How’d You Do It?
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 1 Peter 5:9
Alcoholics Anonymous has a tradition of celebrating clean time. Whenever someone who’s struggled with addiction has a significant amount of sobriety, he or she stands in front of the group as everyone asks, How’d you do it? Those who’ve experienced success are meant to share their strength, joy, and hope with others.
If I had to explain the behavior behind my recovery, I could easily point to today’s passage to sum up what I’ve done to stay sober. In the passage, Peter spoke of the devil – the incarnation of evil – and prescribed three general behaviors that we must purposefully engage in to avoid evil’s influence in our lives. First, he said we must do what it takes to resist or separate ourselves from that which would destroy us. Second, we must practice our faith, daily pointing our lives at God. Third, Peter taught that we must do this in community with others who’re going in the same direction that we want our lives to go.
First – Resistance. God doesn’t leave us alone, but he does ask that we do whatever it takes to separate ourselves from our self-destructive appetites. If we’re addicted to drugs, that will likely mean treatment, meetings, abandoning using friends, and changing our lives. If we’re addicted to pornography, that may mean confession, getting a dumb phone, and meeting with accountability partners. If anger is our life problem, we may need counseling, meditation, and/or medical help. Whatever our struggle is, we bear significant responsibility to abandon it.
Second – Faith. The meaning of life is to know God, experiencing an intimate relationship with him. Daily, we must point our lives at the father. This, in fact, is how I would define faith – to keep our eyes on God, making our thoughts, words, and actions follow. In doing so, we know him and experience his will for our lives, becoming who he made us to be. God created us to experience joy, peace, and authentic life, but we find those things only in following him.
Third – Community. We’re not alone. We all have struggles but our burdens are lighter if we share them. In our failures, we prefer to hide and isolate, but that only makes things worse. In meeting with others, we realize we’re not on our own and we find inspiration to be better. God created us for community and we’re far better together than we are alone.
How’d I do it? I radically abandoned my drugs, I pointed my life at God, and I did it all with brothers who understand my struggle.