In this series, we share counsel from NewDay President Dan Johnson’s book, “The Journey to Freedom.” The book provides an overview of The Principles of Freedom, a study guide for individuals, and it is the primary text for Recovery Fellowship groups. It is based on the Exodus and the Israelites journey from bondage and slavery into the promised land.
The path of addiction is like a highway that abruptly ends at the edge of a cliff. If you don’t stop, you will go over the edge and meet a horrible end. For those on the path of addiction, the cliff is a broken life, a broken family, prison, or even death. As you speed along the highway, there are probably people who are pleading with you to take the next exit ramp. They want you to change or get some help. Even you may sense the need to exit, but you have a lot of reasons to keep going: a level of excitement, pleasure, peer acceptance, and comfort. You like speeding down the highway and assume that you will be okay. Besides, you can’t even see the cliff.
Many people fool themselves into believing they have the ability to keep their habit under control and to stop whenever they want to. In moments like that, it is tempting (and common) to promise yourself that you’ll exit a little further down the road—but well before the cliff. You think that way because your thoughts are influenced by lies more than by the truth.
For instance, in Genesis 2, God warned Adam and Eve about the deadly effects of eating from the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” (Genesis 2:17). There was plenty of food to eat in the Garden of Eden, but Adam and Eve still ended up eating the so-called “forbidden fruit” because they believed Satan’s lie that they wouldn’t die after eating it. Back to the highway analogy, it is tempting to wonder if the cliff is merely a rumor or if it really even exists! You may think, “If it is out there, I am probably so far away from it that I really don’t need to worry about it right now.”
For many people there is a moment or event that finally pushes them to become serious about changing. It may be getting arrested, being fired from a job, a spouse leaving, or being kicked out of the house. It is almost always true that the further you travel down the road of addiction, the more dramatic and painful the “exit ramp event” will be.