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Leaving the Door to the Old Life Open

Leaving the Door to the Old Life Open

Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Matthew 4:22

In my early attempts at recovery, I pursued sobriety . . . most of the time. From the start, I planned on indulging occasionally. I knew I needed to cut back, but I thought I could take little vacations from sobriety, using every once in a while. It seems foolish now, but at the time it made sense. Like the alcoholic who longs to have just one beer with dinner, I kept the door to the old life open a crack, just in case I needed to go back for a day.

I did go back for a day, which turned into a week, which turned into a month, which turned into an epic disaster. In recovery now, I’ve had to accept that there are some things which I must simply cut out of my life forever. Like the chocolate chips in the cupboard, as long as they’re there, and as long as I keep the option open, sooner or later, I’m going to eat them all.

In today’ passage, Jesus called two brothers, James and John, who (like Peter and Andrew in yesterday’s passage) abandoned fishing to follow Christ. These brothers left not only their boat though, but also their father, to be disciples. They left everything to follow Christ.

The lesson is not that I must leave my family, or that I must quit working, but rather, that if I truly want a new life, I need to be willing to make radical changes. I must be willing to abandon whatever it is that drags me back to the old life. In my case this did once mean leaving a job that contributed to my addiction. As long as I keep the door open to the old life, I’ll eventually get sucked back into it. If I want to know faith and recovery, I must slam the door, considering myself dead to the old way of life.

I’m still working on this with the chocolate chips, but today, thank God, I don’t struggle with taking pills. As I’ve followed God, cutting out the possibility of using, he has transformed my appetites so that I now prefer my relationship with him to the high of the pill. I found the joy of the new life only when I became willing to close the door to the old one.

 

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