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Overcoming Addictions - Help for Christians

Christians and non-Christian alike battle with addictions and other behaviors that they find themselves struggling to leave behind. Through faith in Jesus Christ and placing emotional and spiritual health as attainable goals, we can all be overcomers.

This blog, produced by Certified Recovery Specialist Beth Livingston, is for people to exchange struggles and victories of breaking free from addictions and other hurtful behaviors.

Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

by Beth Livingston
Certified Recovery Specialist

Celebrity deaths like Michael Jackson's and Heath Ledger's drive the spotlight to the danger of narcotic use and addictions.  However, the problem spans across all age, gender, social, and economic groups every day. 

My mother suffered for decades with a narcotics addiction. The day she died she was found on the floor next to her bed with a syringe and a vial labeled Demerol on her sheets. Her passing was sad, but after witnessing so many close encounters she had with death because of her addiction, it wasn’t surprising to us that she left this world that way.

It appears that a painkiller addiction is as hard to break as a crack cocaine addiction. The major difference is that narcotics are legal and purchased at the local pharmacy instead of on the streets (at least in the beginning).

A person usually begins taking a narcotic during the treatment of a legitimate medical problem that needs more than an aspirin to kill the pain. And if you have a chronic pain condition, the heavy duty pain killers that work (namely narcotics like Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Demerol) become your sole source of life without pain. And since they’re prescribed by a doctor, covered by health insurance, effective for pain relief and available at the pharmacy – why not take them?

I currently suffer with chronic pain. Do you? Do you find yourself thinking that it’s not worth the fight? Why not just take the _______ (fill in the blank with your pain killer) and feel better? Why deny yourself the relief? It’s a grey area at times.

But this I know to be true:  being doped up is easier for other people to detect than the person taking the drugs; you think you can _____ (fill in the blank with activities like drive, take care of your children, etc.) fine when you’ve taken the pill(s), but you are impaired whether you want to admit it or not; it gets easier and easier to tell yourself that you NEED the pill as time goes on.

What then are we supposed to do? Be in pain all the time?

I say NO! We are supposed to be careful! We are supposed to take milder pain killers like Aleve, Tylenol or Advil while we work, drive, take care of children, ______ (fill in the blank) and as often as we can in place of taking the hard stuff.

Please don’t wreck your life and possibly others by toying with narcotics. Only use them when you absolutely have to. They can become an idol in your life that you believe you can’t do without.

If you are there already or know someone who is, please don’t let your addiction to narcotics kill you like it has so many others. Will you seek professional help? Can you take steps to be free?

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Thursday, July 02, 2009 11:10 AM

Comments on this post

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

I too suffered for this addiction, i am now a year and 6 months clean. I never thought i would end up addicted to anything, but after my injury in the military I started taking pain killer to take the pain away but after a while my body was immune to the amount i was suppose to take, which left me taking double what i should have been to relieve the pain. After so many years of taking more and more just to get the relief i was seeking led to me having to buy them off the street. I would get my prescription of 120 to take 4 times a day, they would be gone in a matter of days. I would wake being sick because i sleep a few hours and had went without while i was sleeping. The first thing i did ever morning would be to crush up at least Five 10mg painkillers so they would start to work sooner. I was taking up to 30 a day, that should've killed me. Than one day god spoke to me and told me to change doctor, i did and he put me on SUBOXONE 8MG, it saved my life without having withdrawal at all
Left by Betty D on Jul 16, 2009 1:32 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Betty D, what a testimony! I thank you Lord for speaking to Betty and sending her to a different doctor. She was surely on the road to destruction. Praise your holy name!
Left by blivingston on Jul 16, 2009 1:48 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Thank you for bringing this subject to light. I am currently addicted to painkillers. It started out with the dr prescribing them, then I went to buying them on the street.I am still currently buying them illegally, but I wish to be free from this addiction, I hate it. Please Pray for me.
Thank You
Left by Etta on Sep 09, 2009 5:47 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Father God, through the power of your Holy Spirit, I pray that you would free Etta from the addiction to painkillers. I pray that you would open doors for Etta to receive healthy alternatives to coping with pain. Please close the doors that invite Etta to continue down the path of destruction. Jesus, thank you for laying down your life so that Etta and all who seek you can have freedom from the many things that bind us. Set Etta free and let her rejoice in the process of letting go of her addiction and clinging to you.
Left by blivingston on Sep 10, 2009 9:21 AM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

