Focus: Staying clean
Jude 1:24-25 (NKJV) Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
Whatever you are battling, be it depression or some kind of dependency, you will need strong will power to ‘stay clean’ once you have ‘been clean’ for a period of time. Lots and lots of people have been through months and even years of recovery thinking they had their problem beat—and then had a relapse. You know the old saying, ‘pride comes before a fall’.
Now, you can listen and/or read!
With the confidence that comes from an extended period of time being free, don’t be surprised if a fleeting thought such as, ‘you’d never become as bad as you were at one time’ passes through your brain—tempting you to just have a little ‘something’ to take the pressure off.
Pressure will come in all kinds of ways to take you back to old patterns. As ugly as depression and addiction are, when you’ve spent a considerable amount of your lifetime in those conditions—at least they are familiar. At melancholy moments—you could fall right back there, so be careful. Be on guard against any compromise for the progress you’ve made. You know you can do this. You’ve made it this far—keep going forward not backward.
Another thing to watch out for is ‘taking a trip down memory lane’. When you are reminded of certain memories that make you feel guilt, sorrow, pain, anger, temptation, or loneliness…tell yourself that those memories are things of the past. Nothing will change them. Feeling depressed or medicating yourself won’t make a bit of difference as far as what happened back then. You might do things different if you had it to do over again, but you can’t do it over again—so you have to let it go. Leave it there.
We can’t re-do the past, but we can make a better ‘now’—by using the understanding and wisdom we’ve gained from our failures. What you want to work toward is having quiet confidence. By that, I mean a humble kind of confidence—not the kind that is cocky and arrogant about your progress. Humble and respectful confidence—knowing you’ve managed to stay clean for a while—but knowing also that you can’t let down your guard.
It’s good to keep measuring your success and reminding yourself of how long you’ve been free. It’s important in your recovery to know that there was a definite ‘time’ when you said, ‘no more’ and started on a better path. Keeping track of your progress is one of the things that will help you stay on the right road. If you don’t remember an exact date—come as close as you can to it and pick a date that marks the beginning of your ‘better life’. If you don’t have that point in time as a reference, the whole effort could begin to seem vague and the temptation to relapse might be stronger.
With depression, it may be a little more difficult to pinpoint an exact date, but you can still try to think of a general time when you started working harder at controlling your isolation, hopelessness, dark thoughts, and other behavior that is characteristic to the problem. That way, if a day comes along when you want to slip back into your old ways—you’ll be able to tell yourself ‘no’ with more determination.
Spending time in prayer and talking with your Heavenly Father is really important. He knows you better than anyone and He loves to listen to what you have to say. He never gets tired of you asking for His help. He delights in you—His special child. He watches you with hopeful eyes, just like a loving parent watches their child learning to take those important first steps. He is excited for each day of progress you are able to make.
God wants you to succeed. He doesn’t like to see you discouraged any more than He likes to see you overly confident. He wants you to stay at the place of trusting Him completely day by day. He knows every detail of your past and what took your attention away from Him in those days. He can help you stay clean if you keep in close contact with Him.
When we are at the point of brokenness and admit our life is out of control—we also acknowledge we can’t make it without the help of God. At that time—we cry out for help and He gives it. But later, when we’ve been free for a while, it’s easy to slip our hand out of His and begin to think we don’t need Him as much because now ‘we’re doing better’.
The only way to stay clean is to stay close to God. Don’t let progress make you proud and cause you to move away from Him.
Declaration: I will continue to find new strength and stay clean by staying close to God. I will not take my progress for granted and become tempted in subtle ways that could cause me to fall into relapse.
If you subscribe to New Strength, a new segment will come to your email each day.
For music selections that will help bring hope and encouragement during your recovery from depression and addiction, https://www.youtube.com/user/NewStrengthMusic/playlists?sort=dd&view=1
All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.