How To End Addiction Through Spiritual Enrichment
Learn True Health is about Holistic Health. The podcast aims to develop our health mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and energetically. A lot of times I have doctors on teaching what herbs we can take, what detox is best or how to end addiction.
But if we have an unhappy spiritual, emotional or mental body, we’re not completely healthy. So we need to address every aspect of our life.
My guest today, John Hammer, will help us seek enlightenment, how to heal and how to end addiction so that we can say we are healthy inside and out.
Hammer grew up in a pastor’s family. His dad was a drug addict who grew up in Seattle. His father had a miraculous encounter with God when he chanced upon a book called “The Cross and the Switchblade” by David Wilkerson. He went to become a pastor and married Hammer’s mom in the process.
His earliest memories were going to church multiple times a week and going to a Christian school. He had a great childhood and Hammer’s parents were good role models.
In middle school, Hammer got exposed to pornography. He lived a double life during his teenage years. Underneath the happy facade, he was dealing with depression during that phase. Pornography was a wonderful drug then. Hammer knew it was bad, but it was an escape.
Hammer went to community college after he graduated from a Christian school and just went through the motions. Before his 21st birthday, Hammer went home one night, felt the fear of God and cried. After opening up to his Dad, that was a huge turning point in his life.
Hammer’s Cope Mechanism On How To End Addiction
Later on, Hammer wrote a book on how his addiction affected his body, brain and what it did to him spiritually and emotionally. It also affected his relationships.
Once the pornography removed from Hammer’s life, anxiety, worry, stress, and depression even intensified for a season. Prayer and counseling helped to set him free and taught him how to end addiction. It’s been 15 years now.
Hammer also went to Bible College, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies. He is currently working on a Master’s Degree at Northwestern University in Missional Leadership. It is like a ministry degree for pastors.
Dr. Bernie Siegel was a past guest, and in our episode, he related that he tells high schoolers to write two lists—one list is a suicide note and the second list enumerates why you are worth living.
The ‘suicide note’ pile is always taller than the ‘worth living’ pile. The teachers hate him for doing it for fear that it would encourage kids to commit suicide.
On the contrary, Siegel says when he does it, the suicide rates go down because all the teenagers look at that pile and realize they are not alone. Hence, they open up to each other after that activity.
Understanding How To End Addiction
When we hear addiction, we always think it’s because of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. Addiction could be anything else. There are so many things that can cause a chemical dependence.
I was addicted to watching TV all day and night when I had depression. It was my numbing agent.
You have to feel the wounds to know it’s there so you can begin to ask for help. We need to acknowledge ourselves. When you overdo something, stop and ask yourself if there is something you need to heal.
We’re not alone in our struggles. Young people especially feel alone. But you have to open up about the hard things you are feeling and going through. Don’t be so isolated. That’s a huge risk.
“In my book, I wrote that porn could keep you from healthy relationships and healthy relationships can stop you from porn,” said Hammer. “There’s some biblical truth in there, and it’s what I learned from my experience.”
When you are open and transparent, you can put anything in that blank. Fundamentally, we’re made for healthy relationships with God.
“When we’re in pain, we seek pleasure. If we find happiness in relationships or in becoming transparent, working through the difficult things, we can find a healthy way to live. Addiction offers a shortcut but has a lot of side effects,” said Hammer.
We push people away so that they won’t see our shame. Addiction is ego-driven. When we let ourselves be vulnerable, then we can let people, God, and love inside us.
After the pornography removed from Hammer’s life, his spiritual eyes started to open. Things were changing. He felt the love of God. Then he went to our church and special meetings more often — the Sonrise Christian Center.
Purpose Of The Bible
God is a communicating God. He wants to be known, be loved and have a relationship with mankind. That’s why he gave us the Bible as a gift.
“The Bible teaches that God speaks in more dramatic ways like through angels, visions, and dreams,” Hammer explains. “It also tells us that we have our thoughts that could be affected positively or negatively by the different inputs.”
Hammer also says the Bible talks about evil forces and God’s spirit. So we need to be discerning. The most transformational principle in the Bible is the Gospel of grace.
“I believe the whole Revelation of the Bible is the Revelation of Jesus. In John’s Gospel, Jesus is having a confrontation with some of the religious leaders who weren’t too accepting of Jesus,” said Hammer.
“The primary point of the Bible is not about religion but rather to reveal who Jesus is. And that’s the Gospel of grace,” said Hammer. “I think this is most important for health because we’re all born in sin, and we need to be rescued. We need redemption and salvation.”
Furthermore, Hammer said, the Bible says that the Gospel in Romans 1, is the power of God and salvation to all who believe. It teaches that God came to man in the midst of our pain or destructive health. And He wants to heal and reconcile us.
God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to become sin for us. That we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Difference of Mercy And Grace
“Mercy is you don’t get the judgment that you should have gotten. But grace is putting into your account a favor, goodness, and blessing that you didn’t earn,” said Hammer.
It’s not about the absence of punishment but rather the added benefit of reward that you didn’t do anything to earn other than God decided to show you a favor because you believe in the power of what He did for you in the sacrifice of his Son.
“This is so transformational to our health because it is grace instead of religion. It’s God’s empowerment on my behalf based on what he has done, not based on what I have done,” explains Hammer. “What started to renew my thinking was, as I understood the Gospel of grace, I was a new person. I realized God loves me and I’m not afraid of death anymore.”
Stories of Transformation
Hammer narrates that there was a young man that had a death wish on his life. He wanted to join the military and go in the frontline and die. That way, people would remember him for his bravery rather than be remembered as some hopeless guy.
He was in a dark place and had learning disabilities. John talked to him about the Gospel and was skeptical at first. But as they prayed, Hammer cast out the evil spirit from him. All the heaviness lifted from him.
He’s leading a church movement in Africa now, his memory was better and was successful in school. It was a spiritual breakthrough.
Then there was a woman who had a lot of autoimmune diseases and was seeing a lot of doctors. The doctors just diagnosed a bunch of drugs for her to cope and sent her home to die. Her body was shutting down.
Hammer’s Dad visited that patient and prayed with her. Shortly after that, she started to feel better. The next time she went back for hospital tests, her kidney, as well as other organs, were functioning well. Here autoimmune diseases were gone, and the doctors were amazed.
How To Improve Health
John gives three quick tips on how to improve our spiritual health and how to end addiction:
1. Grace – how to understand God’s love and our identity as a result of the gospel of grace.
2. Heart – caring for the condition of our heart (spiritually) by practicing forgiveness and thankfulness.
3. Prayer – practicing God’s presence in prayer, song, and meditation to alleviate anxiety and connect with God.
How To Pray
“Prayer is very important for keeping your heart healthy. I read up on how to have a healthy lifestyle,” shares Hammer. “I learned that our immune system is mostly in our gut. If you take care of your gut, you can heal a lot of issues in your life physically.”
Hammer adds that he also believes that spiritually. That deepest place is your heart. If you can take care of it, the rest of your life benefits. A prayer is an amazing tool.
“I pray in Jesus’ name. And my prayer is a divine encounter with God himself. Be relentlessly thankful no matter what,” Hammer said. “Cultivating a prayer life and a right attitude in life is the number one thing we have control over. The best way to control your attitude by being thankful.”
John Hammer is happily married to the love of his life Grace Elaine and together they have four amazing children: Hailey, Emma, Justus, and Addison. He is a passionate and creative communicator that is living for a Jesus awakening in his generation. He expresses his heart and creativity through preaching, teaching, writing, blogging and spoken word poetry.
He is the author of the book eXXXit. He is the Senior Associate Pastor at Sonrise Christian Center in Everett, WA and the Director of Sonrise Supernatural School of Seattle Bible College. John received a BA degree in Biblical Studies from Seattle Bible College and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Missional Leadership from Northwest University. He is also the founder of Represent Conferences.
Get Connected With John Hammer!
Book by John Hammer
Recommended Reading by John Hammer
▶ How To End Addiction – Pastor John Hammer & Ashley James – #135 ◀