“How many alcoholics does it take to change a light bulb?”
“Ten. One to change the bulb and nine to go to the meeting and say, “I wouldn’t have done it that way.”
The problem is terminal uniqueness, regardless of how compliant the addict or alcoholic seems under certain conditions. The problem is not one of being too weak to say, ‘No’ to that next drink or drug. It’s just the opposite. Addicts and alcoholics are some of the most strong willed people God has placed on this earth. Just ask anyone who has ever been in a relationship with one; and herein lies a glimpse at the foundation of the problem.
Non-addicts and alcoholics generally know when to ask for help. When a problem becomes too great, they stop trying to do it alone. Not so with the afflicted.
Like getting in the fighting ring with a heavy weight boxer, the addict or alcoholic will return to drinking and drugging again and again, and again, and never admit defeat. Convinced beyond all reason that under different circumstances they’ll be able to ‘lick this thing’, they’ll die trying to prove that they’re right.
So it’s not a problem of self will, it’s a problem of humility. Consequently the solution is not an application of will, it’s one of surrender. The understanding that surrender simply means, ‘moving over to the winning side’ does little to move the alcoholic off their mark because they’d rather be right than be happy.
In addition to the belief that they can handle anything and everything on their own, is the unwillingness to compromise (unless it’s on their terms). This insistence upon being in control alienates those near and dear to them who would like nothing better than to somehow be of help.
We all know people who insist on having their way and calling all the shots. The difference with an alcoholic or addict is that if they don’t come around to a more collaborative way of living, they will die trying to prove themselves right.
Even after years of continuous sobriety, the need to be right, and to have others understand their way of seeing things, is the underlying cause of the addict’s pain and confusion.
The path to wellness can only begin with the realization that something has to change, and it’s probably them. The blame thrower has got to go, and this understanding must come from within. No one can convince them of this.
Recovery begins with the desire for change, and the willingness to act on that desire. It begins with a chink in the armour, a little crevice into which the unconditional, unfailing love of God can enter to soften the resistance.
Such love usually finds its way into their lives because God will use just about anybody to carry the message that the suffering and self-loathing of active addiction can end; and that by doing a few simple things on a daily basis, anyone seeking recovery can have as much sobriety or clean time as they want.
The first step is quite literally one of asking God, in all humility and with a sincere desire, for a miracle; and then to do whatever is necessary to stop.
“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7
Jesus Christ is standing by right now. At this very minute, He is waiting to help anyone who asks. Whether the alcoholic is trying to draw their first sober breath or the addict finds themselves at the brink of hell, surrender is the lynch pin that swings wide the gate to freedom. Surrender and ask God for help.
“.. ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9