As I watch people move in "recovery" from their addictions, there seems to be some who move quickly in recovery, moving rapidly thru the 12-steps of recovery, then there seems to be others that struggle and move forward slowly. As they move forward changing their "old ways", and incorporating "new ways" of doing life, there lives do improve. Those who incorporate the 12-steps of recovery into their life as a lifestyle appear to become more stable than those who don't. But many who have been doing the 12-steps for years, appear to hit a plateau in which their life from the outside appears to be "stale", "routine", and not filled with the "joy" and "excitement" of new sobriety and the beginnings of "new recovery". So what has happened to them? Could it be that "growth" in the ways of recovery have become more important than "growth" of something more important than recovery?
At the end of the day, if recovery is based on a "spiritual awakening" occurring in a person's life, then continual growth and improvement in one's life I believe is tied in very closely with the growth of one's personal relationship with their Higher Power/God. So how is your relationship and GROWTH in your relationship with your Higher Power/God going at the moment?
I discovered for myself, that my own relationship with God is always moving in one of two directions. My relationship with God is either increasing in closeness or decreasing; it never stays the same! My relationship with Him is always based on my efforts and my investments in my relationship with Him.
The efforts that I put into My relationship with God which improve my relationship with Him are (1) time spent with God in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving; (2) studying God's Word (The Bible) which has the power of renewing my mind as well as building up my faith in God; (3) going to church (Impact Fellowship in Kerrville) and receiving "truth" packaged in the form of sermons and praise and worship in a group setting; (4) spending time (fellowship) with like-minded believers in which we share the latest greatest things God is doing in our lives which gives encouragement and builds up my faith and hope for God to move in my life; (5) volunteering at a prayer ministry in which I use my gifts to bless others as well as receive the blessing of seeing the demonstrated "Power of God" changing others' lives.
So for those in AA/NA 12-step meetings, what are you doing to improve your relationship with your Higher Power/God? To me AA/NA is great for getting you connected to your Higher Power/God, but it is very limited in its ability to assist you in growing in your relationship with your Higher Power/God beyond a certain point . . . I believe you must at some point in your recovery go outside of AA/NA to continue your growth in your relationship with your Higher Power/God. AA/NA were created to help you get sober and to come into "Recovery", which has to happen before anything else good can happen in your life. But having said that, AA/NA has only limited capacity to develop and mature your personal relationship with a Higher Power/God.
For myself, I have found growth and development of my relationship with God results in me being "always satisfied and always fulfilled." My investments of time, talent, and money in my relationship with God always produce wonderful fruit in my life - "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galations 5:22-24). In addition, as my relationship with God grows, I find that my own life grows and expands in ways beyond my own imagination.
So what am I saying? There is MORE beyond Recovery! Don't settle just for "Recovery", go for "MORE THAN RECOVERY", which is "life and life in abundance" as promised in John 10:10 of the Bible! Discover MORE now in Jesus' name!
Take care and God bless you all on your journey!
Christopher James Daniel, LPC.