Step 6 – Coming Up For Air

step notes icon2We are going to look at what is known in recovery circles as the forgotten step…Step 6. Even though it is one of the most important steps so many of us forget to do this one, and If this one is missed you will never fully get this whole recovery thing right!!! TRUE!

So much time and energy is focused on Step 4 and 5 that after we’re done with those we feel like taking a break. But Step 6 is life changing…it says that, ”Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” The bible says it this way, ” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world (God and your addictions). Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor ” (James 4:7-10, NLT).

In the last few articles we have looked at Steps 4 and 5. Step 4 is, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” If you do this honestly, you will experience tears, sorrow, and deep grief. It’s intense. Then add the Bible verse:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
~ Psalm 139:23-24 NLT

That was crazy to me… I thought, “Let me get this right” to honestly, fearlessly, and without blaming others…look at my emotional, moral, and spiritual garbage, or as they say in the recovery community ‘character defects’. Wow, and then ask God, WHO KNOWS EVERYTHING to ‘search me” “test me” “point out anything in me that offends.” It’s a huge step.

The only way to really be this vulnerable is to remember Steps Two and Three… that God can restore me to sanity and He cares about me… delights in me… is crazy about me!

Step Five continues the journey with, “admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” It’s such a difficult but important thing to do. For many of us it’s the first time in our lives that we said out loud (and meant it) “I am a mess.” “I have done some things that I am not proud.” “It is my fault that I am in the place that I am.”

If you stay at step Five or jump over steps Six and even Seven you may fully see your ‘character defects’ but instead of having ‘…God remove all these defects of character’ you get to work on yourself. I love this statement in a pamphlet from The Hazelden Foundation, Step 6&7, “When we come to Step Six, the most important thing to understand is this: we have been unable to change on our own. Whether we’ve hidden these defects from ourselves or jousted with them all our lives, the fact is that we cannot overcome old ways of thinking and doing. These patterns are fixed; they are “hard-wired” into our personalities. Our ways of handling life are forged by factors like genetics and personal history, factors out of conscious control.

That is why it takes the gift of an altered personality to respond to our world in new and different ways… in order to ask God to remove these defects of character, we must completely accept that we cannot do it for ourselves.” Once we fully see our ‘condition’ and the outstretched arms of God this step is so healing… we stop trying to fix ourselves and willing surrender it all to God.

I love the imagery in the Bible “ To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Finally breaking through to the light we can come up for air, surrendering our ‘stuff’ to God with gratitude. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow” (Melody Beattie).

I love that. Enjoy and be blessed with this step!

Cheri Signature

Step 5 – No Longer a Slave

step notes icon2Recently I heard a sermon by Fran McKain, “The Redeemer’s Firstborn.” She talked about when the people of God were ‘slaves’ in Egypt. How they had gotten comfortable in their captivity. Oh man, I thought, every addict knows that feeling! In our craziness and dysfunction we survive and even thrive at times! We get “comfortable” in our twisted way of thinking… in our chaotic relationships…in our lies. We even don’t seem to mind the slavemaster! We tell ourselves it’s just how it is, deal with it, until something happens, waking us up to the reality that we can’t go on like this anymore. We become aware of the hope that God has provided a way out!

At that moment the battle begins, as we surrender all our craziness, pain, and dysfunction “God is relentless.” He makes a way for us to escape. The Bible says he is our Redeemer Kinsman. He buys us back from slavery, from our addictions, with the life and death of His own Son. He then in “love pursues us even through our doubts, fears, failures and discouragement, anger…” In this stage of recovery it may feel like we are in a desert, but what’s incredible is that He provides what we need to get through the desert, and a way of escape in each situation.

Fran went on to talk about the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and into the desert (of course I am thinking of all the addicts I know in their own desert experience) with a warning in her voice she said, “After you have been rescued, the slavemaster will still pursue you, just as Pharaoh did with the Israelites …but God has assured his people that He will fight for you, and will perform miracles, He will provide ways of escape and guide you towards the promised land”, towards recovery today and into eternity.

I would like to share with you a text that God continues to bring to me…it was even the text for Fran’s sermon. Isaiah 43:1-3

“Oh Jacob (put your own name here), listen to the
Lord who created you.
Oh Israel, the one who formed you says,
Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
You will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
You will not be burned up;
The flames will not consume you.

