“Sobriety is a journey” E.V. Stankowski
One of the most complex, yet life changing decisions a human being can make is “to do a searching and fearless moral inventory of themselves” as Step 4 exhorts in the 12 Step Program.
People who lead 12 Step Programs will tell you that Step 4 is where most people drop out of the program and yet it’s also the step that propels many towards freedom, healing and a new way of living.
In order to take this difficult journey:
1) You will have to go to some dark places
When you are conducting a deep inventory of your life and you admit you are drinking too much, the reality is drinking is not the root problem.
When you admit you have an addiction, the addiction is not the primary issue.
When you admit you have explosive anger, your anger is not the ultimate quandary.
Admitting these things are a good starting point and an important step in the process, but you can’t stop there.
You must go deeper. You must ask more questions. This can lead to some dark places.
What pain am I masking through alcohol?
What hurt am I avoiding with my addiction?
What frustrations or fears are driving my destructive anger?
In order to experience freedom and healing, you must be willing to go to some dark places and it’s in those dark places that you will experience a strength that is greater than your own.
King David sang ”Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
2) You will have to find some safe people to do this with
There is an epidemic of loneliness that is creating inhuman actions.
We will never be able to experience a fulfilling life over the internet.
I can listen to a sermon online, but I can only become fully human by rejoicing and mourning with real people.
The world needs you. And we need each other.
As Desmond Tutu once said, “No one can be human by themselves.”
The only way someone can be fearless with their moral inventory is they must surround themselves with people who will not judge, but will accept, exhort and support.
The truth is that when we are afraid to confess, what we are really afraid of is rejection.
3) You will have to grieve
You will have to give up stuff that makes you feel temporarily good.
The numbing affect of alcohol, the temporary high of an addiction, the adrenaline rush of an outburst of anger, all make us feel good for a short time, yet lead to long term pain.
In choosing to live differently, you will have to grieve the loss of temporary pleasure.
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
The enemy will try to steal your joy, destroy your dreams and ultimately kill you with immediate pleasures that lead to long-lasting destruction.
4) You will have to be patient
Patience in our culture means, “waiting to live”, not now but one day, I will experience life.
TRUE PATIENCE is the opposite of passive waiting.
The definition of patience is “living fully in the moment”.
PATIENCE means to enter actively into the thick of life and to fully bear the good, the bad, the victories and the suffering within and around us.
PATIENCE is an extremely difficult discipline because it counteracts our impulse to FLEE difficult circumstances or NUMB painful memories.
The great writer, Paulo Coelho says, “Why is patience so important? Because it makes us pay attention.”
5) You must believe that God has something greater for you
At the end of the day, we must embrace the fact that when we turn our lives over to God, he produces “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” in our soul, and nothing can take that away.
At the end of the day, life is grace.
Breathe in deep and enjoy every moment of it.
Stay close to God
Stay close to People who are PATIENT.
Someone very wise once said, “At bottom is the best soil to sow and grow something new again. In that sense, hitting bottom, while extremely painful, is also the sowing ground.”
I pray you choose the way of the difficult journey.
Thank you to all of my “Celebrate Recovery” friends who have shown us that the journey is worth it.