We Are Better Together
Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20
In recovery, I’m finding that I must do a lot of things that are the exact opposite of my addictive behavior. In my addiction, I isolated. I know a lot of addicts use with friends, but that wasn’t me. In my shame and fear of discovery, I desperately tried to hide my problem. When I did get together with friends, the purpose wasn’t usually to spur each other on in faith. I certainly didn’t want to spend time with anyone who was seeking recovery.
Even when I first attempted sobriety, I loathed recovery meetings. Some of it was out of embarrassment and some of it was out of laziness, but I just had no desire to attend AA. I wasn’t going to be dumb enough to return to drug use and I certainly didn’t need help from those addicts and alcoholics. I refused to address my problem and I refused to meet regularly with others like me and so, I relapsed.
In today’s passage – though it isn’t specifically about addiction – Jesus teaches that those who desire to follow God must meet with those who are going in the same direction. In meeting with those who follow him, Jesus promises his presence. Though God is ever-present, Jesus says that there is something particularly powerful about meeting together with other disciples.
Alcoholics Anonymous teaches something similar, that the alcoholic must regularly meet with others who understand his struggle and with those who desire faith and recovery. In neglecting to do so, the addict – and the disciple – forfeits the profound power found in community. We are better together than we are alone.
Now, in pursuit of authentic recovery myself, I have found that I must meet regularly with those who are also seeking the things that I’m seeking. I cannot begin in a single blog to explain how integral it has been for my transformation to meet for coffee weekly with a group of trusted brothers who understand what I’m going through.
It may be inconvenient, and it may be uncomfortable, but if we truly want to see change in our lives, if we truly want recovery, and if we truly want faith, then we must listen to Jesus, meeting with others who follow him as we do.