I love that. God is telling us to trust Him right now, not ourselves.

I have been discussing the 12 Steps from a Biblical point of view.  I would like to look at the value of Step 5. “We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
That sounds scary, but think of it this way. There are people, others addicts, who have come out of Egypt, out of their own addictions, all around you. They know the power of God’s deliverance! When you are overwhelmed… feel like giving into temptations… when you are filled with doubt and all you can see is the slavemasters and his army fast approaching. That is when you need to reach out to those who have gone before you, who have a some recovery time under their belt, who can show you how to overcome. In recovery they are called sponsors or accountability partners. They can remind you that the battle belongs to God, and He can be trusted. One more thing about slaves and this is straight from Jesus himself, “I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends…” John 15:14-16

The decision to step into recovery is yours but once you do the battle belongs to God, trust Him to fight for you!

Cheri Signature

Step 4 – I Want to See it All!

step notes icon2
We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

I’ve spent years trying to avoid this step. There have been so many times in my life that I’ve tried to do recovery and do a lot of change and look at all the reasons I am the way I am. Looking all the way back to childhood, I was raised by kids that had their own issues, dysfunction, and addiction; they had their own childhood issues. They weren’t able to give me what I needed and therefore I ended on the streets at age thirteen and had bonding disorders, attachment disorders, and my own addictions. I could look at all the reasons that I was the way I was. I could even start to feel what I thought was righteous indignation. I had the right to be angry at someone else. Look what you’ve done!

When I got on the streets as a kid, I was picked up immediately – within the first 24 hours – and funnelled into industries that were pretty dark. And for the next ten years, I hid and survived because of my addictions. Literally, I could just pour more drugs into my body and get high and survive, and completely ignore the fact I was direly in need of rehab. I could just blame everyone else and tell myself this is what I needed to survive, stepping into denial was really helpful to me. Blaming other people saved me from having to look at my own stuff. While I should have been going to a drug rehab centre for help, I was simply using denial to dig myself into an even deeper hole of false comfort.

But when you step into a recovery you realize, “You know, I’m a mess and I can’t change this.” I am powerless to change this. But there is a God and I can turn it over to him. I can say to him, “I surrender and I want you to help me.” Step 4 gives us a framework. In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous it says, “Without a searching and fearless moral inventory, the faith which really works in daily living is still out of our reach.” I need to honestly start looking at this tangible stuff that has developed in my own character and in my own life because of my anger and bitterness and all these addictions. Without looking at that I can’t honestly step out. This is where institutions like arc rehab portsmouth come in; they give you the guidance and support you need to face these difficult truths, in order to begin the healing process you desperately need.

The framework of recovery is to honestly look at myself. To do a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself. I don’t know about you, but for me the problem was that I would look inside myself and I wouldn’t find anything. I didn’t know if I had anything of substance to offer. I could be anything to anybody at any given time. I could lie and manipulate and adapt and be what you wanted me to be. But if you said just be myself, I would have no idea what that meant. So my fear was that I wouldn’t find anything and that would be so painful. I felt at times like I was just missed and if you walked by me too fast I would just kind of dissolve. I wouldn’t have anything there.

This is a really threatening place for a lot of people. Some people say, “You know what, I’ve done some pretty horrible things in my life and I am afraid of looking at that pain.” I’ve met people that have given up children or lost children because of their addictions. They’ve aborted children. They’ve broken up relationships because of bad choices and who they got involved with. They’ve seen divorce and addictions and arrest and all of that. So we start to look at that, to examine without blame.

Here’s something about the fourth step from one of my devotions:
There have probably been times when we have ignored our sins and problems and pointed the finger at someone else. We may be out of touch with our own internal affairs because we are still blaming others for our moral choices. Or perhaps we avoid self examination by making moral inventories of the people around us. In the Garden of Eden when God asked Adam, “What did you do?” Adam said, “It wasn’t me, it was the woman you made for me. She told me to eat this fruit and I ate it.” And so God turns to Eve and says, “Eve, what did you do?” And she says, “No, no, no. It wasn’t me. It was the snake who deceived me. God why did you make the snake? She literally turned around and blamed the snake and ultimately blamed God.
It seems to be human nature that blame is our first line of defense. We also may avoid our own problems by evaluating and criticizing others. Jesus tells us, “Why worry about the speck in your friend’s eye when there’s a log in your own eye? First get rid of the log in your own eye and then worry about the speck in someone else’s eye.” So this step asks me to consider, Are there logs in my own eye? Am I in denial about my own responsibility for these issues?

