So, it’s towards the end of the year. Many of us in recovery have gone through the steps, but sometimes, we get stuck. Why do we get stuck? There are a few reasons why we get stuck. Let’s look at why.
What getting stuck looks like
I deal with sexual purity. This is caused by years of bad training and so on and so forth. I tend to look at porn when I get stuck. I tend to fantasize about things. Some people will walk into a bar over and over, kind of like tempting themselves. It stops us from moving forward. It’s like we stepped in some black tar and can’t move anymore. I often feel like this, and this lesson has challenged me to look at myself and why.
The first and biggest reason
You haven’t given your heart and life to Christ, our higher power. It’s that simple. I got myself into this mess, if I don’t depend on someone else to pull me out, I’ll stay here. Christ comes into our lives and frees us from all kinds of stuff. If you haven’t had that freedom, then it’s going to be dang harder to break free from your addiction. I was saved when I was 9 years old. My porn habits started soon after. It’s when I am doing life with Christ, it’s when it’s super easy to avoid sexual thoughts.
Let go of the small things.
Pride comes before the fall. I heard that all my life, and it’s so true. We oftentimes give God the “big” things. For example, our recovery… But what is the big thing? What is a forest without trees, nothing. Our recovery is like a forest, years of sowing has created this monster. The big things is nothing more than a bunch of small things. We need to give the small things over to Christ, our higher power. A simple prayer like “God help me through xyz.” That changes things vastly. Recovery isn’t about the end goal but its about the relationship. Don’t be scared to go into the details as he knows your heart. Give Him the small things and by doing so you grow thay relationship.
“For good Judgement and common sense, trust in the lord completely; don’t ever trust in yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 TLB
You have not accepted the work Jesus did inside of you
As a former runner there was two types of runs. The sprint and the marathon runner. Accepting the work Jesus did in your life is a life is a marathon. It takes time to fully realize the amazing thing Christ did for us. He forgave us of all our wrongdoings. All of them, not just one or two.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
He is faithful and Just. He has forgiven you of all your sins. He has purified us from all unrighteousness. That’s all not just one or two. All, Satan will try his best to make you doubt that and get stuck in your past sin. How do you battle the reminder of past sin?
I myself struggle to let go of guilt and shame. I oftentimes will shame myself because of a mistake I make or made. When in truth, I’m not a bad person. I did something bad. Christ forgave me of those sins. I need to accept that. By accepting Christ love, I find joy. By not accepting it, I become rotten. It’s like having a bottle of milk in the car. During the wintertime, you don’t notice it. It’s cold outside and it stays pretty much frozen or cool enough to turn more into butter. Then when the heat comes, it starts to smell. By not forgiving yourself, that cup is sitting inside of you. Once Satan turns up the heat, it curdles and starts to come out. Let it go. You are a new creation.
“Therefore, there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1
Have you forgiven those who have harmed you?
Just like that cup of unforgiveness towards yourself, that cup towards others will rot as well. The smell that comes from you. It’s pretty bad. It can even paralyze you. This is a hard step. As it was explained to me, and how I have lived it out in my life is this. You choose as an act of your will to forgive the person. (The big part) You ask God to help you with the thoughts that come through (the little parts). As those emotions come through, you choose to forgive the action taken. Sometimes, you have to let go of the action more than once. Sometimes forgiving someone is harder than getting rid of bed bugs. Just remember, after we have suffered a little, God will restore us. It is ok to struggle with forgiveness, it’s not ok to stay there.
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 5:10-11
A Failure to Communicate aka support team
Notice the scripture says we a lot. It’s hard to do this alone. As Christians, we are designed to be in a relationship with God and others. How does that support team look? A lot of times we don’t have a support team and that’s why we are where we are now, stuck. The image is stuck in a tar pit. Your cooking alive in this pit. For whatever reason, you choose to ignore the signs and now you are here. Who are you going to call? Not ghostbusters.
“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Proverbs 13:20 NLT
A wise man hangs out with wise people becoming wiser. While evil people will hang out with evil people becoming eviler. Who will help you more to fight off the urge to drink alcohol? The town drunk, or your pastor who is not the town drunk. Without a support team, how do you know when you are in the wrong? who will pull you out of the tar pit?
“Dear brothers, you have been given freedom; not to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other.” – Galatians 5:13 TLB
“Share each other’s troubles and problems, and so obey our lord’s command.” – Galatians 6:2 TLB
Take Responsibility for your own actions.
One of my old boss’s favorite saying was, “Own it.” If you hurt someone, then own up to it. If it’s safe, resolve the conflict. We need a support team for this part. God will show you what is needed, and your support team will guide you through the process. The scripture that goes with this is pretty hardcore.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. – Psalm 139:23 NIV
Let me be weighed on honest scales, That God may know my integrity. – Job 31:6
God’s scales are the most honest of them all. Let the holy spirit guide you and your team support you when it comes down to owning it.
Complete the previous steps
Finally, the one that gets most people is they have failed to complete one of the previous steps. For me, and most people, it’s the inventory. The second hardest step is the amends step. It’s easy to skip a step. I rushed through the inventory the first time. It cost me a lot more time than I wanted it to. It wasnt until I went through the step study a second time did I see thongs that were needed in my life. Journaling is another area I failed at. Each step is designed to help. Sometimes God lets us skip things, but not all the time. I rushed through the inventory the first time because of the pain it brought me. I had to relive things I didn’t understand, and I choose to ignore them and focus on other things. When I went through the process the second time, I dove deeper. Soon, I will do a third time and dive even deeper. Fear is the biggest weapon satan uses against us while working on the program. God says to Fear God. Christ has the power to change everything. So fear him. Stay in step with the spirit and try not to force your way through the steps.
“Since we live by the spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit” – Galatians 5:25
Out of all the reasons above, one is the most important. The relationship with Christ Jesus. How can you be in lockstep with the spirit if you don’t even talk to or with the spirit? It’s like having a best friend you know nothing about. How is that even possible? Its amazing to know Jesus Christ. God knows everything. So its a great relationship to have.
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” – John 15:4 NIV
Without that relationship, it’s hard to work out your salvation. Which means it’s hard to stay in step with the holy spirit. Which means it’s hard to find others with the holy spirit, and it’s hard to work the steps. The spirit lives inside of you and can tell you to shut up, I know, Happens all the time. Thus, the relationship with the Father is the most important thing to help you pull out of the tar that’s holding you down.
As always, if you have any questions feel free to reach out.