Last week, we explored the surprising reality that although it seems like we have no control over the things preventing us from making the changes necessary to overcome our addictions, it’s actually more often the case that the crises themselves are a part of whatever addiction we’re wrestling.
I remember a time early in my recovery from pornography addiction when I had promised to housesit for a couple that had pornographic cable channels. When I came to my Regen support group a few days before I was to begin, I asked for prayer to resist temptation. My small group leader asked a poignant question: “Josh, what would you say to an alcoholic who had promised to spend the night in a liquor store?”
“I’d say he shouldn’t go,” I replied. “But I can’t back out now! It’s too late for them to find another house-sitter and they’re depending on me!”
I was in a crisis. But in his own way, my small group leader was uncovering the reality that I didn’t need to be, that I was in a crisis of my own making. Why had I agreed to housesit where there was pornography? Why had I waited until the last minute to talk with my recovery group about it? And why were my friends’ housesitting needs more important to me than gaining freedom from a problem that could destroy so much of what I held dear in life?
In truth, so often it’s not that something external is blocking our paths, but something internal. In my experience, that internal something is often connected to either pride or fear.
It’s not that I can’t afford to pay for therapy, it’s that talking to someone else about this hurts my pride.
It’s not that the men or women in my small group don’t understand, it’s that I don’t want to try what they’re challenging me to do.
It’s not that I’m too busy to use the gym membership I paid for, it’s that I am afraid of failing.
It’s not that I avoid telling my loved ones about my addiction to avoid disappointing them, it’s that it’s easier to live behind this mask I’ve created.
Instead of allowing crises to continue to derail your pursuit of wholeness, practice humility instead.
Humility means you have limits. As created beings, we all do. We have what we have, we don’t have what we do not. And so to reduce chaos, we do well to live within the personal limitations we each have. Cease trying to spend more time, energy, or money you don’t have.
Humility also calls you to simplify. Give yourself permission to be on the journey toward wholeness – fully in. Yes, investing in wholeness now means saying no to other things, at least for a season, but today’s investment will pay dividends in the future that you will not regret.
Entrust to the Lord all that you cannot do today, take His hand, and follow. If we can help, let us know.
If you’ve been on a journey of change, growth, or addiction recovery, what’s helped you?