The Addict’s Best Thinking
Wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” Matthew 2:1-2
For the first time in a long time, I missed blogging this morning. As we drove home from the cities late last night (big basketball game), I calculated how much sleep I could get before work today and realized something had to go. I decided to skip the gym (gasp!), and I knew I could make up my blog in the afternoon. However, I couldn’t imagine not taking at least 15 minutes in the morning to read, pray, and point my day at God. I don’t mention this to tell you what a great Christian I am. I do it to make clear how desperate I am to never return to addiction. I don’t live perfectly, but I won’t to go back to that disaster, so, I’ve promised myself that I’ll daily pursue faith and recovery.
This hasn’t always been the case. Being awake at 2:00AM reminded me of another life, where staying up all night was just part of the job. Disruptive sleep patterns were always a trigger for me to use and I realized several years ago that my job, at that time, was part of my problem. I thought about quitting, but I liked the paycheck, so I considered quitting about as much as I considered treatment.
Ultimately, I refused to change until choices were made for me. I knew I needed sobriety, but I thought what every addict thinks: I don’t need to change anything and I certainly don’t need to go to treatment. I’ll do this my way. Even after losing my job, I probably still wouldn’t have gone to treatment if I hadn’t been threatened with loss of career and family.
Diseased thinking is a profound problem for the addict, who, despite suffering terrible consequences from his best logic, still believes that he should follow himself. No one tells me what to do. I’ll figure this out on my own. I know best. The addict, whether or not he realizes it, is well-acquainted with profound foolishness.
As I was driving last night, pontificating today’s passage, I contrasted the addict’s foolishness to the Wise Men in the story. These seekers, whom we know little else about, dedicated themselves to finding Christ. The journey consumed their lives and they didn’t stop until they found Jesus. When they did find him, they gave extravagantly, bowing down in worship.
The lesson here almost writes itself. In following me, I’m a fool, pursuing futility and emptiness. Even in attempting recovery, doing it my way led to miserable failure. My best thinking has proved worthless. A wise man on the other hand, daily does whatever it takes to sacrifice self, seeking Christ above all.