Twelve Steps of a Relapse1. I decided I could handle any emotional problems if other people would just quit trying to run my life.2. I firmly believe that there is no greater power than myself and anyone who says differently is insane.3. I made a decision to remove my will and my life from God, who didn’t understand me anyway.4. I made a searching and thorough moral inventory of everyone I know, so they couldn’t fool me and take advantage of my good nature.5. I sought these people out and tried to get them to admit to me, by God, the exact nature of their wrongs.6. I became willing to help these people get rid of their defects of character.7. I was humble enough to ask these people to remove their shortcomings.8. I kept a list of all the people who had harmed me, and waited patiently for a chance to get even.9. I got even with these people whenever possible except when to do so would get me into trouble.10. I continue to take everyone’s inventory and when they are wrong, which is most of the time, I promptly make them admit it.11. Sought through the concentration of my willpower to get God, who didn’t understand me anyhow, to see that my desires were best, and He ought to give me the power to carry them out.12. Having maintained my emotional problems with these steps, I can thoroughly recommend them to others who don’t want to lose their hard-earned status, but wish to be left alone to practice neurosis in everything they do for the rest of their days.
Many of you are wondering if I have gone off the deep end, hit my hardened head AGAIN!, or decided that working the 12 steps of recovery is just too hard. Maybe the first two, but NOT to the latter. I’m simply stating the obvious by turning it around and making my point by reverse reasoning. If I want to live reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy in the next, then there are certain things I need to do. And it starts with the premise that there is a God. The next premise is I’m not. God, that is. You knew that. I tend to forget it. Or, at least I have a tendancy to ACT like I’m God. You know, the “control” thing.
When I looked up the definition of relapse in Webster’s, here’s what I came up with. You ready? Here goes:
1 : the act or an instance of backsliding, worsening, or subsiding 2 : a recurrence of symptoms of a disease after a period of improvement
Sound familiar to anyone? Ever start something with the best of intentions and sputter to a halt in a heap of excuses and rationalizations. Over here! That’s me raising my hand. Not proud of it. Just fact. Painful fact.
Here’s another painful fact. Unless you want to be a sober drunk, a fire-insurance believer, or a spouse in name only, you are going to have to work. LONG, HARD, WORK. Not exactly concepts that are very palatable in our Blackberry-microwave-online banking world of today. Paul said that we are supposed to WORK out our salvation. With fear and trembling, no less. Darn it, I was hoping I could be a shining pillar of evangelical Christianity with Cliff notes and an occasional podcast message on my iPod. Ain’t gonna happen!
Life doesn’t happen by osmosis. I can read all the books there are on the Tour de France and get motivated mentally and psychologically, but until I swing my leg over the seat and place my feet on the pedals and PUSH more than once or twice, I have no idea what riding a bike is like, let alone the dream of competing in a race of ANY distance. The good news for you aspiring Ironmen and Ironwomen is there are quite a few bike clubs around that you can ride with and train with and set goals with, AND hold you accountable and encourage you.
One recovery meeting a week, 30 minutes in church on Sunday, riding the bike around the block-once a week, won’t cut it. Get a home group and get involved. Start a small group of people from your church in your neck of the woods. Join a bike club, or better yet, start one. Work together, grow together, be together.
Did you notice the first word in the 12 steps of a relapse. I-I-I. Over and over. All about me. That’s the first sign of a relapse. Whether it is in a marriage, a church, a recovery program, or a race. It takes a team effort. That’s why the first word in the 12 steps of AA is “we”. It’s why you see bikers work together to cut the wind resistance down to get the team ahead. It’s why Jesus and Paul refer to the church as a “body”, not bodies. In marriage, the two “me’s” become “we”. The many are one. One needs the many. That makes for a healthy body, a winning team, a strong marriage, a permanenent recovery.
So, get ready to work. Together we can do more and be more. You get tired. Let me know. I’ll get your back. Will you get my back if I falter? I can’t live or love or grow without you. That is why God put us all in the same body. We don’t have to relapse, give up, withdraw, or do life alone.
“Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived”. Gal. 6:1-3 Msg