravings stopped. The mental obsession is what continues and surrendering that to God is a daily struggle. The program I follow is very strict. I won’t even lick my finger or taste my food while cooking. If it isn’t part of my weighed and measured meal that I already committed to my sponsor then I don’t put it in my mouth. If I had any wiggle room the thoughts would overwhelm me and I would lose that battle. Having clear boundaries enables me to surrender those thoughts and cravings to God and ask him to satisfy me in other ways. I also have a collection of tools that I can use when the going gets rough. Between literature to read and people I can call I have an out. Preparation has also been vital. I am a single parent with a full-time job and I am out of the house for all three meals every day. Making sure that I always have my food prepared and measured out ahead of time (I cook twice a week and measure out every single serving) keeps me from every getting stuck. Unlike drugs and alcohol, I have to eat three times a day so planning is essential. I have lost over 100 lbs in 10 months. Thank you, God, for doing for me what I could never do for myself!

    • sethhaines

      Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story. This took a great deal of courage, and I’m for you!

  • Nigel

    The overwhelming urge for numbing with pornography comes at me most often when I spend too much time in a “high place” like achievement and performance. When I can find my way back to that “low place” where Jesus can actually meet me in my pain, then the love can deal with it instead of me numbing it. Also “Heart Made Whole” (Christa Black Gifford) also helped greatly in understanding addictive behaviors are never about substances, nearly always about pain. So basically being attentive to not burying it makes it easier to quickly find that “low place” again.