Replacement therapy. Ever heard of that? So replacement therapy is when you try to make up for a deficit of a substance normally present in the body. Think nutrients or blood. Sounds simple enough and logical. Tonight I heard about another type of replacement therapy. Replacing the negative and destructive thoughts and behaviors with positive or good thoughts and behaviors. I will have to admit, I never thought of this type of replacement therapy.
I went to a group meeting tonight. The Tuesday one I like that isn’t too large. The leader is consistent, kind, and encouraging. Not bad qualities to have. So tonnight the topic was on Step 7 and humbly asking God to remove all our shortcomings. Did you catch that word? Humbly. Yeah, that one. So the steps leading up to Step 7 are focused on identifying those flaws and character defects that have led us down this path. Sorry, to identify those that have led ME down this path. I have done that. I have done Step 7. I have humbly asked him to remove them. I have also witnessed that happen. He has instantly removed some, He hasn’t others. I kind of expected them to all go away immediately. Yeah, I was that dumb. Obviously, that didn’t happen.
We went through the meeting, everyone shared. And the leader was closing the meeting. Until one guy I know and knew before recovery had something else to say. I am glad he interrupted because I hadn’t really tuned in to the discussion because I had already done Step 7 and asked God to remove my shortcomings. So obviously I had this, right? I was an expert. Only, I almost missed it. And I love how God connects everything.
He stopped us and said he wanted to say one more thing that was important to him. Something he almost missed when working Step 7 that his sponsor pointed out to him. He said he would have missed it because he hadn’t seen this written down anywhere. Ok, I am listening now. He said that his sponsor encouraged him to not just humbly ask God to remove his flaws and defects of character. He should also ask God to REPLACE them with fruits of the spirit. Where his flaw was focus on self, he prayed that God would not only remove that but give him the desire to focus on others before himself. That when you remove a behavior or trait from your life, something has to fill it. So why not be intentional in seeking out fruits of the spirit to fill in for my flaws? Wow.
In my life, I have removed many of the destructive behaviors I previously had. I have filled in that time with relationships in recovery, with writing, with presence in my wife and kids lives. I spent this morning reviewing my flaws from my Step 4. God, I have asked you to remove my arrogance. Replace it with a spirit of humility. Remove my flaw of criticism and replace it with the gift of encouragement. Take my pride, please Lord take my pride, and replace it with a knowledge of my identity in and through you. Thanks for the word at group, my friend. Replacement therapy is what I call it. What an amazing gift God gives us. The opportunity in recovery to know our flaws, identify them by name, and seek His help in replacing them. Pretty damn cool.