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June 13 • The World vs My World

Day 705

There are a lot of problems in the world today. As I'm writing this, there is a pandemic, racial protests and conflicts, riots in Hong Kong, civil wars in Africa and Syria, new tensions of annexation among the oldest of peoples in the Holy Lands, and the list goes on. People are dying of violence, hunger, suicide, disease, and neglect. And too many folks are living in more pain than I can imagine.

In the context of how many people are suffering mightily, how arrogant is it of me to spend so much time trying to be healthy? What right do I have to prioritize life in recovery from my addiction? How dare I even think I have a severe problem? I wish I had a world-changing answer for that, but I do not. In comparison to much of the world — perhaps most of the world — I am blessed in so many ways.

Many years ago, I was working with a young man who had just survived a suicide attempt. He was president of his high school senior class, a star football player, and a leader in his church. He shared with me that when he went to his father to ask for help with the problems that were bothering him, he was rebuked.

"You don't have any problems," his father chided. The young man pleaded for understanding, without success: "No, in your world I don't worry about a job or how to pay the mortgage or how to raise the children. But in my world, my problems are just as real."

That's as close to an answer as I have. Would I still be a sex addict if bullets were ripping through my house? Yes. Would it be the biggest concern of my day? Probably not.

It is typical of me to worry about not having the problems that other people do. It is both self-centered and self-critical that I can feel blessed to be blessed, and guilty about it all at the same time. I deserve my problems and do not deserve grace, blah, blah, blah. I get it.

In the words of my young friend, it is true that I do not have any problems in those other worlds that are not mine, but here is where I live in the moment, and here is the struggle that I must survive. Tomorrow it may be different, but for today, I will remain sober, and look for ways to help others do the same.




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