Recovery, it’s not a quick fix. It takes time, humility, prayer and a whole lot of effort. God wants to give us victory over our character defects. He is the God of my past, present, and future. But the positive changes found in working Principle 5 can only be made in the present. I can’t change one thing I’ve done or one thing that’s happened to me in my past.
Asking God is a humble petition. God wants to change my nature to His, not modify my behavior. God wants to work in me to reveal my defects, the patterns of choices in my life and why I made those character defect revealing decisions (fear, pride, selfishness). When I humble myself enough to see that God is the only answer to my need for growth, maturity, and a sober life, then I can humbly ask him to remove my defects of character. Then I can be useful to God and stay on the path of a blessed life.
Principle 5 for me is about preparing for changes in my life. Before I can experience behavioral changes in my life, I believe there must be a change in my heart. The word heart means “the center of being.” If I want to overcome my addictions, dependencies, and problems, I must begin to change at the core of my being. To change my heart I must be willing to change it all.
Do I want to get well? It’s a question of will. Am I willing to give up my lifestyle?
Many times I said to myself, “I’m tired of living this way.” But it was easier to keep doing things the same way. I would say I was ready for change, but only on my terms (pride). Change was frightening because of the fear of the unknown, but the unhealthy way was familiar. I thought something might eventually change in my circumstances.
But it didn’t; I wanted to get well! Was I ready for what’s next? Was I entirely ready?
Principle 5 is asking if I’m ready to do it right this time, to let God do the changing. Some of my behaviors were so engrained I hardly knew I was doing them. They were a part of me and I didn’t want to give them up. But I needed to see that this isn’t an all or nothing Principle. It’s about willingness—willing to change.
I certainly haven’t arrived at perfect readiness, but at least I’m entirely ready to move forward and press on for wholeness and willing to start cleaning house in my life. Only my attitude will hold me back.
Taking ownership of my defects is new for me. It means I’m taking ownership and responsibility for my attitude and behaviors, but not responsibility for changing these things. That’s in God’s hands. I’ve stopped blaming, started facing my fears in my inventory, and begun sharing my inventory with someone else. I have faced my fear of releasing my defects; this is leading to serenity in my life, not insanity. It’s only through my brokenness that I’m able to experience success in living according to God’s standards for me. I experience more of His love when I come to Him in humility and brokenness.
“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.”
Contributed by a leader at Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau.