Change is a constant in life. And that’s intimidating. For those of us in recovery from addictions, disorders and compulsions, change feels impossible.
Yet life demands it; health and recovery matters, likewise, also demand it of us.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin
Darwin’s statement doesn’t reassure us with comfy blankies and mugs of hot chocolate. Instead, it reiterates a time-tested principle…
“You have to be willing/able to bend or you will break.”
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge…” Hosea 4:6
Let’s face it- knowledge depends on change. It’s what the Twelve Steps are all about. Each one has the change dynamic built into it. There is a different course of action required of us:
We admitted we were powerless over a substance or behavior and our lives had become unmanageable.
We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
None of these steps, typically, were second nature as we were running amok in our diseases. No personal reflection, no making amends, no inventory and no other behavior, apart from our addiction or disorder, is occurring.
And so, our self-destruction becomes routine, even though it’s often miserable. We soon live this sentiment…
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different result.”
“There is a way that seems right to a man. But its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12
Of course, one cannot pursue that “right way,” careening toward death, without the cluelessness Romans 7:15 spotlights… “For what I am doing, I do not understand…”
Hence, we are confronted by not just the need for change, but also by our need to be responsive to change as well.
“And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change
and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
I know. There’s so-o-o-o much cliché stuff going on here. Attitude and perception are powerful, mind over matter, blah, blah, blah…
But change, although often feeling like punishment, is not so at all. How we respond to it and what we do with it, however, are up to us.
A similar thing can be said of our relationship with- and life lived for- God.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know
God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2
I bought into the harmful lie that, as I struggled with eating disorders, I had crossed an invisible line of “no going back.” I believed I was damned and hopeless. I believed my destruction was inevitable and coming fast.
It didn’t cross my mind to challenge that thought instead of just passively allowing it to convince me doom was the only thing lying ahead. It didn’t cross my mind to change. It didn’t occur to me I was capable of change. I could be responsive to it and obtain different results that, although unfamiliar, were better blessings than my usual rut of disorder.
“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
“It is written.”
Scripture repeatedly gives us the comeback Jesus enforced when educating us, as well as providing a tool for us to use concerning a harmful situation or temptation (in example: Matthew 4:7, 10; Luke 4:4, 8,12; Matthew 21:13; Luke 19:46) . In fact, the phrase shows up eighty times.
So, it can be argued this phrase might be a viable response, even in the context of change. Again, it’s about responsiveness. Are we responsive when it comes to allowing God to change us? Even if that involves our precious addictions, compulsions and disorders? Are we most responsive- or least responsive- to change?
Now, before we get completely overwhelmed at this thought, it should be noted God is realistically viewing us. That means He knows our limitations and imperfections. And He certainly knows we are vulnerable.
“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Psalms 103:14
Still, He is helping, guiding, protecting and healing (in example: Isaiah 30:21; Psalm 32:8; Psalms 107:20; Matthew 8:7; Psalm 46:1; Psalm 91:1-16). That means different things to different individuals; we are all on a continuum. No one is perfect; we all need work in certain areas.
However, what a dramatic difference it makes when we respond to God instead of against Him! How much better things go, when we stop “fighting our help.”
So that’s the challenge. Response: we have some version of it. Concerning your life, your recovery and change, what will your response be?