A Pastor’s Addiction
I was always in control and I had always been successful, no matter what I did. Now, all of a sudden, I was out of control and I started a lot of compulsive and obsessive behavior. I believe that gambling wasn’t my problem – deception was. Gambling was the way it played out. I always felt excited about going, excited about doing it and even when I won I felt terrible going home because I knew what I had done. No matter how I wept or prayed to God to take this addiction away from me, it wasn’t more than a day or two when I was thinking about how to get some money and figuring out how to get back there.
I accepted marriage and family counseling, went to twelve step meetings and the healing process began. I was no longer leading a church. I felt humiliated. After a year I was in denial and assumed the board would let me have a church again. I was shocked and floored that they didn’t see my sincerity. Instead I worked as a courier for a local company and spent time in prayer.
Now back leading a church I have grown. I no longer depend upon approval from others as I used to. And I no longer have the desire to connect myself only with people who seem to be successful, which I used to do. I want to be just as open and pastoral and loving to a bum that walks into our church as I do with a key member.
This experience has made me more responsive and receptive to grace in my life and the lives of others. I no longer try to prop up my image. I no longer try to project an image of something I’m not – being successful and competent and all of those things. I no longer have this deep desire for other people’s approval. I’m competent when God is using me. If I am successful, it’s because I’m being faithful.