Am I my brother’s keeper?

Here at Helping Up Mission, we know the importance of staying connected to others.  Of course, in doing so, we need to be honest with ourselves and the others with whom we are connecting.  Richard felt the need to give this letter to another guy but wanted his sponsor to look it over first.  He couldn’t get in touch with his sponsor, so he decided to ask me.  I read it and thougth he better send it.  I also thought you might like to read it, too.  Richard gave me permission.

Dear Terrance,
Good morning and God bless you. I have only known you for a short while but after the way you spoke at the meeting last night, and the conversation we had following the meeting, I feel compelled to write this short note.

God has so much for you and that does not always mean that we take the first thing that comes in our recovery. Recovery is a process and it should be the most important thing in our lives. We can develop a program, and a support group, and live out our lives in peace and serenity if we have the capacity and perseverance to live within the parameters of the network we develop.

The process takes time; in the least, for most of us, two to three years. We need to build relationships and put recovery first, before anything else and there are good reasons we do this. People like you and me who have a shattered and broken past and a long history of running from it really have to develop this program over a period of time. It takes time and hard work to be clean, sober, and successful so that we develop what we need to continue the journey.

Eleven months is, in most cases, not nearly enough time. In your case, with the breakdown you talk about having a month ago and all of the challenges you are facing with your wife’s cancer it scares me to hear you say that you are ready to take this step out at this time in your life.

It’s only been a month since you drank and I feel deeply that you are minimizing that incident. Even without considering that, you had a short ten months sober before your breakdown. That combined with the fact you have not been working closely with your sponsor or your therapist lately creates a storm of red flags in my opinion.

Satan has a way of tempting us in ways that are almost too good to be realistic and they generally are unrealistic. Short term gratification seldom is healthy for people like us who have suffered so much in the grips of our self generated circumstances. We must, first and foremost, take charge of our recovery. Only after we have learned a healthy way to live can we step out and take on the challenges we face. Please don’t undermine the importance of putting your recovery first.

You will be no worldly good to anyone, especially yourself, if you are not prepared when you step out. Remember the reality of what got you to this point in your life and be rigorously honest with yourself about the seriousness of the way you interpret God’s will. It very well may not be God’s will but Satan’s work that is urging you to make this decision at this perilous juncture in your life.

You have solicited several people’s advice and we both know what that advice has been. Please consider all of this but most importantly earnestly pray about this and make sure, for the sake of you and your family, that this voice that you say you are hearing is truly God’s voice and not Satan’s. God has always taken care of you and you need to have faith in His ability to continue to do so in the future.
In Christian Love,

PS  You said yourself that your mind is pretty well made up and I realize how hard, virtually impossible, that makes it for you to listen to other people’s advice but consider this: You did ask and seek out advice, and just maybe that was God speaking to you in this situation. At times we need to take ourselves out of the box and listen to what people are saying. Advice is really worthless to us if we solicit it after already making up our minds. If you asked others because you were searching for someone else to validate your decision, you failed to achieve what you were aiming to get. Everyone I heard speak said the same thing and so am I. Hold on and don’t let go. Give yourself a fighting chance. I really don’t think you are, and I said I feel very strongly about what I am saying. I care a lot about what happens to you because if you don’t make it out there it hurts us all, all of us who work really hard at trying to make changes in our lives. Take care and God Bless, you are in our prayers.

Richard wrote this last week.  Terrance is still here.  One day at a time.


Pastor Gary Byers

Spiritual Life Director