I was having a conversation with a CR brother several weeks ago that made a statement that he had read that “recovery doesn’t begin until a person has hit bottom or as some might call it ‘rock-bottom.’” At first I was taken a-back by this, didn’t really want to believe that a person, actually that I would have would to be this desperate for recovery to begin in my life. However, as I sat there and thought this through, I saw the wisdom, especially as I looked back at my own recovery.
I began to see that August of 2006 I hit bottom when something significant happened, I lost all hope. I lost all hope that “I” could get myself out of the mess I had made. I lost all hope that “I” could make myself stop my compulsive sexually addicted behaviors. I lost all hope that “I” could make the pain go away. I was hopeless. I recall in that time, that I thought about praying that God would do whatever it takes to get me out of the destructive cycle I had created for myself. I say it that way, because to be quite honest I was afraid of what He might have to do – so I know I never really prayed it, but I thought about praying it. Within a week I had been busted by my supervisor at work and my recovery journey had begun. (Note to self: I guess God answers prayers we only think about praying too.)
The value of the hopeless state I was in allowed for the opportunity for me to place my hope in someone far more powerful than myself – my Higher Power, Jesus Christ. It wasn’t until I was empty of all hope in a “false-savior”, myself, that I was able to put my hope in the true Savior, my Higher Power, Jesus Christ. So I had to hit “rock-bottom” or I had become hopeless for my recovery to begin and the hope in my Higher Power keeps me in recovery.
I realized I learned this lesson again in May of 2009. Earlier that year my dad was in the hospital three different times in relation to his alcoholism, including open heart surgery. By April my Adult Child of an Alcoholic issues were in full bloom. Eventually the pain and anger and the insanity I felt was more than I could stand – I reached out to an accountability partner who met with me and heard me and then made the statement to me that “the son is not responsible for the father,” and in that moment I saw the truth and lost all hope that “I” could “fix” my dad. I saw my own powerlessness in a situation that this was beyond me. It was not my job to fix him anyway, my job was to fulfill the 5th Commandment and love and honor my dad, not fix him. In that moment, I forgave my dad, asked God to forgive me and released my dad to God and I finally found the place to begin my recovery for ACA issues. (I am not sure if it is related or not, but within a month of that time, my dad stopped drinking and has been sober every since. He is not in recovery – yet, but he has stopped drinking.) Again, hitting bottom brought about a hopelessness that leads to hope in the one who can effect changes in my life and that hope keeps my in the journey of my recovery in this issue.
I realized that I learned this lesson once again this last week. The morning of March 1st, I was setting at my desk at work feeling horrible physically. The previous weekend I had felt lethargic and fatigued, by Monday I was worse. I could feel the blood pressure rising in my head. I was having trouble breathing - like the air I was breathing was like being in a stale or stuffy room.
I have known for years that my weight was a problem (a look in the mirror made that obvious) and I knew that most likely I had High Blood Pressure (HBP). However, I never wanted to go to the doctor, all they would do is tell me what I already know, I am overweight and I need to lose weight. I cannot tell you the number of diets I have started, all have failed. If I didn’t go to the doctor then I could not be told that I have to lose weight and that I have HBP. If they don’t tell me then I don’t have it – right? Denial is such an insidious thing. Honestly, I had for the last several months been feeling the need to do something, but again each attempt was in my own power, hope in my own ability. That morning I sat there and said to myself, get your head out of the sand (actually I mentioned a certain part of my anatomy), you are in denial and you need help.
By the afternoon on Monday I was in the ER at Mercy Hospital and the nurse was telling me that my blood pressure was 220/144. (I later found out that this is what is considered Stroke range) The scary thing was that at that time I was feeling better than I had earlier in the morning – I wonder what my blood pressure was then? I was given an injection of some HBP medication and then was left alone in a strange room, lying on a bed and connected to wires. I said, “God I am not enough. If this is the time You are going to take me then I understand, if not, I need You to get me through this because I can’t do it. Nor can I do what needs to be done without Your help.” I hit bottom, I was hopeless, I put my hope in Jesus Christ and my recovery began. My experience has taught me that as I work the Steps and Principles towards this issue, have accountability partners, attend meetings and more importantly as I keep my hope in my Higher Power, then I will see a miracle. It will be hard and it will test me I am sure, but it will also bring about healing that I need desperately.
The value of hopelessness is this: Every time I put my hope in my own abilities to fix my hurts, habits and hang-ups, every time I try to be my own savior I end up causing more pain, to myself and those around me, I create insanity and destruction. However, when I come to the place when I am emptied of all hope in myself and become hopeless, hitting rock bottom, then I am able to find hope in Christ Jesus, then I begin my recovery finding healing, health and reality. Hope in anything but Jesus for my recovery will only bring death. Peter’s words in John 6:68 seem so appropriate here “Lord, there is no one else that we can go to! Your words give eternal life.”
I guess another word for all this is Surrender. The physical act of surrender is the putting up of my hands, showing that my hands are empty of anything. The act of surrendering to Jesus is the letting go of the “false saviors” and the hope in my own abilities to stop the pain and insanity. Only then are my hands empty and only then can I reach out and take the hand of the True Savior and the hands of those He places in my life to support me. For me this is what it means to pick up a Blue Chip. This is when recovery begins.
The value of hopelessness for me is that it is the only way to find genuine hope, hope in Christ Jesus.
A word of thanks to all of you that took time to pray for me and my family, your visits and your words of encouragement this past week have meant so much. I often felt and continue to feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit in all of this. Thank you!!
GBC NW Arkansas Male Encourager Coach- Tim