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!

5 Responses to “Lent

  • Great read Mark. For me the seeking of a closer relationship with God is vital. It helps me to really experience all the blessings and favor we are meant to have on this earth. I think it starts with aligning your will with Gods will in everything. Complete loss of self will. Then its just being open to see it, receive it, and then speak it with our mouths. Simple yet not, but really can be that easy.

    • Thanks Shu. I forget sometimes whether this stuff is simple, not easy, or easy, not simple. But I think it’s one or the other. Thanks for reading!

  • I totally get this, Mark.

    I feel the same with sugar. Now, it’s been about a month since I have abstained from it. I do feel a bit better overall, energy wise, etc. And like you with tobacco, I am not at that desperate, rock bottom type phase, but I am addicted and I do know that it *does* affect me – my moods, my energy levels, my mind, my waist, etc. But like you, I am not torn apart. I am not at that point where I have no choice but to go without. I don’t want diabetes or anything like that. I am trying to make it a lifestyle change, but deep in my heart I know I will be back . I just am not there yet. I guess I am keeping it in the day, and not looking at forever.

    But I do like what your friend said about getting closer to God. I do feel that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, and that is keeping this body clean and free of things that alter my mood (even if it’s sugar).

    Thanks for this! Great post.


    • Thanks for reading, Paul. Bingo! It is so easy to rationalize lesser evils. Keep me posted on your sugar struggle. I’m very open to what works because I know I need to kick tobacco. In the words of Cat Stevens: “I’ve got a thing about seeing my grandson grow old.” – Mark

      • Well, the sugar thing ended after 28 glorious days. That was 4 days ago. And since then…not much has gone on. i still keep my oatmeal sugar free. I don’t eat much sugar at all. A treat once a day. Yesterday was Family Day, so I had much more, but still kept it quite restrained. I can easily say I ate in, gasp, moderation. Wow. I have a hard time typing that let alone following it!

        Anyway, hopefully this grace period of keeping it sane will continue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: