Though we differ on some of what I believe to be fairly important theological perspectives concerning forgiveness and our relationship to the Father, particularly how he reads and the direction in which he takes his reader through sections in 1 John, Kevin Shorter and I agree on the heart of the matter and that is being that which we God has created us to be. In so doing, we need to give up some things, understanding that they do not belong to our true selves and ought not define us, and look to God through Jesus for our identity and lens through which we must continually acknowledge ourselves to be.
Much of what I’ve read on addiction recovery from a Christian perspective has fallen gravely short on the practical end and often ends up with a “pray your way out of it” attitude. Though it is certainly a part of our relationship with God and a path away from addiction, it is a woefully grave conclusion. It dismisses so much and is bound to lead one to failure. Though I would include sections for those who intentionally put themselves in addictive behavior without the help of lies to oneself about their past or self-identity (perhaps “any addiction” is a bit reaching in the title), Kevin has not shied away from the spiritual or practical. He aptly deals with some of the difficulties some face in overcoming addiction on a practical level, perhaps the most important of which is that it cannot be done alone. He also rightly warns the reader against using “getting better” as a sole purpose for overcoming a particular addiction by maintaining a Christian perspective:
“The topics of this chapter are tools to help you focus more on Jesus rather than your pain or addiction. If your focus is merely getting better, your behavior may change quicker, but you will be trading one addiction for another. Not dealing with the root issue can only delay your ultimate healing. Jesus wants you healed, whole, and free” (Kindle Locations 1286-1288).
A decently short and easy read (application is another issue!), Breaking Free contains some of the best addiction recovery advice from a Christian perspective that I have found thus far; however, given some of our theological differences, I would probably work through the book with someone rather than recommend it out right with no disclaimers. Either way, it’s the first book I’ve found that I would even put on a recommendation list.
Aside: From an editor’s perspective, the book could benefit from a proper combing and subsequent republishing. It’s strewn with typographical errors, misspellings, misuse of grammar, repeated and misplaced words, and a couple sections I simply could not decipher what was meant (perhaps a combination of a typo and a bit of missing text?). It’s fairly easy to look past these and understand what is meant, so I recommend not seeing them as a distraction to the book’s message; however, I would continue to recommend a revision of the manuscript.
*The author contacted me via my blog and asked me to read and review this book. I was not asked to write a positive review, nor was I offered or provided any compensation.
**This book is available for free on September 9–10, 2014, on Amazon.com.