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Relapse / Stalled Recovery
"Know the difference between those who stay to feed the soil and those who come to grab the fruit."
This sobering statement recently came to my attention. I don't know who originally said it, but it resonates, all the same.
It has personally factored in heavily as I have learned, firsthand, who was a part of my healthy support system...and who was NOT.
Indeed, this concept plays a MAJOR role for each of us as we navigate our addiction/recovery journeys. It is usually not too long in life, before we encounter the all too common cliché dysfunction of co-dependency, narcissism and/or exploitation.
Recovery-from much of anything - is often not done in the steady hum of encouragement. It's frequently done in intimidating quiet. Even with support groups, sponsors, treatment centers, churches and any number of "support structures," we are still left with our true selves. And, no matter what affirmations we have heard and learned, we alone are left to apply them. There is no uplifting outside cheerleader. There is just our decision.
I know this comes across as negative, especially concerning "the Higher Power" factor.
As a person of faith, I'm not dismissing the role The Most High plays. Rather, I see how the Divine shows up in disguised forms, one of those being the unanswered quiet.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18 KJV
When I get up in the morning, I wash my face so that I will be alert and clean. There are many times during the day when I have to wash it again because I get hot and it refreshes me. So it is with Jesus. When we pray the sinner's prayer and ask Him to forgive us and wash us in His atoning blood, He cleanses us from all sin. However, because of living in a world that is sinful and corrupt, our hearts sometimes become filled with unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, jealousy, sarcasm and criticism.
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1. The alcoholic, addict and dysfunctional person is worth rescuing. They are a child of God; his/her confession is worth being heard.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
2. Christianity is about forgiveness. (The same amount of blood was sacrificed for the minister as for the tramp.)
Jesus said in John 6:37
the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
Psalm 19:12 NRSV
But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
Romans 12:14-18 NRSV
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7
I like to play with words and phrases. A particular one recently popped up in my mind: "the benefit of the doubt."
We've heard this expression before. It denotes largesse, a generosity to not write off a person or circumstance so quickly. As it rolled around in my spirit, its opposite phrase sprung to life: the detriment of certainty.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
St. Augustine once uttered this powerful statement:
"Hope has two beautiful daughters: anger, at the way things are and courage, to work for change."
Upon reading it, my mind went first to the Serenity Prayer and then to how hope plays its role in addiction and recovery.
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."
Indeed, hope is not a neutral word. We have feelings about it, be they negative or positive.
"In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again."
~Lewis Carol, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
The new year: it is a minefield. There can be this weird concoction of hope and discouragement, effort and apathy.
A social media post, once again, caught my attention concerning this point. It was of the literary figure, Alice, from Carol's classic work, essentially binging.
And this was the image's caption...
"I can relate to Alice. She just keeps randomly eating and drinking everything she sees with the hope that it might actually solve all her problems."
"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." Deuteronomy 5:20
The cute social media post thing strikes again. I came across this fluff ball the other day:
"Nope, I haven't seen your lipstick."
Adorable. Humorous. Human.
Indeed, this deceptive attempt at convincing did not start with our adorable pup. Rather, we need to look at history, a little further back. Let's peek in on a power couple.
Once upon a time, there was Ananias and Sapphira...Acts 5:1-11
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.