I was born in Africa to missionary parents who wanted and loved me. They raised me in the church to believe in God. When I was 4 years old, we came to America and lived in the Southwest where my father was a minister, my mother a school teacher. There was only one thing “dysfunctional” in my childhood — “Me”. School work was easy, making superficial friends was easy (we moved around a lot). I was however, overweight and extremely self-conscious about that. I felt like I never fit in –. I became a rebel and the class clown to get attention. We moved to Indiana when I was 16. It was at that time that I dedicated my life to Jesus Christ but then – life happened and in the course of “finding myself” I gradually strayed away.
Scary Secrets are Hard to Give Up
There are some of us that are completely unaware of our inner craving. We try to hide and place a weak cover over the whole mess because it is to scary to make known to our self or to others. We have laps of memory, sometimes finding personal items in a different place to where we recall leaving them. This can be disturbing until they learn that the lapses are simply times when we try controlling behavior.
Sometimes people who e-mail me suddenly send an e-mail that seems out of character and might have poor spelling. When I send a copy of the e-mail back to the person they are often shocked as they have no recollection of ever writing it. This is part of our tendency to deny wrong doing.
I practice an effective recovery tool: “H.A.L.T.”
Its simple wisdom deals our response toward addiction, compulsion and disorder:
“Don’t let yourself become too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.”
There are positive results there, just in the physical realm alone. But, if we go deeper, we also see the spiritual relevance behind that acronym. It addresses our tricky heart condition.
“For what I am doing, I do not understand…”Romans 7:15
What a mysterious thing is this enemy of ours – as mysterious as life itself.
Addiction is sometimes without explanation. However, we are aware of its presence and how miserable it makes us feel. How little we like to speak of it, discuss it, or consider its importance! When cornered, we discuss the thought as quickly as possible. That being said, doesn’t it seem strange that we spend so much time feeding our addictions? Furthermore, when we have finally had enough, why do we not spend an equal amount of time and energy trying to recover from those same addictions.
Part 1 Breaking Habits | Part 2 Tapping into the Unknown | Part 3 Breaking Habits and Sin | Part 4 God’s Love | Part 5 Scary Secrets | Part 6 Are You Ready?
Procrastination Inspires Paralysis
One of the character defects that I struggle with is that of procrastination. Boy, howdy, does this give me fits. It comes from willfully pausing my life’s pursuits just before success is achieved. It is fear that success will bring more responsibility and I will have show that I’m ready to accept this change.
Why is it important to have a sponsor? Why do I need someone to guide me along in my journey through recovery? Can’t I do this thing alone? I’m a private person. I don’t want someone else knowing my problems. It’s nobody’s business what is going on in my life.
I asked those questions and said those things when I first began on my recovery journey. It wasn’t until I read the Scripture that goes along with Step Four that I finally realized God doesn’t desire for this journey to be solo. His desire is for me to find someone I trust to help, guide, and teach me along the way.
I have learned to trust God. I have faith my past is gone. I have let it all go and given it to God to handle. This is just the beginning for me, though.
My journey through recovery begins with Christ and it continues with Him. I could not have started nor could I continue without His help and guidance through all of the steps of recovery. I may not be an alcoholic or addicted to a drug, but I have other issues to contend with as a result of living with addiction.
- Each day I must turn my need for control over to God’s care.
- Each day I must turn over my past shopping compulsion to God because He is enough to fill any void I have.
- Each day I must rid myself of co-dependency and be fully dependent upon Him to comfort me.
“Once is never enough, never is and never was, uh-huh,
Here and now is all that counts, here and now in large amounts, uh-huh”
~ Adam Ant, “Room at the Top”
In our culture today, there is a go-for-the gusto acronym, “FOMO,” “Fear of Missing Out.” I see it influencing our behavior. It declares we need to pounce on living life, taking advantage of every opportunity, going for our dreams.
But I also see its addiction message too, mainly reflected in the bender/binge concept with which some struggle. Each of us must deal with our individual vulnerabilities concerning substances, food, chaotic behaviors and relationships – and any other tempting vice under the sun.
Two events which spring to the top of my mind are Fat Tuesday and Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.
“Blame holds us back. Responsibility moves us forward. Constant self-blame is just as irresponsible as insisting that others are always to blame.” ~Thom Rutledge
For those of us struggling with addiction and disorder, it is not too long before we encounter blame. It is an insidious creature; it is virtually impossible to escape.
Since our addictive natures are usually heavily intertwined with other complicated life issues, like abuse and trauma, blame often surfaces as a coping device, used to enable us to simply function in our lives. Survival is as far as we can go; healthy flourishing appears to be an out of reach luxury.
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