Author Preface to Recovering From Sin and Addictions

Richard with a babyFrom the author: Richard Lehman

Addiction is a symptom of a deeper wound. A wound that typically no one else sees, and yet a wound that can be more painful than the one that everyone sees. I’m speaking of a wounded broken heart. And so my inspiration for writing this 12-step process to overcome addictions, comes from a desire to see wounded hearts healed.

When we are sick and in pain we take a painkiller, but we often don’t treat the actual source of the problem. So the pain can go away for a while and then return. Addiction is the symptom of a deep wound, and it can be painful to reopen the wound and get the problem out. So we avoid what needs to be done, and we cover the wound up again by going back to our addiction.

Modern day therapy techniques and practices have discovered some different ways to be able to uncover deep wounds, and bring them to the surface so that they can be understood and psychologically processed. We can be thankful for every one of these that contributes to helping people with their deep wounds. After all it is God who gifted mankind with the ability to help mankind. But especially when these therapy techniques are utilized under the direction of the Spirit of God and the Word of God, then the healing can truly become complete.

I am a missionary. So my purpose is to restore the relationship of mankind with God. And in doing so, every addiction to sin or substance can be healed, because the broken heart can be healed. And I have found, when applied scripturally, the well-known 12-step program for overcoming addictions truly enables people to be healed.

I am not like most modern missionaries. I have not been sent by a church organization to continue church organizational goals, objectives, and purposes in a foreign land. No. Actually I often step into a new country for missionary work alone, to meet new people and to establish the kingdom of heaven within their hearts. I have been sent by God, not by man, nor by a church organization. And so you can be assured that this 12-step process that I am presenting has no hidden church agenda behind it.

Jesus set the example for us all when he started his ministry by preaching: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He did not come here to set up a church organization, but rather a kingdom within the heart, by filling our hearts with the love of God. A love that is pure and faithful in every relationship. And through this love relationship, every addiction can be healed. And that is the approach to this 12-step process.

It is critical for every one of us to have loving relationships, starting with a relationship with God. And when you work with people who have addictions, you will eventually find a deep hurt because of a broken heart and a broken relationship in their past.

And so to each country I’m sent, I declare the kingdom of heaven within the heart, through Jesus Christ. I want you to be able to connect from your heart, to the heart of God. Because ultimately that is where your help will come from. And with that burden this 12 step guide to overcoming sin and addictions has been developed.

My inspiration for this step guide and the associated training worksheets, started from other brothers who had themselves been through 12-step programs in their past. And so we discussed what this program would look like from a true Christian perspective.

Of course if you know anything about the history of 12-step programs, the first ones originated out of Christian principles. And so it is only natural that many of the instructions within 12 step programs, are better clarified and understood in a deeper way, as you prayerfully apply the wisdom of the scriptures to them.

Most addictions at the core, or at the true problem source, are a symptom of a relationship betrayal and a broken heart. There may be numerous other factors that contribute to triggering the addictive behavior. But the underlying foundation of the problem starts with broken relationships along the way. And at the deepest core of all our most important relationships, is a spiritual relationship between God and us. When sin interrupts that relationship, there is a broken heart on both sides: with God and with us.

I am especially a missionary to Africa. And it is very apparent that addictions are a serious problem that needs to be addressed in the African continent. And so I have also taught on this subject through our regular multi-congregation Sunday morning services in Africa, (done via a phone conferencing service.) Additionally, these lessons have included Joe Molina, a brother who would bring personal testimonies about himself working through this type of 12 step program. Joe’s personal testimonies have touched many hearts causing their faith to grab hold of the reality that they could truly be delivered! For many years now, personal testimonies are always recommended as a powerful addition to any 12 step effort.

This 12-step program and workbook is not just for helping people who are addicted to substances (like drugs and alcohol.) Because sin itself is actually an addiction. It becomes a controlling force in the lives of individuals because of a broken relationship with God (because of their sin.)

And so this 12-step process is also an excellent educational and training book for helping gospel workers to work with individuals. (It is principally designed for small meetings conducted over a number of months, because this amount of time is necessary to establish both trust and follow-through in completing the heart work.) Through this process, we are able to better understand what is going on in the heart, and to help individuals with their specific needs. And through that individualized work, we help them to have faith and trust in Jesus Christ, to enable them to overcome all addictions: including those substance addictions that they may have.

May the Lord bless the sinner, the Christian, and the gospel worker as they would read and understand this step process, which is completely based on biblical principles.

Salvation comes in a moment, when the blood of Christ is applied to our sins. But much “processing” goes on before that, and yet much more still goes on after that. If we make it to the end, it is because we are always learning and growing in the Lord. And we are overcoming every addiction, both sin and substances.