Are You a Christian in Recovery?

recovery

I know I know. Technically, we’re all in recovery over something. However, in this article, I’m wanting to write for those of us in recovery who are professional alcoholics and addicts. I don’t mean you drank too much one night in college or your best friend talked you into smoking marijuana once.

I mean those of us who have kids that have gone without, simply so we could enjoy another buzz. Extra candles were bought because we knew the lights were getting ready to be cut off for a few days. We had to buy bags of ice to keep our beer cold in the sink because the refrigerator was electric. The spouse and kids had to go to grandmas to eat dinner because we drank away the grocery budget. If this article doesn’t apply to you, maybe there’s someone in your life you already know needs to read it.

When we’ve finally had enough and decide recovery is the only way we’re going to live, the issue of God is going to come up. This isn’t a big deal for some of us. We’ve always known who Jesus is. Drinking or putting a needle in our arms was simply more important than where we were going to spend eternity.

For many others, this creates a huge problem. They finally reach the point to where they’re ready to get help. Then they walk into a room full of people wanting to shove the G word down their throat. If this article doesn’t apply to you, this may be hard for you to understand. Let me explain a few things.

When you drink and do drugs like I did, getting out of bed without a drink or a fix is a struggle.

Drugs and alcohol are our masters. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for us to hate God when we’re ready to get sober. If there’s a God, why did He allow our lives to get to the point they’re at? I know the answer to this now. Deep inside, I always did.

That’s not the case for all of us. People like me have children and parents who can’t stand the sight of us. Not because of who we are. Simply because of how painful it is for them to look at us. We can’t be trusted for five minutes or to walk the dogs around the block. And now you want us to believe simply talking to Jesus is going to change everything?

The 12-step fellowship I’m a member of turned me off for a long time. Until about five hours ago as a matter of fact. Because of some difficulties and decisions, I recently made, I’ve started going to meetings again. As someone who writes about the Christian faith and a theology student, I had a hard time accepting a program that encouraged people to believe in any kind of “higher power” that worked for them.

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I saw this as idolatry. In my eyes, it was replacing Jesus with what is known as a “god of your own understanding.” I had many issues with this. After leading a horrible life of drunken sin, it was now my responsibility to lead these misfits to salvation. I was going to be their great inspiration. When enough people finally disagreed, I gave up and decided there wasn’t room in my life for recovery. I can still close my eyes and see people walk out of a meeting because I told them they were going to hell if a group of drunks or some other higher power was their substitute for Jesus.

These people came to a meeting to save their lives.

I ran them off before they had a chance to finally get to see God at work. I know of one person specifically who left a meeting because I was screaming Jesus Jesus Jesus. He was struck by a car while riding his bike three days later. The accident killed him. He was drunk.

It’s nothing I said that took his life. However, I can’t help but feel like a part of the reason he walked away from recovery. I’m not in need of any sympathy or someone leaving me kind remarks in the comment section. I need well-meaning Christians to pay attention.

We serve a God who had a thought and split a sea. He blinked His eyes and his Son rose from the dead. His Spirit was able to indwell a room full of people who were locked away, hiding for their lives. If our God was able to accomplish all of this, who are we to put Him in a box? Why do we feel it is our place to tell people in recovery what God has to be? Just roll with me for a minute. Hear me out.

We all know the parables of the lost coin and the lost sheep. Christians are well aware of what happens when a single person in a crowded chapel surrenders their life to Christ. The next person who is going to surrender their life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is always the most important. The Shepherd leaves the herd to pursue the one who is lost.

Getting out of God’s way

So, who are we to say Jesus isn’t willing to take the role of a “higher power” for a while to get someone’s attention? Why do we assume the individual isn’t important enough for God to take on any role He has to in order to save them? I’m pretty sure He did that before when He came to this sinful world in the form of flesh. Who are we to say Jesus won’t work through a “Group Of Drunks,” twelve steps, or even a doorknob if that’s what it takes to eventually save a soul?

As Christians in recovery, why are we so determined of what Jesus has to look like to someone else? Have you personally seen His face? Some of the people I admire most for their relationship with Jesus are in recovery. When they first made the decision to get sober, they didn’t want Jesus to be real. If He was, they were going to hate Him until the day they were put in the dirt. God decided to show up as a higher power the church was unable to recognize. Now, here these individuals are. Patiently waiting for people new to recovery to be pointed towards the cross.

Written by Jeffrey Stevens

My greatest blessings and responsibilities in life are my wife and our children. I'm a theology student at Aidan University and the Founder and President of Gospel Grammar. My goals as a writer are to inspire others to seek a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and encourage them to live a Gospel centered life.