We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies and that our lives had become unmanageable.

Human existence consists of a series of patterns. Our world goes around the sun in an unending orbit; it spins on its axis with tireless regularity. Dysfunctional family patterns seem to resurface generation after generation in a wearying march of repetitious pain. We may grow tired and wonder if there’s really any escape from the merry-go-round of addictive behavior and ­suffering.

King Solomon examined life and was discouraged by some of his observations. “Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers. . . . Everything is wearisome beyond description. . . . No matter how much we hear, we are not content” (Ecclesiastes 1:4-8).

Life can seem like one meaningless, wearying cycle after another. Solomon observed that our lives can be spent without ever going anywhere. He also wrote these instructions: “Follow the steps of good men instead, and stay on the paths of the righteous” (Proverbs 2:20). Throughout the Bible we see that life can be linear, leading somewhere. Even though we are powerless to stop all the destructive cycles around us, we can take our own steps in the direction of recovery and a new way of life.

Our efforts just add to the destructive cycles in life; only God can break them.

Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.