Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
At some point, we all need to meet God. But how that looks will change. Recovery from addiction is hard. It is painful. It is something we never expected to walk through.
I don’t know how anyone can do it without God.
There is a conflict in the recovery community between the twelve step programs and faith- based recovery programs. Why? We both have the same goal- to help men and women make it. We want them to live. The twelve step groups think their way is the best, necessary for lasting change. Faith- based, Bible based ministries believe the only way to recovery is relying completely on the Lord. The twelve step groups include a higher power, but do not always specify God. The Christian programs put down the twelve step beliefs – when we should be the last ones to judge.
I am discovering that I hold a different perspective. When you combine faith in God with a structured, supportive program like AA or NA, you not only give someone the tools to stay clean, but you give them the power behind the tools!
Why is it so important? Because addiction is so powerful.
What is recovery really like? I realize many of you have only experienced this as a family member. You may not know what your son or daughter has lived through.
When your body does not get the drug it wants “you feel it deep in your bones. Sunlight hurts. Everything hurts. You feel like you will never be happy again.” Crash. Withdrawal.
I need help. Take me to detox.
Enter the Dopamine overload. They call the first 3-6 months of recovery “The Pink Cloud.” The brain is resetting itself, but overcompensating for the dopamine crash. Its a honeymoon phase- you feel happy, you can do anything.
Ok, let’s go to a meeting! I know I need help right now- so let’s do it!
Both twelve step and faith- based groups can help. You need to meet God- search Him out! You are learning to give up a way of life. Lay down your old ways of thinking. You need to “heal resentment and fear (anonymous)”.
Step 3- We made a decision to turn our lives and our will over to God (Celebraterecovery.com)
Eventually the brain will level out. You start to think you can handle things yourself. “I can go to that bar, its going to be ok. No one will know.” “I don’t need help, I can make it. ”
My son put it perfectly:
Confidence is what kills you. Relapse.
What I like about twelve step programs is that they prepare you for this stage. They constantly remind you that self-reliance will fail. You have to choose to follow each and every day.
But before you can follow you have to meet God.
I think sometimes that we lose sight of the day to day struggle in recovery. I completely believe that God can take the addiction away – that He can heal once and for all.
But it doesn’t always happen that way.
The reality of recovery is that we need to work together to do whatever is necessary, use all the tools there are to help each other live. We need to meet God in the middle of the NA meeting. We need to meet God in our day to day walk- whatever that looks like.
One day you will find that you have accepted life. The twelve step belief is that you accept that you will always be an addict and commit to a new way of life through the program. I do not completely believe that is true. I have seen too many of us completely delivered from addiction or alcoholism – living out a life in the power of God with no desire to drink or use. Nothing is impossible with God. But I will also do everything I can to support those who are still walking that out.
Step 12 (AA) – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Instead of judging each other, we need to meet God in recovery. He is the power that enables each one of us to make it. We want to live. Recovery is a journey. We need each other. Both individuals dealing with addiction and family members – we need each other.
You are not alone. Meet God. Go to meetings. Come to Families in Recovery. Live….