just a little note: I, too, got prescribed this new "miracle" drug called Suboxone. I believe it is more from the enemy than God... because first of all, it IS also an opiate so it is VERY addictive AND if you are taking this drug, NO OTHER narcotic can work in your system in case you were to have an auto accident and needed emergency surgery for example. And it can take from 3 days to 2 weeks for this drug to get out of your system (depend. upon how long you have been taking it) so that other narcotics can work if needed. Also, in my opinion, it is basically trading one drug addiction for another. I know others may disagree, but I have been on it for 18 months and I KNOW, even though it may not be as "strong" as a full opiate, like Vicodin or Percocets, my mind always feels "drugged." I am currently seeking in patient treatment or going to Teen Challenge to get off this drug!
Left by marypily on Oct 28, 2009 5:15 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Please pray for me. I had surgery yrs. ago and started pain pills. Now trying to get off seems impossible. No matter how many times I decide and try to stop I can't. What is worse is that my husband gets a presription monthly and there always right in front of me. I think I've let God down so may times that I find myself doubting that He can keep forgiving me. Please pray. I long to be free and live the way the Lord wants me to. I feel so lost.
Left by Linda on Oct 29, 2009 8:50 AM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Lord Jesus, our mighty warrior and redeemer, please lead Linda to the scriptures that will remind her of your deep love and unending grace. Please reveal to her the lies that our enemy is telling her that cause her to doubt your willingness to forgive her repeatedly.

Also, please help her to be able to be free from pain killers. She needs your help, Lord Jesus. Help her to take the steps with you as her guide to be free. Please ease her pain through other means and help her to trust in you without doubting and help her to forgive herself as she admits that she is powerless over this addiction and that you can restore her to a life without these pain pills. You, oh Lord, are worthy of our trust. You are so gentle and kind to bring us out of all kinds of darkness. Thank you, Jesus.
Left by blivingston on Oct 29, 2009 9:39 AM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

I had a very bad addiction to Xanax, which is a prescription drug for anxiety. But all my life I had drank and dabbled in drugs. After about 6 years addicted so bad to Xanax that I couldn't get off the floor if I didn't have the drug, I said that was enough. So I went to rehab. It didn't do any goo, because this rehab provided narcotics every time the withdrawls kicked in. But it did wean me down enough to keep the siezures away when I got home and did actually detox on my own. This was the scariest, hardest thing I ever did. I ended up in AA and God has totally transformed my life. I have been clean for 3 and a half years. I have broken my foot and had dental work and never taken anything stronger than Aleve. We call on the Lord to make the pain bearable. The doctors give the drugs like suboxone and methadone until addicts are addicted to them and the withdrawls for thes drugs are months when the drugs they are substituted for take around a week. They only need to be given for 3 to 5 days
Left by Debbie on Nov 20, 2009 1:30 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

My name is Jennifer and I too suffer from pain pill addiction. The lord and only the lord helped me kick a 25-30 day habit but I have been taking around 4 a day. I want to quit for good. I want to dedicate my life to the Jesus and I cannot with this "numbing" me. Will you please pray for me?

In his name
Left by jen4jesus on Mar 02, 2010 6:22 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Humbly we come before you Lord Jesus and ask that you accept Jennifer's sincere desire to dedicate her life to you and cleanse her of her pain pill addiction. You've brought her a long way and now she's only got this four-a-day lifeline to that which keeps her from total freedom. Help her to walk with you closely as you fight this battle for her. Help her to hold on tight to you as she releases her reach for the prescription bottle and grabs hold of her Bible instead. Help her Lord to surrender fully to you and trust you as her mighty warrior. When she has pain, help her to settle for an over the counter pain medicine that's not addictive. Thank you Jesus for caring about each of us and for bringing Jennifer to complete freedom from pain pills.
Left by blivingston on Mar 03, 2010 11:22 AM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

