The Four Pursuits
For years I struggled with addiction. And even today I still have the continuous gnawing in the back of my mind, attempting to draw me back. I have to continuously remind myself of the destruction it will lead me into. I am constantly tempted with the thought , ” You can control it, just a couple drinks and be done with it like normal people.” However, as painful as it is to admit, I am not “normal” in that sense. While I have failed miserably in the past, I have found some wisdom that has allowed me to continue on in the fight for recovery. Listed below are the four things we pursue as human beings in an attempt to fill the deep angst in our bones in this life. As an addict I can say the failure in these areas led me to greater substance abuse to numb or help ignore that these things were not doing what I was taught by society they would do.
I was always taught by society that a better version of myself will always lead to a better life. I got involved in kickboxing, martial arts, and snowboarding. I joined the U.S. Army, deployed, and traveled thousands of miles throughout all of Iraq during one of the bloodiest years in that war. Once I got out I had a beautiful wife and three strapping young boys, I made a substantial amount of income, and a beautiful home. However, there was this angst inside of me screaming for more that I always tried to chase away with some form of substance, but to no avail was that void filled. A better version of you will truly never satisfy. You will always be your biggest critic and this is the lie that society rings from the bell tolls.
When I was younger and on the “prowl,” and deep into my addiction, I was convinced that an innocent and straight edge woman would be able to straighten me out. However, I always found myself stuck in this limbo of trying to live in both worlds; in the darkness of my secret world and hers. When I became married, I always put an expectation on my wife that she could never meet, or anyone for that matter. I speak with younger college students and clients at our facility who seem to always miss this point. They are always attempting to find their identity in another person, that someone will complete them. Can they be your best friend? Yes! But they can never satisfy that deep urge inside of you for something more.
This is certainly a tricky one, because the world is fun and awesome in many facets. The truth is the world offers only temporary relief through your job, hobbies, or even dining – just to name a few. While these things are amazing they cannot define or complete you. The things you scramble for in this life to attain will end up in a garage sale or at the dump. Your job will be passed to another and the identity you strived so hard for in things will soon pass away.
I know many of us could disagree in this area, but for the sake of conversation, allow me to briefly describe religion. It is our attempt to tilt the scales of righteousness in our favor, by doing good works. In reality, this is just SELF with a robe. You can never tilt scales that do not exist. In my past I always tried to do the right thing; serve my country, give change to the guy on the corner, or whatever good deed for the day I could attain. Unfortunately, just like the world it only satisfied for a moment before I was reminded how far from a good person I actually was.
What’s the point? The point is all of these things will fail you continuously. The world will tell you to go further and deeper; be a better you, find that one person, live life to the fullest, become a better person, and someday you will find serenity. While I can agree these are good things to strive for, they will never fill you. The world leaves out the foundation, the very void we so often seek to fill is and always will be found in Jesus Christ.
“But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again–ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.” John 14:4 (HCSB) What Jesus is saying here is that you can continue to drink from the cup of the world but it will never satisfy, but He will fill you up in a way the world never could.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.…” Matthew 11:28-29 (HCSB) You have toiled and burned yourself out over these pursuits in life, they will never complete you, but He can and will if you are willing.
Here at Revival Recovery we aim to bring awareness to you or your loved one who might be struggling with substance abuse. To train them up and strengthen them and make them aware of these pitfalls. Without Jesus we are nothing. Take the next step and contact us as we humbly walk side by side into recovery through Christ!
Excerpt from Pastor Matt Chandler “Recovering Redemption” series.