The woman with issue: A model for addiction recovery

The New Testament story of the woman with issue gives a remarkable model for finding healing from addiction. This long suffering woman's spiritual journey marks the pathway for addicts to follow.

Is your life touched in some way by addiction? Consider this story of healing.

“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, when she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garments.”

“For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.”

“And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?”

“And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” (Selected verses from Mark 5:33-38)

This story of a certain woman sounds very similar to the struggle of those caught up in addiction. Her solution might also provide addicts a model of the requirements of healing.

She had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. When she heard of Jesus, she traveled to where he was and fought through the press to touch his garment. Believing that this simple act would bring her healing. And we know that it did.

Staying on the path to recovery

Like this woman, many addicts have long suffered. They have carried their burden for years, tried many solutions and have expended great effort, but are unable to find relief. In fact, things grow worse, it is after all, a progressive disease.

As one addict puts it, “I don’t need help quitting, I have quit a thousand times, I need help staying quit!” Perhaps the addict in such a predicament might consider following this woman’s example. Find where the Savior is and travel there no matter how far or difficult the journey.

The woman’s determination brought her peace

The traveling itself was no small task for this good woman. Under the rules of the Law of Moses, her life and movements were greatly restricted. Just being in public brought ridicule and scorn upon her and perhaps stones thrown in her direction.

In spite of her challenges, she was willing to do whatever it took to find him. She perhaps searched for him, he may not have been nearby. Most certainly, with great difficulty, she traveled to where he was. And when she did find him she fought through the crowd or press to be next to him.

Keep seeking a source for healing

We also must find him, being willing to go wherever that journey requires. But that is only the beginning, we must then fight through our own press that would keep us from him. Whether the obstacle be our lack of faith, pride, arrogance, selfishness or fear, we must face our demons and get close enough to touch his hem. Then he may also say of us, “Thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”

The Big Book of AA gives us our call to action: “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

“Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us — sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.” (The Big Book)

Roger Stark

In the process of recovering from addiction Roger became a licensed addiction counselor and wrote the recovery guide, “The Waterfall Concept, A blueprint for addiction recovery.” He blogs at his recovery website