“At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.” Big Book, Step 8
This quote puts the focus of my recovery where it ought to be: On God. Yes, I am trying to put my life in order. I made many mistakes in my addiction and hurt many people. I need to make amends to those I hurt in order to make things right, and I won’t be right until I’ve set the past right.
But the healing doesn’t stop there, or perhaps I should say my healing is not the ultimate goal. The 12 Steps are a means to putting my life in order, but putting my life in order is only a means to serving God and others. If I recover through my program but do not serve God, my ‘recovery’ is of no use. In fact, you could argue I haven’t really ‘recovered’ at all. Someone who is truly ’recovered’ from any addiction should, in the process, be broken of their addiction to Self.
One of the primary causes of my addiction is my obsession with myself: Do people like me; do they approve of me; do they find me attractive; are they useful to me; what is in it for me, etc. Pride is the greatest human sin, and the only antidote for pride is humility. And what is humility? Not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. Instead of only thinking about what I need, I should think equally hard about what others need. Instead of struggling to build myself up, I should work diligently to build up those around me. Instead of begging God for another favor, I should ask God how I can bless others.
End the preoccupation with Self. I am not the end, but the means. My recovery is not about me. It is all for the glory of God.
“If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us to be willing.” Big Book, Step 7
God helped me become willing to give up pornography over one year ago, so asking Him to help me be willing to surrender my character defects is nothing new. Before I entered my recovery program I was clinging tightly to my addiction. I knew I wanted to let go, I just didn’t know how. I had to ask God for help, and that is exactly what I find myself doing again now. I am still clinging to many of my shortcomings, afraid to let them go:
- I am afraid to give up a certain amount of selfishness and greed
- I am afraid to give up the desire to want to be lusted after
- I cling tightly to the pride which says I must always be right
- I hold on to the anger and resentment that eats away at my soul from the inside out, while convincing me that it empowers me
- I cling to my doubts about God, to a false image of who He is, and to my demands for proof of the resurrection
- I struggle desperately with the humility to accept the authority of others, especially religious leaders
- I refuse to let go of the idea that there must be something more to life beyond what I have already been blessed with
I need God’s help to be willing to let these things go, because I will never get there on my own. Without God’s help I will continue to rationalize my need for certain defects and I will continue to justify my use of anger and resentment.
God, I need You to break through my denial and help me become willing to let go of all of my character defects. I invite You into my heart; make Your home there and cast out anything You find which is not fit for You.