Before I entered Marine Corps boot camp I saw the Movie "The D.I." starring Jack Webb (Dragnet fame.) One of the scenes that stuck with me, especially on the front line in Viet Nam, was critical to the lives of ourselves and others we share life with.
In the scene, the Marines are deployed in an ambush position and told to be so quiet that you do not endanger your own life and those of your brothers by making any sort of noise that may let the enemy know you are there. One of the recruits has a mosquito land on his face, and after some time begins to itch, then swats the mosquito.
The D.I. (Drill Instructor) jumps all over him and says, "You're dead Private Owen, we're all dead". Translated into today's language of addiction, if we scratch that urge that is taunting us, use that drug of choice, it not only may kill or endanger us, but also the lives of our fellow recovering people, and our friends.
To fully comprehend this, we must come to the realization that this is indeed our life to live, but it is not all about us. We cannot be the god of our lives, and we are here to love and encourage others by who we are and how we can also serve them in a positive way. We reflect our God while we also reflect our country when we serve.
In a classic biblical example, the Levites were moving the ark of God (containing the new scroll 10 Commandments) back to Israel at the orders of King David. This was meant to be a celebratory return, but there was a catch. No one was to touch the ark with its holy things in it under penalty of death, (Numbers 4:15 - But they must not touch the holy things or they will die) When it was carried, it was hauled with poles inserted into rings attached to the ark. In this case it was hauled on a cart by oxen before unloading.
When the oxen hauling the cart with the ark stumbled, a man named Uzzah reached out to steady it (or fix it in updated terms.) He was struck down and died on the spot. Translated into today's words, Don't Swat The Mosquito just because it itches, or don't fix something yourself when it requires divine instruction.
In the case of recovering from addiction, we must understand that only divine intervention and instruction can make the difference between life and death, as God and the D.I. tried to tell us what was required to live. I mentioned the D.I. and God in the same sentence using the word divine because what he taught me saved my life, and so did what He taught me.
We can choose to Swat The Mosquito or live to fight another day. Having an itch is much better than losing a life.
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.