Mar 04 2013

Recovery Again, Not Recovered

Published by at 10:48 pm under Outreach

On September 28th of 2012, I celebrated my 25th consecutive year without a drink of alcohol or an illegal drug, i.e. cocaine. While it was a monumental birthday for a person in recovery, it passed in our home and among my friends without much fanfare. No one seemed to notice it.

Outside of me mentioning it in my social media accounts and a couple of times on stage, I really didn’t seem to care about it. You see, I got “recovered” a few years earlier and began to live my life as if I was officially recovered and not recovering.

Every addict will tell you that you are one drink (or one drug or one minute) from the path of enlightenment and peace to the gutter. In other words, we are always recovering, never recovered. What happened to me, happens I am sure to other addicts. My pride and ego took over and I began to live off the tank of God’s grace that I had built up for over 20 years. And ran it dry.

I traded in the drugs of alcohol and cocaine for a myriad of earthly more “socially acceptable” but almost equally destructive drugs. I won’t bother to list those, because to explain how they took over my life, would take more space than I choose to use in this format.

Let it suffice to say that the enemy of my soul was winning the war against the Lover of My Soul.

As I begin to come out of the self-afflicted deep dark hole I had been in, I am beginning to see God’s light again and feel his breath of inspiration. It is “my” desire to use this format of blogging to try to understand what happened and why it happened. It will take time, as I am just beginning to get my life back.

It was, a week ago last Friday that I had convinced myself that my wife of 26 years had had enough of me and was going to leave. I was so thoroughly convinced of this, I was ready to move into a hotel for a few days to give her some space. It never occurred to me to ask her if this was her desire. Instead, I just played the scene over and over and over and over in my head, and then made the decision for her. After all, I knew the kind of man I was and I wouldn’t want to be married to me either. The thing about this kind of depression is, it is not a chemical imbalance. Rather, it is an imbalance of what God wants for you and what your flesh desires.

I heard a wonderful thing a little while ago, I don’t know where, so forgive me if it was from one of my twitter followers. “My pride binds me to the earth and my flesh, so that those things of heaven can’t get in.” In other words, when I am so full of myself, there is no room for God to get in. And when God can’t get in, the devil will.

I am reminded of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, when the devil’s minion writes him and says that his subject is actually getting “true humility in Christ,” and the devil writes him back and says “make him proud of his humility.”

In essence, what I have learned these past few weeks is, when I took credit for God’s work, all his work unraveled briefly enough to give me a glimpse of the work I actually do, which is basically wreck all the work that God has done. I don’t know if that makes sense to any of you, but it hit me like a ton of bricks, when my wife Tami told me before dinner a couple of weeks ago, “You remind me of the man you were 25 years ago.” (Wow! She wouldn’t say that if she read my press clippings, sheesh!)

Who Tami says I am, trust me, I am. I respect her opinion of me more than she will ever know. No one outside of God knows me better than Tami. It has been said who you are at home is who you are.

The good news is that I am crawling out the other end of all this, I know this is true because the other day eating dinner, my lovely wife got up and walked to my side of the table and kissed me on the neck, hugged me and said “It is nice to have you back.” Praise be to God! There is no other explanation.

Truth is, I am not the man I was 25 years ago. Christ dwells within me and when I seek His counsel, His grace and peace will come permeate my soul. All I have to do is “knock and it will be answered.”

Today is another day and a glorious one at that. It is the day that God has created. I can use it to feed my selfish desires or use it to honor His creation. By trying to serve His creation, I have found that feeds my soul the way the Lover of My Soul designed it to be fed.

Something I wrote years ago is appropriate again today:

Who I was, is not who I am. Today I choose to walk a different path.

So feel free to throw at me the stones of my past, I will not deny them, but gladly use them to humble me, for today my shield is the Lord.

It is because of who he was and the blood that he shed that I no longer have to run from my past but can embrace it and walk with his grace to my future.

I would love to hear from you guys about your recovery and faith and trials. If there is anything I have learned in my life, we can’t do life alone. God wanted us to be in community with one another. I am thrilled to death to be “recovering” again and not “recovered.”


9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Recovery Again, Not Recovered”

  1. Vivianon 08 Mar 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Jeff, I really appreciate your humor and love all the neat stories about your family. But I want you to know that I REALLY appreciate and applaud your openness of your ‘recovering’!! We are ALL recoving from something, whether it’s drugs/alcohol or abusive relationships or just the pain of growing up in difficult circumstances.

    Thank you for sharing on Facebook the reason that you are recoverING and not just recoverED. :-) Keep up the good work!! We NEED someone to put a smile on our face as we just live – one day at a time!!

    God bless you Jeff Allen!!

