TikTok. Currently the most popular app in the world, with over two billion downloads globally. Named “TikTok” as an onomatopoeia for short videos. The name should come from how time seems to “tick, tock” as you scroll. The average viewer spends over an hour and a half on Tik Tok alone daily. Equaling 10 hours 30 minutes a week. Equaling 46 hours and 30 minutes every month. Equaling over 547 hours a year.
For a long time, I didn’t believe I struggled with addiction. I thought addiction only dealt with drugs, alcohol, or pornography. However, after reading the book Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio, my eyes were opened to the fact that addiction was a giant in my life. A week ago, I deleted Tik Tok and Instagram from the home screen of my phone. My brother Harrison inspires me. He deleted all of his social media accounts months ago. He practices productivity and intentionality. Like him, I want to spend less time tapping my thumbs and more time lending a hand. I want to limit the time I scroll, and spend more time feeding my soul.
No matter your addiction, the way to overcome temptation is to rely on the Lord. Our flesh is weak, but He is strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Overcoming addiction is a process, but we can find joy through the suffering. It may be difficult, and the journey won’t be perfect, but we must remain hopeful we will overcome it. Romans 12:12 states, “Be joyful in affliction, patient in hope, and faithful in prayer.” What steps can we take to overcome it?
Recently, I have been studying habits: how they form, how to cultivate good ones, and how to break bad ones. James Clear, author of Atomic Habits divides the science of habits into four parts: cue, craving, response, and reward. He states, “The cue initiates your brain to initiate a behavior. It predicts a reward.”
As Christians, the true key to overcoming an addictive habit is to pray when you feel a cue. Next, Clear explains how we don’t crave the habit itself; rather, the result it provides. So, after praying, ask God to show you what you are craving. Do you desire the habit, or the relief and reward it provides? Do you want to scroll on your phone, or do you want to distract yourself from reality? Do you want chocolate, or do you crave dopamine? Do you want to overspend while shopping, or do you desire to fit in? Do you want to gamble, or do you want the adrenaline rush? Do you want to spend hours playing video games, or do you crave accomplishment?
After praying, your response will look different. When you know what you truly crave, you can change your addiction to a positive habit. Instead of eating chocolate, you can go for a walk, or listen to music. The reward will be the same. All of the options release dopamine in your brain.
Lastly, we are a new creation in Christ. Past addiction no longer defines us. Speak out loud, “I have overcome (insert addiction here) through the power of Jesus Christ.” A new identity leads to new activities in your life.
I wrote two poems about addiction: the first is about the possible mindset of someone struggling with different addictions. The second poem is about overcoming addiction through these steps. It is a prayer based on Romans 12:12 and 2 Corinthians 12:9.
I use addiction to cope with my pain.
I am so ashamed.
Feel like my satisfaction is never met
So I light a cigarette.
I feel out of control,
So I over indulge to make myself feel whole.
I scroll on my phone
When I start to feel alone.
When the voices in my head begin
I take heroin.
When my life is in shambles
I go to the casino to gamble.
When my problems seem too hard
I compulsively swipe my card.
I tell myself any day I could quit
But it’s a lie, I admit.
I am an addict.
I struggle with addiction.
I use comfort as a way to cope.
But I will be patient in affliction
and I will be joyful in hope!
I will be faithful in prayer
On You, I will cast my cares.
You give me everything I need.
From every addiction I am freed.
When I have a craving and feel a cue,
Instead of giving in, I will pray to you.
My fleshly willpower is deficient
But Your power is sufficient.
My addiction is not my identity
Because of you, I am free.
Thank you for setting me free from addiction. Thank you for your power, made perfect in my weakness. Please help me live in my new identity, which leads to new activity in my day-to-day life. I pray you will help me renew my mind, transform my thinking, and depend on You alone. Thank you for setting me free!
In Jesus’ name I pray,