Learning and Coping in Recovery

There’s a theory out there which asserts we have only two jobs in life:

    1) to learn
    2) to cope.

Spiritually, if we expound on this principle, we can see Divine Intervention at work, should we choose to embrace it.

The First Job: To Learn:

Scripture addresses our human need to learn. Proverbs 1:7 and Proverbs 4:7, for instance, are just a couple of verses which tout the important of wisdom.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

And, again, we are in dire need of this wisdom, as Paul reminds us of our vulnerable human condition…

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice: but what I hate, that I do. Romans 7:15

Ergo, cue Divine help and instruction…

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it, whenever you turn to the right hand, and whenever turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalms 16:11

But hold up!

Before we get too ahead of ourselves, it would be advantageous to take a literal page from another book of scripture, the book of Revelation, wa-a-a-a-y at the end of the Bible.

Yes, the Old Testament is great, with its assurances that the Most High has both decided and committed to help us.

But that still doesn’t change the repentance element concerning that help and instruction; that is captured in Revelation 3:19:

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

One of the very first lessons in the learning job addresses how we have gotten things all wrong and need to change. And, of course, that covers our addiction and recovery issues.

Once again…

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice: but what I hate, that I do. Romans 7:15

So, part of that learning process needs to incorporate change; after all, it has often been our poor decisions which have landed us in our troubled circumstances. That means James 1:19 is extremely beneficial to generating these different results:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

So, shut up, don’t act in the moment and heed advice. We are not so clever to have this entire thing sewed up. Clearly.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

As messy as our lives appear to be, we could profit from some different approaches. And this issue brings up the second “job” in life: coping.

To Cope:

What a minefield we have here, huh? Yes, coping is not much of a hop, skip or jump to actual addiction.

Addiction, certainly, may have its genetic component, but that reality may lie dormant until trauma, somehow, lights the fuse.

“Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed?” Jeremiah 15:18

Now we have a desperate attempt to cope with, negate and avoid pain.

So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 2:17

And, it’s usually not too long before we mishandle anger in this flailing coping strategy.

For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled. Psalm 90:7

    Painful wounding?


    Futile perception to one’s existence?


    Self-destructive, frustrating and complicated anger to boot?


Things are looking absolutely fabulous for us, aren’t they?

But again, hold up! It isn’t over just yet.

Thankfully, the Most High and His Word are one and the same (John 1:1-2).

And there is the promise of His help, even as we struggle to cope, via the addiction route.

First, He’s not shocked by our behavior, our choices and our weaknesses…

For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust. Psalms 103:14

He knew every detail, life event and decision which would lead to where we are now (Isaiah 46:10). He knew.

Next, He’s our loving, benevolent Father and Champion…

Doubtless thou art our father… thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting. Isaiah 63:16

… thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Isaiah 64:8

“…I will make all my goodness pass before thee… and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” Exodus 33:19

So, no matter what our coping experience may be, including any dysfunctional addiction, we have Someone Who is constantly loving and helping us to, in fact, cope in such a way that is healing, not harmful.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 John 1:2

And we ALL have this. Enter equal opportunity access.

“…God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34

The “Whosoever” Factor…

For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

It doesn’t matter what kind of alienation and disenfranchisement we’ve experienced. The “Whosoever” Factor means precisely that. It’s not predicated on performance, appearance, status, color, gender or any other kind of qualifier.

John 3:16, arguably, the best- known scripture out there, is a verse which focuses on our redeeming Savior. And yes, that is powerful.

Yet, we also need to put some focus on the complete accessibility granted to anyone, to the “whosoever” characteristic mentioned within the verse. That presence, again, assures us there is an undeniable love and plan which extends beyond our finite thinking.

The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3

“I have chosen you and have not cast you away.” Isaiah 41:9

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

It goes beyond Salvation; it includes, healing, help, connection and a fulfilling faith walk journey. It is available to anyone who takes the Most High God up on His offer.

We have only two jobs in life:

    1) to learn
    2) to cope.

The loving brilliance of our Heavenly Father extends an incredible job opportunity to us. Are we willing to take it?

If we incorporate the spiritual as part of our “job description,” then, perhaps, we truly will discover a richer, fuller life than we ever dreamed was possible.

It transcends learning facts and barely surviving.

It embraces a life more abundant (John 10:10)!