What is Recovery?
Just the word conjures up so many different things for so many people. From what are we recovering? In the world of addiction behavior do we really want to recover who we were before our addiction life? Is addiction a disease to recover from? In Paul’s letters in the Scriptures Christ is all about making us new in Him. There is much talk about freedom. Freedom from our old habits and life. So if a Christian, who positionally is a new creature, now partakes in sinful addictive habits, does he need to recover his position or simply repent, give up the habits (possibly and very likely a tough journey), and be restored to live out what he already is in Christ.
Steps can be very helpful in the structure of the restoring or “recovery” process. Especially at first as long as the movement is towards freedom in Christ and a responsible God -driven and God -worshipping life.
Groups can give great support and also help in initially restructuring of a life, giving a place for someone to go and not isolate. It is important, however, that these groups do not keep a person fixed in their addictions. A person does not need to continuously reiterate their former identity. Surely it is so much wiser and brings so much more freedom if a Christian uses their real identity, I am a new creature, a child of God with a sinful habit that I need to overcome. For the non Christian this provides a hope beyond simply abstinence and calling themselves by their addiction. It opens the door to the possibility of a new life, a fresh start with the power of God Himself. What a choice! The non Christian now has a choice whereas before he/she was condemned to the idea that there simply was no freedom from their habit. He was a victim to a disease, a theory that I find so flawed and even damaging to the overcoming process of someone struggling with addictive habits. If not a disease then the only other option is to believe in their own human power to overcome and white -knuckle it through. A very unreliable source at best. Their own fallible choices in the midst of difficult circumstances have got them to this point. Nowhere near the compassion and freeing life of Christ.
John and I will be working in a Recovery ministry but one that goes beyond this and truly encourages this new life in Christ. We will be a part of forming strong community and encouraging our participants to reach out to others and not stay in their addictive habits. We use the name of Recovery because that is the name that people recognize but we will be defining what we mean by this term.