Gambling

Hallmarks of a Healthy Support Group

Simply stated, a support group is a regular meeting of individuals who have joined together to offer one another support and encouragement in order to overcome a shared problem. In informal, small group settings, participants, in turn, share their own experiences, feelings and struggles

Ideally, a good support group is, first, a place where recovering addicts will find true acceptance and a sense of what unconditional love is all about. It is a safe, non-judgmental setting where they can express struggles, thoughts, ideas, and feelings without fear of rejection. Hearing the stories of others with similar difficulties and how they overcame them, gives the struggling addict great encouragement to go on in a life of sobriety.

Checklist of Symptoms Leading to Relapse

While each individual must maintain the disciplines that insure sobriety, there are ways in which others can help. Nearly every person close to the addicted person is able to recognize behavior changes that indicate a return to the old ways of thinking. Often these individuals and fellow Christians in Recovery® members have tried to warn the subject, who by now may not be willing to be told. He may consider it nagging or a violation of his privacy. There are many danger signs.

Most addicted people, if approached properly, would be willing to go over an inventory of symptoms with a spouse or other confidante. If the symptoms are caught early enough and recognized, the addicted person will usually try to change the way they think, to get "back on the beam" again.

A weekly inventory of symptoms might prevent some relapses. This added discipline is one that many addicted people seem willing to try. The following list can be used by spouses, close friends, or the addicted person.

1. Exhaustion: Allowing yourself to become too tired or in poor health.

Twelve Steps to Freedom

The Twelve Steps originated with Alcoholics Anonymous in the mid 1930's. Besides being used to help alcoholics and drug addicts, the Twelve Steps have been used in support groups for family members, over-eaters, compulsive gamblers, and even for those desiring to escape from sexual addiction. These Steps formed the basis of treatment and counseling activities at New Creation Center where I served as Executive Director for ten years in the 1980's.

In the past few years, a movement recognizing the power of the Twelve Steps has sprung up among evangelical Christians concerned with those struggling with various addictions. Some believers worry that they bring secular concepts to the Christian counseling field.

From where do these Twelve Steps derive their power? The answer is very simple; from the Bible! Although following the Steps does not always bring an alcoholic (or other sufferer) into a saving relationship with Christ, they do work in overcoming addictions. This is shown by the millions of people who have found sobriety since AA's beginning. In some ways, it is very much like the businessman who succeeds financially when he makes spiritual principles the basis of his business practices.

God Chases Runaways

Study of Jonah 1:1-5


Jonah 1:1-2
The word of the LORD came to Jonah ...
But Jonah ran away from the LORD.

Do you remember the TV series, “The Fugitive” (and then the movie version in 1993? It was about Dr. Richard Kimble’s efforts to find the one-armed man who had killed his wife.
Police thought he had done it, so he was on the run.
He was a fugitive.

The Bible tells us we’re fugitives from God.
That’s because we’re sinners, and have broken His laws.
Unlike Dr. Kimble, though, we are guilty.
As fugitives, we are running away from Him.

We don’t like to think of ourselves that way.

Set Free - Replacing the Old with the New

In searching for, and living in the truth that can set us free, the first thing we need to do is replace the old with the new. Romans 12:2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

When You Have Nothing Left

"We have nothing left," the woman told me. "Absolutely nothing." She looked at the floor and shook her head.

Her husband, Chip gambled at the horse races and bought countless lottery tickets. He blew his paycheck, their money in the checkbook, and their retirement fund.

"My parents lent us money, but he gambled that away too."

She dabbed her eyes and continued, "Chip returned to the horse races to win back his losses, but of course, he didn't." She held her hand to her forehead and sobbed.

"We're going to lose the house."

When I asked if her husband would see me, she said she would ask him. "He probably won't come."

Who Are You Serving?

Then Samuel told the whole house of Israel, "If you're returning to the Lord with all your heart, then remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you, direct your hearts back to the Lord, and serve him only. Then he will deliver you from the control of the Philistines." 1 Samuel 7:3, NET Bible

I have to look seriously at who – or what – I am serving. For I can be easily deceived if I am not regularly submitting myself to the Lord my God.

There are many things I can serve in this world, none of which honour Jesus: I can serve money, other people, addictions to various substances or activities – I can even serve an addiction to people if what they think of me, or if their opinion, is more important to me than His opinion or what the Lord thinks of me.

Something else that I can become a servant to is my emotions. It is so easy for me to become overwhelmed by my feelings, and when I do, I can begin to quickly bow down to them. When anger rears its ugly head in me, it is all too natural for me to lash out at my husband or the nearest loved one to me. However, the Lord says in His Word:

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1, NIV84

When I feel discouraged and overwhelmed by a task that is before me, it is simple for me to say, "I just can't do this!" But the Word of the Lord speaks differently:

When We Run From God

When we struggle with addiction or any other challenge, we may say and do things we wouldn’t normally. We may choose to disobey God as Jonah did in the Old Testament.

When we run from God, we have preferred our own will instead of God's.

The storm will come as it did for Jonah. Our storm may not be a physical raging sea, but it could be raging emotions, a storm in our marriage, rebellious children, financial chaos, loss of a job, or foreclosure of our home.

If our children rebel, we don’t stop loving them. They can still turn to us, their parents for love and support, and we’ll give them both.

In the same way when we find ourselves discouraged or convicted about sin in our lives, we can turn to God. No matter what we’ve done, God loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

In speaking of God, 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) says, He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Definition of Addiction

Please click below for the file:

Definition of Addiction: Frequently Asked Questions
by American Society of Addiction Medicine
(Adobe Acrobat PDF File)
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Feel too far Gone to Claim His Promises?

Do as thou hast said. 2 Samuel 7:25

God's promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper; he intended that they be used. God's gold is not miser's money, but is minted to be traded with. Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see his promises put in circulation; he loves to see his children bring them up to him, and say, "Lord, do as you have said. We glorify God when we plead his promises.

Do you think that God will be any poorer for giving you the riches he has promised? Do you dream that he will be any less holy for giving holiness to you? Do you imagine he will be any less pure for washing you from your sins? He has said

"Come now, and let us reason together,
saith the Lord:
though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool."

Faith lays hold upon the promise of pardon, and it does not delay, saying, "This is a precious promise, I wonder if it is true?" but it goes straight to the throne with it, and pleads, "Lord, here is the promise, 'Do as you have said.'"

Our Lord replies, "Be it done to you as you desire."

When a Christian grasps a promise, if he does not take it to God, he dishonours him; but when he hastens to the throne of grace, and cries, "Lord, I have nothing to recommend me but this, 'Thou hast said it;'" then his desire shall be granted.

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