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The Road to Recovery

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Fourth, get connected to your pain. We remain stuck in destructive behaviors because they serve a purpose. They are ways we learned to protect ourselves or try to solve our childhood problems. Some, like alcohol, are escapes. We learned others from our parents’ dysfunction. Until we resolve those early pains its incredibly difficult to give up our dysfunctional patterns.

We act out in destructive behaviors
because we don't feel loved.

Fifth, connect with others. At the same time it is absolutely essential that we be connected to loving, accepting, and non-judgmental people with whom we can share our darkest secrets and who will love and accept us as we are. Through their love and acceptance we learn to love and accept ourselves. It is this love that heals us and sets us free. But we can only be loved to the degree that we are known. As the Bible teaches, when we walk in the light and confess our sins and faults to trusted friends we get connected, we find forgiveness, and we are healed.2

Sixth, follow God's plan for recovery. We were damaged in unhealthy family relationships—we are healed in healthy family relationships. The church, when it is functioning as God intended, provides wonderful help in recovery. We can find love, acceptance and forgiveness through Christ and through the family of God.

As the rules for a dysfunctional family are don't talk, don't trust, and don't feel, the rules for a healthy family are talk, trust, and feel. So, to recover from the effects of a dysfunctional family background, you need to find a church or chapel that has recovery and support groups where it is safe to talk, to trust and to feel—where you will be loved for who you are and not for what you have or haven't done.

Small groups—be they care groups, support groups, therapy groups, or twelve-step recovery groups—are the closest thing to a family you can find. And as long as they are open, honest, safe, non-judgmental and loving, they have held the key for the recovery of millions of families and individuals. If you need further help for difficult problems, seek out the help of a professional Christian counselor or psychologist.

Finally, ask for God's help to continue growing. It is important not just to ask for help to overcome acting out symptoms. These negative behaviors show us that something is wrong at a deeper level of our life. So, we need to pray as follows, "God, here are the symptoms I see in my life (name the problems). Will you give me the courage to face the causes behind them and lead me to the help I need to resolve them." If you truly want God's help and do your part, God will help.

1. Exodus 34:7.     
2. 1 John 1:7 with James 5:16

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All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.