Worthy of Recovery? (Bible Study 1/25/18)

Definition of recover

recoveredrecovering play \ri-ˈkə-və-riŋ, -ˈkəv-riŋ\

transitive verb
1to get back: regain
2a: to bring back to normal position or condition.
How about when you realized on your own that you needed treatment in the first place? The people in your past who have hurt you and made you feel unworthy didn’t “will” that realization into you. That’s the Holy Spirit whispering into your soul “I love you. You are worthy. Get help.”

I have often wondered: am I worthy of recovery?  Is the effort and time involved in recovery worth it?

Let’s say, I have (for the majority of my life) felt feelings that induce negative behaviors and thoughts – such as low self-worth and esteem, and produced addiction(s), then what?  What am I recovering?  What have I lost?

I should explain that I am not trained in any form of psychology, nor am I ordained.  I just write a blog with the intent of helping one person – sometimes that may only be myself, but I would hope that all treatment program clients, patients, etc., would get something from this as well.

The following is a conversation between myself and a “ranking official” at a recovery program.  It is actual and did occur.  It may not make much sense, but after (or if) you read it, I will make a point. 

Jonathan writes:  Hello! How can I help you today? I’m available to answer any questions you may have.

7:12  Good morning!  I am trying to determine a link between attachment theory and the Bible. If there is “muscle memory” in the brain similar to the physical muscle memory. Meaning if a basketball player can (over time) be trained to hit foul shots every time, can he/she be trained the reverse?  How that relates to attachment (say disoriented) in an adult, is the repeated negative behaviors associated with… say neglect in the form of non-physical inattention to childhood emotional needs,  can they be reversed and is there an answer for that (hope) in the Bible? Deep, I know.

7:20  Perhaps not deep for someone of the clergy with training in attachment theory, but for me yes – Too much to consider without a background in Bible

7:21  Okay. Thanks anyway Jonathan.

7:21  Sorry I wasn’t more helpful! 

7:22  That’s okay. Maybe you can help: I was once told that it is okay to say I don’t know, however, better to say I don’t know, but I might be able to find someone who does?

7:23  “I don’t know” is a key to humility and as such a benefit, not a deficit. It leads to growth and further knowledge if you seek it

7:24  Possibly someone associated with your facility there in FL? Was that response a “no”?

7:25  We are not a “religious” program, in that we accept any and all opinions and beliefs, however, we do not push one or another, therefore we do not have any opinions when it comes to religion or any text associated with one. So, I suppose my answer is no

7:27  Perhaps asking for an “answer” was incorrect. Take away the Bible and you are left with religion. The Bible is relationship. Religion is authority. Your programs offered – twelve-step programs are an example of religion (based originally Biblically). Good talking Jonathan. Have a great day!

This part is important (to me as a Christian)!!  He continues in an email 21 minutes later!  This gives me the impression that he may be curious…

7:51  12 Step programs are often mistaken for religion, and that misperception carries into the public view.  It is NOT religious, but spiritual in nature

8:01  The misconception is in the use or definition of the word. The definition being an institutional system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. You are aware that AA was founded on a belief in God and the 12 steps that eventually followed are the practice of that belief, yes? No other way around that.
My original question may have baffled you, but it really relates to recovery – and being “worthy” of it. To recover is to get back. If you’ve never had feelings of self-worth, then there is nothing to return to. That could be a beautiful thing for patients in treatment to understand. That thought basically says everything is new and what we need to return to is the original state that God designed us for – why we were born. Kind of a simple philosophy.
8:12  Yes, however the idea of a “God of ones own understanding” leads to a spiritual bent for the program, rather than to any specific dogma.
It is the basis of my earlier point, where some find the fact that God (which represents many, many different things) is mentioned means their God as opposed to a higher power which means something quite different

8:29  Read the history, my friend.  Review the statistics of recovery rates from the beginning where the success rates were much greater. The roots had nothing to do with a “higher power” nor were the words “of my own understanding” present.  We may have “re-invented the wheel” by changing the words to “appease people.  We took the cliche “Keep it Simple” and ignored the suggestion.

In Alcoholics Anonymous (“the Big Book”), the “basic text” of A.A. (the first edition of which was published in April 1939), A.A. cofounder Bill W. wrote: “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” [Big Book, 4th ed., 58]. What is usually unfamiliar to the A.A. Fellowship is Bill W.’s inspiring declaration in the personal story of AA Number Three (Bill D.) found in the second edition (published in 1955), the third edition (published in 1976), and the fourth edition (published in 2001) of the “basic text”:

“. . . [T]he Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.” [Big Book, 4th ed., 191]

A.A. co-founder Dr. Bob said in his last major talk to AAs:

It wasn’t until 1938 that the teachings and efforts and stories that had been going on were crystallized in the form of the Twelve Steps. I didn’t write the Twelve Steps. I had nothing to do with the writing of them. . . We already had the basic ideas, though not in terse and tangible form. We got them, as I said, as a result of our study of the Good Book

An effort that began with the founding of A.A. in June 1935 in Akron, Ohio. And Dr. Bob concluded his own personal story in the Big Book by voicing the same emphasis that Bill W. gave when he spoke of his having been cured of alcoholism by the Lord. Dr. Bob stated:

Your Heavenly Father will never let you down! [Big Book, 4th ed., 181]

The problem is that neither I nor most AAs nor most other people in the recovery arena know or even seem to want to know exactly what occurred that put A.A. on the map. Or that generated sales of over 40 million Big Books. Or that brought the worldwide Society of Alcoholics Anonymous to a membership level of about 2 million people. Yet A.A. had produced a wide variety of solid, reliable, spiritual tools between its founding in June 1935 and the publication of the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (“the Big Book”) in April 1939. And we want to be sure that desperate, “seemingly-hopeless,” “medically-incurable” alcoholics hear the whole story. Better stated, that they know “the rest of the story” about their cherished Fellowship. And the option of placing their recovery in God’s hands today.

