A young man said that his father was very abusive to him but his mother took him to church with him and he received Jesus as his Savior as a child. However, he had a lot of anger and fear inside due to his father's abuse and at age 12 he began using marijuana. When he was 15 years old his cousin died who was like a brother to him, and he became very angry and sad and began using drugs heavily. He said that he abandoned his faith due to his anger at God and he quit praying. For ten years he lived like an unbeliever and did a lot of bad things, and he ended up going to jail. While in jail he was threatened by a larger man and in his desperation he began praying for God's protection. He also began reading the Bible again and seeking the Lord, and he recommitted his life to the Lord.
He sat through a Set Free presentation and learned how to release his anger to the Lord by making a list of the reasons for his anger and then asking the Lord to take his anger from him. He wrote out a list of 11 things that he resented about his father, then he prayed and asked the Lord to take his anger and carry it for him. He stated that he felt calm afterwards and had no more anger toward his father. This prayer process helped him forgive his father and he immediately felt peaceful and calm.
The young man met with a prayer minister individually who asked him when he began using drugs. He said that it was at age 15 when his best friend, his cousin died. He said that his cousin had some serious heart problems and had a heart transplant, but he enjoyed life and had a positive attitude. This cousin protected the young man when his father tried to abuse him and even protected him from bullies at school. They spent a lot of time together exploring the woods, talking, playing video games, watching movies and television, swimming, and riding bikes. The prayer minister helped him identify the many things this young man missed about his cousin, including his smile, his laughter, his love for life, and his optimism. The cousin's health worsened over time but he never felt sorry for himself; he received Jesus as his Savior and was confident that he was going to heaven when he died. He stated that he had lived a good life and had no regrets when he died at age 19.
This loss, however, was devastating to this young man. He said that he turned from God an lived an ungodly life after his cousin died, but now he was ready to release his grief and give it to God. He identified 19 things he missed about his cousin, then he prayed and asked the Lord to take his grief from him. The prayer minister asked him how he felt afterwards and he just said, "Happiness." He said that his grief and sadness were gone and he just felt happy. The Lord instantly took all his grief from him and replaced it with His peace and happiness.
This young man's story illustrates the process for overcoming addictions. Addicts have underlying feelings of grief, anger, and shame that lead them to feel bad and to engage in addictive behaviors in order to feel better. Sometimes they are saved as children but then get away from the Lord due to their anger and grief. They need more than doctrinal knowledge to be set free; they need to be shown how to pray effectively about their emotions and how to allow the Holy Spirit to comfort them and give them peace. This is what this young man did and as he continues to cast all his cares and struggles upon the Lord, he will experience peace and joy, and will no longer have the urge to use drugs to feel better. The Lord wants us all to experience His perfect peace by learning to cast all our cares upon Him, for "He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).