When Willpower Isn’t Enough

Life wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.

As a red-​haired, freckle-​faced little girl, my childhood dreams included being a cheerleader, driving a fancy car, wearing sparkly things.

However, my story did not progress as I had planned. My young adult reality would have made for a depressing TV movie: bullying, betrayal, and rejection. As I sought to fill my emptiness and loneliness, I sampled everything I could from the “smörgåsbord of life.”

Food. Shopping. Alcohol. Men. Drugs.

Nothing worked.

Before long, I found myself as a single mom. Used. Abused. Alone.

Not knowing how to calm the caverns inside of me, I turned to outside remedies again. The bar became my nightly hang-​out, and alcohol and cocaine use quickly consumed my life. On the outside, everything looked fine. I worked hard and loved my 2‑year-​old son. But on the inside, I was still empty and hurting.

In the midst of my mess, I reached out to a friend’s mom and shared the web of deception I had created, and an intervention was arranged. Compassionate Christian women held yellow pads filled with strategies. Go to AA. Pursue inpatient therapy. Tell my parents.

None of the proposals appealed to me. I left the gathering with a fresh sense of self-​confidence. “I can do this. I don’t need their help. Everything is under control.”

I discovered willpower alone is not enough to overcome the allure of addiction.

Soon the cravings were overwhelming, and I caved in to my temptations. Before long I was back in the bar making the same self-​defeating choices. “I’ll try again tomorrow” became my evening tune.

Two weeks later I accidentally overdosed on cocaine.

After driving myself to a med center, my parents were quickly notified. One concerned nurse informed my mom she should say her goodbyes to me, her only daughter. The doctor's prediction as they rushed me by ambulance to a local hospital: I would be dead on arrival.

Thankfully I didn’t die like they expected (whew!), and the cocaine overdose became my “bottom.” Out of desperation and a determination to survive, once again, I asked my friend’s mom for help. This patient woman shared with me four simple words that have changed my life—

“Cindy, you need Jesus.”

And on that day, freshly discharged from the hospital, I cried out to Jesus and asked Him to enter into my life and save me.

Can I just say — best decision ever? Life has never been the same.

Willpower alone is not enough to overcome the allure of addiction — but Jesus is.

Jesus alone can rescue, redeem, deliver, restore, and open up prison gates and set any captive free. There is no one too far gone from His redemptive reach.

Now I wish I could share it’s been an easy, carefree journey of sobriety and freedom. Not so much.

Although Jesus delivered me from my pit of despair, I’ve also had to do my part, including:

  • Pursuing a daily relationship with Jesus Christ through His Word and prayer.
  • Renewing my mind with Truth.
  • Leaving behind the “old” life, involving: letting go of any alcohol/​drug related friendships, and avoiding tempting environments.
  • Stopping secrets and lies, exposing all areas of my life to His Light.
  • Getting to the “root” of the problem through Godly counseling.
  • Asking for ongoing accountability.
  • Discovering and practicing healthy new habits.
  • Praying! I ask God daily to protect me from temptation, replace my cravings with His satisfaction, surround me with women to build me up, and fill my heart and mind with Truth.

The good news? This year I celebrated 18 years of sobriety. Yay, God!

Please know I’m not a trained therapist, just an ordinary girl transformed by an extraordinary God. There isn’t a day I don’t invite Jesus to do His powerful work in my life. I’m desperate for Him! But I must show up to do my part as well. Life’s worth it. Jesus is worth it!

How about you, friend?

If you’ve been searching for something to fill the emptiness and find yourself ensnared by the lure of addiction, please remember, willpower alone is not enough to set you free.

Sweet friend, you need Jesus. Please don’t wait another day.

About Cindy Bultema

Cindy Bultema loves the Lord, loves life, loves her family, and loves to celebrate! With nearly 20 years in ministry, Cindy has trained leaders and created programs within a variety of settings. Cindy lives in West Michigan with her husband, John, […]

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  1. I was a drug addict 21 yrs ago. I met Jesus and he set free. For yrs though I have had a horrible shopping addiction. I need Jesus to rescue me and set me free from this nasty addiction. I don't love myself anymore and I want out of this. Please pray for me. Barbara
    my email is barbaratorra@msn.com thank you for such a compelling word.

  2. Praying for you Barbara. May God break the chains and set you free. You are loved. You matter. You are worth it.

  3. Cindy Stille Bultema thank you

  4. Wow I sent this message back in 2014. I have to go august 23rd for colposcopy.

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