Confessions of An Approval Addict



Dear Friends,

Most of you probably don’t know this but I am a recovering addict who still struggles with my cravings every day.  The desire for my drug of choice keeps me up at night, it forces me to become somebody different than I actually am, cover up symptoms of the sickness, refuse to do things I would really love to take part in, and damages almost all of my relationships.

Unfortunately this isn’t an addiction that affects the body outwardly, otherwise my friends would have staged an intervention a long time ago.  Instead I was addicted to approval, or the love and acceptance of others.  The truth is there are many approval addicts out there, but most of us don’t have the guts to admit it.

As a kid I was extremely introverted and shy, even hiding behind my parents when they tried to introduce me to someone.  Later my addiction was seen in what is commonly called low self-esteem.  Basically it seemed like there was nothing I could do well, and over time I convinced myself that I was worthless.

Thankfully the low self-esteem was overcome with the Lords help, but in College my addiction simply took another form.  Now becoming popular and entertaining people (to receive their acceptance) became the goal of life.  I was actually really good at making people laugh so my substance abuse issues grew.

Following College my addiction issues went from entertaining people to becoming like everyone else.  All my friends were getting jobs, becoming married, and having kids so that was what I had to do (so people would accept me and I could feel good about myself).  Thankfully that’s where God broke me of my addiction by not providing the relationship  that would give me the drug of acceptance. But today years later I still struggle with a strong desire to be accepted (loved, successful, normal) like everyone else.

As a recovering addict I feel the Lord leading me to research the subject of Approval Addiction and share truths that can help fellow acceptance junkies find their identity in God instead of themselves.  It feels kind of strange to write this but I am sure it is Gods Will.  There are hundreds (possibly thousands) of approval addicts walking around in the world, they may have different forms of abuse, but the core problem is the same.

Maybe they can’t see their own problem, maybe they want to change but don’t know how to start.  Whatever the reason I am living proof that God can free us from the addiction to approval only by His Grace.  I didn’t say it was easy or simple (there will still be battles every day) but the good news is we don’t have to be controlled by your desire for acceptance any longer. So put down your mask with me friend, and lets learn more about who we are in God’s eyes.

Because of Who He is,

John Wilburn

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John Wilburn

Church planter, teacher, and disciple-maker in Barrouallie St. Vincent

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