Where have we come from and where can we go from here?
Some of us come from families in crisis, which made chaos and dysfunction feel normal. In that environment, we learned to distrust others and distrust ourselves. Our longings and dreams became liabilities, and we masked them with other feelings like anger, shame, guilt, fear and anxiety, or we became emotionally flat. Our choices and behaviors brought us into conflict with powerful people, and we learned how to manipulate to get what we wanted. We ran and hid. We lied and circled the drain of life. We told ourselves that we had failed, that we are incompetent – other people have nice houses, a new car, a job, an intact family, good friends and money in the bank. We must be bad, defective or broken. But then, in a truly heroic way, we can discover a path that presents us with an opportunity to risk everything we knew about how life works and take a different path. We can take a stand and say, “Not today; today I will believe in a loving personal God who has a plan for my life and a place for me in His epic rescue of all mankind.” Some of us come from healthy, loving families who did all they knew how to do to help us. In spite of this support system, we made decisions and choices that lead us into the company of ‘friends’ who introduced us to drugs and alcohol. It was exciting and rewarding at first, but soon came a harsh taskmaster: lies and choices that got us to places we never imagined we would go. Friends we knew and loved began to die. Arrests and forgotten promises made in jail cells became part of a growing realization that we were enslaved and headed to prison or to death. We began to feel desperation, despair, and doubt. But then, somehow, we began to dare to hope again. We started to realize that change was possible, but only when we allowed it to happen. So, in a truly courageous act, we turned to a pursuing God and embraced a recovery process. The good news is that our wounds can heal and we can become strong again. As long as we are alive, it is never hopeless or too late to let the healing process begin. We can go places together that we can’t and won’t go alone. So together, in the company of men who have offered a long obedience to God in the same direction, we, one day at a time, choose life and recovery and restoration. Let it begin!