A lot of us would like to say, “No, no, no. I think I’m spot on with how I’ve looked at my past.” I’ve talked to women who tell me about relationship after relationship that went horribly wrong where they were beat up and abused. They can’t believe they ended up in the same situation again. But when the same kind of thing happens two or three times you have to recognize that the only common denominator in any of it is you. You have to ask what you are doing to attract these men or these relationships. That’s really hard. It’s easy to look at what other people have done to you. But that’s not what this step is about. This step is about why it was so easy for them to do that to you. Why was it so easy to get you in that compromising situation or into that addiction? Why you? And why again?
With the fourth step you’re going to start looking at things that have caused you anger and bitterness. Things that have caused you to run back to your addictions, back to the same kind of relationship again. You’re going to ask what you did in order to make this happen. The Big Book says, “Addiction cripples our ability to reflect honestly about ourselves and our lives.” We hate to admit that. We don’t honestly look at things. We look at it through the lens of our addiction. We look at it through the lens of our pain, or our bitterness or hurt. We are really deceived a lot of times.

It’s hard to even imagine it at this stage of recovery, but this step helps to clear our vision. We can start looking more honestly at what is happening and why it’s happening. And when we get to what and why, then God can teach us how to stop it. What kind of things can I do in order to change my life so that I’m not a victim or a victimizer? So that I can literally change the outcome of what happens?

Again, the Big Book says, “It limited our ability to understand the damage and the habit, the liabilities it caused in all of our relationships. Before we could confidently rely on God we needed a framework from which he could help us sort out our past honestly.” There’s that word again. Step four provides that framework. It’s a vigorous and painstaking effort to discover what these liabilities have been and are in each of us.
This inventory – this being able to look at honestly what going on – can be painful. There are some painful places inside. That’s why you do this step with someone else. You really need to have a sponsor or a friend to walk with you through this step. You need a group that you can go to and say, “Man! I just had to back away for a minute. It hurts!” But doing a fearless moral inventory is not just about looking at the bad stuff. There’s a lot of good stuff about myself that I never saw. There was a lot of value in who I am that I never saw. In this step, you really look at all of that. Both the bad and the good.

The inventory is also a step in helping us align our lives with the will of God. Though this inventory we identify negative thoughts, emotions and actions that damage our lives. “By discovering those destructive elements in our lives we took a first step towards correcting them. Doing an inventory was difficult but this step opened the door to that additional faith and hope we needed to continue our recovery and overcome our addictions” (from the Big Book). It’s incredible to be able to look at yourself and honestly say, “This is who I am and this is what brought me to this day. This is who I am. This is what my inventory looks like. This is what my bitterness looks like. This is why I got the DUI. This is how I was in those relationships, this is how I lost my job, this is what I look like in my addictions.

This is a place where we come out of hiding with Go. In the Bible, one of the writers of the psalms said, “Search me and know my heart. Test me and if there’s anything in me that needs to be kind of brought out in the light, do that.” And this is the place where you do that. “I’m really done tripping up on my addictions. I’m really done lying to myself. I’m really done being in these crazy relationships. I’m done. And whatever I have to look at in order to allow you to change that I’ll look at it.”

It’s a fearless moral inventory. I want to know it all. I want to see it on paper. My hands were almost shaking when I had to put on paper the first time that I lie and I manipulate and I’m really good at getting what I want at any cost. I could easily write down why I am the way I am but it was hard to admit that my character was skewed. It was hard to recognize that I was able to do things I didn’t even see. I was in total denial that I played a role in how my life got the way it got. When I stopped lying to myself, when I started to look honestly at who I was and how I got into these situations and what my role was, I decided with the help of God and some friends that I’m done. I don’t want to be like that.

