I broke my Lenten promise at 9:30 a.m. today, Ash Wednesday. Oops. For all you addicts reading this, you will understand why. I can trace the building of this broken promise back long before I broke it. I guest blogged this thinking on Kip Shubert’s site last week. The thoughts that lead to a slip are like an avalanche of compromise. It only takes a few flakes to get the ball rolling.
If one were to give up tobacco on Wednesday, why would he buy a case of Camel SNUS tins the Saturday before? It seemed a harmless action at the time. It was mere habit. This morning, there was a tin in my personal bag, my work bag, my coat pocket, and my refrigerator. Four separate traps I set for myself. I’ve posted about denial before and this is a clear case of it. I wasn’t really ready to let it go.
Shoot, I even thought how I could blog about this if I only break that promise to myself on Ash Wednesday. What an insidious thought.
Stinking thinking at it’s finest. No matter. I’m not rushing to the liquor store or the street corner (I wouldn’t know where to begin to find drugs in my neighborhood.)
My -ism chisels my will down to nothing.
Well then, why aren’t I drunk? Why has it been eight years and four months since my last drink or drug? Why did I go years without experiencing that gnawing sensation of craving? (I lost my friend three weeks ago and then felt the first craving I can remember in many a twenty-four-hours.)
It is because tobacco hasn’t brought me to my knees. It doesn’t systematically dissolve my sanity — turn my mind upside-down and run it through the spin cycle. It won’t force me to admit complete defeat. It doesn’t give me hallucinations, tremens, or psychoses. It doesn’t wake me up in the morning or keep me from sleeping at night.
I am addicted, nonetheless.
The best acronym for the God of my early recovery was the Gift Of Desperation. I needed the spiritual solution like a bird needs wings — or how an uncomfortable and disgruntled young man needs acceptance.
God has since become more than a desperate call for help. No longer desperate, I need a bigger God. And I have one. But…
I need a new promise. One I can better manage. A friend of mine encouraged to think about Lent as an opportunity to gain a closer relationship to God, and not to lose something we treasure. If you have a new suggestion, please contact me!