Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. Alcoholics Anonymous
Remember when you thought you'd never be free from your addiction or destructive behavior? I sure do. I was raised believing a lie that once you were addicted, you were always addicted. Enough relatives took it to the grave that I didn't know any different.
Until I heard testimonies of people who had been addicted and were now free, I truly didn't know where to begin to get clean. That was so important to my recovery. People need to hear others talk candidly about their previous addictions, relapses, and years clean. They need to know that they can be free. God sets us free. He often uses 12 Step programs or other Christ-centered programs to teach us about His ability to wrench these ugly habits out of our being. Our stories of how we got into bondage, how long we stayed there, and how we got out differ; but the common denominator is the "spiritual awakening" granted to us by Almighty God through Jesus Christ.
Once we are clean, we need to be mentors for others who want to be free. We are not the source for recovering addicts, that's God's job. However, we are a resource because we've been down that road.
Personally, I shied away from attending any kind of recovery/addiction meetings after I was clean because I was scared that being around others who were still using would be too risky. I liked being out of that circle of people and was quite happy with my freedom. Then, I was reminded of how Jesus spent his time.
Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector's booth. "Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi's fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus' disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with such scum? " Jesus answered them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent." Luke 5:27-32 (NLT)
Whether it is alcohol, food, porn, drugs, co-dependency, or some other destructive behavior - if it has taken you captive, it is a sin. Jesus clearly came to us who are sinners, to set the captives free! When He has done this tremendous favor in our lives, it is a sin of omission to accept His healing and not lend a hand to others who are suffering. That is why it's so important to pay it forward - help out with your local recovery program or talk to your church leadership about starting one.
If you are helping with a recovery ministry, what tips would you like to share with someone who might be considering getting involved? If you've not stepped up to help out, why not? What is holding you back? Can you agree today to pay it forward?
Copyright © 2010 Beth Livingston. Used by permission.