Spiritually speaking, the Covid-19 crisis is a terrific revealer of our spiritual state, the current quality of our inner being. The same state of affairs that causes some people to hoard supermarket products inspires a local business to give those same products away free to those who need them. The same event that causes some people to retreat into isolation motivates others to connect as much as possible, knowing how vital fellowship can be at a time like this. Yes, we are being tested.
So what does healthy recovery look like now in this unforeseen set of cultural circumstances? The opportunities are directly in front of us, if we will take advantage of them. What are they? What is God and the program of recovery calling us to do?
1. Stay Connected. Look at the image above. You know what it depicts. A predator seeks out out the weakest or youngest member of a herd, separates them from the pack and devours them. This is a physical depiction of 1 Peter 5:8. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Use this time as an opportunity to attend more meetings, not fewer. Many are online. It takes no time to travel to and from meetings these days. Take advantage. This is time to advance, not retreat.
2. Deepen your relationship with God. Some of us have more time for quiet, Scripture study, meditation and prayer. Though we are in what our leaders are calling a “war,” this can also a time of peace and serenity at home. “Strengthen yourselves in a time of peace” an old chorus goes. If you are in recovery, take up specific Step work. Read literature. Answer questions in Step workbooks. Meet with your sponsor. If we do many of these things, we will re-emerge stronger and more centered when life returns to relative normality.
3. Plan ahead. Think Ahead. Many of us are working from home these days or have been laid off. As much as we are anxious for things to return to normal, we may be waiting longer than we think. It is easy to let days drift by with little focus. This time is a gift, if we will learn to see it this way. Here are some ideas on how to use it.
Devote time each day to reading. Pick something that will challenge or inform your soul.
Proactively call, family, friends, recovery partners and older people in your church who might be lonely. My wife and I are involved in a once a week call with five older people in our church. It helps us all to stay connected.
Get outside for exercise. Better yet, take someone with you on your walk or bike ride. This is a great time to have uninterrupted conversation. For many years, I ran as my preferred exercise, mostly alone. But having developed arthritis in my knees, I now walk. I can now go with my wife and enjoy a period of uninterrupted conversation and connection with her. If you ask someone to go with you, this becomes a multifaceted event.
4. Realize that lust struggles are not suddenly cured because you are staying home. At our recent men’s conference, one person wrote in their evaluation, “Glad to know addiction is not forever.” Not exactly. The shared experience of 85 years of recovery is that the vast majority of people addicted to alcohol, drugs, lust and other behaviors will need an ongoing program for the rest of their lives.
We never limit God’s power to perform miracles nor fail to listen to the experience of others. “We know only a little.” But our experience tells us there are far more people who leave the program of recovery who should stay than there are those who stay who should feel free to leave. And if the a core reason to stay is to help the next struggling lustaholic, why would we want to leave? We are not just being called to surrender lust but also the self-centered lifestyle which tells us things are “just about me.”
Moreover, many of us have experienced “good lust days” but only because we never left the house. Now is not the time to coast but to take advantage of the unusual time God has given us. This is “our time to thrive,” if we will accept the gift God is giving us.
As usual, feel free to contact us for help, questions or your own valuable experience..