Some Things I Learned The Hard Way

8 rules to life

  • This is not a dress rehearsal. We get one life to live, and no do-overs after we die. For me, this goes hand-in-hand with the truth that there is a 180 degree difference between an alcoholic/addict and a recovered alcoholic/addict. If I had a physical disease that was killing me, I would do all that the doctors instructed so I could live long and be healthy. The same approach to a spiritual disease will amaze a man to no end.
  • Big Book page 53: “Either God is everything, or He is nothing”. This is as personal as it gets. God has presented a choice to us: Believe in Me, or believe in nothing. And if we believe in Him, then we are faced with the second choice:  Choose your Lord: God or yourself. In my experience, this is a daily (sometimes hourly) choice to be made. (see Joshua 24:14-15). These are the most important choices given to every human being.
  • In recovery the target is not sobriety… the target is a relationship with God. Sobriety is necessary for us to have, and grow, that relationship with God. It is a key ingredient to us experiencing all that He has planned and intended for us, since before we were born.
  • God is not surprised, appalled or horrified when we fail to meet our own defined standards. He knows all, and always has. So when we fail to meet the goal that we have defined, we can take the opportunity to learn about how and why we made a choice to separate ourselves from our relationship with God. We should feel guilt but not shame… for there is no condemnation in those who are in Jesus.
  • Along those lines, when God looks at a person who has truly received the gift that only Jesus can offer, and embraces Him in the roles of Savior and Lord, they become a person that can be infused with divine power.
  • The concept of spiritual warfare is not well publicized in our culture; but there are many people that engage in it, and there is plenty of history documented in the Bible (and other books). We battle against a force that causes us to engage in things we truly do not wish to do. On this point, I can only offer my personal testimony and those I’ve read in the New Testament; the power of the name of Jesus trumps any other power.
  • A man I used to work for had a few mottos. One of those mottos was “Plan the work. Work the plan.” A simple motto but with compounding results when applied diligently. If I plan the work, I will be more effective in accomplishing the identified goals – rather than floundering in the tasks with no defined goal. In our spiritual lives, we can and should do the same. Identify your next immediate target and be specific (“I want to learn how to meditate”, “I will pray daily for something that brings me close to God, such as humility/discernment/helping me love the things He loves”, “I will invest 20% more time in serving others”). These goal-setting exercises never end, but with each accomplishment comes more faith, more peace, a stronger connection with God.
  • God, Creator of everything we have ever known/seen/experienced/hoped-for, has hand-picked you for an adventure. Your adventure includes obstacles, just like every other human being. When you take it down to the bare metal, alcoholism/addiction is a person’s response to the challenges of life – it is a choice to disengage from the adventure (create a false/distorted reality) and be voluntarily sidelined from the adventure God has designed for you. Recovery is the mechanism that gives us a chance to get back in the game; to get free of the prison of alcoholism/addiction so we can engage. It is our own personal Exodus story. And this has all been allowed by the permissive will of God, so that we would not ignore God and would instead seek out a relationship with Him. Our Father gives us both (1) an obstacle to overcome, and (2) the power and ability to overcome it – by embracing Him and acknowledging that He is God, not us. Think about all the billions of people on the earth today, and then consider that of all of them, He has selected you for this particular adventure that will lead you to a life with Him that many will never experience. We truly are the fortunate ones.
  • As sovereign God, His decisions are indisputable, incorruptible, and beyond contestation. He created everything including us; therefore He makes the rules. As our King (assuming we made that choice), we submit to His ways, His designs, His rule, His will. If that means we experience the loss of a family member, or a life-threatening disease, or an addiction… we should come to the place of acceptance and worship and gratitude for the particular obstacles we have received. To be grateful, I only have to consider there are many people with much more debilitating conditions than mine. And some of those have no cure or treatment.
  • Human beings are really good at focusing on problems/fears/resentments/trouble. We can spend countless hours worrying or trying to figure out a solution. I believe that is a rather short-sighted focus. The thing to be focused on is not the negative… it is the positive that follows it. For example: if alcoholism/addiction is the biggest problem I have ever experienced, and God removes the obsession from me through recovery, what future problem can intimidate me? If He has already removed the single biggest threat to my life/sanity/serenity, any issue that is smaller than that will be a piece of cake. Illness? OK. Homeless? It will work out. Loss of job? Can’t wait to see where He’s going to have me working next! Divorce? I know He is going to make me a better man, if I will allow it. I can choose to focus on the present success, not the past trouble. And I’ll do well to not take on the future until it becomes the present.


2 thoughts on “Some Things I Learned The Hard Way

  1. Wow! What a vein of gold flowing in the dirty, drab dark! Will choose to practice – ACT ON – these 10 points, these attitudes, these principles.There’s hope in these truths!


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