It starts with the little slips, in small stages. It’s the big ones that push us over, really. So we aren’t paying attention to the small snowball that we have started rolling down hill.
For me, it could be folding laundry before it’s turned right side out, or hanging clothes before they are ironed. I may start going to bed without washing my face, or skipping teeth, and prayers go by the wayside; I will start fresh tomorrow. I rationalize, minimize. I leave dishes in the sink at night instead of waking to a clean sink. I may have had a backache or a toothache and tell no one. I make a doctor appointment. I get a prescription and tell no one. I hide the bottle. I’m gone. It can happen that fast. If we aren’t enmeshed in Him!!! We must plant ourselves at His feet daily. It’s like water for us, friends. He is our Stronghold now and what an awesome Stronghold!
See, the slippery slope is gradual. It’s hiding things from loved ones, it’s lying or maybe just omitting important details of our lives to the ones we love. Like Adam and Eve naked in the garden, we try to hide from God. We stop talking to Him because why would He want to talk to us when we are deliberately disobeying Him? This, dear friend, is dangerous because cutting Him out is like making a conscious decision to go back to your old way of life! I’ve been there, more than one time. I started this journey of sobriety in 2002 and stayed sober for a year. I got pregnant with my fourth child, had a c-section and I was off and running on a two year relapse. You don’t have to do that. You don’t have to be a slow learner. You can stop that snowball before it becomes an avalanche.
How many times have you heard that relapse is part of recovery? I heard it over and over. Each time I picked up that 24 hour chip, someone made me feel better by saying that. It doesn’t have to be part of your story; relapse, that is. This chapter gives us a handbook on maintaining sobriety, preventing relapse, and keeping that momentum going for God! Evaluate-Meditate-Prayer!
John Baker gives us the guidelines and the how-tos and the why’s of evaluating, meditating, our prayer life and its importance to our maintaining sobriety. I love the check-up on our HEART, don’t you? I heard early in my recovery that when I had a craving I needed to HALT! It meant was I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. If I was, I needed to take care of the issue and stop hard and turn it over to God. It’s like this: If you’re hungry, eat something. Angry? You must let that one go before it becomes a resentment. Lonely? Reach out to your accountability partner or, better yet, step out of yourself and help someone else. And last, are you tired? Rest!!! The Bible tells us so many times that our bodies need rest so that we can listen to Him and allow Him to fill us back up.
This is a spiritual condition, my friend. We have to make sure we are relying on God and not ourselves, or anyone else. Don’t allow anyone to live in your head rent free! Isn’t that a great analogy that the author gives? Make sure you are giving yourself credit for the good that you do. In our daily moral inventory, we are keeping up with our mess-ups, but why not end that on a positive note? Think of something good you did that day and pat yourself on the back and say good job! You are so worth it! Celebrate any victory because your Father celebrates you! Thank Him for the little things…a good parking place, money for extras this month, etc. Thank Him for things yet to come, the blessings He has in store for you. This keeps you in a grateful mode and away from the slippery slope. Claim His word and soak in His promises. His word is the pathway to His heart. This is vital to your maintenance program.
Romans 12:2 says “But be transformed by the renewal of your mind, by its new ideals and its new attitude, so that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Don’t you love the “new this and new that?” Perfect will of God? Everything in His word exhorts us to expect restoration and renewal!
Joel 2:25-26 says “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm and the caterpillar and the palmer worm, my great army which I sent among you. And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord your God, that has dealt wondrously with you and my people shall never be ashamed!” Amen. He doesn’t want us to be ashamed! Renewed, restored, and totally relying on His ability!
Last but not least, if you are feeling weak, and the enemy is creeping in, claim James 4:7, “Resist the devil and submit yourselves to God and the devil will flee from you.” Together we shout a big NO to the enemy and a big YES to Jesus. Together! Shall we?
Lord, thank You for Redeeming us, for loving us and forgiving our wrongs. Daily we disappoint You and yet Your grace is freely given. Lord, we need You to stay with us, help us maintain our healing so that we may carry Your message to all still hurting. We have come a long way! And for those still struggling, keep them safe until they surrender. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.
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