Question 8: “Are you making extra calls today to your mentor?”
Churches have a nickname for members who chronically complain and absorb the emotional bandwidth of those around them: EGR’s (Extra Grace Required). My Masters in Ministry cohort came up with our own branding for these poor souls: BPN’s (Bottomless Pit of Need). I confess that neither term is flattering, and perhaps neither is very ‘Christian’.
When I reach out for help by calling others I sometimes feel like a BPN. I assume people don’t want me bothering them, that they don’t want to talk to me, and that they have more important things to do than listen to me whine. These feelings stem from my insecurities, and though they are not real they can feel very real.
One of the many dangers of the Addiction Cycle is that my fears and insecurities threaten to take over my mind. In such situations my feelings prohibit me from wanting to call my mentor. I’ll think to myself, “I call him every day; he’s got to be tired of talking to me. There’s no sense in calling him and burdening him with my problems…I’ll just deal with it myself.”
Of course this is exactly what the enemy wants me to think. The enemy does not want me to call my mentor when I’m in the Addiction Cycle because if I do I have a chance of breaking free of the Cycle and staying sober. So let’s say that I call my mentor: I ground my feelings and the issues of my day. He responds with Scripture, some helpful advice, and a word of encouragement. I hang up.
At this point in the Cycle I may feel better, but I’m not out of the woods yet.
Let’s say that half an hour after a hypothetical event has propelled me into the Addiction Cycle (and 28 minutes after I called my mentor the 1st time), my boss dumps a bunch of work on me with a very tight deadline. The spike in my stress level creates in me the desire to self-medicate and escape the situation, and I begin to fall back into the Cycle.
Now I’ve got a real problem. I know that I’m about to go through the Cycle all over again but I’ve already called my mentor once today…just 28 minutes ago, in fact. I mean, the guy has a life of his own; he really doesn’t need me calling him and wasting more of his time. But if I try to do the ‘manly’ thing and tough it out on my own I will most likely lose my sobriety. I have to be willing to swallow my pride, ignore the fears and insecurities that are shouting in my head, and call my mentor again. And again if necessary, as many times as it takes. I called my mentor three or four times in one day the last time I was in the Addiction Cycle…and I stayed sober.
Today’s Challenge: Get used to the idea of calling your mentor or trusted friend more than once every day with the same problem. Maybe even try a practice run on a day when you’re not in the Addiction Cycle. The more comfortable you are with the concept of a multiple-call day before disaster strikes, the more able you will be to ignore the voices in your head accusing you of being a BPN, and you will make those critical calls.