I’m grateful for a new day. I’m feeling a bit stressed due to all the things I have going on today, but I’m going to do the best I can and try to prioritize based on what I feel God would want me to do today.
As I’ve been working with sponsees, a few questions have come up that I’d like to think about more:
- How can I help sponsees understand that relapse is not part of true recovery?
- What is “rock bottom” and how can I help sponsees realize that no matter where they are in their addiction, that can be their rock bottom – it doesn’t have to go further than that?
- How can I explain the importance of having the wife involved in her own recovery?
There are probably other questions too, but these are the ones that come to mind right now.
How can I explain the importance of having the wife involved in her own recovery?
I’ll start with the last one since I feel in my talk with Sean last night, the answer seemed to come pretty clearly as we talked. I mentioned how I’ve been in his shoes – I know how it feels to be at that point in the addiction cycle. I mentioned how I thought I had it all figured out and that Becky was aware, was supportive, but felt like “that’s your thing, I support you, but I didn’t sign up for this.”
As Beck and I have talked about this recently, we both realize that minimizing was one of the things we were both doing. I obviously would minimize the whole situation in an effort to not hurt my pride (in reality I was still hiding and not being 100% honest with myself or with her or with God).
As I’d minimize what was happening with my addiction, Becky would then internalize that and also attempt to minimize it. Possibly telling herself, “Well, it’s not that bad. It could be so much worse.” Or things like that.
The problem was, we never were really talking the same language and never really understood the exact nature of the addiction I was battling.
As I went to the book “Sitting in a Rowboat Throwing Marbles at a Battleship,” I found this segment that stuck out to me:
When I finally disclosed to my wife the nature and extent of my sexually acting out, she was devastated. She wanted to die. She was fortunate, however, to have a close friend who survived similar circumstances a few years before and had found recovery through S-Anon. In tears of despair, my wife cried that she just wanted someone to tell her that there was some hope. With quiet confidence, her friend told her that there most definitely was hope, that we could both recover together, and that our marriage and love for each other could achieve a strength, confidence and unity beyond anything we had known before. I lack words to express how right she was.”
This is the best answer to why a wife needs to be involved in her own recovery process: the two people need to speak the same language of recovery. She needs to know that there is hope and that it’s not her fault. He needs to be able to talk to her about his feelings without feeling like a total loser, a wimp, or an emotional wreck.
As they discuss things, she can provide insight that he may have never thought of; he has to be willing to listen and apply what he’s learning from her and from God.
I’m so grateful that, today, I feel so connected to Becky emotionally and that we are in recovery together. I’m grateful that she is such a thinker and that I feel we are on the same page. I’m grateful that we are able to feel hope together as we take the steps every day to try to live a new normal.
I’m sure there is more to this initial question, but this is what feels right right now.
What is “rock bottom” and how can I help sponsees realize that no matter where they are in their addiction, that can be their rock bottom – it doesn’t have to go further than that?
Rock bottom is a difficult topic: the deepest rock bottom there is is death, disease, and eternal hell. None of us addicts want that. But the hardest thing I’m dealing with right now, which I know is something I need to surrender to God, is that I feel many guys in the groups I’m going to aren’t recovering at all – they seem to continue to be dabbling. They are like Lots wife: she leaves Sodom, not happily, and from the moment she leaves, she wishes she were back there. She can’t let her feelings go or turn them over to God.
Instead, she looks back and is turned to a pillar of salt.
Luke 17:32 says, “Remember Lot’s wife.”
As I looked into that scripture more, I found a scripture in Genesis 19:17 that says:
And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.
And in Luke 9:62 it says:
And finally, this cross-reference found in Luke 14:18 (16–24):
16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
And then this in D&C 121:34-35:
What is this all saying?
I feel it’s saying that first, once I’ve made the decision to follow Christ, to leave my sins of addiction in the past, I can’t continue to look back, to make excuses, or to live a double life.
I can’t continue to look back, to wonder what if, or to dabble. Instead, I have to commit 100% to recovery and healing.
Where is my heart today? Is it set so much upon the things of this world? Do I aspire to the honors of men? Am I making excuses as to why I can’t be at the great supper?
For me, the great supper is recovery from addiction. For me, the great supper is surrendering my will to God’s. If I put my hand to the plough of recovery and then continue to look back and wonder or entertain the ideas or dabble, I’m not fit for the kingdom of God.
As the scripture says in Matthew 6:24:
This scripture is so applicable to recovery and addiction. Who do I want to serve today? Who’s will am I submitting to – God’s or Satan’s (my own)?
“For the natural man is an enemy to God…” In other words, the natural man is a follower of Satan and always will be unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit.
I’m grateful for this study today. I feel like I’ve found answers that are applicable. Are they complete? Probably not, but I will continue to think about the questions and ponder how I can best help my current sponsees and others realize how important it is to not look back, to press forward, and to love and serve God.