In the Body of Christ, we need each other. Our unique gifts and experiences, not only through our experience with sin but also our strengths, are repurposed to complement one another as we grow closer to Jesus Christ. God has crafted our lives with unique experiences that contribute to our testimony of overcoming chemical dependency or other struggles.
Whether we encounter transformation downstairs in the non-traditional small gathering where recovery groups often gather or upstairs through the familiar congregation, community forms, and God’s house is built, one brick at a time. Linking the two: the upstairs church with the downstairs church, can be powerful in unifying the experiences of both, harmonizing them into one.
Finding your path to overcoming chemical dependency
The lure of returning to our old lives can captivate us when we encounter vulnerable moments. This becomes especially apparent when we have battled with a substance abuse disorder and are in the process of emerging from chemical dependency.
At times, the old hangouts seem to accept us more readily than our new fellowship circles. This can make it difficult to reconcile our faith community as one that is supportive, especially when we stumble across misunderstandings and judgments amongst other believers.
While the adversary would want us to become discouraged by this apparent contradiction, could God be inviting us to see ourselves and our role in the body of Christ differently?
We don’t have to retreat, as there are no second-class citizens in the kingdom. God remains present, empowering us to stand in victory over chemical dependency. The Father rejoices over us, fully aware of our challenges, yet confident of the Spirit and gifts He has placed within.
Our value, inclusive of our substance abuse background, can be a powerful bridge to actively demonstrate the transformational love of Christ to others. Others need the example of our testimony and empathy to encounter the Savior who has met us in our most intense challenges with chemical dependency.
Finding your people
Safe community fosters connection. Peers and sponsors have crossed the threshold of gateway and experimental drugs. It is essential to align with those who understand where we’ve been. They are familiar with the allure of addiction’s failed guarantee. They have been in similar pits with drugs or alcohol and often possess first-hand knowledge and wisdom that can support and champion us in our path.
We also need to cultivate community with others with different experiences. Diverse paths can be a blessing, as we learn from different parts that offer various perspectives. Even as the Apostle Paul teaches on the nuance of Christ’s Body, he highlights that each one of us has value and cannot minimize our worth or elevate someone else’s.
Whatever part we represent, there is grace for us to not only flourish in our role but also to experience the blessing of a corporate anointing (God’s power working through a unified group.). This helps us accomplish a partnership to overcome what was impossible for individual members.
Finding your power
Coming out of chemical dependency relies on more than just willpower and valuable techniques and tools integrated into a recovery program. Forming a community and finding counsel are important elements of this journey. We require support when facing temptation in the presence of obvious and subtle struggles.
It is realistic and common to recognize that we will want to use substances again. Our flesh will want the comfort of substitute saviors, to ease our suffering especially when cravings call and our drug of choice sounds louder than the voice of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit remains present, in and through everything we face. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would show us things to come, and we need Him to navigate the unpredictable and unfamiliar with wisdom and grace (John 16:13).
Yet, even Jesus needed community and knows we need to experience Him with through other spirit-filled believers. The value of a vibrant and healthy relationship with Christ and a safe community underscores our strength, sharpens us, and offers support.
Next steps to overcome chemical dependency
Take courage wherever you are in the journey with substance use and remember that Jesus is your Advocate. He has overcome the dark forces that want to keep you entrenched in addiction, and He is praying for your faith to endure every challenge (Luke 22:31-32). He sees the path ahead and has marked out steps for you to take with Him (Psalm 37:23-24).
You don’t have to have it figured out, but you can discover the tools to support your success on this path. Look on this site, locate a professional, and schedule a meeting to navigate your next steps forward with counsel, community, and out of chemical dependency.
Caroline Beidler, MSW, Downstairs Church: Finding Hope in the Grit of Addiction and Trauma Recovery. 2023.
“Cliff Road”, Courtesy of Giulia Squillace, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “The road less taken.”, Courtesy of Karsten Wurth, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Boardwalk”, Courtesy of Dave, Unsplash.com, CC0 License