24 Now when the other ten disciples heard about this, they became angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that those who rule the Gentiles show off their authority over them and their high-ranking officials order them around. 26 But that’s not the way it will be with you. Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant. 27 Whoever wants to be first among you will be your slave— 28 just as the Human One didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people.” Matthew 20:20-28, CEB
What does all this leadership talk have to do with recovery?
Well, the beginning of recovery is surrender. I happen to think the beginning of faith is surrender. And, according to Jesus in this passage, leading is really about being a servant and this, too, is a message of surrender.
Those in early recovery are not immune to pride or ego. There are always “bosses” in the 12 step meeting rooms and most everyone knows who they are. There are sponsors that are more interested in controlling sponsees than in being useful. This is not the norm, certainly not the majority, but it happens from time to time.
In fact, some of us enter recovery solely because we’re ambitious. We realize that we’re not achieving anything and we need to change that. Recovery becomes a sprint to sobriety so we can get down to business.
But, again, this is a mistake. When we get sober, we are not necessarily in recovery. When we get sober, we don’t own sobriety. It is a gift that is given that can be lost. Sobriety is not a bridge we step over on our way to bigger and better things, it’s a part of the path to recovery and recovery is a journey that lasts a lifetime. It’s not a moment that comes and goes; it’s a new way of being.
Recovery can be a joyous adventure, but it can only be that if we have first surrendered our preferences for what “joy” looks like.
Today, be honest with yourself. Are you hoping to put recovery behind you so you can move up in the world?
If the answer is “yes,” don’t be ashamed because you’ve just been honest. We can work with honest.