Over the years, I have noticed there are two types of people in recovery: those who stay hungry for God and seek spiritual growth and those who fill up on the things of the world. This may mean an individual will return to the addiction that they had once broken free from or have become too busy with their family, career, or hobbies. They may be distracted by life events or stressors.
Recently, I was reading how Caroline Leaf, who is known for her work in neuroscience and brain research, reported that the human mind is designed to be addicted to God. We are created to be addicted to something. We were created to be hungry. That hunger will either be filled with things of God or other things of this world.
Those who are filled up with the things of this world come to meetings and therapy to be fed. They participate and faithfully show up, but they are not really doing recovery work. They have been on the same step for months. Their weekly check-ins are more of a show-and-tell than they are about recovery work completed for the week. During the week, they do not call other members to check in. They do the minimum amount of work to keep their spouse from leaving. They are attending group or therapy to save their marriage. Often, they get caught up in comparing their recovery or marriage to others. They are externally motivated by pain or crisis. When their spouse gets angry with them, they become motivated again and get back on track after complacency and passivity have set in. They are not that interested in seeking God or knowing His will for their life. They are not really interested in knowing God as much as just receiving the benefits He offers. They are more interested in how these benefits can serve their own will.
Those who are hungry are making calls to other members during the week on a daily basis. Since they made calls during the week, they are ready to share recovery work they have worked on throughout the week. They are progressing through the steps at a consistent pace. They are internally motivated by the priority of seeking healing for themselves. Whether the marriage makes it or not, they continue to do their work. They are there to do the maximum. They are hungry to learn more and begin to feed themselves by seeking out other materials and resources beyond the required group necessities. They know they are called to holiness, not comparison. They are seeking God and attempting to understand recovery. The 12 Steps are just the beginning of things far bigger and greater that God has planned for them. Life is about knowing God’s will and what God wants for them, not about what they selfishly want. They are obedient to God’s priorities for their life and act on what is asked of them, even when it does not make worldly sense.
Here are some behaviors you will observe with a person filled up with “junk food.”
- They are easily offended and may have an addiction to being offended, believing others have victimized them. They may have a difficult time taking responsibility for their own choices.
- They act entitled and proud. They are not teachable and have a difficult time with correction, as they easily become defensive.
- The old addiction has crept back into their life because of compromise
- They have substituted the enjoyment the benefits of God rather than a relationship with God.
- “I am just too busy.” What they are saying is, “Recovery is no longer a priority. I do not love you or myself enough to stay engaged in this process. I have more important things to do.”
- They seek comfort, have become lazy and content. They no longer want to do the difficult work “in the gym” to become stronger. They are quick starters but not strong finishers. Recovery is a marathon with no finish line.
John Bevere writes that hunger is a sign of being healthy, and God is attracted to hunger. Generally, when you become sick, your appetite is the first thing to go. Not being hungry is a sign of being ill or sick.
Here are behaviors of a person who stays hungry in recovery.
- They seek to understand who God is with others and on their own.
- They spend time reading, praying, and listening to know God’s voice.
- They spend periods of time fasting from things of this world. They may fast from food, several meals, or specific types of food. They may also fast from electronics, social media, a hobby or activity they enjoy in order to use that time to pursue God.
- They have a heart of thankfulness and practice gratitude.
- They spend time serving others and loving difficult people. They have learned to show and love others even when love is not returned.
- They share their story and teach others what God has taught them through the journey. They know recovery is an endless discovery of who God created them to be.
Many couples come to our office hopeless, because they do not know what they don’t know. Yet, there is a more hopeless place… and that is being in recovery, having the knowledge and information, but no longer living it out.
Cory Schortzman is an author, speaker, teacher and licensed mental health professional. Since 2008, he has served as the Executive Director of Transformed Hearts Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He is the founder of SARA, the Sexual Addiction Recovery Association. Cory is passionate about helping couples and individuals overcome sex addiction. He is also passionate about bringing awareness to the public and supporting the elimination of sex and human trafficking. Cory has been married since 1998 to his beautiful wife, Kerry, and lives in Colorado with their four daughters. He and Kerry have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery. He has also been heard on numerous radio programs.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.