Recovery GRIT

Now would be a good time to recalibrate our thinking about recovery. It goes deeper than you think, takes more effort than you imagine and the process lasts longer than you plan. To move from failure to success takes changing our mindset. I applaud those who have the grit to endure. Ironically, these individuals do not need my applause to get motivated. They are self-starters.

Underneath repeated failure we discover a fixed mindset. Underneath success a growth mindset. Gritty people, who pass from failure to success, have discovered the satisfaction of learning from their challenge. Failure becomes a launching pad!

Paul the Apostle said in Ephesians 4:23 …be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

What that means to me is a changing of the atmosphere around your thoughts. It means growing new mental habits by meditating upon better things. As we get in sync with God’s will and surrender to the Holy Spirit, our mental state becomes healthier, brighter and more productive. Subsequently our behavior is empowered for good works.

This view is antithetical to the way most people think. Perhaps this is the reason Isaiah prophesied, For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. Perhaps this is the reason Paul admonishes us to Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.


Remember how Caleb distinguished himself among the other spies who reported on the Promised Land? How was he so different?

(Numbers 14:24 NLT) But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land.

Another translation renders it… But my servant Caleb thinks differently and follows me completely. So I will bring him into the land he has already seen, and his children will own that land. NCV

Even though the success rate among alcoholics and drug addicts remains unacceptably low, we believe God is beginning to show us hidden ingredients that can change those dismal statistics.

I have a hope that we can get to the root causes of addiction and reverse this generational curse that has been visited upon America! I listened to a Ted Talk entitled, “Transcending Addiction; Redefining Recovery.” It did not emanate from a Biblical worldview, but I liked the title. I am forever looking beyond the immediate maintenance mentality to embrace an upward vision.

More than Talent or Genetics

Almost 50 years ago a friend of mine sarcastically said to me, “Gary, I have always admired you! You have never let the lack of talent or common sense stand in your way!” I said. “Thank you???”

Hidden in that sarcasm was an element of truth. Successful recovery is not based on special talent or even intellect. It is NOT ultimately determined by genetics. At any point, the person who decides to break out of the pack can do so. But it takes grit! The kind of grit Caleb expressed and demonstrated.

Since 1992 DFM has promoted forward thinking. We encourage a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. This new way of thinking asks, “What can I become by God’s grace?” The old way of thinking states, “I am what I have always been.” One is a pioneering spirit, the other is a settler’s mentality. One is prophetic, the other is institutional. 

Earlier this year I became aware of these two opposing mindsets through listening to and reading Dr. Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit. I also, read Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck. These authors identified a hidden ingredient that can make a profound difference in recovery of all kinds. With proper discernment, regular coaching and a will to work hard, our woeful statistics in recovery can improve. But it will take grit and a new mindset!

Much of our standard recovery is based on a fixed mindset. Sure, a few Calebs break through here and there to achieve stunning success, but we are believing God for a more sweeping victory!

Because of their lack of confidence in God’s promise and the grit to obey, the Children of Israel relapsed for another 40 years of wandering in the Wilderness of Sin. Most were left there as “bleached bones.” An entire generation was lost because of a lack of grit! It cost time and lives. It did not have to be so.

Helpless to Hopeful

Did you notice the line in the graphic above, “Learned Helplessness?”

For many years I ministered among the street people in Mobile and at Mobile Metro Jail. I felt sorry for these unfortunate souls. Then it hit me, “my friends could change if they would change! They can’t change because they won’t change!” Their negative consequences were not temporary circumstances. Most were repeat offenders and the same street people I saw year in and year out over the decades! They had learned “helplessness” as a way of life!

Because God had allowed me to come out of from under my own self-imposed sentence as a failure, a “once-an-alcoholic-always-an-alcoholic” type of thinking, I sincerely believed it was possible for anyone to learn hopefulness! I believed if they had learned helplessness, they could learn hopefulness! I still believe that!! They needed a prophetic voice! They needed a persistent role model, not human sympathy!

Caleb saw what could be, except for the majorities’ negative voices of fear and unbelief. They represented a slavery mentality that was systemic. They saw themselves as grasshoppers. So, the majority thinking prevailed and Israel went back out and relapsed.

A New Belief System

Changing one’s mindset and thinking differently is more fundamental than just finishing another recovery program. I went through three of these myself. Getting and staying sober is part of the program, but training others in this new belief system aka mindset represents a quantum leap for an otherwise repetitious lifestyle. We need successful people who model grit that reaches beyond mere maintenance.

Further reading for those who have a mind to…

Romans 12:1-2 The Message

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

DFM promotes this type of “gritty” recovery mindset.

I am asking for your feedback on this topic. Send an email or write me a letter and share how your journey reflects grit or perhaps how you need to find some yourself!

Thank you for standing with us through your prayers and support!