Addictions were a bad response to my feelings of emotional pain and insignificance. I needed to learn how to get over these feelings – by being seriously sober, and by believing that someone cared about me. And not just anyone, but God, The Creator of Everything. He knows me – all about me. He loves me – deeply and unconditionally. He provides for me here on earth and promises to keep me with Him for all eternity. And, most importantly, He desperately yearns for me to notice Him. I want to share with you how He convinced me to live believing this wholeheartedly.
Believing is simple, but it’s not easy. However, there are small steps which can be taken and checked off like items on a to do list.
Plan, now do [check]
Commit, then complete [check]
Faith, with action [check]
The trick is, faith works like magic, just not by magic. Faith takes effort. God does His part – always. That’s just who He is. But I have a role to play, too, and this is what recovery from addictions- from any kind of obsessive, procrastinating, isolating, or avoiding behavior – is all about.
A journey of 1000 miles begins with 12 steps.
April 20, 2009
Salt Lake City, Utah
One Year, Six days into Recovery
Gas for rental truck: $140
Burger and St Pauli N/A, plus tip: $23
Hotel Room: $53
The trip of a lifetime: priceless
I once owned a business, a video studio, transferring home movies from film and VHS to DVD, and doing some video production. But it was home-based, and being my own boss was not a perfect thing for me – I found it far too easy to surf the internet and knock off early to start drinking instead of working. I entered entrepreneurship with these bad habits, and they didn’t help me succeed. In turn, the stress of failing at my ‘calling’ led to more indulgence. This catch-22 was definitely a major factor in my hitting rock-bottom.
By the end of the first year of my recovery journey, I sold all my equipment and shut the studio down. (I would also move with my family 2000 miles on faith alone – but that’s another part of the story.) The deal included my transporting the equipment from Colorado Springs to Reno, and my doing my part to make this happen is a great example of how God has changed me.
I’ve said before that my motto used to be “waiting for something to happen.” But what is true is that I have to make something happen, and let God handle the results. I had to decide to get out of the business. God guided me to the next steps. I had to let it be known that I wanted to sell. God found a buyer. I offered, God certainly influenced the counter offer. I had to rent the U-Haul, pack it up, and drive it. God made sure I arrived safely.
Plan, now do. Commit, then complete. Faith, with action. All of this done with great seriousness. This is not a part time gig. It’s not a hobby. It’s not something to pursue only when I feel like it. Recovery, like mapping out a trip and then traveling the road, doesn’t just happen. It must be fought for with firm determination, sticking to a process over long days of combatting urges – one day, one moment at at time – to take time off for more pleasureable activities.
“Combat” is a good way to describe it. Recovery is a war, a conflict with myself. I must have a plan of battle and follow it, fully understanding that losing has serious costs. Recovery is serious, and I have to seriously want it.
Let’s look at some definitions:
– thoughtful or subdued in appearance or manner, SOBER
– requiring much thought or WORK
– of or relating to a matter of importance
– having important or dangerous possible consequences
A matter of importance?? Dangerous possible consequences?? This is life or death! My life! My being alive! My living (including what I do to earn my way). In truth, every addiction is ultimately an Addiction to Death. This is deadly serious, and I must appreciate it at that level. These bad habits are self-destructive and self-defeating. I was still alive, but only because I was not brave enough to literally pull the trigger. I wished I were dead – or non-existent, because that is how life made me feel. Insignificant. Unloved. How desperate I was for the message that someone did care about me, despite how low I could fall. Things could not get more serious.
– a determination to act in a certain way, resolve
– fixity of purpose, resoluteness, marked by firm determination
– the controlling or deciding of something’s nature or outcome
– the act of establishing something exactly
– having made a firm decision and being resolved NOT to change it
– firmly decide
Recovery / Recovering:
– the act, process, or instance of recovering
– being in the ongoing process of recovery
– the process of combatting a disorder, or a real or perceived problem
There is great news! It is possible to recover, to get back to where we were when everything was right.
– to get back – regain
– to bring back to normal position or condition; RESCUE
– to make up for (usually costs)
– to find or identify again
My Maker made me to be this way. His way. Not my way of destroying my health and my family. I was created to be something better.
Recovery is taking steps to replace how I get my good feelings and ‘highs’. Instead of addictive, destructive, dangerous, or harmful activities, I spend my time journaling, worshipping, reading the Bible, praying, singing, supporting and serving others. These are all things I do, and can even put on a checklist. The more I do them, the more ingrained they become until I am doing them without thinking about it. And that, my friends, is how a life is changed.
Along the way, the hard evidence of the success of this outlook and activity – that I was being provided for, sometimes miraculously; that I was, in fact, still alive and breathing; that I woke up each day and could sometimes get out of bed – these are the facts that proved to me God exists and is who He says He is.
A pastor once said that faith is the result of education and personal, spiritual experience. God provided the experience for me, many times over. I had to take the initiative to get educated about Him and His plan for me. This process is History (His Story) in my life.
In closing, here’s a poem I wrote during that first year of my journey:
That past behaviors
Do not lead
So, on to something new: