The process of recovery is a life long journey. No matter how long you have been in recovery, you never seem to reach the end. At least not on this side of Heaven. Changes occur day after day, but I find myself continually tweaking this and that. By the grace of God, I have lived in recovery for over 20 years. I am still learning. Every day. Recovery demands taking responsibility for my life. Our daily walk centers on a recovery absent of self-pity and free from resentment. That is not easy for non-addicts to carry out. For those of us with hurts, habits, and hang-ups it can be even more challenging.
To make the most of my recovery, my life must have routines. Doing certain things, like making my bed in the morning, help me stay focused and oriented in the right direction. Upsetting the routines risks opening the way for darkness to creep in, usually beginning with a benign fog stealthily sneaking up on me and throwing me a curveball when I least expect it. Other times, a lack of routines results in an immediate smack in the head, quickly signaling that something is off-kilter.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3 (ESV)
Recovery means forgiving freely and quickly. It means praying readily and in the moment. Letting stuff simmer leads to the pot boiling over, making a mess of what was an otherwise good situation. Problems do not go away; solutions do. Addiction is a chronic disease. It does not let go easily. Untreated, it will kill you. Co-dependence, addiction’s nasty sister, is a life long condition that rears its ugly head when you least expect it.
Both addiction and co-dependence have recognizable symptoms. For me, the addict, resentment is locked in a battle with feelings of inferiority. It’s a 12 round heavyweight cage match between anger and pity. Getting back at people does not do us any good. Sitting on our pity pot crying “woe is me” does not get us anywhere. Unchecked, anger turns to hate and our hate leads to frustration, inner turmoil, outer conflict, and neurosis. Anxiety disrupts peace. Obsession and compulsiveness creep in to the picture. Indecisiveness dominates the day. Not a pretty picture.
Co-dependency is a beast all its own marked with the need to make other people happy and having a hard time saying “no”. Guilt, shame, inadequacy, and the obsession for perfection create a formula for disaster. Combined and untreated, the addict and co-dependent can create a world teetering at DEFCON 1 (Maximum readiness; all forces ready for combat; nuclear war imminent or likely).
It can be hard to remember that your job is to drain the pond when you are standing knee-deep in alligators. Keeping the monsters at bay calls for vigilance. Guarding my heart, my mind, and my soul are constant duties. Recovery means living a life of faithful obedience and doing for others. Helping others helps me stay in tune with what matters and keeps out those things seeking to do me harm.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8 (ESV)
When we find ourselves in seasons of struggle, which in this life are inevitable, we can act by seeking our God in prayer. Prayer is an activity affording us an audience with the Creator of all things. Prayer is powerful. It is both a tool and a weapon. Prayer is an action. Working through what has been a difficult Summer 2017, my wife Terri developed a prayer that she keeps close to her heart and on her mind. It has helped her tremendously. I wanted to share it here with you. Are you struggling today? Is your world spinning out of control? May this prayer, written by my beautiful bride, give you the comfort the Lord has shown us through Terri’s prayer.
One day at a time,
One foot in front of the other;
Focus on God.
Don’t forget to breathe;
This too shall pass.
Be kind with your words;
No one is guaranteed tomorrow.
Terri Walker Bantau ©2017
Images courtesy of Pixabay.