Hey there, scaredy cat :)
I know I’m, “Preaching to the choir” when I say this but there’s nothing like addiction to bring a spirit of fear into your life. Whatever anxieties or insecurities may have been present before, that you were able to disguise, push through, convince yourself weren’t there, they all come back with addiction. [If you're struggling with insecurity read: "How to Faithfully Deal with Chronic Insecurity"]
They say addiction is a “family disease” and while I don’t believe in the disease aspect of it [Controversial, I know. You can read why here: "The Biggest Lie About Addiction"] I do believe it’s a family affair! The spirits addiction brings into the home attacks all within reach. In fact, the enemy has found a way to take down an entire home with just one person. When I talk about “spirits coming into the home” I do mean it as a literal thing. It’s true there’s our world, a spirit realm and a heavenly realm. I believe spirits are constantly fighting with angels for our lives. The spirit of addiction is a powerful spirit, given permission, it will claim territory in your home through the person engaging in addiction. [This is a great article explaining the "spiritual realm" in more detail if you're like, what the heck is she talking about?!: [http://www.bible-knowledge.com/engaging-with-demons-in-the-2nd-heaven/]
If you read the article above, you’ll see the author warns of casting and binding more powerful spirits (If all this sounds crazy to you, it’s cool. It did to me too!). If you apply his explanation to addiction, there are a few things going on. First, a spirit enters the person through their addiction. It holds them, bound by sin and habit. Second, the spirits gain territory in the person’s life by invading the home.
When you feel an oppressing thickness in your home’s atmosphere, if it feels more peaceful when your loved one is not around, if you feel like you’re filled with anxiety and fear when you’re around your loved one, that’s when you know you’re in the middle of a spiritual battle.
Once you’ve identified you're in the throws of a spiritual battle, depending on where you’re at in your walk of faith, there are a few things you can do. Remember, your relationship with God isn’t defined by how long you’ve been a Christian or how old you are, it’s about how close and intimate your relationship is with God. You can only put as much faith into a situation as you have and God is happy to meet you where you're at.
Let’s look at four "stages" of the Christian faith and what to do in each one during a time of crisis. I'm going to parallel these stages with the story, "The Parable of the Sower" from the book of Luke, Chapter Eight.
A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field. While the farmer was doing it, some of the seeds fell along the road and were stepped on or eaten by birds. Other seeds fell on rocky ground and started growing. But the plants did not have enough water and soon dried up. Some other seeds fell where thornbushes grew up and choked the plants. The rest of the seeds fell on good ground where they grew and produced a hundred times as many seeds..."
The “Baby” Christian:
A "baby" Christian believes in God but doesn’t know who God is or what being a Christian is all about.
You might have just become a Christian or could have grown up in a religious family, whatever the case, the relationship aspect of your faith isn’t there. God is a mythical being up in the sky and you’re not sure if He really hears you. You “know” He apparently loves you but you don’t “feel” loved. This is a "do or die" stage. You aren’t likely broadcasting you’re a Christian, you’re more trying to blend in. Many people never progress into a relationship with God beyond this stage.
"This is what the story means: The seed is God’s message, and the seeds that fell along the road are the people who hear the message. But the devil comes and snatches the message out of their hearts, so that they will not believe and be saved."
If you find yourself in a spiritual battle, you need a “prayer warrior” on your side. Going to your pastor is good but I find they’re often quite busy and addiction is a battle that needs daily prayer. What you could do is ask your pastor to recommend someone who can pray with you or for you every day. If your church has a prayer team, be brave enough to share there’s an issue and add your family’s name to their list. There is great power in praying in numbers.
In the meantime, take some time to know deep in your soul how loved you are by God. To me, that’s step one of being a Christian. So much of the message of Christianity is about loving other people and while that’s true, it doesn’t help when you’re just getting to know who God is.
First know, you were uniquely made. You’re a custom model! God creates each one of His children with a gentle hand and so much love. His creativity is infinite, He doesn’t need to make the same person twice. Look at twins, no matter how similar they look they are different people. They have different likes, interests, personalities. It’s your soul that makes you different. You see the world in a totally different way than the person next to you and you can do that because you’re a Holy child. Your uniqueness speaks to the Father who made you. For now, just focus on that. Don’t think about your loved one, think about the One who loves you.
This is the stage for getting to know God.
The “Teenage” Christian:
The "teenage" Christian has a relationship with God and they’re just starting to find out who God really is.