I think I started this process in 1979. Since then I’ve come back to this step a few times. Something comes up and I think “man! there that is again.” And I have to go back and think, “how did I get here again” And what kind of character things do I need to look at? I want to look at it again.”Every time, God has been faithful. He’s always been faithful. He can take me and show me how to clean house.

This step is about house cleaning. It’s about getting rid of what doesn’t work, cleaning up. For me it feels like walking into a filthy dirty room where the windows are smudged and dirty and they’re even painted shut. I really want to start chipping the paint away from the windows so I can open them up and get some fresh air. I want to clean the windows off so I can see outside. I want to dust and vacuum so I can live there. And that’s what we do with our very own soul. God says, “Let me help you clean that up.” You’re running from yourself and you can’t run fast enough to escape because you always bring yourself. So God says, “Let’s look at this. I want you to be fearless now. I’m right by your side. And we’ll clean it up.”

When you get done with this step, the next few steps are just amazing. Absolutely amazing. Don’t be afraid of this one. It’s actually a good step. It’s a good part of recovery.

Step 3 – Don’t Be Afraid of It

step notes icon2When we first start our recovery, we get to Step 1 and we think that’s a scary step – to admit that we’re powerless and our lives have become unmanageable. That’s pretty scary! And even the second step, that maybe there is something greater than myself that I can rely on. – a God or a Higher Power. That’s even scary. A lot of us have a lot of damage in that area.

But, man! This third step! It’s so crazy because we get to a point where we have to take this step. And the step is I’ve looked everything in my life and I know that I’m powerless and everything is out of control, that I need God to restore me to sanity and now … I have to let Him do it. And for me, I don’t trust a lot of people. I don’t have a lot of faith, especially in the first part of my recovery. So, what level of faith do I have in God?

If you get to the point where you’re really going back and forth on that, go back to Step 1, go back to Step 2. Really get the idea that, “I’ve done it on your own. I’ve made a mess out of everything. And I have to turn it over.” This is a step of saying, “There’s a God that knows me.”

I want to tell you a story that really helped me get this. For me, it was years after recovery. But you’re going to find that you keep coming back to these steps as you continue to get them in your heart. I looked at myself, coming off of heroin after ten years on the streets, living a lifestyle that was pretty twisted. For a lot of us, our addictions have taken us to some pretty dark places and, relationally, we’ve brought people into our lives that are a mess, and we’re a mess. So with the third step, you have to believe not only that there’s a God, but that He knows who you are outside of that mess. You have to believe at some point that you’ll end up in a place such as West Coast Recovery Centers ready to take the step to stop using heroin once and for all.

As an example, way into my recovery, I ended up going into ministry and doing all kinds of things and it’s been a blast. I really want to say to you right now that when you start trusting God with your recovery, just be ready for Him to wow you. But anyhow, I was doing an outreach in Russia with some heroin addicts. I love addicts! Because I am one. That’s where I came from. So I was in Russia for six or seven weeks, and I was standing in Red Square! It was unbelievable! Onion dome churches all around and the sun was setting. It’s just this beautiful area and I was just looking around and taking it all in. Coming from my background, it was just incredible.

All the sudden, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Do you remember when you were a kid?” And I looked back to when I was about 14 years old, living in a car, just a really rundown ’62 T-Bird, I think. It was just a rundown car. There were three of us staying in that car that night, and it was cold. It was in South Gate, California. Not the best part of town. I remember, in the middle of the night I got out of the car and I looked down the street and I started to cry and I thought, “Is this going to be my life? Is this really my life?”

All that came back to me while I was standing in Red Square in Russia. And God said, “Remember that.” I didn’t hear a voice, and it wasn’t an audible thing, but it was as if He was standing right next to me. And He said, “Do you remember that?” And I did. In that instant, it was like He gave me that complete memory of how I felt and what it was like being homeless, living with people who exploited children, and all that kind of stuff. It was just not a good situation. And I said to God, “Yes, I remember that.” And He said, “When you were there, I knew that someday you would be standing here.” And I thought, “Shut up! How incredible is that!”

