I am a concrete, literal kind of person. My husband, BTW, is not–he does great with conceptual thinking. I get lost very quickly sometimes when talking to him.
Anyhoo….I love analogies or word pictures or anything that my poor concrete brain can pick up and hold onto. Anything that is SOLID, that my brain can wrap itself around.
So here, in the form of C.S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is the hands down Best description of addiction recovery I have ever read. (It’s a little long.)
“..I knew it was a well because you could see the water bubbling up from the bottom of it; but it was a lot bigger than most wells–like a very big, round bath with marble steps going down into it. The water was as clear as anything and I thoughtif I could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain in my leg. But the Lion told me I must undress first….I was just going to say that I couldn’t undress because I hadn’t any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins. Oh, of course, thought I, that’s what the Lion means. So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bath.
“But just as I was going to put my food into the water I looked down and saw that it was all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as it had been before. Oh, that’s all right, said I, it only means I had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and I’ll have to get out of it too. So I scratched and tore again and this under skin peeled off beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bath.”
“Well, exactly the same thing happened again….Then the Lion said…you will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him to it.”
“The very first tear he make was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse thatn anything I’ve ever felt. The only think that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off…he peeled the beastly stuff right off–just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt–and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker and darker, and more knobbly looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been….”
We try and try and try on our own. It doesn’t work. It’s only when we let God dig deep into us and cut out the bad stuff that recovery starts to work.
As I typed this, I thought that it doesn’t only apply to addiction, but our sin natures as well. We try to be good people, but it’s only through believing in Jesus and allowing Him to cleanse of our sin that true goodness can begin.