In Treatment, Take Stock of Yourself
Acts 3:19 says, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts makes it pretty clear how you can live a life of freedom rather than slavery. If you acknowledge your shortcomings and your sins, you can take an accurate inventory of your life and allow God to work in you.
Christian treatment programs have a knack of showing people their deepest secrets and making them confront themselves, not only do they make you acknowledge your own faults but Christians are asked to share those sins with their Father God. But if you haven’t taken a personal inventory of your life, you’ll never know how broken you truly are. Jimmy Monaghan who has a Clinical MA in Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education says “If we don’t know what is damaged, if we don’t take stock of what we’ve done and our part in it, how can we possibly know to give it to God? How can we possibly know it’s something that we need to relinquish?”
Christian Programs’ Unique Take on Fourth Step
The fourth step of a 12-Step program is to “Make a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves.” Jimmy Monaghan believes that those who are going to participate in a Christian program need to also inventory the good in their life, “Look at where in our life has been good. We look at where in our life has there been positivity—has there been life?”
This is the biggest difference between conventional treatment programs and Christian ones. People often associate the fourth step with the bad things that they have done in their life; the parts that are dark and muddy and hard to admit.
Christian programs take it a step further and have you delve into the parts of your life that had made you happy during your addiction. The parts where you thought all was good and you were going to be fine. It’s often in those times that you commit the gravest sins against yourself and others.
Long-term substance abuse and addiction change the wiring in your brain. Where you once got pleasure from seeing your friends or family, you may have felt anger or frustration. The things that once made you hesitate or think twice are now second nature. When you see that you were not yourself while you were in active addiction, you will then begin to notice that some of the things that may have made you “happy,” were actually things that you shouldn’t have been doing.
Once you see that the “good” was actually bad, you can take personal accountability for your actions and see how they affected yourself and those around you. It’s during this phase in a Christian program that you give it to God. You ask him to free you from those binds that are keeping you from moving forward in your life.
Acknowledgment of Character Defects
Having been through a Christian 12-Step program himself, he knows the struggle of realizing that he couldn’t truly be free unless he took a good hard look into the things that he had always ignored and passed off as irrelevant. “I looked at my character defects … that I had identified in my fourth and fifth step—I hadn’t found (personally) offensive, you may have found it offensive and other people may have found them offensive, but I hadn’t found them offensive, so I hadn’t given them to God.”
After going through a Christian program he was able to understand that the things he had thought were good in his life were not as good as he had originally believed and he was able to give up control. In that surrender he was able to gain more freedom than he had ever experienced in his life.