And so when I get to Step 3, I have to know not only is there a God who can restore me to sanity but I’m willing to turn it over to Him and know that He knows me. He has plans for me. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I have plans to restore you and to give you life and give you a future and hope. I know who I created you to be.” He knows all that, but I don’t. The best I know is all this survival stuff and the things I’ve been taught growing up. I view the world in a certain way and He got to go in and untwist all that.

So in Step 1 we admit we’re powerless. In Step 2, we see that there’s a God who can restore me to sanity. And in Step 3 it’s this: We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, however we understand Him at this time. So, I’m willing to turn it over. It’s really tough. I have trust issues. I don’t feel like anybody’s been there for me. I’ve survived on my own. And this step said, “OK. Man! I’m done with that, and I’ll give it to You.”

Stay there as long as you have to stay there in order to get that right. It’s an interesting place to be, to finally say to God, “I’m done!” I’ve misunderstood a lot of things about God. I’ve got to know that God is not malicious. He’s not punitive. He’s not going to fool me or trick me or set me up. He’s not going to play a joke on me. God is not going to ask me to wait any longer than I need to. He really has my back.

When He comes in, as fast as we’re willing and able to surrender our stuff, that’s how fast He’ll go with us. One of my issues took 21 years! I know! I’m so slow. But God was faithful in waiting for me to be able to see it. I kept wanting to take control and go in every other direction. So in this step, you’re willing – just willing – to turn this stuff over. Sometimes we might have to ask Him to make us willing. I just don’t know if I’m capable of understanding what that means. I don’t know if I’m capable of trusting on that level. I don’t know if I’m honest enough. I am manipulative and deceitful and conning in my addictions. I’ve learned to lie to get my own way. And God says, “I want you to give me all of that.” What’s incredible is that He’s so tender with us. He says He’ll unfold it in a way that, even though you may feel some shame, and you may feel some pain, that’s never His intention. He’s not trying to get us to pay for our sins. He’s trying to get us to give it to Him. To let Him carry it. To surrender it to Him until I can start to see the world differently, see myself differently, and see Him differently, and heal.

In the Twelve Step program, there’s a saying that when you come to this step it’s like you’re going in for surgery. Surgery is never fun. It’s never easy. It’s not anything that anybody looks forward to. But if they’re going to cut out some cancer and I’m going to be cancer-free after that, I’ll go to a surgeon I trust and I’ll let him do it. I wouldn’t go in and say, “You know, I have trust issues. So can I cut it out myself? Would you just give me the scalpel and I’ll do my own surgery?” There’s no way! Because as soon as it starts to hurt, I’m going to stop. But God will do it in a way that will be successful and you’ll come out on the other end without all the issues, even it if takes 21 years! Of course, some of them you’ll get right away like I did. Some of them I said, “Yeah, yeah, yea. I have no problem with that.” But some of them I didn’t even think God knew about, and those took longer.

Step 3 is an incredible step. I pray that you’ll get there. Not only get there, but get there with someone. Get people around you to start giving you support. Get a sponsor. Join a group. Do whatever you need to be able to say honestly, “I am turning this over. I surrender. I’m done.” It’s not a sign of defeat. It’s actually a sign of incredible strength. I’ve done it on my own. Someone lied to me. I was never meant to do it on my own. And I surrender.

I love Step 3! You’ll come back to it many times. Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God. How cool is that!

Cheri Signature

Step 2 Puts Us On Track

step notes icon2The second Step puts us on track.

Came to believe… I didn’t start out believing. In fact, at first I didn’t believe in anything, not even myself. I felt dead inside. I didn’t trust anyone. I had no idea how to let people in. I didn’t have the ability to see myself outside of my addictions and behavioral junk. If I was high or in a relationship where I knew what was expected of me, I was fine. Now I laugh as I think back on that early recovery time. I just had no sense of who I was or even how to ‘be’ in this world. I truly felt crazy.

I did all the right things. I even went to a psychiatrist during a really difficult time. I walked in and started ranting and raving and crying, “Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m bi-polar or schizophrenic. I just can’t do this. I don’t know how to act. I am afraid.” I stormed around the office stopping only briefly as I realized how insane I must have looked. Then after about 2o minutes, exhausted, I sat down.

