Whether your addiction be sugar, salt or TV, fasting cuts at the spiritual roots of addiction: fear, insignificance, laziness, self-centeredness, guilt, negative thinking, resentment and spiritual emptiness. Fasting, being still, prayer and reading the Bible have the power of a chainsaw on these roots. During your fast, you take an aggressive stance on a battlefield to face all your addictions. Urges come and you say no. They return with greater urgency, and you stay firm in resolve. With each resistance, the power of addiction grows weaker.
If you want an addiction to die, don’t feed it. If you want to change your desire of an addictive substance, see its ugliness. If you want to be free of addiction, do the opposite of what it demands.
You will always have hard days and tough times filled with stress and uncomfortable emotions. How you respond to these needs is either healthy or unhealthy. A healthy response to stress is to go for a walk, exercise, breathe deeply, or think faith-filled thoughts. An unhealthy response is smoking a cigarette, worry and nail biting. Changing your responses is indeed difficult as the behavior is engrained in your neural pathways and you have to create a healthy response pathway. The value of fasting is that it is a focused event dedicated to developing healthy responses to the urges of addiction. It may take months of retraining for your body to fully develop healthy responses that become subconscious but be patient, it will happen.
If you are quitting coffee on a fast, you can cut down for the first three days to reduce the headaches. It is the same with cigarettes. You don’t have to quit in one day. You can do it in stages. The advantage of fasting is that the need for the addiction reduces drastically making it easier to quit. A cigarette becomes heavy and can cause coughing. It hurts the lungs and the taste becomes revolting. Alcohol loses is warm glow and instead, become a sleepy numbness that feels foreign to the body. On a fast, coffee is hard on the stomach, leaves a bad taste in the mouth and causes you to be anxious. Fasting increases sensitivity and the body’s negative reaction to all addictive substances. It is a learning experience where you see through the illusion of the addiction. During the fast, it is easy to break addiction. The real battle comes when you quit the fast and return to the day-to-day patterns of normal life. You will need to make some changes to maintain your freedom from addictions.