my husband is addicted to the pain pill i find out about 4 weeks ago that he was addicted and using it for two years or more. I have try my best to suppor him and try to trust him againg he has stop
4 weeks ago and i am support him and every way pray for him and give him alot of love. but i think he hiding something from me. i have told him that i am 100% with him but it just hard to trust. please pray for him. his name jonathan
Left by Carolina on Mar 05, 2010 9:58 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Lord Jesus, you know all our hearts and all our troubles. Thank you for Carolina's willingness to share her concerns about her husband, Jonathan. We ask for your mighty presence in their lives and for honesty to reign in their relationship. Please help Jonathan to find true and complete freedom from his addiction to pain pills through the working of your Holy Spirit in his life. Help him to find less risky ways to deal with any pain he may be having. Please give him eyes to see how you are ready to help him through this process to true freedom and help him to take the necessary steps to address this problem. We ask that you guard and protect their marriage as he heals.
Left by blivingston on Mar 09, 2010 11:48 AM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

My husband is also addicted to oxycontin for 10 years. We have had people pray over him, I have prayed for him for 10 years for God to deliver him. He is now on suboxon, but is addicted to that. Atleast this is cheaper and covered by insurance, but it is still an addiction and he will still go back and forth w/ oxy. I don't know why this is so hard to get over, I don't know why God has not delivered him of it. But I do know God is in control and I can't control it. I can only put up boundaries; what I will or won't do. My heart goes out to the addicts and the ones who love them! It is a rollercoaster of emotions. Please God, help us! We are the oppressed and brokenhearted, deliver us from evil!
Left by angie on Mar 11, 2010 11:40 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

I was just caught stealing pills from my Dad. I have had a vicodin addiction for two years and it is time to get some help. My Dad is insisting that I come clean to my husband, but I have so many fears about this. My husband can be very controlling and might hold this over my head for the rest of our lives. I need his help to recover to attend meetings. Please pray for me in this matter. Thank you.
Left by stephanie on Mar 22, 2010 11:48 AM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Lord God, please be with Stephanie this very moment. She's having to fess up to her vicodin addiction and she's so scared of the consequences it may have in her marriage. Please fill her soul with your courage to face the fears that she has about telling her husband. Help her to know your will in this situation, Lord God. Jesus, you died for us, and we know that when we come to you confessing our sins, we are forgiven. Walk Stephanie through this time of confession with you and help her to know without a doubt that you have forgiven her. Help her to know the next step to take in getting away from this addiction. Help her to get to the meetings that You would have her attend as you work with her through this process of getting free. God bless you Stephanie for sharing! My prayers are with you.
Left by blivingston on Mar 22, 2010 1:55 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Hi everyone! I have a friend of mine who is living with me and is a confirmed alcoholic and addict. She has been on pain killers such as dilaudid for years and has been through rehab. I am suspicious she has taken some of my ritalin but I want to believe she hasn't because she is a good friend of mine. I have spoken to her about it and she is in denial and told me if I feel comfortable with removing the pills from my household it would be ok with her. She has me believing that I forgot how many pills were in the bottle before he presence. Anyhow to prevent me going into denial and being bias believing she has not taken the ritalin I have removed it from my house hold. Basically I don't know if it is common for addicts to take peoples medication even after rehab and understanding the consequences of being addicted. It seems she has given up the superego or conscience awareness of her actions and satifies her id or desires or cravings to reach satisfaction. How can I help her?
Left by jsunn on Apr 01, 2010 2:36 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

People who have gone through rehab have begun a process of getting better, but addiction is a humongous problem to overcome. It would not be uncommon for someone who has come out of rehab to help themselves to meds that belong to someone else. It was a good idea to keep your meds elsewhere so you can know for sure if it's your memory or not. If you don't really want to keep them out of your household, you might want to consider writing down exactly how many pills are in the bottle to prove if the person is taking them or not, instead of changing your routine. Hopefully, your friend is still going to regular addiction recovery meetings of some kind to continue her care. That would be my suggestion to you on how to help her - encourage her to continue with an addiction recovery program and/or counseling. The reason we become addicts are from issues in our lives we want to escape. Once we stop using, there's still a lot of healing needed. Hope that helps.
Left by blivingston on Apr 05, 2010 10:36 AM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

