Originally posted at: https://puredesire.org/blog/making-room-for-recovery/
Anticipation is a powerful thing. Anticipation itself causes all different kinds of emotions: joy, excitement, anxiety, fear…you get the idea.
When I dress my 18-month-old son, I’ll count as I put his arms in each sleeve: three… two… one… smile… (sharp inhale) “BOOP.” He laughs every time. He thinks it’s funny when I say “BOOP” but he actually starts laughing when I pause and inhale. He’s anticipating me saying “BOOP” and he laughs. It’s awesome.
On the other hand, when my wife texts me, “Hey, can we talk tonight?” I’m immediately wondering what I’ve done wrong.
The anticipation is high when people reach out to Pure Desire to address their unwanted sexual behavior. Understandably, their emotions are all over the map. The most common three-word answer to the question “Where do I start?” is:
Get in group.
And for many people, this answer is a let down.
“You mean there’s no magic cure? No 21-day fix? No Bible verses I’ve overlooked?”
“You’re telling me I need to go to a 2-hour group every week for 10 entire months? Plus do homework during the week? With travel time, you’re talking about 3.5-4 hours a week. I don’t have this kind of time! I’m a busy mom. I’m a pastor. My kids are in sports. I have enough homework to do for school.”
Yes. The fact is we have to make room for recovery.
Before we can begin making room for recovery, we need to recognize that we’ve been living with addiction.
With vs. Without
When we talk about living with addiction, we have a general idea of what we mean. But it can be difficult to tangibly see it.
Think about it. We understand what it means to be with because we have experienced what it means to be without.
We understand what it means to live with someone because we can remember a time when we lived without someone.
The opposite is also true.
We understand what it means to live without pain because we can remember a time when we lived with pain.
In this sense, we might be able to picture living with and without addiction.
This idea of with-ness is still challenging because with-ness often has a physical aspect associated with it. But living with addiction isn’t only physical.
A more complete way to define with might be “to occupy space.”
Physically, we understand living with someone because they occupy space in our home.
Cue the images of dirty socks on the ground next to the laundry hamper, doors left open, and lights left on in empty rooms.
Emotionally, we understand being in a relationship with someone because they occupy space in our heart and mind, even when we’re apart.
I was speaking with a coworker about this recently and she said, “I’m here talking with you. But I’m also with my son and daughter-in-law who are in an airplane flying home right now. Because they’re occupying space in my thoughts.”
Spiritually, we understand God being with us because the Holy Spirit occupies space in our thoughts, our actions, our desires, our choices, our finances, and our character. Galatians 5:22-23 says,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23
When we find ourselves struggling with one or more of these character traits that the Spirit produces, maybe that’s an indication the Holy Spirit isn’t occupying space in some aspect of our lives.
Living with addiction means that addiction is occupying space in our heart, mind, behaviors, and habits. This happens because we make room for our addiction.
When my wife was pregnant with our son, we spent a lot of time preparing for him. We spoke and dreamed about who he might be and become. We made a list of dozens of names and toiled over choosing his. We packed a hospital bag and planned music for the delivery room.
We even put together a room in our home that would be known as Harrison’s room. His space.
Harrison was so important to us that we were making room for him in our home, our finances, our schedules, our heart and mind, and our decision-making.
Sounds a lot like living with addiction.
Here’s the truth: we make room for what is important to us.
If our addiction is more important than our health, we’ll make room for it.
The opposite is also true.
If our health or our family is more important than our addiction, we will make room for recovery.
So, when we say that getting into a group is the first step toward recovery, you are being invited to make room in your home, your finances, your schedule, your heart and mind, and your decision-making so that recovery, healing, and freedom can occupy space in your life.
We always have the choice.
I remember one night I put Harrison down for bed and my wife was out at worship practice. Harrison went down easy (can I get an Amen!) but after an hour he woke up crying. I’m talking about the kind of cry that makes you feel like your child is in some sort of pain.
I tried to comfort him in my arms. He wasn’t having it so I put him down and sat next to him on the floor. He crawled behind a chair. I couldn’t see him so I crawled to where he was within my sight. He hid again so I moved again. The whole time I was letting Harrison know “Dad’s here, bud. It’s okay. Everything’s okay. I’ll be here when you’re ready.” Eventually, he grabbed a book and crawled into my lap.
God used this moment with Harrison to show me that I often think I know the best way to get what I want or need. God is trying to comfort me or give me what it is that I truly need but I hide from Him or reject His help. I want to figure it out on my own. Eventually, I realize my way isn’t working and I turn back to God.
You don’t have to join a Pure Desire group. The purpose of this blog isn’t to try and convince you of the value of Pure Desire groups. This podcast and this blog are great resources for learning the benefits of Pure Desire groups. If you’ve experienced betrayal, check out this blog on why a Pure Desire group would be helpful in your healing.
Ultimately, you can choose a different path. But take it from the tens of thousands of men and women who have already walked this road and come to terms with the fact that you will have to make room for your recovery regardless of the path you choose (and it will likely include a group of people).
Addiction and health cannot coexist. The cost of health is addiction. As you begin making room for your recovery to occupy space in your life, your addiction will suffer.
Yes, you’re busy. Yes, it’s going to be inconvenient at times. Yes, you will want to skip some weeks. AND your recovery is absolutely worth the cost.
Get in group.