"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule." —Matthew 5:3, The Message
In recovery, it is common to focus on the consequences of our addiction. If we are in a 12 Step program, we do this during our steps one, two and three as we identify how our lives had become unmanageable and we were powerless to stop our acting out. We look at the fallout of our addiction when we go to people we have harmed and offer amends, taking responsibility for our choices and the impact they have had on others’ lives. Some of us have legal consequences that may limit our opportunities and restrict our freedoms. Addiction has consequences.
So does recovery.
I am always excited to attend a speaker meeting where the majority of the share is about life in recovery and the blessings (consequences) that follow. The sad truth is that the behaviors that lead us to recovery are seemingly much more dramatic than the blessings of a recovered life. But oh, how we need to focus on the promises that have been delivered! Recently I have had the opportunity to consider the consequences of my own recovery journey and three things stood out.
1. Recovery restores relationships - My recovery has given me the chance to be a part of the lives of people I love. In the past, while I was in my addiction, even when I was physically present, I was quite often mentally, emotionally, and spiritually absent. I felt this blessing recently when I was able to be present for the birth of my third grandchild. Addiction prevented me from being present for the birth of my first two grandchildren. However, working my program of recovery allowed me to be fully present - emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I was able to celebrate this joyful arrival and invest in my son and daughter-in-law, making life long memories.
2. Recovery brings unexpected opportunities - I was recently asked by the pastoral staff of the church I attend to present a sermon during our holy week services. After my moral failure, I surrendered the hope to ever fill the pulpit again. Instead, God gave me the chance to share a message about the need for death before resurrection, a message that is at its very heart about recovery. As I presented the message, I was aware of the blessing of recovery, being able to be who I really am for the first time in the pulpit of a church. What an amazing blessing.
3. Recovery grounds us in gratitude - Recovery has given me the gift of accurately seeing my world. Regardless of the negative consequences of my addictive behavior, living, in reality, stems from the gratitude I have as a result of the healing recovery has introduced into my life. Life can be difficult, but on its worst day, I have more to be grateful about as a sober person than I ever had in my addiction.
Page 83 and 84 of The Big Book of AA tells us that the consequences of recovery are measurable! Here are a few promises: A new freedom; new happiness; lack of regret; possession of serenity and peace; a realization that our shortcomings are the key to helping others; we become of use to God and our fellow man; we see others as important; we become increasingly selfless; we gain a better outlook on life; we lose our focus on material wealth; and we gain the ability to make decisions easily even in the most confusing situations. Most of all, we have a sense that a higher power is at work in all of these transformations! That passage concludes like this…
"Are these extravagant promises (consequences)? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them."
Those are consequences for which I can be grateful!
Affirmation: I am grateful that recovery is restoring my sanity, helping me live again and teaching me what it truly means to be happy.
Submitted gratefully by Shane M. from Conway, AR