More God, Less Me

Keeping life simple is a key ingredient in the recipe of recovery. Sobriety—not using or doing that thing that makes your life unmanageable—depends on living a life marked with gratitude and humility. There is no room for boasting or making much of myself. Life can’t be all about me.

Rather, life today is more about others. How am I impacting the people God has placed in my circle of influence? I try to go about this quietly, avoiding drawing attention to myself. By nature, for a variety of reasons (including ego) minimizing my efforts proves to be challenging for myself at times.

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

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You’ve all encountered the drunken braggarts at the local bar. Our fish tale keeps growing more preposterous with each rendition. Our hey-look-at-me circus builds into an explosive rant-filled dance begging for the spotlight to shine on us longer and brighter. Braggadocio is the life recovery calls us to leave behind. We no longer look to shine the light on ourselves but strive to build up others, helping them be all God intended them to be. We know that the Lord has a plan and that plan does not mean to do us harm. We are His servants, no longer slaves to our addictions, free to let God’s light shine through us, so that He may be glorified, not ourselves; so that others might benefit, not us alone.

We maximize God and lessen ourselves. We lift up others without highly regarding ourselves. We do it for the love of God and the love for others.

We recognize that we are lucky to be alive and whatever life we have is grand. Ours is a grace adventure, basking with gratitude and walking in humility.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5

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Otherwise, our world is bound to come crashing down around us. We have to ensure we keep first things first, taking care to daily order our priorities. Life in recovery is, after all, a day by day endeavor. Our foundation, secured through our Savior, must be built on prayer and God’s Word if it is to stand. The Lord must grow in us, and we must make ourselves smaller to make room for Him. Who are we, after all, that God would concern Himself with us? Yet, we know God does. We must try to learn and understand His ways and His thoughts, so that we can make them ours, letting His light shine brightly through us. In recovery, our life becomes about God and others and less about us.

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” The Gospel of Mark 12:28-31

Take it Easy

Addiction is a difficult affliction that destroys lives, often ending in the death of the addict. No one starts out with the idea of becoming an addict. Sometimes, like in several cases of opioid addiction, the individual is following doctor’s orders as part of the healing process for a wound or ache. Addiction is a chronic disease marked by compulsive behaviors seeking to satisfy the dependency. Over time, it becomes more and more difficult to control, despite the harmful consequences stemming from it. At first, the decision to drink or to take drugs is voluntary for most people. However, repeated use leads to changes in the brain, challenging an addicted person’s perception of reality, diminishing their self-control and interfering with their ability to resist the intense urges to fuel their addiction. In the beginning, everything feels better. Then, the compulsive behavior begins to surface, rearing its ugly head in the most unexpected moments. Addicts, regardless of the type of addiction, simply cannot get enough. They crave for their appetites to be fulfilled. There is momentary bliss, followed by the angst of withdrawal—after all, no ride lasts forever—before the hunt for more begins. Rinse and repeat.

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Recovery is no picnic either. It is definitely not for the faint of heart. You quit using, but the behaviors and attitudes remain. Take it easy, they tell you in the rooms.  The rooms are where other like-minded individuals with similar afflictions gather to do the hard work of recovery. Take it easy? Yes. Don’t worry about the past or the future. Concentrate on today. Focus on the moment. Don’t let resentments, hatred, and anger creep in. You know they don’t do you know good. Don’t be your addiction’s whipping post. 

Relax. Don’t overdue it. Help others. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

Got resentments? Let them go. They are no good to you. Your “self” cannot take center stage. Let go of the hurts others have caused you and leave behind the wrongs done to you. Who are you to feel hurt and abused? Have you forgotten the wake of destruction you left behind? Humble yourself. Let God shine through you. He must increase, you must decrease. 

Quit taking other people’s inventory. You got enough of your own to take before you go measuring other people’s inadequacies and shortcomings. Don’t fall into that trap. Work on you, let others work on themselves. Leave the rest to God.

Take it easy, my friend. Let go of the hate and the fear. Live life one day at a time.