I tip my hat to everyone who showed up at CR this week for Lesson 1. It takes courage to walk in the door on a night when the lesson is on denial. Because let’s face it, if you attend doesn’t that look like you are admitting defeat? Or maybe you think that lesson is only for people who walk around with a big ‘L’ on their forehead (for Loser).
On the contrary, coming to CR any night is like wearing a sign that says, “I’m a grateful Believer in Jesus Christ.” They generally don’t feel that way at their first few meetings, but if they give the program a chance, keep showing up to meetings, and working the steps, they start to see external changes in their lives—soon followed by internal changes in their heart. The transformation is remarkable.
Those changes start with coming out of denial about whatever hurt, hang-up, or habit is keeping us stuck in life. The problem is that our denial is often masking what that is. People around us may know what the ‘pink elephant’ is, but we could be oblivious to it. That is where I was ten years ago.
I am a recovering workaholic, maybe not who you might typically associate with this kind of program. (Participants work on a variety of life’s struggles, not just addictions.) It took a painful demotion for me to come out of denial about my compulsive work behavior.
It was the wake-up call that I needed to look inward at my life. There is a huge story behind all of this, but the point is that God used this life-changing event to transform me. He used it to point me toward Him and He used it to help me take responsibility for my decisions and behaviors that led me down that path of self-destruction.
What is so ironic—and humorous in hindsight—is that although my boss demoted me for my lack of people skills, God has ‘promoted’ me and abundantly used me in this area. He has taken me out of my analytical walk to one of faith and obedience from my heart. Sure I am very detail oriented. I am a good organizer and highly capable of managing projects. But the area that I get the most satisfaction with is in the trenches of working through the struggles of life—of connecting one on one or in small groups with others who are hungry for spiritual growth and recovery.
At first I attended CR for my compulsive work habits, but I soon came to realize that these principles were needed in all areas of my life. It was about embracing a lifestyle change that put Jesus first in my heart, mind, and soul. It was about the character building that I needed to become more like Christ. Lastly, it was allowing Him to turn my failure into victory.
Ten years later, I am grateful for that experience and still sold out for Jesus. My identity is no longer wrapped up in what I do, but is now based on who I am. My identity is in Christ.
So coming out of denial isn’t really admitting defeat. For me, it was admitting that I needed to surrender my work addiction to Jesus and the structure of the biblical 12-steps. I also admitted I was spiritually poor, and that I needed help. That doesn’t mean I wear an ‘L’ on my forehead, nor did I ten years ago. I wear a ‘V’ because I am victorious in Christ, thanks to Celebrate Recovery.
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.” Matthew 5:3
Contributed by a leader at Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau.