When we say “HELP!”, are we directing that anywhere in particular?
If you need help with changing a tire, fixing a sink leak, changing a lightbulb, do you have a specific person you call? Handyman? Plumber? Family member? Friend? Are they reliable?
What about the kind of help we can require for our insides? Who do you ask for help from?
When I started in recovery, I was a mess – but I had already begun a relationship with my “H.P.” or “Higher Power” – God for me; the God of the Bible. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is my God too. The same God that made a way by Jesus paying the debt bill for my sin – that awakened my soul & got me out of spiritual jail; the Holy Spirit that guides me in all truth – that is the God who showed up in my darkest hour (I’ll share more on that sometime) and has carried me through many a fire (a couple of actual fires too) and many a poor choice as I began walking out the 12 Steps, addressing the wreckage of my past. He has always been there when I have asked for help. Needing to put down the drink (and keep it down) was no exception. There is more – so much more to life in recovery than not drinking or drugging, but once again, I could go off-topic for this post so let’s stick to the point (Karah) =) All in good time.
In recovery, we have many slogans; “ask for help” is one you’ll likely see on a banner or some creative wall art. But, it’s more than a physical sign; generally, we really do mean “spiritually” asking for help. However, asking for help in ANY form tends to be one of the last things we do as a recovering addict or codependent (it’s often said a good codependent lies beneath the surface of an addict…I can attest to that personally). I’ve been in recovery for both; I have the tendency to need to be in control; I feel I can do it all myself and do my best to manifest that.
You too? How’d that work out for you? For me – not my finest hour(s). Thankfully, recovery works and I’m a lot less the person I was. Thank You, Jesus!!
It’s why we have recovery Step 2. I posted about it last time, but since we are still in February, the 2nd month of the year, let’s look again.
“We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
Now, if that’s a new concept, this “power greater than myself”, what if you substituted your name, first-person pronoun etc…for the “we”? Oh, the “we” is there because we do it collectively and come together in meetings to share. But, sometimes, the “we” needs to be personal, in order for us to take ownership of it (whatever the “it” we are talking about is).
Let’s try this:
“I came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity”. Or: “I, (Karah), came to believe…”
Does that feel any different? What if you said it out loud?
In traditional recovery groups & programs, the concept of “Higher Power” is how you understand that power; “God as I understand him”. The process is, that understanding itself will grow as your relationship with that “H.P.” does. You may not believe in the same one I do, but begin somewhere within the guidelines of the program. If you could recover by yourself, you wouldn’t need help but honestly, my life is better with God than without Him. Even before I made the decision to surrender my life and will to God, I was searching for that spiritual connection. He met me right where I was at, right on time. More on that in Step 3. Ooops – there I go again =) Back to Step 2…
The scripture reference is Phil 2:13 and I like the Living Bible version: “For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.“**
We can do the same exercise with scripture; I do it all the time and it helps me to really personalize this love letter from God to us (to me).
Let’s try that too:
“For God is at work within me, helping me to want to obey him, and then helping me do what he wants.”
Does that feel any different? And yes, saying it out loud matters – a lot. Especially if we commit to saying several times over several days. Using your tongue, your vocal cords, to speak what your eyes read in God’s truth, as your ears hear you speak His word; there’s nothing more powerful than when these words take root in your soul – and come to you when you need them. Even if you are not able to read, with the wonder of technology today, you can hear the words spoken and speak them back. There are several ways to do this exercise but the bottom line is, this is what a living book looks like!
It can make the difference in helping us to come to believe.
I share all this to say, when we truly come to believe that God can restore us (me) to sanity (because my life is crazy or I am experiencing depression from the chaos that has become my life), we then, are ready for real-life change. We are ready for God to do for us, that which we’ve not been able to – but longed to do – for ourselves.
One more version that speaks to me – try this one spoken in first person too:
Summarizing our first two Steps:
- We need to admit that our life is unmanageable (Step 1).
- We need to come to believe God can do something about that (Step 2).
Then, we can take the step that enacts real-life change. That is Step 3.
I may post one more time on this step before then but if not, I’ll be back in March when we look at Step 3. Hint: these steps are in order for good reason. Step 3 won’t stick – or make sense if you’re struggling with the first two. If you’ve not read or committed to those yet, I suggest checking those out before Step 3.
**Just a quick note here: if you’re not a Christian, that verse translation of Phil 2:13 may not resonate with you & I get that because I wasn’t raised to trust in God. I had to “come to believe” as an adult myself, but the miraculous mystery of God is that when we surrender to Him, Jesus comes to live inside our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now, His word promises to give us the desires of our hearts. The thing is, our hearts come into alignment with His purposes and our desires become His; His becomes ours. We become of the same mindset, and yet are still the man or woman He created us to be – but changing day by day as we walk with Him. Nobody knows or loves us better so there is nothing more fulfilling than having my desires line up with God’s – nothing! He knows my deepest longings and His promises are true. It’s an incredible, beautiful mystery – and the answer to “what on Earth is my purpose?” I’ll share more on this topic at a later date but it is worth mentioning now, as we move into the next step.