Addiction: Bigger Than My Can’ts

Over the counter nasal sprays.

I was addicted for over 10 years. It started when I began taking an herb mixture for a particular health problem. Turns out I was allergic to one of the herbs in it. It worked for my health issue super well, but it left me sooo stuffy. Not really snotty-stuffy, but it would swell my nasal passages til it felt like I was breathing through cotton. So to counteract the nasal swelling, I decided to try a nasal spray.

I didn’t really know anything about them, but it worked great! The herb mixture was recommended to use for 18 months, so I continued to use it along with the nasal spray. Once I got to the goal, I went off the herb and thought I could just leave off the nasal spray too.

Uh huh…..

It didn’t work like that exactly.

Every time I’d try to come off it, I would get SOOOO stuffy that I’d end up having to use a squirt of it just for some relief. I mean, I couldn’t breathe. And everyone needs to breathe. I didn’t want to be on it, but… it helps me breathe. You know? So, just a little won’t hurt. I did look it up and do some research on nasal sprays, and they weren’t a terribly bad drug; people didn’t die from using them. So thankfully there was that, but not being able to breathe also left me stressed and anxious. Not to mention, I couldn’t sleep when I was so stuffy. I needed to breathe!

Round and round it went like that in my head for years.

I didn’t know it til much later that nasal sprays have something called a rebound phenomenon. The chemicals in them CAUSE you to get stuffy if you take it for more than 3 days. Which, it does say not to take it for more than 3 days on the package, but I never knew why nor took the time to find out. Because, well… “I needed to breathe”.

A couple or so years ago, the Lord began talking to me about the addiction. Random thoughts in the background. Whispers, really. Will you give this to me? How can you help others get free from their substances if you’re addicted to a substance? Will you trust Me with your needs in this? Will you choose this way to be closer to Me?

Really… nasal sprays aren’t that big of a deal. They are entirely legal, not lethal, and even good in a sense. But, it’s still being hooked on a drug. It’s still an addiction. It was still something I wasn’t doing with the Lord. It was much like a god to me. It was talking to me in the background of my head all the time. And I bowed to it every time it called. It whispered to me. I obeyed it. I planned my life around it.

Seems weird to say that about nasal spray, but it was true. I kept track of the times I would need it. I did what it commanded. And I hid it. Again, seems funny considering, but I had a health blog and business that touted getting rid of chemicals–and here I was addicted to one! So yeah, especially when I was in public, I hid it.

So God was swirling all of this around in my head for several days. He was patient. He was gentle. He kept whispering. Finally, I broke, let go, and surrendered it to him. I stopped playing the victim–I can’t breathe. It stresses me. I can’t sleep—and I finally believed God was bigger than my can’ts. I didn’t know how, and I understood it wouldn’t be easy, but I finally trusted that he would walk with me and draw near to me in my neediness.

It was hard, but he did it, and I did it with him.

He gave me a plan. They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit and 63 days to fully anchor it. So I committed to 21 days, and at the end of that, re-committed to two more sets of 21. He helped me sort out which essential oils would help the inflammation in my nasal passages and I came up with a formula (see pic) that I could use during the night to put on my nose to help with the stuffiness. I diluted it and put it in a rollie bottle and rubbed it on the outside of my nose (pls don’t use eo’s in your nostrils) throughout the night whenever I would waken.

I didn’t get much sleep the first few nights. I had to come back and relearn how to let myself sleep being stuffy. I had to talk myself through that, and relax and let myself sleep. I found new, non-addictive ways to sleep better and more soundly. I got used to sleeping slightly stuffy at night—which is normal.

That was the physical, but there was also the mental block I had to get through. I mean, my body was addicted, but so was my head and emotions. Physically you could feel it by the stuffiness ramping up. But mentally and emotionally, anxiety comes knocking, stress intensifies, frustrations and impatiences pile on. The sense of “I can’t handle life” and “I just need to squirt this up my nose to help me breathe and then I’ll feel better”.

Yes, it’s in part because you’re physically needing a hit, but the whole victim mentality leans hard on it and makes you feel like you can’t handle life without it. It breeds fear and anxiety. Your mind and emotions literally keep you from being brave and actually creates the emotional/mental conditions that will cause you to give in. In essence, your head/heart betrays you, and you’re basically falling apart, on purpose, so that you’ll have the excuse to get a fix.

Break the habit of the victim mentality and you’ll find yourself getting free physically too. With God’s help, purpose in your heart to get free, and you’ll find your courage. You will find the emotional and mental bravery that you think you just can’t find.

In the end, I was free from that nasal spray addiction after the first 21 days, at least physically, but it took much longer to get rid of my neediness. There was also the temptation to use it again when I got a cold the first time after I’d quit. I used it responsibly, but found there were still withdrawal symptoms to deal with even if I only used it once. And eventually, it just became “not worth it” and I haven’t had a squirt in the last couple of years now.

It wasn’t easy, but God helped me.

Little children, keep yourself from idols.


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