What is Recovery?
Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Luke 24:5-6
It’s difficult to describe the soul-crushing hopelessness of addiction to the non-addict. I wanted to stop using, but because I’d engaged in the behavior so many times, I was enslaved. I hated what I was doing, and I hated myself, but I couldn’t stop. The drug consumed me, killing everything good in life. Addiction was like waking up every day to a living death.
I knew there was a way out, but for a long time, I was too cowardly to take it. Then, in the desperation of painful consequences, I finally committed to abandoning myself and following God. This was not painless. I was in so deep that I couldn’t just quietly deal with my little problem. My life was a catastrophe, and it took radical change to transform it. My addiction needed to die a violent death so that I might live.
Now, I don’t live perfectly, but I no longer wake up to the horror of being enslaved to the pill. I now wake up daily, thanking God for the new life he’s given me. Where I used to avoid him, I look forward every morning to my coffee time with God. Where I once knew only the living death of addiction, I now enjoy blessed life, joy, and peace. This is resurrection. This is recovery.
In today’s passage, we’re told of Jesus’ resurrection. Two days prior, hope seemed lost, as Jesus was crucified and laid in a tomb. This wasn’t the end though, but rather, the beginning. At his death, Christ took on our sin, freeing us from the weight it. At his resurrection, he provided the archetype for our new life and recovery.
In following ourselves, we commit spiritual suicide, distancing ourselves from God. In abandoning ourselves and following Christ, we participate in his death and resurrection, finding eternal life. We often think of this as a once-and-done event, but according to Jesus, recovery from the old life is an ongoing process. If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23).
Recovery is resurrection from the old life. This is what the Christian is meant to experience daily. Because we’ve not arrived at perfection, we must daily do what it takes to abandon the old life and pursue the new one. This is blessed recovery.