There is hope!!! Jesus is the answer. Get professional help go to meetings NA or AA.
My husband is an addict and with the help of God he got help and he is in recovery. The way is not easy but God makes it possible. Remember iF you only see one foot step is because Jesus is carrying you. THERE IS HOPE IS CHRIST.FAITH i CAN DO ALL THING THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME .One day at the time. God love you and he will take care of you just ask.
Left by Carolina on May 02, 2010 10:39 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

I have been on prescription opiods for 2 years for a birth defect that began causing me major pain. I do not abuse the drugs or allow others access to them. I would like to go off them but many days my pain is a 10 and I really need something stronger than an aspirin to bring the pain level down so I can function. Does God not give us who suffer from legitimate chronic pain these meds so we can live productive lives? My condition is inoperable due to the closeness to the brain and the doctors can come up with no other options except medication. I honestly don't know what to do. I believe God can heal me but maybe He is using me to show compassion to others who likewise suffer from chronic pain. Please pray for me and I welcome any thoughts.
Left by Becca on Jun 21, 2010 5:48 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Father God, we don't know why you allow suffering and pain. We thank you for giving us medications that will ease pain. We ask that you, Almighty God, would heal Becca. The doctors have told her that they cannot operate. As she waits for your answer, please help her to continue to receive relief from the prescription meds when she needs them and the wisdom to know when to take them and how many to take. Should you choose to heal her this side of heaven, we will rejoice with her and be ready to hear her testimony of how you gave her a condition that did not require these opoids any longer.

My sister Becca, when your pain is at a high level, my feeling is that you should take the opoids as prescribed and not feel the least bit guilty. Your condition sounds like the very kind of condition opoids were developed to treat. If you had been in a horrible accident and started out with opoids to treat your injuries, but were still taking them 2 years later after some progress, I'd worry.
Left by blivingston on Jun 22, 2010 10:24 AM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Hello,I have been using all kinds of pain killers for a long time.I went cold turkey once,but do not want to go through the withdrawal again.I went to my doctor and she said to just go cold turkey,no help.I want to quit and went to apply for medicaid here in Texas SO I maybe go to a rehab or find a dr. that can help. But I was denied already 3times.I dont work my husband does.Dont know what to do now..please help
Left by lilysnana1 on Jul 12, 2010 1:52 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Lilysnana1, you mentioned that you've gone to the doctor and were told to go cold turkey and that you've been denied medicaid. Have you looked for godly counsel on this from a pastor you trust or ministry leader? They may know of local Bible based support or recovery groups that might be helpful to you. Our Lord sees your struggle and He provides healing from narcotics addictions - it takes a lot of work, prayer and denying yourself. Have you tried weaning yourself off of one of them at a time? You can always call CBN's 24-hour prayer line at 1-800-759-0700 if you'd like to talk to someone. Please never give up on getting free from pain pills. A life free from shame and despair is the life Jesus wants you to have.
Left by blivingston on Jul 12, 2010 3:18 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

i have had 24 hour headaches for four months now and my kneck and back are in constant pain,i believe God can heal me and i confess he can everyday,i cant work and i am expecting my fifth child in a few weeks,codiene is the only thing that gives me relief and allows my pain to go so i ca function...i dont want to be on painkillers but i do noy know what else to do,please pray for me and any advice is welcomed...God bless
Left by karn payne on Aug 15, 2010 10:04 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Karen, I am honored to lift you up in prayer and ask for your pain to go away and for you not to get addicted to codeine. I am not a medical professional, so my advice is purely personal. Maybe after you've had your baby you might find relief from seeing a chiropractor. The one I saw here in Virginia was a God-send. My pain level has decreased tremendously.
Left by blivingston on Aug 16, 2010 1:50 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

my name is katie and i to was addicted to pain pills.I had surgery on my back and became addicted.I was taking as many as 40 a day.Wanted to get off so i went on methadone not the thing to do.Was on Methadone for 6 months and walked out of a methadone clinic on 62mg on apr.30 2010.The doctors at the clinic said i would not be able to do it.I prayed that i would not throw up and be able to stand the withdrawl.I made it a week and on may 7th i got saved and delivered.I never threw up but i couldnt sleep more then 2 hrs for 6 weeks.God has been so great to me but i made the first step and he saw me through and he will you all to.I never went back and have not touched a drug nor do i crave methadone.Everyone said i wouldnt make it but i did with gods help and alot of prayer.My life is so different and my mind is clear and i can think.i hope i give you all hope and you find gods grace.
Left by katie on Sep 02, 2010 10:32 PM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