You know God loves you, although you may not still understand the depth of His love. You're motivated by a growth in faith, you're excited and “on fire for God” ready to take on the world. You likely spend more time listening to worship music than studying God’s Word because it’s easier and more invigorating. This is also a “witnessing” stage. You’re happy to tell everyone about your newfound faith and how much God loves them and you and everything is wonderful. You're pumped about faith (This is an important stage!). Like the "baby" Christian, you “know” God loves you but may not truly “feel” loved.
If you find yourself in a spiritual battle, the best course of action for you is to pray for personal protection. Pray for God to increase your trust in Him and do what you can to “change the atmosphere” of your home. Trials can steal that excitement, don't let it! Leave quiet worship music on all day, commit to reading a book of the Bible that month, walk around your home and pray out loud or find a faith mentor who will do a Bible Study with you. When all else fails, audibly saying the name of Jesus has power in and of itself! Trust God is fighting this battle for you and you are safe in the shelter of His arms.
"The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it. But they don’t have deep roots, and they believe only for a little while. As soon as life gets hard, they give up."
For spiritual growth, keep your eyes focused on who God is. Learn more about the depths of God’s character and His dynamic personality. Don’t be afraid to ask controversial, tough questions. If you don’t like or don’t understand something, question it. God has never wanted us to blindly accept His love, that’s why He gave us free will. God wants to be chosen. So feel free to make educated decisions about your faith. Curiosity is healthy and it’s an important part of growing. God gave you a mind that can think and He wants you to use it!
This is the stage for learning and knowledge.
The “Senior” Christian:
The "senior" Christian has been baptized in the Holy Spirit and has an intimate, close relationship with God, deeper than the one they have with their own spouse (If they're married!).
You love spending time with God and would rather hang out with Him than do anything else. You love God with reckless abandon. You've given up, or are in the process of giving up, your own desires to walk with God (Undoubtedly down a path riddled with roadblocks). Your attitude is good, most of the time. You're dedicated to studying God’s Word, most of the time. You take your problems to God before trying to fix them on your own, most of the time.
Your weaknesses have been refined many times over and you’re used to it by now. You might say something like, “Yes, things are bad but I’ve learned so much from this experience!”. You are wise. You hear God’s voice and you’re able to advise others from a Biblical standpoint in a way that just “speaks” to them. You have “knowings” from God. You’re operating at a higher level in your spiritual gifts by speaking prophetically, working miracles or speaking in tongues for the purposes of edification (No longer just for practice!). There is still growth to be had as we are all less-than-perfect and never stop learning but know who you are to God. You "know", "feel" and somewhat to fully "understand" how much God loves you.
If you’re a senior Christian and you find yourself in a spiritual battle, the battle is going to be more intense for you. The spirits operating at your level are stronger and much more vicious. You can do all the things listed previously but the best weapon you’ll have is warfare prayer. If you don’t feel called to intercession, reach out and find resources but I believe it’s within every believer’s rights as sons and daughters of Christ to enter the spirit realm in warfare prayer. The more you do it, the stronger your spirit will get. Warfare prayer can literally annihilate a demon. As it should. You are Holy and Righteous and have nothing to fear of evil. The other thing warfare prayer can do is it’s powerful enough to affect those around you. You have the authority to pray away demons from your loved one. It’s your birthright and well within your power given to you by God.
Whether you’re seasoned in warfare prayer or not, make intimacy a priority during this season. Time spent with the Holy Spirit will give you the strength and protection you need to carry on at this higher level. Pay very close attention to the Holy Spirit. If He tells you to do something, say something, talk to someone, go somewhere, do it. Don’t ignore any urgings from God. Be brave and step out in faith in newer, bolder ways and love the One you’re with! The places God will take you are limitless and the adventure well beyond your wildest dreams.
This is the stage for inner healing and true intimacy.
One Last Thought
Your age is not indicative of your relationship and this is in no way a judgement on your faith-life. It's important to know where you're at in your relationship so when things happen, you know what to do. God loves you where you're at.
We can get tuck on religious terminology and as a result, it makes God feel farther away instead of closer. If you don't have a deep relationship with God and you keep getting told, "Trust God and everything will be fine" it can hurt more than it helps because how can you trust someone you don't know? So stop focusing on trying to trust Him and just get to know Him.
Or maybe you want to believe in God but you don't feel welcome to explore your faith because of other Christians. I'm gay. Can I go to church with my spouse? Am I going to hell because I drink? I swear like a sailor, why would God bless me? Honestly, study the Bible for real and every one of those questions will be answered. (By the way, yes you can go to church, no you're not going to hell for drinking and yes, God will bless you).
I could give you a million examples of things that halt, stop or destroy faith but a crisis situation doesn't have to be one of them.