You learn a lot when you are in a war, the many lessons come with pain, loss and agony, but they also come with understanding what the mission is. As long as you never lose sight of the mission then what happens in between the beginning of it and the end, though mentally challenging to say the least, is acceptable loss.
When I say that to folks who have never been at war they cringe and come back to me with the phrase "every life is important". Of course it is, but when you knowingly enter into war (and addiction is certainly a modern day war), then this all comes into the proper perspective. We win some battles, lose some, but the object is to win the war.
This phrase Next Man Up has become popular in the sports world as well, somebody gets injured, someone else has to step up to take his place. I learned this in Viet Nam and I understand this in our addiction recovery circles, that when we lose folks to relapse or death, we must remember we are here for those that remain, we cannot dwell on the losses lest another defeat comes along.
We lost two significant people in the last few days but we gained others who are willing to fight. If I know my brother or sister next to me is in the battle with me, not just showing up for the glory, but coming to face the battle, I feel confident that the war will be won. If we both experience the hardships of the ups and downs and stay with it, there is no doubt our resolve and our faith will win.
Jesus taught us this just before his death on the cross when he felt the weight of what he was about to do. His brothers actually abandoned him in time of need, but he never lost sight of his mission. Our mission at ATB is to help those in addiction to recover, that's it in a nutshell. But we can't pull the trigger for them, make them come to meetings or make them stay awake when adversity strikes.
What we can do, is stay in the battle regardless, be consistently diligent to go forward, to mourn loss, but to be exhilarated by gain because the ground we fight for is so difficult to gain. Imagine being Jesus, knowing he was the key to winning the war, knowing that so many of us would quit on him.
That's the way I try to think, we will always be here for the next man up, they may be the one who helps to change thousands of lives!
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.