The Little Things
But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. Luke 21:34
Whenever I have a chance to talk to someone who has relapsed and is now returning to recovery, I ask if they’re willing to tell their story. It rarely starts out with, I just decided to throw it all away one day. They’ve made a disaster of life, but the story never starts out at the disaster. It starts out weeks or months prior, when they started compromising on the little things.
I’d been going to church and meetings, but I started skipping. One skip turned into two, and soon I just wasn’t going at all. Then I started hanging around old friends who were still using. Then I met a girl who was using . . . Soon, I was back at the old life.
Relapse into the old life – and the subsequent disaster – doesn’t happen all at once. It starts with small indulgences, following ourselves instead of God in small things. Once we surrender a little to our self-destructive appetites, the next failure is far easier.
Step 10 of AA states that, We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. A vital component of recovery is to continually and honestly reflect on our lives. What did I do right today? Where did I go wrong? What do I need to change tomorrow?
In today’s passage, Jesus provided the foundation for Step 10, commanding his followers to watch yourselves. He said that if they gradually became weighed down with the distractions of life, disaster would come suddenly and unexpectedly.
Daily, if we want to experience the joy and peace of a new life, we must take inventory of even the little things. Small poor decisions eventually lead to big ones. Once we open the bag of chips, we’ve set in motion a chain of events that’s hard to stop. We’d do better if we’d never bought the chips in the first place.
I’m not saying that eating junk food today will necessarily lead to relapse tomorrow. I am saying that indulging in a life-pattern of surrendering to my appetites is what led me to my drug addiction. If I want to remain in recovery, I must watch myself – even in the little things – daily abandoning the old life for the new one.