Abandoning Old Ideas: God and the 12 Steps
Do we want what God has for us
bad enough for us to come out of our comfort zone?
Or are we going to play “hard to get” with God?
Dyce K writes…
When I interact with people that are suffering and really learn what their life has been like for years, it never ceases to amaze me what people can endure. Often I encounter people who would rather stay in hellish situations simply because they are used to it, rather than muster up the courage to face a new environment outside of their comfort zone. Recovery, however, by definition, means change. It is commonly heard in the Recovery Rooms that in order to recover, we must abandon old ideas and to change people, places, and things. Simply put; for us to move forward in spiritual growth, we must be willing to put forth the effort, and this includes stepping outside of our physical and emotional comfort zones.
Most of us looking to get sober are coming from extremely dysfunctional behaviors and environments. The way people behave on the street caused us to be brought up hard and we found ourselves “hanging tough.” Meanwhile we tried to cope with unforgiveness, jealousies, and the co-dependent control issues of our fear-dominated psyche. As soon as we came into recovery, it was emphasized to us to forsake our dysfunctional environment and build an entirely new support group. We were told to change people, places and things. We were told to abandon old ideas. We were told that half measures availed us nothing. (pg 58) We had to forsake the dope hole, to not go to the bar, and not to answer the phone when particular friends call if we seriously want change.
Often times change is difficult because we are so concerned with what other people think. This is true even inside of recovery for people with years of sobriety. Some of us are surrounded by people that have been dysfunctional for as long as they can remember and they give you the “We can’t do it and you better not try it” attitude when you try to break free. It is crucial to get away from people that want to bring you down with their judgmentalism. They turn their support groups into victimized pity parties and suppress you from coming out of your bondage and into God’s blessing. But we cannot blame them for our dormancy; the real question is; do we want what God has for us bad enough for us to come out of our comfort zone? Or are we going to play “hard to get” with God? Do you find yourself praying for a miracle but not willing to do anything to move toward a change? I have to be a radical person to want growth bad enough to leave my comfort zone in order to be made whole, rather than stay in the familiar and stay broken.
To get to a brand new level, God may have to place us in a brand new environment. This means dealing with new people, new opinions, and new challenges. We will now find ourselves in a position to choose whether we are going be co-dependent and try to please all those around us, or if we are going make ourselves available for what God has to offer. Perhaps a new group of friends will challenge our old ideas and attitudes. Different types of people may constructively assess erroneous thinking and narrow minded conclusions we have made in the past. We may find that as we move toward a healthier, God centered group, we also need a new attitude that will no longer justify our dysfunctional behavior. This is a good thing. After all, “The point is we are willing to grow along spiritual lines.” (pg 60) We must trust God as we face new challenges every day.
Some of us may need to volunteer for situations where we find ourselves flying by the seat of our pants. Page 63 says that faith in God will take away the fear of today, tomorrow, and the hereafter. I know personally that I didn’t go through all the hell I’ve been through in life to not get my miracle. Now that I’ve found God, I want all He has in store for me.
Abandoning old ideas, dysfunctional people, and hazardous situations and seeking out healthier, godly people has taught me so much. I’ve discovered some amazing things while flying by the seat of my pants and giving up control. If I am trusting in God to guide me and protect me and am not paralyzed by the fear of failure or rejection, then I start to realize that life is exciting and beautiful. Suddenly I have found the joy of living and I’m free of depression. I don’t have to be afraid of new challenges if I have the spirit of God in my heart! I just may learn something about myself and the character of God that amazes me and the depressive monotony of life will vanish. There have been times that I have found myself in a situation that is so unfamiliar that I have prayed with more sincerity than ever before. Looking back, those uncertain but exciting times were when I felt closest to God! In that uncertainty is where God surprises me and faith is found.