Captain Recovery Strikes Again
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. Philippians 3:17
Early on in my recovery, when the disaster was still brand new, someone told me that I didn’t really respect anyone else. It was true. There was no one I looked up to or listened to because no one was as wise or as smart as me. I knew everything and I knew what was best for me. Yes, I’d made terrible choices in my addiction, but in recovery, I knew what I needed more than anyone else.
This is the opposite of what Alcoholics Anonymous teaches. In treatment, I was told that I must regularly meet with a sponsor (mentor) and my peers to learn about my addiction. The previous times that I’d sought recovery, I refused to continue those activities because I just didn’t need them. Those stints at recovery didn’t last very long. This last time, after being confronted with the criticism that I listened to no one, I realized I needed to begin following. I’d tried being in the lead and it hadn’t worked out very well. If I wanted to stay sober, I needed to change everything, choosing a little humility in the process.
Paul commanded something similar in today’s passage. In it, he told the Philippians to emulate him. He said they must keep their eyes on those who followed Christ. Yes, obeying God was the ultimate goal, but they needed visible, tangible leaders to emulate.
This isn’t an easy concept for me. Seven years sober now and I’m more prone than ever to think that I’ve got it all figured out. People should follow me. I’m Captain Recovery after all. When I’m honest though, I can see that I still need help. I still need guidance, and God often uses those around me to teach me – when I’m humble enough to let him. In regularly meeting with my own mentor and in meeting with others who struggle as I do, I still learn about myself, my addiction, and my faith. As it turns out, I don’t know it all. I still need help, and God uses others in my life – if I let them guide me.
We all need others. Unless we’re perfect, at the top, we all need guidance. Our pride chafes at this. I’ve got it all figured out. I don’t need anyone. Pride keeps us stuck in our past failures. If we desire to continually grow and change, we must regularly meet with others whom we respect, choosing humility, allowing ourselves to be taught. There’s always something we can learn from others – if we let them teach us.