I looked desperately at the doctor, and he said calmly, “It looks like you‘re having a bad day.” “Are you kidding me?” I shouted incredulously! Abad day?This is my life!!!” I wanted to grab him by the throat. I couldn’t believe he said that. A bad day!

He gently held his hand up and said something that changed my life forever. “You are making some huge changes in your life. Walking away from your addictions (drugs, relationship/ sexual addictions, as well as all of the character defects, lying/manipulating and such that go with them) and learning new coping skills. Discovering who you are outside of all the lies. If you don’t expect some ‘bad days’ or tough times, you are just setting yourself up to fail. What you need to know is you will get through this. You will be OK!” That’s where Step Two comes in: “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

I found this step difficult at first. It was hard to believe that God cared for me and wanted – even delighted – in my recovery. But after awhile, I began to feel His presence. To hear the Holy Spirit’s suggestions. And to have hope for the first time in my life. Hope that there is a God and he can restore me to sanity. Wow!

I love this take from Stanley, an architect whose life had been controlled by an addicted son for 16 years. He said, “I learned how to let go by watching others who were dealing with the same type of problems and noticing that they looked okay. They were doing something to deal with it better. I drew strength from their strength. I saw others with similar circumstances, behaving in a sane manner, looking happy and healthy.”

I remember one day I woke up early feeling amazing. I laughed out loud and wondered why I felt so good. Was it my birthday? A holiday? What? Then I heard God say, “This is health.” I thought, “Shut up!” (you’re kidding me) I had never felt good for no other reason than just being alive. Health, huh? Cool. So it really is worth the fight, getting through the ‘bad days.”

Whatever you are holding on to, whatever lies or addictions continue to keep you in bondage and feeling crazy, turn it over to God. He will restore you to sanity. More than that He will show you who you are. He will awaken in you talents and passions that will make your life worth living. The Bible says that God will give you the desires of your heart. Right now you may not know what those are. But take a chance. Let go and let God!

Cheri Signature

Step 1 – Out of Denial, into God’s Grace

step notes icon2The first time someone explained Step 1 of the 12-step recovery program to me, my palms started to sweat and I felt a little frightened. I didn’t get it. What do you mean by powerless? The unmanageable part I got… my life had been unmanageable for a long time. I had used drugs, relationships, sex, and whatever else was available in an attempt to at least have a semblance of ‘normal.’ If I looked around at the people I hung out with, I was as together as they were but I didn’t dare look within.

In her book, “Co-Dependents Guide To The Twelve Steps” Melody Beattie states it so well when she says, “I thought my life looked so much more manageable than the lives of those around me— until I started looking within. That’s when I found the undercurrent of fear, anger, pain, loneliness, emptiness, and unmet needs that had controlled me most of my life.”

When I stepped into recovery I thought that I only had to stop taking heroin. I did that! But I found out pretty quickly that drugs were not the only issue. I had been abused and victimized my whole life. Even more revealing was that I now owned the role of being a victim. I even found power in that role at times. I felt I needed someone to rescue me… to care for me… to love me. I didn’t know how to exist outside of that victim role.

Underneath it all I had believed the lies:

• you are unloved
• you are stupid
• you are bad
• you are only good for one thing

And on and on. I had believed it all.

As I came to understand Step 1— breaking denial and recognizing my need—I realized that it wasn’t just the drugs I was powerless over, it was all of it. It was relationships, work, family, the lies I believed and told…really everything. There was an underlying feeling of sadness, anger, and hopelessness. Wow, my life really had become unmanageable! The coolest thing happened as I finally saw the value of Step 1: I surrendered to Jesus. For the first time I understood the need for a Savior. I am so damaged. I need God. In the surrender I began to experience my life and to wake up to the possibility of healing. It was, and still is incredible!

Now in my recovery, I frequently come back to this step, especially when I find myself believing all the lies again, experiencing increased drama in my life, and facing chaos and stress around every corner. I believe the Holy Spirit…God… my Higher Power gently nudges me and sweetly invites me to surrender it all to Him, admitting once again I am powerless…but He is not!

If your life has become unmanageable … stress is out of control… relationships always have an unhealthy edge, I pray you will surrender! Let go and let God. God really is crazy about you and He delights in your recovery. Find a good support group in your church or better yet start one!

Cheri Signature