Addiction, NA, Narcotics Anonymous, Spiritual Principles, Twelve Steps

Open-Mindedness and Math in June

Last night, out of nowhere, our printer began whirring. The sound of paper shuffling from its storage tray through the printer and out to the finished document tray filled our apartment. That’s when I looked over and saw that Amanda had been busy on her phone.

She had been searching for math worksheets for Shaun to be working on, and had found what she wanted. Once they were printed, she told him it was time. Time for all electronic devices to be turned off. Time for Shaun to snuggle up next to her on the couch. Time to practice some math.

Like most children, there are areas where Shaun excels academically, and those in which he struggles a bit. Math is Shaun’s nemesis. It’s not that he gets bad grades in math, but he struggles with it, and she wants to help. She says she knows what it’s like to struggle with math and not receive the help that would make understanding it easier.

So, at the end of an already full day, Shaun sat working on math problems. He breezed through most of them, letting Amanda know that the next night she could find more challenging worksheets.

Once math studies were over, it was bath time. Shaun stayed in the tub extra long, playing with some new soap paint his mommy found for him over the weekend. He was so proud of his artwork that he wanted both of us to see it. So, Amanda helped cover him up appropriately, and we viewed his masterpiece.

Pretty soon he was dressed and ready for bed. The last thing he heard at the end of the day was how very loved he is. It wasn’t long after his bedtime that my own bedtime came. Having a nine year old in the house definitely makes me sleep well!

Oh how plans change. When I was in my early twenties, I developed the master plan for my life. My ultimate goal was to be an empty nester by the age of fifty. It would be an age still young enough to fully enjoy life. Travel. Experience new things. Enjoy the fruits of a successful career.

I definitely had a plan. It was so important to me that I even became arrogant about it. I would scoff at peers my age who had delayed having children. People who would not enjoy an empty nest until they were into their sixties. Tisk tisk… bad planning Bucko!

Like I said, arrogant.

Today I can laugh about my naive plans, and how in control I thought I was. I believed my destiny was wrapped up neatly like a bow on a professionally wrapped gift. A bow so pretty that opening the gift seems somehow wrong.

I believe God gets a good laugh now and then at me and my plans. The pretty little bows with which I attempt to tie up my life. Plans that may seem appealing, but do not allow me to fulfill His dreams for my life.

Being fifty-six years old with a nine-year old in the house is just one example of how much bigger God’s dreams are for me than those I cook up for myself.

Through recovery, I have begun to learn the importance of seeking and following God’s will in my life. His dream for Kent is something that challenges my old thoughts and attitudes. It definitely challenges my plans.

Before coming to accept the fact of my own addiction, I had very strong opinions toward addicts. In my mind, addicts were beyond help. Not only unable to change, but even unworthy of it. They were our society’s untouchables. Simply criminals making bad choices. Then one day, I became one of them. I found myself believing these things about me. A lost cause, unworthy of change, much less anything good.

For a good little while after entering the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous, I held on to this attitude. Slowly, over time, I began to see how wrong my former beliefs had been. As I grew to love and respect people in the rooms, a funny thing happened. I began to love and respect myself once again.

Today, I am so grateful that God still has big plans for my life. I am thankful that Shaun is part of those plans. The bond we share is a daily reminder that God is not done with me. That He still has work for me to do. He still loves me.

The message of Narcotics Anonymous is that an addict, any addict, can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use, and find a new way to live. God has used Shaun to help me untie those neat little bows in which my life was so beautifully wrapped for years. I’ve opened God’s gift of new life without drugs. It’s a life full of love and hope. A life made possible through simple open-mindedness. A life full of math worksheets before bedtime, and so much more.

Have a remarkable day!


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