Tag Archive: marriage

Photo credit: Woman's Day

Photo credit: Woman’s Day

Confession time! The transformation of recovery isn’t complete when Self keeps taking charge.

For the last couple weeks, I have moved, for the most part, into a guest bedroom in my house, partially to study without disturbing my precious bride, but mostly to hide from disappointment. I have repeatedly told the one who loves me that I was giving her “space to have her own way.” The truth is I have grown increasingly impatient, even intolerant, with her decisions lately. I have judged her actions as being based on her whim and emotion, when they are more than likely only lacking what I would deem an appropriate level of consideration of my own will, wish, and way. Either way, I am using isolation as a shield for disappointment, whether the expectations that feed it are realistic and fair or not.

Last night, while I fell asleep alongside her for a change, my mind and mouth were engaged even in the twilight of wakefulness. In the mental fog where the lies that support justifications begin to buckle under the weight of truth, I had some profound thoughts that escaped by way of mumbled, almost hypnotic, verbal expression. I confessed to my precious bride that, more than anything else, I am afraid of her. Not that I am afraid of her intentions or convictions, but that her intellect is not behind the wheel. After acknowledging my fear that her emotional navigation would run us, or more accurately – me, amok, I was forced to acknowledge that isolating myself from her to prevent injury puts my own emotions at the helm of my life, and so, constitutes me becoming the monster of which I was afraid.

The last thought I remember uttering before drifting off was that she is worth whatever pain I may experience, whatever it takes. As I recall what Christ endured for His Church (Ephesians 5:25), I am reminded that I have “not yet suffered to the point of shedding (my) blood” (Hebrews 12:4). I have not done everything I can. I have avoided pain by disengaging. I have behaved according to my own self-interest rather than sacrificing myself “as an act of worship” (Romans 12:1) giving preference to those around me. “As a dog returns to his vomit” (Proverbs 26:11) I have put Self on the throne of God yet again!

“Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity…” (AA, 62).

Holy Father, rescue me from the bondage of self!* I have wandered back into my old cage, and it is dark and lonely in here. Deliver me so I can be relevant to those You have placed in my path, and that You, not me, may be glorified. Make Your light shine on me and reflect onto others, that they may be attracted to You and discover for themselves that You are able and willing to deliver us from our prisons, no matter how comfortable we have made them. Empower me to do Your will only always. Through Christ our Lord, amen!


* (a variation of AA’s Step Three Prayer, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 63)


CAVEAT: If you wanted to read an uplifting story of a perfect life, you’ve come to the wrong blog!

I am still food-abstinent by the grace of God, one more day at a time.  If emotional relapse counted, I would be taking a white chip at my next meeting.  Abstinence does not equal recovery, and last night my recovery lapsed!  Relationship seminars are usually difficult for my wife and me because my wife would be great at marriage, except that she is married to me.  I had all the tools to successfully navigate the class: a recent study on carefully timing tough conversations and approaching them with care, forgiveness, and love; a large crowd that should have kept my mouth shut; my journal in my lap, I could have written in rather than saying what I said; and prayer, if I had thought to use it, would have been a silent warrior against my waving tongue.  In keeping with the defective character of an abusive self-servant howerver, one overly-honest, under-caring, unprepared statement later, and I traded my hero’s cape for a villain’s maul.  “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

   So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” (Romans 7:24-25)



From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

The change in me, which indeed does occur, has shown me once again that the secret of success lies in surrender.


My way is toxic!  I have to remember that my self-will is what keeps me sick, and it does so by harming others and making me ashamed, or harming myself and making me afraid.  Surrendering my wishes to the needs of others and to my limited understanding of the will of God will free me from the repeated scourging that comes every time I try to serve my whims.  As painfully obvious as this is, one might more swiftly adopt this fresh way of living, but I have proven obstinate time and time again, lapsing into criticism or rage.

From Proverbs Chapter 28:

18 He whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall.

…and I’m glad too!  Who wants to find out they made good time, but on the wrong road?  I would rather fall a thousand times on the road to Hell, realize it, and turn around, than to get there unobstructed, celebrating being first in line.  Here is another reason: I don’t want to be alone, and I drive people away when my disease takes charge of my character.  I was avoiding the message of verse 12, until I read it again in verse 28.  Compare them for yourself:

12 When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, men go into hiding.

28 When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.

This is what happens at my house when the wicked in me rises to power, and I hate it!  May the wicked that has risen to power in me perish this morning, that I might be rescued from the bondage of self.  “…but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13)


From my reading through the Bible, currently in Ezra 9:

Ezra was made aware of a grievous sin of Israel.  Ironically, it had to do with marriage.  His spirit was overwhelmed by the guilt and shame of his people.  I will shut up and let his words speak:

5 Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the LORD my God 6 and prayed:

   “O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. 7 From the days of our forefathers until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity…”

 13 “What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins have deserved…

 15 O LORD, God of Israel, you are righteous! …Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.”

Humility and submission are the order of the day.  God, by Your grace alone can I stand.  Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Your will.  I pray that you now remove every single defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows.  Grant me strength as I go out from here to do Your bidding.  Amen!

From The “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 127:

Since the home has suffered more than anything else, it is well that a man exert himself there. He is not likely to get far in any direction if he fails to show unselfishness and love under his own roof.

3 John 2, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – OD@aT