Unusual for me to write a blog on Sunday but something that was said to me this week has haunted me since I heard it. It's consequences were nearly catastrophic and its results were good but sad, and yet it speaks to the very root of what we deal with every day.
Let me be the first to say that I have made some incredibly bad decisions, but a lot less lately. As I have grown farther away from my using days the light bulb has come on quicker and God has poured His Spirit into my thoughts - it's His wisdom taking effect. It has allowed me to look at things from the inside out instead of the outside in.
A woman returned from a relapse with the story that her kids found her unresponsive to an overdose on the floor of her house. She was revived with Narcan - this was after having more than a year clean and thoroughly working the Steps, But something was missing. The reason given for all of this made no logical sense and was truly cunning and baffling.
Yet it took me back into a self examination of my own previous decisions, the people I hurt, the out of control lifestyle I lived and the total self centeredness of my addiction. Nothing else mattered except getting what I wanted and it made no sense as I looked back on it because I had so much that I squandered away.
As I took three of my grandchildren school shopping yesterday (an annual thing for me) I thought of how they have never seen their Papa like he used to be, as well as my youngest daughter who was with us. None of them knew the craziest of me, but some of my other kids did. I might as well have been passed out on an overdose for all the pain I inflicted upon them.
The toughest part of that cunning and baffling statement is how it affects those we love, and years later for them though they may have forgiven us, it still hurts. That's why when I found my own missing piece it was enough to drive the demons away from my soul and because He forgave me, I could forgive myself.
It was God doing for me what I could not do for myself - find some sense of sanity from an insane life!
One of the basic Steps in recovery is to understand we are powerless over our addiction. What many people fail to realize however is that addiction can extend to being a controller and one who is seeking power over another which obviously prevents surrender to God's process of life in general.
Joyce Meyer spoke on it this morning, how her life was miserable because she was that controller and how it was making her husband miserable. When she became humble enough to stop trying to be in charge, God blessed their marriage and gave her a national platform to speak on His behalf. The key to that last sentence is "God gave her".
In the Bible Solomon started out his reign as King as one who understood this process when God spoke directly to him - "Ask for whatever you want me to give you?" Don't know about you but I can think of so many ways I would answer this question, but Solomon's answer was incredible:
Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.
He admitted his powerlessness, that God was in charge, after all it was His kingdom anyway. What a great humble response, but somewhere down the road he took control back and in the end life ended badly for him despite all his knowledge, all his wealth and all the wonderful things he created. That's because he lost track of who helped him gain it all in the first place and who was really in charge.
I am reminded this morning that ATB or anything else I do is not a Glenn thing, it's a God thing. If I ever forget that, or anyone else does who in charge of something, including trying to control your own life or that of others, it most will likely end badly. Powerlessness requires knowing and staying in touch with the one who does have that power and understanding He is God and we are not.
Our drug of choice is not in charge, we are not in charge, life only works if we realize:
We are His charge!
I love to build with Legos, especially loved to do it with my kids and grandchildren. Once we built a K-Nex roller coaster that took several days to build, it even worked and was a sight to see as it rolled down those beautiful glistening tracks.
Now that the kids are grown and the grandchildren are too old to build those types of things with, the focus becomes helping to build solid adults through family, those we serve and our organization at ATB. Our goal is to start with the cornerstone, that being God, and add each day something that reflects his image in the Building Blocks of real life. Not always easy, but when you stand back and look at it, there is a great sense of joy.
Once my grandson Logan and I built a car out of cardboard, spare garage parts and wheels that were from wire spoolers. Most would say it was impossible to work but somehow he rode that thing a few feet before it just stopped. I wish I would have taken a picture of the smile on his face as he and his Papa had just done the impossible.
Last night before the meeting I surveyed our main meeting room thinking how empty it was when we first moved in January of 2019. The donations poured in to fill it, soon the people came and from there the cornerstone of everything we do has blossomed into one sight to behold of his glory. We again built something out of nothing.
That's the way it is in the life of an addict. When it seems like there is nothing there to build on God takes the spare, broken parts of our lives and puts them all back together to be a sight to behold. We see it every day, we see the spare parts becoming the main parts of leaders and reborn fathers and mothers. We see the masterpiece of God's vision of who we could be when no one else saw it.
He created this world out of nothing, why would we build a life without Him?
Most of us will not recognize the title to this blog as a Rogers & Hammerstein song made popular a long long time ago. To bring you up to date, here are some of the words (more later):
Getting to know you, getting to know all about you, getting to like you, getting to hope you like me.
Pretty typical words that make sense, For sure when we help folks at ATB, it becomes about connection, absolutely getting to become personal with them, letting them know we care and finding out more about them and hoping our message of hope will help. Vulnerability works to establish that connection and bring forth comfort in relationship. Last night in a small intimate gathering of four of us this was present.
During that meeting this scripture was brought up by one seeking a better relationship with the Lord. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better - Ephesians 1:7.
Then I spoke of how men sat with me and studied the words of scripture helping me to understand who God truly is, and then I made a decision to turn my life over to him when I came to really know him. From that moment on it became a relationship where I understood completely how he loved me, how he would forgive me and how more words from that song flowed from his lips to my heart:
Getting to know you, putting it my way, but nicely, you are precisely, my cup of tea.
When we get to know Him, we come to know we are precisely that, his cup of tea!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.