Once again, all it takes is one things to sidetrack our whole life.

People who find themselves in jail are not screwed up in every area in their life. However, they let one area which went ignored, overtake the other areas. Think about a pilot who goes through their checklist before a flight. They physically check the wings, fluids, electronics, communications, weather, engine mechanics, landing gear and a whole other list of important (and what seems as unimportant) items. Many times, all you need is one of these things to not work right to have a deadly crash. Deadly crash, like the pilot is dead.

Is there something on your life’s checklist which has not been checked in with in a while? Or, have you purposely been ignoring something because you know something just isn’t right? Ignorance and pain are not rational excuses, they are ingredients of death. Now, obviously, if you have an addiction to strip clubs, will this kill you? No. But could it bring down your marriage if a VIP dance in a prive room goes too far, and leads to a “date” outside the club? Could that lead to divorce, which may lead to financial strain through attorney fees, alimony and child support? Could that add additional stress, and physically effect you? Could you lose friends and family member’s trust? Can you see how one “little” thing can bring down almost every area in your life?

I heard in a sermon one day that we need to play the “movie” of what we’re doing all the way through. At the start of that last paragraph it doesn’t see like all that could happen from one lap dance at a strip club. But we need to realize the consequences of our decisions. The short term and long term ones. We need to watch the opening scene, the drama in the middle and the conclusion. When wrestling with a personal challenge of mine, I stopped short because I simply asked myself “where is this going”? I looked back at my escalated behavior and simply asked, “what is next, what will I need next time to give me the same ‘high’ (no, it was not drugs)’”?

I knew at that point that it either or would shortly be at a behavioral level I never dreamed of before. In other words, I realized that back when I took the small step of a “mini” sin, I would not have guessed I would be contemplating doing what I was currently doing – or about to do. My behavior just didn’t grow, but mutated. This is how things can easily get out of control. It is like we have two mega forces working against us. We need a bigger “hit” in order to get the same buzz, whether that be in bigger amounts of drugs, gambling, gossiping, lying, ways to control others, etc. However, we also search out new ways to get a higher high.

Sometimes drug addicts turn to robbery to get a similar high. A business person who manipulates his employees, now binges in overeating as another source of control. Shopaholics cause unneeded drama at home to give them an added rush after store hours. The combination of escalation and mutation add new dimensions to our challenges and addictions, and over time we become someone completely different. The problem is that many who go through this look back and hardly see a change. It is just “life” to them now. Unfortunately the opposite is true. Although we are the same “person”, we in some ways have a different personality.

As I sit and think about the temptations I have in my life, the forms of addictions I escape to, sulk in, hide from, and hide from others… I realize I “want” to stop, but have so much working against me. I end up giving up even before I start. Do you find that about yourself? Maybe you know an “addiction” you have, and want to stop, but don’t. If “wanting” is all it took to stop a downward spiral, most people would halt their addictive ways in a second. The problem is that “wanting” is the first step of many.

Regardless of what level your addiction is at, or even what it is, I would encourage you to take a close look at the following and see what you can do to aid the “wanting” to stop. They are in no particular order, and if your addiction is severe, this list is not to take the place of a 12 step program, or professional advice and care.

1. Admit you have an addiction. As Dr. Phil says, “You can’t heal what you don’t admit”. If a person doesn’t call himself an alcoholic, they probably won’t take steps to overcome the alcoholism. For another person, maybe they lack showing their children unconditional love. If they don’t admit that is a problem, they will never fully heal the hurt they and their children feel. Say it out loud, write it down, do whatever it takes to admit it.

2. Realize the cost… no, really realize the cost. I said “No, really realize the cost”, because we don’t. If the pain doesn’t hurt enough of touching a hot stove, we won’t remove our hand. If we don’t paint a clear picture of everything our hang up or bad habits are effecting, we probably won’t be motivated enough to tackle them, much less attack them with everything we got. I challenge you right now to write down what your addiction is, and the full and total cost of indulging in it, whether you know it or not. Remember what I said earlier, realize that multiple (if not all) areas of your life are being effected… write down how this is pulling the quality of all of them down.

3. Assemble your team and resources – then start a war. If I were to start a war against an enemy, I would call on all of my friends, organize and use all of my resources. I would dedicate serious time to it, as much money as I could, I would enlist the help of everyone around me, I would plan an attack, use my smarts to make a contingency plan, and follow up with everything I got. How can you use this mindset and “everything you got” to attack your addiction?

4. If what you are doing is not working, try and try again. I saw a billboard say “Never quit trying to quit”. There was an ashtray in the ad, and it was addressing the addiction of smoking. If you’ve failed in the past, try again. If you fail again, try again… but change your plan. Where did you mess up? Try again, but put people and resources in place to fortify the reason why you failed last time. Never quit, keep trying, keep going, apply more and smarter effort each and every time.

5. Pray, and get on God’s side. Contact a church for help, or throw me an email. Pray everyday, a couple times a day for the strength to overcome this horrible addiction, big or small, whatever it is. If you’ve had a “habit” on your mind as you read this, it is important enough to change it.