Measuring Up

Are we measuring our recovery by what we’re not doing anymore?

In the beginning of recovery it is important to celebrate the victories of not acting out. While taking it one day at a time, we need the motivation and encouragement of seeing the end of a day lived with integrity. We also need the hope it brings; that maybe these days can be strung together to form weeks, months or even years.

But somewhere along the way that has to change.

There comes a point where we can no longer measure down, we have to start measuring up. We can no longer measure our recovery by what we’re not doing, but instead have to look at what we’re being called to. I hear too often, after an integrity lapse, a man say “well, at least I’m better than how I used to be” or “at least I’m not doing what I used to do”. I think in many ways this excuse/rationalization is a way to hold onto hope. It’s a coping mechanism to avoid slipping into the despair that comes with feelings of failure and disappointment. It is an attempt to escape the shame of sin.

The good news is that our hope is not in our best behavior; it is in our Savior. God promises through the words of Paul the Apostle that He will complete the good work He began in us. He is committed to our sanctification and will empower us to fight another day.

Don’t let yourself be lulled into measuring your journey down, against what you aren’t doing anymore. Instead, be committed to measuring up, setting your sights on becoming the man God is calling you to be. Each day lived a little more like the men He is calling us to be is another day farther from being the old men we were.

7 thoughts on “Measuring Up

  1. Hi Jason,
    So how do you measure progress? I’ve never heard what the EMB definition of sobriety is and how it’s measured. I do agree about counting days, sometimes it more discouraging than encouraging. For what it’s worth, my Christian therapist used a definition she came up with for measuring progress…fewer instances, lfurther apart, and less severe.

    I enjoy your columns. Please let me know about the EMB sobriety please.

    • Can’t measure down anymore! After 7 years in recovery and not being able to keep sober more than 2 to 4 months at a time, I have to act into right thinking. God is merciful though for in the past I only put in %10 and got up to a year sobriety. He loves me enough to keep pressing me and it now feels like what I put in is what I get back. Thank God for the good and the semingly bad as necessary for my growth!

  2. My husband is 67 and we’ve been married 47 years. I am 66. For the last 3 years he is ill as a hornet and mean as a snake. His abuse is with his MOUTH. After he had an affair in the early 90s, he’s gradually became this way. Is it guilt or male menopause and how does it “get fixed”. He goes to church every sunday; we’ve been to 4 or 5 counselors, but HE IS PERFECT. He blames ME. I was a virgin when we married. He was not. He did not present sex to me done in a loving way. It was bad and of course I didn’t ever like it. Then, after his affair he got impotent several years later, wouldn’t see the doc, and now he is so hateful I cannot stand much more. In face, yesterday, I gave him one week to straighten himself up or GET OUT. He was raised in a hostile environment and didn’t have a daddy to teach him HOW to treat a woman…………

  3. Great concept I love and will change my focus to measuring up …to God standard for my life in every area verse measurng down to what I am not doing . Thanks.

  4. Jason,
    I think you’re right on the money with this post. It has been almost 3 years since I went to emb and it is amazing looking back how it no longer matters how many days I have gone since I struggled in some way. Because the truth is, I struggle in some way everyday and that is because the goal I have is not sobriety but to be like Jesus. I admit fail in that everyday but that in and of itself is the beautiful invitation of the gospel. I get to wake up every morning with the invitation to like that day as Jesus would through me, knowing full well that my failures will not condemn me and separate me from Him. There is immense freedom and responsibility In such an invitation and it certainly is measured in more than just sobriety.

  5. this hits where i have been stuck for about 2 in a half years. my addiction has been on going since i was a kid and i have had periods a sobriety but than i slip into the mode of well at least im not doing this or that. Reading this article i truly believe that I am just in a place where i have no idea what i am going to do. i wanna stop and live with integrity but i cannot seem to keep that resolve it lasts for a few months or even a year but than i quit something happens and i just say well screw it. I accepted the challenge today of starving my eyes for 30 days. thanks for this article i really believe this is where i am.

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