A New Year’s Resolution Guided By The Transformative Power Of The Gospel

Do you remember all those New Year’s resolutions you used to make before you got into recovery? We all had them. Come Jan. 1, we were going to stop being addicts. We were going to drink alcohol in moderation, or not at all. We were going to follow our diets and workout plans and quit the compulsive eating. We were going to get our lives together. Of course, within a day or a week or a month, any willpower we had been able to muster was gone and we were essentially back to square one, feeling just as defeated as when we started.

Fresh Start - New Year’s Resolution Guided By Gospel - ChristianDrugRehabSociety tells us that we should be constantly setting goals and seeking self-improvement, and the New Year is cluttered with articles and lists giving us the step-by-step plans to happiness, productivity and an enviable body. With just a few simple steps and some willpower, you can be the productive, self-controlled, physically fit superpower you have always dreamed of being.

It certainly isn’t wrong to strive for fitness, health or good work habits, but most of the little goals and rules we set will be forgotten after a few weeks anyway, and we’ll be lamenting the impossibility of ever breaking out of our self-destructive habits.

Misguided Goals

There can be a tendency to believe that if only we implement the right solution, or if only we exercise some self-discipline, we can shape ourselves into the people we want to be. We begin to think of ourselves as mini gods rather than the broken, frail individuals we are. This kind of pride can set us up for big falls.

In some cases, we find that our resolutions and attempts to change are misguided, and all of our energies are focused in the wrong direction. We’re going after goals that, even if we achieved them, would not bring us the fulfillment and deep joy that we seek. We think we know what would make us happy, and we think we can achieve it with a few tweaks. But in reality, the change we need is far more profound and far-reaching. We find the hope of this kind of change in recovery.

The life of recovery isn’t about short-term resolutions or schemes to fix our lives with a few new habits. It’s about slow, patient, complete and even painful overhaul. That can be hard for us impatient addicts. We want instant gratification and minimal effort. The road of slow growth isn’t always sexy, but it’s what sustained sobriety is really all about.

A Better Approach To Change – The Gospel

We think there is a better way, though it’s not quite as exciting as the big, lofty resolutions we used to make in the past. Instead of quick fixes and plans that we manufacture, it takes the focus off of us completely.

What we know is that the basis for our hope of transformation is in the Gospel. It is when we trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the agent of change and spiritual growth, working in us and helping us to become more and more like Christ. This includes giving us the strength and direction we need to begin and continue in recovery.

Inviting Change Naturally Through The 12-Step Program

As we work the 12-step program, we invite the change to come naturally. This feels odd—we aren’t micromanaging ourselves or trying to force it. We are simply living the day in sobriety, communicating with our sponsors, taking direction and doing the best we can.

And when we do this, some remarkable things start to happen—things we never would have imagined. As we seek to demolish pride and selfishness, we become humble and giving. As we do our program work around resentments and anger, we become forgiving, loving and patient. God is leading us and we are getting a little bit better every day.

Resolutions aren’t bad. We simply need to remember that they aren’t what holds the promise of lasting change and a better life. That hope is in the transformative power of the Gospel and the daily work of sober, 12-step recovery.

Read Our Other Helpful & Uplifting Holiday Posts!