I Can’t Go to Treatment. I Have a Job.
Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh. And give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate. Genesis 47:19
While using opioids, I wanted to be sober. I would stop using for a few days, but like struggling with a healthy diet, I always gave in eventually. It seemed that I was destined to continue relapsing. The truth though, was that I simply remained unwilling to do what it took to get sober. I just wasn’t desperate enough to go through the discomfort of confession, treatment, and transformation. I had my excuses. I can’t go to treatment. I have a job. That problem eventually solved itself though as I lost my job.
It was only as I was losing everything – family, job, and career – that I became willing to do what it took to find recovery. It had to be made painfully clear to me that I could not continue the life I wanted while I was using drugs. I had to choose. If that choice had never been forced upon me, I’m afraid that I’d have never changed. If I’d have remained successful at hiding my secret life, I’d still be enslaved to drugs. It was only the desperation of profound loss that motivated me to do what it took to change.
Desperation is the theme of today’s passage. In the story, Egypt endured a terrible famine. Joseph however, having been forewarned by God, had Pharaoh stockpile grain in preparation for the famine. In desperation, the Egyptians came to Joseph to buy grain, giving all their money . . . until their money was gone. In further desperation, they eventually traded their livestock for grain . . . until their livestock was gone. Then, in utmost desperation, they traded themselves and their land. In good times, they never would have surrendered their money, livestock, land, and freedom. It was only in extreme desperation that they did whatever it took to survive.
I can’t go to treatment. I have a job. I hear this kind of thing often from my patients who aren’t yet desperate enough to do what it takes to find recovery. This always makes me sad because I know what’s coming. I know that job-problem is going to take care of itself as their going to lose their job due to their addiction.
The lesson for me is that in recovery, I must be willing to seek daily growth before I inflict desperation upon myself. In my stubbornness, God has used the misery of my self-destruction to make me desperate. It doesn’t have to be this way though. Daily, I can seek transformation as I continually work at abandoning my way for God’s. My way is misery. God’s way is life. So, today, and every day, I must seek God and his will for me, before I find desperation in my self-inflicted pain.