We want to do dangerous things...without dangerous consequences

There’s an old substance prevention commercial with a line that goes like this: “‘When I grow up, I want to be an addict!’ Said no child ever.” Well, of course that is true. Sort of.

But many of us do end up becoming addicted to things that we absolutely did want to use. My brother said the first time he drank he thought it was magical. When I learned how to not eat for days at a time, which did take quite a bit of practice, the chemicals this kind of starvation released in my brain made me feel powerful and in control. My friend Doug says that drinking and using made him feel funnier, more likeable. Has anyone ever gotten addicted to broccoli? I don’t think so!

What we never, ever want is consequences. We do not want the things that once soothed, empowered, normalized us to turn on us and take away our power to choose, our capacity to have a normal life and the right to vote. No one actually signs up for this stuff.

We do end up off course. Recovery allows us to re-remember. It gives us time to get out from under the obsession and compulsion to keep using things that once made us feel great but no longer do - choices we once thought made our life better until all of a sudden they were no longer a choice. Most of us struggle to accept the reality that the early promises our bad habit of choice no longer delivers.

So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.

~ James 1:16-18 The Message

The best advice anyone ever gave me when breaking old habits and forming new ways of living was simple: Hold on. One day at a time. Corny? Only until you understand what you are up against in the fight to regain your footing and find your way back to your real self.

God is willing to start over

1-2 God told Jeremiah, “Up on your feet! Go to the potter’s house. When you get there, I’ll tell you what I have to say.”

3-4 So I went to the potter’s house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot.

5-10 Then God’s Message came to me: “Can’t I do just as this potter does, people of Israel?” God’s Decree! “Watch this potter. In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you, people of Israel. At any moment I may decide to pull up a people or a country by the roots and get rid of them. But if they repent of their wicked lives, I will think twice and start over with them. At another time I might decide to plant a people or country, but if they don’t cooperate and won’t listen to me, I will think again and give up on the plans I had for them.

11 “So, tell the people of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem my Message: ‘Danger! I’m shaping doom against you, laying plans against you. Turn back from your doomed way of life. Straighten out your lives.’

12 “But they’ll just say, ‘Why should we? What’s the point? We’ll live just the way we’ve always lived, doom or no doom.’”

~Jeremiah 18:1-12, The Message

In what ways does this story move you? Are you in danger? Are you grateful to the potter? What’s up with you in this process of creation?