I recently received a letter via Facebook from a client I counseled several years ago. She wrote the following:
“Hi Ms. Mondello. You probably don’t remember me. My name is “Jane” and I came to see you while I was at [a local college] way back in 2005 or 2006. Anyway, you crossed my mind, not only today, but have just been on my mind for awhile now, and I knew that I had to get in contact with you to simply just say—Thank You!
I find myself often thinking about those very hard sessions we had and me not wanting to talk to you and being scared and hurt and angry…wanting someone to help me but never sure how far or if it was ever safe enough to stretch out my arms. If you don’t remember me, that’s okay. I will always remember you as the woman who always smiled and called me a princess. You left a footprint on my heart that time or distance won’t ever be able to erase.”
Well, I certainly remember this young woman and was so blessed to hear from her. She had come to counseling because she was struggling terribly with an eating disorder. The enemy of her soul had her bound tightly by the chains of addiction, and at times I wasn’t sure but that he would be victorious over her.
As you might be able to tell from her note, during our counseling times together “Jane” struggled with a key spiritual question that must be answered by anyone who is seeking healing from any type of addiction: do you want to get well?* In the Gospel of John, chapter 5, we find Jesus conversing with a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years. This man had been lying all this time by a pool which was said to have healing properties. Jesus’ first and only question to the man was simple and straightforward. Do you want to get well? The man answered by saying, “Sir, I have no one to help me, and when I go down, someone gets in my way.” Could it be that the man had adopted the identity of being paralyzed or even yet, the identity of victim? In order to be healed, the man had to want to change.
With the disease of addiction—whether it is to food, drugs, money, sex, relationship—there is a tendency for the addict to be split, or double-minded. She desires to be free, yet she also desires to remain in addiction. Because as destructive as it may be, the addictive behavior has been the only way to cope, to survive, to get deep soul needs met. Yes, the addict will often ask God to take it away—if He will only do so quickly and easily. However, in reality, she doesn’t quite want to trust God fully and surrender her secret sins to Him.
Healing from addiction is not complicated. The key, though, is whether or not the addict really wants to get well. The sin of pride is at the heart of this challenge and can remain the most difficult obstacle to overcome. Can one really trust God to heal addiction? Absolutely! However, she must be willing to answer yes!
I am happy to report that “Jane” was finally able to answer affirmatively to Jesus’ question. After moving home several states away, she continued to seek help through a mentor and pastor at her local church. While she still fights the battle, she is experiencing consistent victory! She wrote again to tell me that she is back in school pursuing a degree in early childhood education with a minor in psychology. I have no doubt that God will one day use her powerfully in the lives of others. Please pray for this precious one that she will continue to say yes to Jehovah Rapha—her God Who Heals!