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#TRENDING: Is It Possible to Discover Hope & Healing In Addiction?

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Hearing my Dad on the phone, I immediately knew something was wrong. As he hung up and shared that my cousin overdosed on Heroin and died the night before, my mind froze in shock.

Brittany was only 24, two months away from her 25th birthday. She was my Grandma’s third granddaughter born in the summer of 1991—me in May, my cousin Ashley in June, and Brittany in August. I remember summer camps together, giggling sharing secrets, Christmas celebrations opening presents and singing songs, and endless dance parties.

How could someone I love, someone so young, with all the potential in the world, in the blink of an eye just be gone?

My heart broke as I began sobbing, grieving the life of my cousin, my family, cut too short.

The more I think of Brittany, I can’t help but see her gorgeous smile, freely laughing finding the joy in life. And yet along the way, the pain of life seeped its way into her heart, whispering the lie that she could find something to numb what she was feeling—even if for just a little while.

We all experience pain and we all numb our hurts differently. For some of us it’s devouring a carton of ice cream singlehandedly; for others of us it’s spending countless hours at the gym; running from boyfriend to boyfriend; self harming; consuming everything in sight and purging later, or not eating at all; gossiping; maxing out our credit cards; obsessing over cleaning the house spotless; planning on one glass of wine at dinner only to drink the entire bottle; Netflix binging; pornography; the list goes on.

Numbing our pain is just that—numbing it. Sure we’ll feel good for a little while, but eventually our temporary fix wears off, leaving us more depleted, more empty than before, ready to chase our next high. Addiction is addiction—whether it’s drugs and alcohol or Pinterest obsession. One addiction is not “greater” or “worse” than another. We all have hang ups, we all have hurts, we all have bruises. Life hurts, and it’s hard. But I believe that even in the darkest storms in our lives, there is hope. I’m banking my life on that. Believing that God sent His one and only Son to die for me is a game changer in my story. Even on my darkest days, when I want to turn to my addictions to numb the pain away, I know my story’s not over yet and I’m going to be ok because I’m banking everything on the hope I have in Jesus Christ.

Pain is real. I know what you’re going through is real and hard and there are days it seems impossible to put one foot in front of the other. I know it’s tempting and sexy even to numb what you’re feeling with a temporary fix. I’ve been there and fight the urge to numb my pain away. Friend, don’t give up. Don’t allow the darkness to overcome your smile. Grip onto the hope we have in Christ with everything you’ve got and don’t let go.

Here are a few next best steps in standing rooted on the hope we have in Christ and finding freedom from addiction:

Get honest with yourself. Don’t try to sweep your addiction under the rug pretending it’s not there. What pain are you trying to numb? How are you numbing it? One of the most freeing things we can do is be honest with ourselves.

Talk with God. God knows us—He created us! Talk with Him about your pain, what you’re experiencing, what you’re angry about, and your disappointments. If you’ve never begun a relationship with Jesus, today’s the day! Simply ask Him to be your Lord and Savior, to forgive you and guide you with each next step.

Talk with someone you trust today. We weren’t created to do life alone; God designed us to do life together. Talk with someone you trust and share with them what’s going on and how you’re numbing your pain. Ask them to hold you accountable and walk with you as you grip onto hope and let go of addiction.

Talk with a Christian counselor. Counseling isn’t bad, something to shy away from or be ashamed of. Ask your church for recommended Christian counselors in your area and make an appointment.

Journal. Write out your emotions, what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling. Ask yourself questions, jot down observations, document your journey.

Define a clear next step. What’s your next step in becoming free from addiction? If you’re not sure, talk with your mentor or counselor and define a game plan to break free.

As I celebrate Brittany’s life and grieve over her story ending too soon, I’m filled with renewed courage to face my hurt and pain and not try to stuff it down or numb it away. I don’t want my pain to swallow me—our pain and hurt doesn’t define us, God defines us and He says we are loved, called, made with purpose, worthy, beautiful and enough. Friend, we’re becoming. We’re going to have hurt and heartache on the journey, but there is incredible hope in Jesus Christ.

Brittany, I love you. I am so happy you’re now pain free in the arms of our Heavenly Father. I’m excited to see you again. Much love.

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