EDITOR’S NOTE: On Sunday, Riccardo preached on the Temptation of Jesus from Matthew 4:1-11. We decided to take a different approach for this week’s blog by asking a member of the congregation to share their story of dealing with temptation, or in this case, addiction. The choice of how to confront the temptation of self-gratification is one we all face, often. Akindele Abosede, a member of Redemption Tempe who has served faithfully and diligently over the past few years, shares his story.
Society embraces, and even encourages, immediate gratification, and I certainly fell in line. It really became a problem in my life after my first knee surgery, an ACL reconstruction. It’s natural that pain medication is given after surgery for pain…but I found out that it was also good for anxiety. The medication would silent my mind—I wouldn’t worry about anything, and soon, it was the solution for everything. Any problem that arose, any trouble, any lack of comfortability, I would trust in the opiates to take it away within half an hour. I would constantly take the path of least resistance, pushing problems away and creating new ones. Before I knew it, my life was controlled by the pain medication, and multiple years went by. As problems and debt amounted, I entered a rehab, and the first night I was there, I discovered what was missing.
There was a Bible study, which I decided to join, because there wasn’t anything else to do. It started with some music, and I quickly found myself in tears, crying uncontrollably. It was as if God said to me, “I’m what you’ve been looking for.” I knew then that God was the true solution to everything, so I prayed and read what I could in rehab with a fire that I had never felt before. Within a night of leaving rehab, I once again gave into my desire, choosing the path of least resistance and started using pain medication again. This continued for a couple of years until I finally decided that I needed to put my trust in God, and went to rehab again.
This time after rehab, I truly committed myself to God, praying and trusting in him during the tough times, and I’ve been sober since (almost 3 years ago). Throughout this process, I learned that anything of this world is temporary, and in my case, the effects of the pain medication would wear off, resulting in me needing more. God is eternal, always present, faithful, and would give me the strength to get through, even if I didn’t feel better in the time that I wanted.
I also learned that the whole time I was trying to be God, and I’m terrible at it. There are many things that have required me to surrender them to the Lord before improvements and can be made.