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Faith Without Works is Dead

Life is a big learning game with a lot of curve balls thrown in our directions. Although we strike out often, the curve balls are the life lessons we need to make us better players. In a cynical frame of mind, life is just a collection of mistakes and we, as human beings, decide whether to brush them off or actually learn from them.

Take, for instance, us scalding our hands on the hot stove that mommy and daddy have just finished cooking on when we were much younger. Having touched the stove, we hurt our hands and realized that touching the heat was a mistake. Learning this mistake was through real life experience. It was something we had to go through and practice on our own accord despite what anybody could’ve told us or warned us about. Through this, we then are able to slowly but surely realize if we don’t touch the hot stove then we won’t burn our hands.

Similarly, we have to take action and action in sobriety to learn. We can’t live solely off the advice of others and hope that things will work out in our favor.

Faith without Works is Dead

This is a biblical quote from the book of James. In the bible, James is referring to salvation in the afterlife. He states that simply believing in God without doing good deeds to affirm that faith is not enough.

How does this tie into sobriety?

The quote has become very well-known in the recovery world because it was published in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book. When it comes to achieving sobriety, this quote has very similar implications.

Faith in something bigger than yourself is a key component in most recovery programs – whether it’s faith that God is guiding you through a tough time, faith that the universe has better things in store for you, or simply faith in yourself to successfully find lifelong recovery. However, without taking the necessary action to improve your situation, that faith isn’t actually worth much.

You can’t simply have faith that you’ll overcome your addiction and expect that it will disappear. You still need to put in the work to recover. Otherwise, your progress will be at a standstill.

Take Action in Your Faith and Have Faith in Your Actions

Through doing things here and there and experiencing life, we gain a new knowledgeable confidence that, when mixed with arrogance and complacency, can have us questioning life and our faith without works. For those of us battling this disease of addiction, it is easy for us to develop grandiose mindsets that have us convinced we know everything and we got it all beat. We’re stubborn people- it’s just inherently in our nature. Addiction and alcoholism just seem to really bring out the worst possible traits known to man in us. Of course, this is more or less expected of a using addict or alcoholic.

Now, getting clean puts a whole new list of expectations on the board. We have this list of things we want and anticipation for them, but without putting in the effort, the faith without works won’t be enough. We have to jump over the hurdles of detoxification and make it onto the other side in recovery, but that doesn’t mean all our problems have just vanished because we’ve gotten rid of the narcotics now.

We have to put in the action to make the 9th step of Alcoholics Anonymous come true. There’s a reason you have to walk up 8 other steps to get to the 9th and gain this faithful security that the big book promises to for those that don’t cheat themselves. These promises won’t just happen because we are sober. Booze was the problem for us, yes, but it was our style of alcoholic thinking that led us to the booze. Clearly, the problem existed before the drugs and alcohol did. Re-training ourselves to be productive members of society – that is wherein building faith can start.

My life looked like a house that had caught on fire and then those remains caught on fire. It was tragic and I know others can relate. If we can turn our lives around from that, then just imagine the possibilities when we run that extra mile in life.

What About Works without Faith?

Faith without works is a silly thing when you really think about it because it is also true that works without faith is dead as well. It would seem like the two are almost required to go hand in hand, but sure enough, we as addicts and alcoholics love nothing more than to just complicate the complications out of that.

Those who don’t have faith usually don’t have the confidence to take action in the particular matters that are at hand. Keeping in mind that there is a higher power on our side at all times is significant. Knowing deep down that there is something or somebody that backs us up at all times is a warming feeling. Whether that be a higher power, a family member, or a significant other for that matter, knowing that we are not alone provides a sense of comfort and assurance in the world to be a good place in the end: Faith.  

At the same time, it’s important to remember that every relationship we enter is a two-way street. We can believe in a higher power or other beings/entities close to us, but we cannot maintain a relationship with such without putting back into it.

Even with a higher power, it goes both ways – we must speak to as well as listen back. If we are requesting something through prayer even, we have to put in the baby steps for the sun to shine and the mile to be granted. The things we desire in life won’t just appear at our doorstep because we prayed for them. Yes, it is true that God can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, but that’s keeping in mind that we actually ARE doing something for ourselves. Simply put, we must do good things for good things to be rewarded to us. These things can be selfish and selfless in balance, but regardless, action must be taken. Faith can be all we have to fall back on in dark times, but to keep the broken record player going – faith without works is dead.

As addicts and alcoholics specifically, we have to keep marching forward despite how tough things can get at various points. When you break it all down in life, when there is a problem, you find a solution and implement it. This goes for all scenarios. Nobody can live our lives for us, not even a higher power. This life is a gift, so keep faith, take action, and love it to death.  

Faith with Works is Alive

In the end, regardless of what your beliefs are and what it is that drives you, having faith in oneself is the key to this all. We are the sole engineers to this one life we are given and nothing changes if nothing changes. We have to believe in ourselves and that we can achieve a better tomorrow.

If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 1-512-746-7036 or visit www.anylength.net. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life in a comfortable direction that you can confidently have faith in.  

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Any Length Retreat is a 5 acre ranch in Austin, TX where addicted men and their families find lifelong recovery through the application of the Twelve Steps. Contact us to tell us your story.

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