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

Faith and Foxholes

Dug in and pinned down. The enemy is all around. There’s no way out. Nothing short of a miracle from God is going to get the young soldier out of this situation.

“Oh, God, I don’t want to die.”

“If you’ll get me out of this one I promise to…”

It has been said that there is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I’ve never been in a foxhole. The closest I’ve been is while watching movies. Not the most reliable of sources.

I do know that I’ve had my share of foxhole prayers in life. For instance, I once had a job that I absolutely hated. I found nothing fulfilling in it. Nothing for which I could drum up even a modest amount of passion. I would pray and pray for change. For relief from what felt like a dead end.

Relief came. God provided. I forgot.

Oh sure, I gave lip service to God, offering initial thanks for what He had done. Soon though, credit shifted. Before long, it was no longer what God had done. Instead, it was all about what Kent had done. It was all about how great I was.

It was like God had reached down into the foxhole I was in, and personally lifted me out, only to be told in response “thanks God, I’ll take it from here.” Then, a few paces away it became “God who? That was all me.”

Now here’s the worst part. At the time I believed wholeheartedly in God. One would have even said I was zealous. Hitting people over the head with my “faith” was my speciality. I was ready at a moment’s notice to explain in detail why everyone should believe exactly what I believed.

In time, I became so focused on other people’s foxholes that I couldn’t see the one I was in. In time, my foxhole got to be really deep too. The deeper it got, the less concerned with God I became.

It started with alcohol abuse. In my pride I didn’t want to admit there was a problem. I would tell myself that I had quit before, and I could do it again. My foxhole felt safe, but I missed the fact that it was eroding around me, growing more shallow with every drink.

Eventually, pills got added to the mix. The erosion of my foxhole began to accelerate. I became increasingly exposed, and yet I didn’t notice. Or was it that I just didn’t care?

Finally, when alcohol and pills no longer seemed to be enough, harder street drugs replaced them all. Before long, my foxhole was completely gone. I was totally exposed. Completely vulnerable. Chasing the next high was all that mattered. That was my god.

It is my own experience that has led me to the place I am at today. A place where spiritual principles are so vital. A place where knowing about God is less important than discovering who He is for myself. Where actual faith replaces arrogant beliefs.

The cynic will scoff. “Of course Kent found God now. Look at the mess he made of his life. He’s grasping at straws. Just wait, he’ll screw things up again. I bet he doesn’t even believe…”

Harsh? Of course it’s harsh. I know these thoughts all too well. I’ve harbored them before toward addicts who suddenly found religion. Back before I had any clue that I am an addict. I’d see them in their foxholes and shake my head.

That is part of what I like so much about the Narcotics Anonymous program. Rather than telling the recovering addict what to believe, NA simply focuses on living according to spiritual principles.

NA doesn’t dictate to whom we pray. The steps merely tell us that we should pray.

I have a friend in recovery who exemplifies this principle. He is very open about the fact that he’s not at all convinced that there is a God. Yet he prays despite his doubts. He prays because he sees other recovering addicts doing so and staying clean. If it works for them, then he’s willing to believe it will work for him. Now that’s faith!

That’s the kind of faith I want. The faith that doesn’t require a foxhole to kick in to action. A faith that is fundamental to my daily life, rather than window dressing designed to make me look good or seem socially acceptable.

My faith grows stronger each day as I apply spiritual principles to my life. It is a faith that lives in accordance with my God’s will for my life. A faith that means I never have to be in a foxhole again.

Have a remarkable day!


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