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Finding the Power to Change
You may have come to the conclusion that you just can't change. There is hope. Here are some factors that may influence your ability to change.

Nothing changes, if nothing changes.

This was one of the first things I ever heard in recovery. It was explained to me that I needed to change people, places and things in my life.

When a person is that down it's difficult for them to see that there is a good life ahead…

In other words I had to stop hanging out with people who were using drugs, stop hanging out at bars and I had to stop my illegal activity. By the end of my addiction I had burned so many bridges and lost a vast number of my 'good' friends. I needed to start making good and healthy choices. However, that was easier said than done. Deep down inside I didn't believe that I deserved a quality life.

I run into that same thinking when helping others along their walk into, and through recovery. None of us woke up one day and said, "You know what, I feel so good today that I'm going to check myself into detox, or a treatment program, or a psychiatric hospital," or "I'm having such a good time drinking, drugging and gambling that I'm going to go to a 12-Step meeting. It simply doesn't work that way. So many people, myself included, that do make it into recovery were broken – at the end of their rope. Countless individuals will tell you that they were physically, emotionally, morally and spiritually bankrupt. When a person is that down it's difficult for them to see that there is a good life ahead...if they are willing to listen and change.

Some of us may have come to the conclusion that we just can't change. However, if we are willing to place our life into God's hands, there is always hope for an affirmative outcome. No matter how appalling our past has been, or how terribly we've been hurt, we can choose to make changes that will positively affect our mind, body and spirit.

Titus 2:11-14 says, "For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our Saviour, Jesus Christ will be revealed. He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people, totally committed to doing what is right."

That sounds like a tall order; however, we can never make much progress in recovery when we are isolated from others. Developing healthy relationships goes right along with turning our life over to God. On our own we are helpless against the power of our dependency. God often uses other people to give us the help and encouragement to persevere. In Titus, Paul urges him to be accountable to others. By depending on others, he was able to stand firm and mirror God's love and power in his life.

I could not have changed my life by hanging out with my old buddies, not because they were bad people, but because none of them were in recovery, or even interested in recovery. I chose to immerse myself in my early recovery. I needed to learn self-discipline. I had to make major changes in my life in order to save my life. Self-discipline does not cancel our need for God's power, just as God's gracious help does not negate our need for self-discipline. Both are necessary in a successful recovery program.

By throwing myself into my walk with Christ and my recovery, I have been blessed with much. I have learned to listen and learn. God uses many wise people to convey His messages and guidance.

Recovery is overly simplistic. Once I get past all the excuses, rationalization and justifications I realize that if my program of recovery isn't working, I need only look in the mirror to find the person at fault. The great thing is that all you need to do is turn to God and humbly ask for His help.

Ten years ago I never would have thought to, or even cared to do that. However, nothing changes if nothing changes. I chose to change. Will you?

Glenn Allan is the director of media, public relations and development for Promise Keepers Canada.  As part of PKC, Glenn also hosts “The Edge” on Goodnews Sports – a program that discusses issues important to men.  Visit the Goodnews Sports website for airing details in your area. Glenn also hosts Living Clean, a television show for individuals suffering with addictions and mental health illnesses. Living Clean airs live on Sunday evenings at 11:30 p.m. on CTS TV.

Originally published in Beacon, March/April 2008.




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