At The Crossroads of Recovery, Looking Around

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This is what the Lord says:
“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for the old, Godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’
Jeremiah 6:16-17 (NLT)

Discovery Family Ministries is not the first or last to say this, but the modern recovery movement, as we have known it, is at a crossroads. Many are being faced with a “conscience” issue and are looking around to discover a fresh, new, innovative way to overcoming addiction. This approach will be focused more on where one is headed rather than where one has been. It is aimed toward living a purposeful, productive lifestyle as God intended.

What I am seeing and saying is deeper than the question, “Can I say Jesus in an AA Meeting?” I went to enough meetings to understand and appreciate that question.

No offense, and not to be picky, but I think this particular question is often not about “Jesus.” it is more often about “how” the one who says it, says it! More often than not, if this person is humble and sincere, it will be met with acceptance, or at least…pity.

Online and on TV, we are hearing about these new approaches. By and large, they are not critical. They represent a shift in direction for millions worldwide. They are saying, after 80+ years, the statistics on increased drug use and death, prove that our widely accepted brand of recovery is not working as effectively as hoped. It takes tremendous courage to admit this because in a sense it is like “bucking the system.”

And most addicts just found some folks in “the rooms” of recovery who would accept them, failures and all! They think twice about moving beyond this perceived unconditional acceptance.

Besides finally satisfying this basic-human-need for belonging, and by extension, approval, addicts become familiar, if not comfortable, with a simple program or system to curb their unmanageable behavior. That system itself becomes a replacement for old habit patterns. A subtle dependence ensues, similar to a religious response. And everyone finds some comfort in that.

Except for the ones who are “driven.” Not everyone likes that word. It is like the word “press.” And many do not like that word either, but it is Biblical. It takes GRIT or determined perseverance and that is what separates the exceptional from the average, the winners from the losers. We have gained some ground, but we have yet to receive the winner’s crown. That comes later!

Last year DFM launched a weekly brown-bag lunch opportunity called, 60 Minutes to Success. (Others can debate what “success” means.) My brothers and sisters in recovery need success of any kind after where they have been! I still believe we were on track with this idea and may revisit this effort and theme again. 

60 Minutes to Success was based on two passages of Scripture:

   • Joshua 1: 6-9 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, THAT YOU MAY PROSPER wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then YOU WILL MAKE YOUR WAY PROSPEROUS, and then YOU WILL HAVE GOOD SUCCESS. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

   • Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

At this crossroads of recovery, we observe that some retreat into their own serenity. They focus internally. They become subjective and passive, “living within themselves.” The new voices of recovery are beckoning us to venture outwardly and to reach and to explore new possibilities. They meditate as they go and do. This might sound blasphemous to “the serene one.” It threatens their comfort zone. It may even sound stressful. The new direction takes 100% effort and total risk. It is a faith venture, not unlike what we read in the New Testament.

At our station in life, this would have to be God! We need a visitation of Caleb’s spirit! I think of the passage that says, Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 1 Corinthians 4:16 We have no desire, nor time to be critical of others. We are pursuing “a more excellent way.” We prefer to wear out rather than rust out.

Those moving in this new direction see SOBRIETY as a rest stop rather than a destination. Our destination is the calling of God, our divine assignment. At this rest stop we meet new friends, fellow-travelers and collaborators; we are usually exhausted when we arrive and find relief and encouragement to continue on our original journey; and finally, in this prolonged “moment of clarity,” we recalibrate our lives to the moral compass and continue to advance in our calling along spiritual lines. This is the “old, Godly way” referred to in our opening Scripture passage.

Finally, we accept that many are not willing to go with us. But go, we must! Lest we fail to follow Him Who called us and thereby, violate our own conscience. There are others who are hearing the sound too. The sound to break camp, arise and go! Leaving behind the mixed multitude to discover our Land of Promise! I often envision Paul before King Agrippa as he testified with a clear conscience, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. Acts 26:19

Sadly, the king uttered those famous words recorded in memoriam (Paul) you almost persuade me to be a Christian. verse 28

Thus, we return for the last time to our original text, you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’

How will you reply to God’s calling in your life? Will you be joining us for the exciting days ahead? We believe you will! We look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you for collaborating with DFM at this crossroads. We trust those who are like-minded will continue to pray for us as we remain true to God’s calling.