Addicts Anonymous

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Nice to meet you! I’m Nayara, and I’m an addict. But…addicted to what?

A few years ago I started to get addicted to TV shows (at the time there was no Netflix, only those bootleg websites that took a long time to load), and whenever possible, there I was glued to the computer screen. Even though I really enjoyed watching these shows, I mostly did so in my spare time. But my addiction grew worse when I bought a tablet and started watching while working.

Several times I told myself that I would stop because this habit was already interfering with some aspects of my life; sometimes I couldn’t even pray or read the Bible because I kept thinking about what would happen in the next episode. I would put off reading and praying to find out what would happen next.

One day, I decided that I would stop watching for real, and I even managed it for some time. I started concentrating on my Bible studies and prayer. I even put together an intercessory prayer schedule to follow for a month. It was a really nice experience.

But everything we try to do with our own strength doesn’t get very far. A login and password for a Netflix account was a trigger for all that addiction to return with much more strength. I had access to shows of all kinds right at my fingertips. Everything I wanted, when I wanted it, without lag and glitches. It began little by little, but it didn’t take long for me to begin feeling like I was almost living inside fictitious worlds.

I got to the point where I literally spent the whole day watching Netflix. I watched while working, I took my cellphone to the kitchen and remained glued to the screen while cooking and while eating. I would often watch at the gym on the treadmill, and, yes, even in the shower. Guys, don’t judge me. I need to show you how my life was. I breathed it. My whole life revolved around fiction, but only I knew. I always tried to hide it from my husband somehow, so that he wouldn’t see how addicted I was.

Study and prayer were rare, and I found it very difficult to concentrate.

Deep down, I knew I needed a change, but I didn’t have the strength to do so myself, so I always postponed. Until one day I noticed how much my life was being negatively affected. I saw how things like murder, betrayal, homosexuality, deception, and witchcraft were becoming normal to me. This realization really saddened me, and I took advantage of this opportunity to ask for help. But to whom? To the One who opened my eyes so I could see.

It was at the beginning of quarantine that I talked very seriously with Jesus. I really opened my heart to Him. I told Him how much I loved to watch my shows, and that I would never be able to abandon this addiction alone, but that I was willing to let Him work in my life through the Holy Spirit. Every morning I asked for strength to overcome that day, but I confess that that first week felt like withdrawal. But that feeling faded a little more every day, and today, for the glory of God, I feel free. I feel like my soul has been cleansed. For months now, I don’t even think about watching anything that takes my mind off Jesus, nor do I have that desire anymore. I channeled all that addiction to watching things that really matter, things that will help me in my earthly and future eternal life.

You may not be in the same situation as I was. You might think: “Oh, but I’m not like that. I can control my habits.” I understand. Every individual knows their limits, but many times we ourselves don’t know what’s best for us. Introduce yourself to Jesus and ask Him to show you if you too are addicted to something that separates you from Him. Pay careful attention to what you read, hear, and watch, assessing whether these things in any way influence you for evil and displease our heavenly Father. If so, do as I did. Talk to Jesus, and plead with Him for help. It won’t be easy to give up your will, but it is possible in Christ. He will empower you and give you the strength to change from the moment you recognize your inability to change on your own.

Regardless of your addiction, your difficulty, don’t be discouraged. Keep in mind what the Apostle Paul says in the book of Ephesians 6:13: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” In this text, we find the hope of victory. God is the One who enables us to win. He doesn’t abandon us in the fight against Satan’s snares. Aware of our limitations, He offers us strength and power from the high heavens so that we are more than conquerors in Him.

By His grace, I can now say “Nice to meet you! I’m Nayara, and I am no longer an addict.”

Nayara is a skilled artisan and entrepreneur. She lives in Minas Gerais, Brazil, with her husband.

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