In my second year of studying to become a Chemical Dependency – Lifestyle Disorder Councilor, I took classes with the psychiatrist who directed that program at a hospital that had one of the best residential programs of recovery in the country, and felt blessed. However, that feeling fled when he entered the classroom, which was part of the hospitals educational facility, picked up a piece of chalk, drew a huge circle on the board, turned to face us and exclaimed, “Everything is EVERYTHING!” Thinking this was an absurd statement, I dismissed it, but daily found I could not for each class began this way!
Looking back on my years of study, my internships: one recovery based done in a dually diagnosed chemical dependency unit in a psychiatric hospital, the other preventative done while interning for MADD whose mission was to stop drunk driving and support the families who'd lost loved ones, I quickly learned how true the doctors inclusive statement was, and realized that the circle I though silly was profound! For Everything “is” Indeed Everything!
We are the sum total of all we have lived, felt and experienced. And though recovery is good, I know that the process of restoration through the salvation Jesus offers us is ‘best’. Best because He knows what is in man (you and me), what we’ve not done that we should have, and what we did that we shouldn’t have, and He loves us anyway.
The world with all its recover and other support systems cannot restore or forgive us. And those who work with others that need to stay sober, or work though issues too painful to admit or deal with without help, know that recovery works when those that recover keep coming back, so they won’t end up where they were.
The old adage, “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got,” is applicable here, so let's see what it means when applied to those who’ve been abused. Thinking this through and using the lens of ‘been there done that’, I know that those abused can become abusive, and those who don’t may soon discover that without being abused they don’t feel anything. Put these two, who at one time were both victims together, and the history of their “Everything is Everything” may cause them to inadvertently recreate the very thing they are trying to recover from.
Jesus, knowing that this would happen, says in Mathew 11:28, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” and he does, for he gifts us his shalom, a peace that transcends our earthly issues. With that peace firmly rooted in faith and planted inside our heart, we find a new and better reality is available to us. Not the realty of recover, but the reality of restoration.
You might wonder, since restoration sounds better than recovery, why many chose the latter, so I’ll share my thoughts on this. Since the wolds view of recovery happens in a supportive group process where those who need assistance feel nurtured, heard, and learn to depend upon those who are further along in their process to mentor them, they feel understood. In personal restoration each individual is accountable and commitment to their process. They are supported by a Jesus whom they cannot see, or hear when making this recovery faith, not peer based. Within this process we have to, with Messiahs support, ‘return to the familiar’, meaning we will do what we told ourselves we would not do. But this time we will let Him teach and show us that the 'new life' we have begun when we accepted His atonement is all about trusting Him.
We get to choose: the vicious cycle, which feels more comfortable than talking or praying to a God we cannot see or hear or restoration by making "shuvia", and returning to whom God called us to be and become.