First of all I speak healing and liberty to all who posted here as they find their freedom in Christ Jesus. I am a 59 y/o Christian man who was forced into retirement a few months ago. This involuntary retirement has created stress and financial issues including long boring days at home while my wife works. I am not adjusting well to this arrangement. No success at finding a job. I feel like a failure. Taking opiates for the euphoria (anti-depression) has become an addiction. My walk with the Lord has been compromised. It is sin for me. I am having trouble finding the will power to stop abusing these opiates. Jesus used to be my euphoria. I want my relationship with the Lord back. I request that those of you who are Christians and understand the misery associated with addiction would petition the Lord on my behalf. The scriptures say to confess your faults one to another, praying for one another that you may be healed. Bless you for caring in Jesus name!
Left by Yesterway on Dec 09, 2010 2:13 AM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Almighty God, I ask that you would please rescue my brother who has left this comment and shared his despair with us. Please allow this first step he's taken open a door for your Holy Spirit to remind him that you have many purposes for him and there's plenty of opportunities for him to get involved in the work you are doing on this earth to bless him and others. Please loosen the grip of lies that the opiates have placed in his mind that their euphoria can ever match yours. When we seek you with all our hearts and look for you to turn our lives around, you never disappoint. Living our lives surrendered to you brings a high that no high on earth can ever compare to. Please help this discouraged saint to remember who he is in you - a child of the King. I ask that you reveal to him areas of ministry where he can go to work his way away from the dependency on opiates and closer to you, Jesus. Thank you Lord. Thank you!
Left by blivingston on Dec 09, 2010 9:00 AM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

I feel your pain in many ways. Just this morning I laid in bed crying out to God I want to be the person he wants me to be. I was addicted to achol 2 years ago and over night God took it completely out of my life. No withdrawal no anything. Then satan in his way brought pain into my life wish brought pain meds. Now these have control. I know God can take this away he has already done a great miracle for me. I am most amazed I let this happen. I will pray for you and ask you do the same for me.
Left by Raymond on Aug 22, 2011 11:16 AM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

I am here and do not know how I could have gotten so far off any path of accountability.
I began to use pain meds again for a shoulder injury. The injury was never diagnosed correctly, first a rotator cuff surgery, than a total clean up of the bone tissue, when all the while, as it turns out, the cartilage was completely gone inside. Now I have had a complete shoulder replacement surgery which was not done properly. I had, with each step lost any hope that the doctors where interested in my pain. Yet, now, I am FINALLY realizing that I can not be trusted, that I have put my pain and the fear of suffering before ANYTHING, including God, my family, or my duty to be resposible. I need forgiveness, I am so frightened that I have hurt my family.
I do not know how to forgive myself for this.
I can not sleep. On average, my sleep for the past 3 years has been about 3 hours per night, due to pain. Please pray for me, I want change,
and to once again feel joy, hope, and life through Christ.
Left by broken1 on Sep 04, 2011 11:59 AM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction

Broken1, I am praying for you. I'm asking our Lord to ease your suffering, both physical and emotional; to give you the strength through His Holy Spirit to fully repent and put Him first in your life and allow the working of the Holy Spirit to mend your heart and family members with overflowing forgiveness. Pain is a formidable enemy. May you be anointed with new hope from our Lord Jesus Christ.
Left by Patches on Sep 05, 2011 11:14 AM

# RE: Pain Killers – The Respectable Addiction


Thank you so much for your concern and prayers!
I am going to seek more counciling, hopefully a Christian councilor ASAP. After reading my post, I realized that I was not acurrate and not as honest as necessary to myself, and God. I had been taking pain meds prior to this injury for my herniated disks, but I never thought that I could ever be so contolled by them, until now. I feel so much physical pain now, from both my back and my shoulder and forearm, but I will bear it, Lord help me become integral, responsible, and mentally stable.
Left by broken1 on Sep 05, 2011 1:24 PM