  2. Brandion 08 Mar 2013 at 3:57 pm

    As sad as I am to hear about the dark place you’ve been, I am equally heartened to hear that you are coming out the other side. It is true that we all have something. For me, it is Bipolar Disorder, which has recently brought me to a place that is separated from God. Like you, I cling to the knowledge that He is in me and watching out for me. Sometimes all I have is the head knowledge with no real feeling behind it, but it seems to be enough — God is strong enough to work with whatever wee bit I give Him. I try to be open with others as you have done because if everyone hides their bad stuff, we think we’re all alone, the only ones who are screwed up. It would be easy for you to hide — to go out on stage for a couple of hours and laugh at yourself with your wonderful humor and then go crawl back in an emotional hole. You could keep it confined to the walls of your home. But you are brave to share it with others so we know we’re not alone. Thank you.

  3. Robert D.on 08 Mar 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Jeff, it is truly refreshing to read your experience on the journey that I myself have endured for 28 yrs. I live with who I am today and am not shy about who I was in the past, even though so few can relate or care to here it. I give thanks to God (a Higher Power to some)for putting the right people in my life at the right time and giving me another chance. I believe the hardest part is to be a part of someones life that you were with in your past. “Playmates and playgrounds”, “Don’t hang around the barber shop if you don’t want a haircut”…… I learned too many to type. The best thing I learned was to let go of the wheel and stop trying to drive my life where I thought it should go. When I do the driving, needless to say, the wheels fall off and I wind up in a ditch asking myself how did this happen. Learning to trust in God and use the tools and opportunities that he will provide is the most important thing. Admitting that we really don’t control many things in our lives and being at peace with it is key. Let life happen, it is going to, whether you like it or not.
    I wont say “God Bless You” because he already has.

  4. Steve Hyleon 08 Mar 2013 at 7:32 pm

    I am recovered thanks be to the blood of Jesus Christ. In these following verses the key is in verse 11

    1Cr 6:9. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,

    1Cr 6:10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

    1Cr 6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

  5. Liannaon 08 Mar 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Jeff, I have always appreciated your honesty in your “act”. I watched a show with you and your wife and I was blessed with your candor. And we think you are funny ( first saw you on Bananas years ago).
    I have had a different struggle and not everyone wants to hear about it. They don’t think it’s real. I’m a sugar addict.
    God has tried to get me to stop. It actually became a sin for me. It is not sin for everyone and I’m not going to use your venue to talk about being healthy.
    I’m telling you that until a week ago, I was more important to me than God. I was never so painfully honest with Him and myself than I was a week ago. I was thinking about chocolate more than Him. My liver would throb when I ate it. So, I knew I was personally hurting my “temple” which He commands us not to do. And He helped me come to the realization that I wanted my own way more than I wanted Him. I was miserable while I ate the chocolate ….living in condemnation and guilt and shame because I was being disobedient on purpose and I was ruining my life (what was being ruined was my peace)….. all for pleasure. I have since read that sugar detox can be as bad as getting off cocaine. I don’t remember going off cocaine being this bad. (Time helps, I guess)-26 years)
    I’ve said all this to say I’m so grateful to God that He never let me go and Jesus died so that I could be free from myself and addictions. I’ve been sugar-free for a week and like drugs, I don’t know if I can ever go back to having a chocolate because I’ve done this before. I was free and just had “one”….
    Just want people to know that God is sooooo Good and Kind and I’m just so grateful to Him. Leaving an addiction behind is so much better than the fleeting pleasures it brought. (Btw, I’ve been a sugar addict for most of my 46 years.) I’m leaning heavily on Him because I don’t want to disappoint Him.
    Thank you Jeff for letting the Lord use you to speak to us in your humor and in your honesty. God bless you, Sir.

  6. Shelly Gottliebon 11 Mar 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Jeff, I can so relate to your struggle. It seems that everytime things are going really well, I feel like I am the one who is in control and because of mee good things are occuring. That is the biigest obstacle I have encountered in my 24 years of sobriety. It is only when I can stand stand back and just be grateful that I am blessed , then and only then can I see God’s hand in my life.

    I will pray for you Jeff. I know that our ego can be our own worst enemy (maybe Satan IS our ego). Just stand back and know that it is God who blesses and no works of ours can hold a candle to his amazing love and grace!!

  7. Jeff Jon 11 Mar 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Jeff, Keep on Keeping on! God never gives us a path we cannot climb, a river we cannot cross, a cross too heavy to bear. Call me 24/7 if you need an ear to bend or a shoulder to lean on!

  8. John Baxteron 12 Mar 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing.

    No matter how sad it is to hear when someone slips, it is always good to hear when they start adding up the days again.

    Your humor has helped me over the years. Even though I’ve never married, I use ‘happy wife, happy life’ as my motto. It works just as well with roommates and friends.

  9. Linda Lee Whiteon 19 Mar 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Jeff, any time the devil tries to get you down (and he always tries with all of us)…you tell him there is a family in Ohio and PA that think you are one the greatest people around! We love your humor and when you share about Christ, it is powerful! We love you more each year! Keep on, brother. You are the best!

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