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A Recovery Story

10 years ago written by
Zacchaeus Sycamore Tree in Jericho

Zacchaeus Sycamore Tree in Jericho

I remember it like yesterday! For years I’d lived with the stigma[1], stuck in repeating patterns of behavior that my friends and family, found totally offensive. Scum. That’s how everyone treated me, like something you step in walking down the street. No one knew how sick I’d gotten of this living prison where getting through the day from one dodgy deal to the next no longer fixed the craving in my life. I was simply sick and tired of being sick and tired.[2]

I’d heard He could do something about it. For the first time in years, there was a glimmer of hope[3] — a possibility it didn’t have to be this way anymore. I ran down the street, but no one gave me a chance; no one would let me in; no one would let me close. I found a space in the crowd, well above the crowd, where I could avoid the pointing fingers and check out the score.

Was it something in the way He looked at me? The tone in His voice? Whatever it was, I was suddenly face-to-face with Him.

“Get down here,” He said, “let’s go to your place where we can talk.”

For the first time I could remember, I found the acceptance of a safe place.[4] Sure, everyone else was pointing the finger:[5] “There’s no hope for him.” “What’s He wasting his time with him for?”

But this was my moment.[6]

Reality check; it was time to face my demons. Take off the denial[7] mask I’d protected myself with for so long. It was time to break the insanity[8] of doing the same things over and over again while wondering why nothing changed. It was hard, painful stuff having to admit my character defects[9], and surrender control to a power greater than my power that could restore my sanity.[10]

I started to make amends for the harm I’d caused others.[11] I finally knew I could change, and I was no longer alone. Now I had a purpose. Now I had a reason to live.[12]

For the original transcript of this recovery story, see Luke 19:1–10.

Chris Drury is the pastor of Lancaster Free Methodist Church (, which hosts two Celebrate Recovery groups.


Luke 19:1–10

[1] living with stigma and the fear to change (Step 1)

[2] admitting our lives had become unmanageable (Step 1)

[3] We come to believe a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity (Step 2).

[4] We made a decision to turn our lies and our wills over to the care of God (Step 3).

[5] facing up to and pushing through the barriers to recovery

[6] We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs (Step 5).

[7] We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves (Step 4).

[8] We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character (Step 6).

[9] We humbly asked him to remove al our shortcomings (Step 7).

[10] We made a list of people we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all (Step 8)

[11] We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others (Step 8).

[12] v10 We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out (Step 11)

Article Categories:
[Foundation] · Departments · God · LLM May 2014 · Magazine

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