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

Faith and “Razzle-Dazzle”

I’ve written before about the fact that I’m not very athletic. I’m also not very knowledgeable when it comes to sports. Though I enjoy watching live sporting events, my knowledge of sports terminology is quite limited.

Take football for example. My knowledge of the different positions is pretty much limited to being able to identify the center and the quarterback. Go much deeper than that in describing a play to me, and my eyes become glazed over. Sure, I’ll nod my head like I understand you, but I don’t.

One sports concept that I do understand is the need to mix up the plays. Teams have to run a wide variety of different plays in different situations, or else the opposing team will catch on and make scoring nearly impossible. This principle is even more relevant where special “razzle-dazzle” plays are concerned.

When my brother John played Jr. High football, his team used what I have always considered the greatest “razzle-dazzle” play of all time, The St. Joe Special.

Named for a college not far from our home town, the St. Joe Special was based on confusion and deception. The center left the huddle early, going over to the ball. Then, when the huddle broke, the entire line moved to the right of the center, quarterback included. Then the quarterback would pretend to be confused and somewhat embarrassed by the seeming mistake.

That was the cue, the moment when the center would snap the ball all the way back to the quarterback. The offense was able to easily outflank the defense, and the quarterback practically strolled into the end zone for a touchdown! What. A. Play!!!

There was only one problem with the St. Joe Special. It could only be used once. It was a desperate move to score a much needed touchdown, but once the play was used, the defense would not be fooled again. They would be prepared to shut it down. The lesson would be learned.

It seems that life’s lessons, more often than not, are learned that way. They are learned through my failures, not my successes. Those times when I feel outflanked by life, those are the experiences that stay with me, forcing me to grow and learn.

It’s the same with faith. When life is going well, and all seems to be according to my plans, there is little room for faith. It’s like being on that defensive line, prepared for another routine play carried out in a routine fashion. Then a “St. Joe Special” comes along and rocks my world, causing me to reevaluate what I’ve been doing.

Those “razzle-dazzle” moments in life serve as reminders to live by faith.

One of life’s “razzle-dazzle” plays caught me off guard yesterday. I was over six hours from home, with a long drive ahead of me when Amanda called with news of yet another delay in the hearing concerning Shaun’s guardianship. That long drive home was made even longer by the knowledge that the future of our family will remain in limbo even longer.

By the time I arrived at home, Amanda and I were both wrecked. This process has been so taxing on us all. We are all so weary of the process. Weary of planning days off from work to attend court only to have it cancelled the night before. Weary of not making any long-term plans for the future because it is so uncertain.

So, this morning when I drew “faith” as my spiritual principle of the day, it seemed like God was messing with me. I couldn’t decide if it was ironic, appropriate, or perhaps a bit of sarcasm on His part. I thought “No thank you, God. I really don’t feel like practicing faith again.”

My mind began to replay the past year, and all of its frustrating moments as we’ve walked through this process. All those “razzle-dazzle” plays life has thrown at us. Ones we thought at the time would be our undoing. Yet today I look back at those events and see growth. I see how they have made us stronger. Strengthened our resolve. Strengthened our faith.

So, ok God, I’ll continue to practice faith. I’ll remember how far you have brought us so far, and how your will in this situation continues to be carried out. I will make the most of this day, and the days ahead.

Yes, life is full of “razzle-dazzle” plays. For me, addiction is the “St. Joe Special” of such plays. Because of the Narcotics Anonymous program, I have been able to learn from my addiction. As I’ve faced life’s challenges, those “razzle-dazzle” plays, my faith has grown.

Addiction could easily have defeated me. Dozens of people die each day in our nation from this disease. I’m grateful for NA, and for the tools I’ve been given to defend myself against this disease. I’m grateful for the faith that has grown through adversity.

As memory serves, John’s team went on to lose that football game. Their “razzle-dazzle” caught the other team off guard, but only for a moment. The opposing team learned a lesson from that play, and went on to victory despite the momentary setback. I have faith that the same will happen in my life.

In this case, “victory” is what is best for Shaun. I have faith that what is best for him will happen in this situation.

Have a remarkable day!


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