My Story

Posted: February 8, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, Young Adult Stories

[T]alk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. … [T]ake care that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

Deuteronomy 6:7b-9, 12 NRSV

There is a colorful plastic key tag dangling amongst my keys and library and gym membership cards. That key tag is to me at the same time a celebration of the Promised Land into which I am being delivered and a reminder of the slavery out of which I have been brought. Hello, my name’s Rob, and I’m an addict. (This is where I pause for the readers to warmly and enthusiastically greet me with a friendly “Hi, Rob!”)

I write this devotional as a Christian and as a recovering addict and active member of the 12-step program known as Narcotics Anonymous. In accordance with the eleventh tradition of that fellowship, which reads that “… we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films,” let me begin by acknowledging that I in no way represent or speak for Narcotics Anonymous, nor am I an expert or a professional in addictions or recovery. I am but one person sharing his God-given experience, strength and hope.

In what is perhaps a sad commentary on the state of the 21st-century Church, upon pondering and praying over this scripture from Deuteronomy, I was not led toward images of Christian communities, but rather toward images of recovering addicts gathering in musty church basements, drinking cups of bad coffee and telling their stories: stories of their enslavement to drugs and alcohol; stories of the liberation they experienced by turning their will and their lives over to the care of their Higher Power, a God of their understanding; stories of the joy of the abundant lives they lead free from the oppression and slavery of active addiction.

At home, my bookshelves are well stocked with recovery literature. I have notebooks scattered about my apartment brimming with writing I’ve done on the steps. The contacts list in my phone is filled with the telephone numbers of other recovering addicts. My schedule revolves around 12-step meetings and fellowship with other recovering men and women at the corner coffeehouse.

These colorful key tags, these daily recovery-oriented meditations, these meetings, these cups of coffee both good and bad—these are the ways that I “bind them as a sign on [my] hand . . . and write them on the doorposts of [my] house and on [my] gates.” I cannot afford to forget that I do not deliver myself from the slavery of Egypt. I must constantly tell it, to remind myself that only by surrendering my will and my life to the care of a loving and forgiving God do I cross into the Promised Land.

It is my prayer that we as young adults will be empowered by God to be the generation to transform God’s church into a place where we can admit, free of shame and guilt, where we are broken and our lives are fragmented. In constantly doing so, I believe we can fully rejoice in the movement towards wholeness, salvation and grace that we receive from God through Jesus Christ.



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