Sometimes the path of recovery can feel like a never-ending challenge. We live in a society that wants quick fixes and frankly, most of us are like that too. We don’t want to be uncomfortable. We don’t want to go to a work event and not be able to drink like everyone else. We want to be able to enjoy an adult beverage while at a concert or football game. Yet these trials we face develop in us a valuable quality and that is perseverance. We learn that we can do hard things and it all turns out fine. We learn that it may seem uncomfortable in the moment but that is just that-a moment-and it passes. The life of sobriety challenges us in ways that develops a higher character. It’s like climbing a very high hill and feeling like you want to quit yet if you push on, the next part becomes easier and you are rewarded by standing on the top and seeing a view that few will ever experience. Press on, my friend, God is teaching perseverance and the rewards are breathtaking.
I was recently the keynote speaker for the HERO Coalition out of Waconia, MN speaking to parents and youth about addiction prevention. It’s not as easy as “Just Say No” but youth and parents were ready to face whatever is necessary to stay away from the dark path of addiction. What a great venue to discuss what is happening in your local community and discuss ways you can be of assistance in changing the trends with drugs and alcohol. Think about forming a coalition in your community for parents and youth!
Popeye was my favorite cartoon growing up. I will never forget the internal strength I would feel when he would exclaim, “I’ve had all I can stands. I can’t stands no more” and with that he would pop open a can of spinach and by gulping it down he gained an enormous amount of supernatural energy. I wanted to be like Popeye. I wanted supernatural strength.
As I’ve journeyed through recovery I’ve often felt it was just too hard. I’ve often felt I can’t stands no more but no can of spinach could give me the strength I needed. I have something far greater though-I have God-the Creator of the Universe-to give me strength. He is there for me every second of the day. Yet I often strive in my own strength for extensive periods of time until I’m exhausted before I finally reach out to God asking for His strength to carry me through. Self-reliance can lead to exhaustion and it’s not necessary.
Reach out to Him today. He is only a whisper away. By taking time each morning to invite God into our day we open ourselves to the joy of walking hand in hand with Him. We can have the strength personified in Popeye available to us in a very real way. Philippians 4:13 tells us “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Allow God to strengthen you today.
At a Bible study recently we talked about Step 2, which is “We came to believe that God could restore us to sanity.” I asked the group if they can “own” that step and many replied they knew God could but didn’t know if He would do it for them.”
Just as we wouldn’t trust someone immediately upon meeting them with intimate knowledge of ourselves, those of us who weren’t raised up in the church wouldn’t immediately trust God. So how do we begin to trust? Prayer is the first step; “Teach me, oh Lord, to trust you.” Then, learning about the character of God from His word is important. What does the Bible say about who God is? As we begin to learn about His character and trust Him with small things, we learn to trust that He can and will do what He says He will do. Our action is first a heart step in desiring to know Him and trust Him. Then we take action by reading the Bible and learning about His character. The more time we spend with God, the more we see Him at work. I can know God loves me when I witness Him at work in my life. Will you take some action today to grow closer to God?
My study of scripture revealed the following attributes of God: God is love. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, He is patient and desires you to repent. He is light. He is Joy. Every good and perfect gift is from Him. He is faithful. His ways are perfect and His word is true. He is merciful and gracious. He is slow to anger and steadfast in His love. He is holy, righteous and good. If you call out to Him, He will hear you. He does not faint or grow weary. He is the redeemer. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. He is the creator of the ends of the earth. He is an everlasting God. He is the truth, the way, and the life. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. God did not send His son to condemn the world, but to save the world.
When we spend time learning who God is, we are better equipped to trust Him with our recovery from all addictions. Be blessed today by spending time in His word.
“Uncle. That’s all you have to say. Are you ready to give in?” my brother chided as he pinned me to the floor. Wrestling with an older brother never did get me anywhere! That was a lesson I learned as a young child. As a grown woman I learned that lesson in a different way.
I fought alcoholism for years without getting help. I was convinced I could do it on my own. “If only I tried harder or tried some other strategy I could stop,” I reasoned. But addiction doesn’t work that way. Addiction loves isolation. As a matter of fact, it thrives in isolation. The more isolated we become, the more hopeless our situation appears.
We need to get to a place of surrender.
Surrendering can be an incredibly freeing experience that leads to a much happier life, but it’s not easy. Why? Because surrendering requires we admit we can’t do it alone. It requires we open ourselves up to others and allow others to see our whole selves. We ask for help. We let other people into our life.
When I realized there were people who wanted to help and by helping benefited in their own sober journey, it became more palatable. Although it still took time for me to get used to someone helping without wanting something in return. I continually asked my sponsor if I was bothering her and thanked her profusely for giving of herself and her time without any payment. Now, after six years sobriety, I realize how much of an honor it is to help others.
How about you? Are you willing to surrender? Are you willing to get the help you need to change? I was finally ready when I realized “I want what I could be- rather than more years of what has been.”