Awhile back I was attending a conference and catching up with an old friend who I rarely see. His son had recently relapsed and was back in treatment for a Substance Use Disorder. I asked my friend how he (my friend) was holding up. He told me instead about what he thought of his boy.
“I hope he gets it right this time,” He replied in frustration.
“Gets it right?” I asked for clarification.
“Yeah, he is doing something wrong to end up back in treatment,” dad glared at me for a moment as if I might somehow be complicit in this messy recovery process and then walked off to grab a donut.
Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down. Psalm 51:1-3 CEB
I have had many come-to-Jesus moments that resulted in me working, reworking, and reworking yet again a fourth step inventory. Although I practice the 12 steps as a spiritual discipline, sometimes step 10 (continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it) just doesn’t do it for me; I restart at step 1, slowly making my way around to another fourth step. First my eating disorder and then my wildly unchecked codependency issues proved big attention getters in my life, forcing me to my knees and creating a willingness to do the work of the twelve. What allows me to stay on the path of recovery work are a couple of key people in my life who reflect back to me a perspective on myself that I can’t see without their steady presence and frequent feedback. It is easy to see my bad record, but my husband Pete is one of the people to see more of me than I can find without him. Thing two: If thing one doesn’t work and you cannot find the positive in your own inventory, look around for the folks God has given you who see your light not just your shadow self. I’m not talking about flatterers; instead, find people who do not major in shaming words, should’s and ought’s, or any hint of the need to get it right – for those folks are not equipped to provide anyone the kind of support needed for this work.