Three Taverns Church

Question 12: Are you going to church or a church function today?

2 Comments

For the first time in this series I have a genuine disagreement with the Question of the day. I think I understand where the Question is coming from: In the Addiction Cycle you need to fight the urge to isolate yourself. In isolation we make bad choices and we allow ourselves to fall further into the Cycle; being around others is important in maintaining sobriety.

But I’ve got to say that as good as the intention behind the Question might be, I do not always want to go to a church function when I’m upset. It is tough to field the generic, “Hey, how are you?” questions from your polite church friends and acquaintances when you are mired in depression, anxiety, sadness, fear, or anger. You can give the B.S. church answer to such questions: “Oh, I’m fine, I’m fine…how are you?” Or you can be a bit more honest: “Don’t ask.”

I’ve never been good at ‘faking it’ and being in recovery has trained me to wear a mask even less often than before, so I tend to go with a less-polite, more ‘real’ answer. The problem is that your friends are nice people, and they are trying to be nice by asking you how you are doing. They have their own concerns and are generally not prepared for an honest, “I’m feeling depressed today. How are you?” This can lead to hurt feelings, awkward moments, and the chance that your friends will be less eager to ask how you are doing in the future.

So I’m not sure I agree that going to a church function is the best plan when you’re in the Addiction Cycle. Why face all those questions and be forced to choose between false politeness or honesty? If you’re comfortable facing tough questions from church friends while you are stuck in the Cycle, then go. You absolutely need to avoid isolating yourself by associating with other people.

But if you’re not ready to paste a smile on your face or have awkward conversations I suggest picking a more anonymous public space like a sports event or a park. You’ll be around other people but you will not know most of them and thus you won’t have to talk to them. You could invite a close friend to meet you to talk about the feelings you are going through.

I’m really curious what your thoughts are on this topic, so please let me know.

2 thoughts on “Question 12: Are you going to church or a church function today?

  1. I agree with you, Brother, from the traditional stereotype of what “church friends” are. Let’s be completely honest: the church should be THE one place you can truly be yourself, THE one place that you will be accepted for who you are and where you are in your walk. And just as you should be able to remove your mask and answer cordial greetings honestly, your friends should also be able (and WILLING) to throw the BS flag if you try to bluff your way through with an “I’m making it” when you’re clearly not having a good day. I am blessed to be able to say that my family and I are members of a church that is slowly progressing towards being such a place, and we have surrounded ourselves with loving friends who hold us accountable as well as encourage us and love on us. So I agree that a church event may not necessarily be a helpful place to be on a challenging day, but if your “church friends” are anything like my church friends, then there’s no better place to be!

    • Fastmov4, I couldn’t agree more. It’s ironic that the corporate body of Christ is the one place on earth where we should feel safe being vulnerable and honest, but for some reason (I have my theories) it is not always that way. A pastor at my church e-mailed me after reading this post and encouraged me to continue trusting the church, and not to let a few “immature Christians” ruin it for the rest of us. My family is blessed with great friends at church, I’ll admit.

      I’m very happy for you that your church is evolving into the kind of place where people can take their masks off and just be themselves! That sounds like a wonderful place to be, as you said. Thank you for commenting!

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