You have a great day sir!  Please feel free to contact me anytime.  God Bless.

cropped-images-6 HMMM….

Whether or not this entire conversation thread makes any sense to you the reader, I personally feel that the mere fact that I am searching for worthiness – makes me worthy. I need to go through my day believing and confident that God is looking down smiling!

To recover something we once had: what did we once have?  Early childhood and young adult years of pain and neglect – criticism and insult, by people: causing us to believe we aren’t worth anything?? Other people and situations created our value or worthiness? NOPE!!

 27 His purpose in all of this is that they should seek after God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us28 For in him we live and move and are! As one of your own poets says it, ‘We are the sons of God.’ 29 If this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol made by men from gold or silver or chipped from stone. 30 God tolerated man’s past ignorance about these things, but now he commands everyone to put away idols and worship only him. 31 For he has set a day for justly judging the world by the man he has appointed and has pointed him out by bringing him back to life again.” (Acts 17:27-31)

10 It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus, and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others. (Ephesians 2:10)

I have let people and not God create my feelings of worthlessness.  Those people will have to figure their own lives out from now on and I wouldn’t want to be in thier shoes when it comes time to answer for it.

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16)

I wish them the best, but I am worthy of God’s love, so I’ll take it and love Him in return. I will love Him because he loves me.  I will fight this affliction because I am worthy of recovery – to what His purpose was originally intended.

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

images (21)

Thanks for the time you took to read this.  Comments are welcomed.  Have a great Thursday!

Today’s verse to “chew on”:

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

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16 thoughts on “Worthy of Recovery? (Bible Study 1/25/18)

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  1. Great insight and analysis. I need to remember that the foundation of AA which I advocate is indeed a recap of basic spiritual principles given forth in several world spiritual practices of which the Judeo/Christian ethic is just one. Bill W. and Dr. Bob realized the error of preaching a specific”religion” to alcoholics and they thereby were able to share the miracle of recovery with a great many drunks who would never have stepped one foot into a religion based AA meeting. Early in my recovery I tried to define and describe God in more specific terms. That was OK but what was not OK was thinking that my understanding had to be everybody’s understanding. I retreated to an inclusive viewpoint and I am most comfortable and “worthy” when I appreciate the multitude of belief systems in our world which lead us to live a serene recovery. Keep the faith, brother.

    1. Thank you sir!! Touche, great insight as well! As an alcoholic with a control problem, I see my way as the only way! Sometimes taking the “blinders off” is helpful. All that really matters is “whatever works”. I look forward to your comments bud! Keep ’em coming.

      1. Yes, my experience is that it is healthy to stay open-minded about this. The bottom line for membership in AA is a “desire to stay sober.” It does not tell me whom to worship, where or when. It merely says I need to recover to a lifestyle of service to others through sacrificing myself. That is done through the 12 step program. Like you, I also love the New Testament scriptures and try to apply them to my daily existence. But, it is not the core of my recovery; rather it is the gravy on the meat, the chocolate syrup on the ice cream. You and I discussed this before. I sincerely believe that the only way God reached me was through my brokenness and drunkenness. AA brought me into a place of submission.

  2. So the main point I thought of is “attraction, not promotion”. It is a rare day you’ll see an old-timer preaching as you do because it’s about the attraction of God, not the promotion. We don’t have to horse anyone to accept God lest we ruin the alcoholic. You’re argument, though well reasoned and written, is unnecessary and likely to turn more away from God than it would attract. That’s my two cents.

    1. Please don’t misread me. I don’t see anything that this old-timer with 37 years has written which disputes “attraction, not promotion” . If anything, I strongly advise not to place religious beliefs over the spiritual principles of the program. Sorry if my point was not clear.

      1. I fear you misread me… I agree exactly with what you were saying. I apologize for not being more clear myself. I believe if you flip my comment to be directed at the author of the post, things will be clearer.

    1. Naw, just 3 alcoholics talking shop talk. Just like meetings, you take with you what works for you and leave the rest behind. I commend you on 7 months. That’s an incredible tribute to your Higher Power and the fellowship…and you, of course. But, please listen to a man who nearly lost his sobriety and life over the God debate. After about 5 years sober, I joined up with a fundamentalist fellowship which told me that AA was ungodly, that I should not got to meetings. I loved the fact that my new friends had all the God answers, everything was in black and white. Then all the darkness of addiction came back. I questioned my worthiness, my salvation, my purpose, my sanity and verged on a familiar course with suicide. Once again my AA friends saved my butt. I don’t question it anymore. AA fellowship first, theological beliefs second. I challenge you to keep on writing. I believe writing helps us to answer our own questions and learn who we truly are in God’s world. Namaste. Thanks for all this space on your blog.

      1. Possibly I owe you a huge apology. Since first reading you I have assumed you are in recovery through AA and therefore what I talk about is, of course, AA. Sorry

      2. No sir, you do not owe me any apologies! I am in recovery and I am an alcoholic by every definition available (and then some). My story absolutely includes A.A. – and Celebrate Recovery, Reformers Unanimous, and many detoxes/rehabs. I have been through beautiful 5 star programs in Florida and I’ve also been through the not so luxurious facilities! Yep, I’ve been the valedictorian at some of those too! I have pulled the cotton from my ears and put it in my mouth, and I’ve spoken freely. I had to come to the realization that I can’t successfully drink. A.A. teaches that and so does all programs. I don’t bash any of them. I just want to help others. You’re alright brother. I look forward to your comments especially.

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