Recovery Means Relearning




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Carl Thomas

Pastor | Live Free Founder | Lover of Jesus, Philly sports, fitness, tattoos, sarcasm, and craft beers.

I don’t know about you, but I hate having to relearn something when I’ve already got a system down.

This happens with technology all the time.

You think you have an app or software figured out. Then BAM! Here comes an update and suddenly what you used to do to get by doesn’t work anymore. 

Back to the drawing board 🙁

However, what’s even more frustrating than having to adapt to new developments or new ways of doing things, is finding out that what you thought you knew all along is just wrong and your choices are to keep doing the same wrong thing, or taking the time to start all over…at the beginning.

My son Hunter is well acquainted with this frustration as of late, as we continue to work on developing and refining his basketball game. It seems like every day we find a new hiccup in his body mechanics that needs to be not only fixed, but completely removed and replaced with a brand-new movement.

Some days he can adapt pretty quickly.
Other days, it’s like pulling teeth.

Because whenever you uncover a habit, tendency, or crutch that you’ve grown reliant upon, it’s extremely challenging to discontinue doing that thing because you not only have to learn something new, but you also have to overcome the muscle memory you’ve built up from years of “bad form.”

It’s the same thing with recovery.


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In fact, I would tell you with all the men we help in our communities, one of the primary needs we have to constantly meet is helping them unlearn what they thought they knew about their struggle and recovery, and then teaching them new concepts and understanding about what it means to live with sexual integrity and what that requires from all of us.

It’s funny, but recovery is not so much about mastering new skills and coping mechanisms but rather learning how to live in a healthy way, something that we should have been doing all along.

Understand accountability, community, and intentional processing of one’s emotions are not just something someone needs to incorporate when they are trying to find freedom from unwanted sexual behavior; those are all markers of a healthy and balanced life.

Sure, when you grow up accustomed to hiding and staying secretive, it’s very difficult to be transparent and accountable.

But often in life, and especially in recovery, unlearning the “bad stuff” is just as important as learning the “good stuff,”

When you’ve spent years locking down your internet access and working on increasing your strength of will to just get through your day, it will seem very strange to shift gears and start worrying more about the “why” behind your behaviors rather than just modifying those behaviors.

And when you’ve spent decades suppressing pain and shame it will seem very challenging when you finally realize you need to embrace and investigate those emotional wounds rather than simply escaping from them.

For some, recovery is just adapting or tweaking one’s life patterns and systems of thought.

But for many, if not most, it will mean a completely different way of living and thinking if they are to find that lasting freedom that’s eluded them for so long.

Don’t settle for what clearly isn’t working.

Embrace the challenge and relearn how to live a life without shame and regret.

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