“And it came to pass that when the time had come, there was born in the town of Bethlehem, a child...”
Christmas and the Christmas story are becoming more real to me in recovery. Not the tinsel, tape and trinkets, but the nitty gritty, blood and guts, humanity & deity connection; a functional Father attempting to be real to the children He loves so dearly. Don't get me wrong, I still don't like Christmas, that is “Christmas' Past” and the dysfunctional present that I still struggle with that keeps me from relating to the Christ of Christmas.
The story of recovery is the story of Christmas as told and acted out in several ways in our lives.
1. Conventional wisdom said that a king should be born in a palace with its entire splendor. Conventional wisdom says compulsive/obsessive/addicted people should just buck up, get with it and control whatever is causing them problems. Just as conventional wisdom was way off base in the birth of the Christ Child, so it is in recovery too.
It is through the simplicity of the 12 steps that hope and strength gets communicated into the lives of millions as they participate weekly or daily in meetings and apply moment by moment the principles taught like I can't, He can and I let Him; rigorous moral inventory and accountability; restitution; relationship development with God, self and others and sharing the message with those that are ready to listen.
2. It was illogical for the Royal Family of the universe to visit humankind beginning in a stable, among the beasts of burden, with the filth and stench of a town's over taxed resources as was in Bethlehem. Too many people, far too few beds forced this new fledgling family into these humble settings. And then he had shepherds herald and recognize His arrival.
Now if you or I would have been God's press agent at that time we would surely have focused all eyes on Bethlehem. Bring out the search lights, get ABC, CBS, NBC and of course CNN news crews. Put the couple's parents, family, and friends on “Nightline” to find out why they are having a baby and are just engaged and not married and of course going into all the legal implications.
This sounds familiar as to what has been done to the recovery movement recently. From humble and modest beginnings, it has grown in the numbers of those it helps, not in buildings, investments, hired help or prestige. People still hate the idea of getting into recovery, I must admit I have a problem. And I must allow the program to change the way I live, accepting personal responsibility for my choices. These are the messages the simple carpenter taught as he walked the shores of Galilee.
3. Do I still struggle with Christmas? Yep! And birthdays, vacations, and special events? Yep! Do I still struggle with recovery? Yep! So, what is different now than before and without recovery? Trust is probably the biggest gift in recovery. I'm learning to trust my knowing what I notice and feel. I trust that I am enough for me that I don't have to run the rat race to be fulfilled. And most of all day by day, moment by moment I trust the Babe in that manger to fill the hole in my soul that longs for God, my Higher Power as I understand Him today. I join the millions that no longer find the need to shoot it up, cram it down, caretake others, obsess, avoid, or deny in the celebration of His birth and ours too.
Happy Functional Holidays!