Unemployment, custody battles, abuse, divorce, homelessness, legal troubles, and physical illness are thought to be catastrophic events in society. These events require a reset of life that requires a significant amount of faith. For people entering recovery or on the journey, they defeat these circumstances daily through faith.
It was not until years sober did I realize the lessons of faith the recovery community is teaching the world. Society has been given a tutorial of how to not only survive but thrive when faced with the harshes of life’s challenges.
Faith, by definition, is having complete trust or confidence in something or someone. People devote their lives to religions and spiritual groups based off of faith. Decisions are made daily with the faith that everything will be okay. Covid-19, along with the protest, has further displayed the truth, concerning humanity and faith. The only thing guaranteed in life is change. Whenever those changes become extremely difficult, and the future is uncertain, faith is tested. Before Covid-19, there was a segment of the population that faith was easy to practice. Having the employment status, luxuries, and, most importantly, the security of the future you want makes faith an easy practice. My life before and after recovery has taught me that faith is an action word amid the storm.
I have been to many treatment centers, shelters, and programs all built to help people restart their life. While in these institutions, I was surrounded by many people who faced uphill battles written about in books. Every year over a million people enter a treatment facility looking to gain a better life. Within that million, some people are entirely rebuilding their life. These people are all at different ages and stages in their life as well. They are task with not only defeating a debilitating disease but also navigating a new start. I have heard countless stories of people entering treatment that lost it all and must figure out a new way of life. Also, consider the toll that substance use disorder and mental illness takes on the body. In these situations, history has shown us many will quit; however, in the recovery community, the choice has overwhelmingly been to keep fighting. In that fight, faith is what carries the person in recovery through these trials. There is a saying in the recovery culture, “you are either going through something or coming out of it.” By practicing faith in their recovery program, their lives begin to change for the better.
A friend of mine in recovery told me years ago that faith is easy for anyone in sobriety. I was complaining to him that having faith is hard, and I did not understand the concept. He explained it to me on the terms of before sobriety. I must admit that I was practicing faith before I even realized it. There was a routine of indulging in alcoholic beverages before operating a vehicle. Add on the other massive amounts of toxins and substances added to my body while in public. I was a complete wreck and had no business in any role of parenting, driving, or being responsible for anything important. Each time I made these decisions was a practice of faith. I say faith because I truly believed everything would work out. Faith is leaping without evidence that things will be okay. Even though I was displaying extremely irresponsible behavior, the evidence was clear that my actions showed faith. At this point, I realized I must now put my faith into action through my new life in sobriety.
In 2018, it had become clear that I had a gift to speak, and I needed to pursue that has a career. I remember vividly having the paperwork for the LLC on my computer screen but could not hit submit. I was too scared of what the future may hold and how telling my story may negatively affect my life. I was consumed with fear instead of being consumed with faith. Unfortunately, I was looking at what could go wrong instead of what could go right. My fiance told me, “Freddy, you have and gift and a career that fell into your lap. It would be selfish to sell the world short on your gifts because of your lack of faith. Submit it and trust God.” I can report her faith has taken me across the country keynoting at colleges, national conferences, and holding high school assemblies. Her life experience in recovery has given her a strong foundation of faith. People in recovery have taught me that the practice of faith is the answer to any life problem.
Right now, the world is going through so many changes, and people are stuck asking why? My advice to the world is to look no further than the recovery community for faith. You will find people at the worst points in life dancing in the rain. You will find survivors of the worst behavior humanity can offer only to bounce back and save other lives. The key to success, when faced with pain, is the mindset we carry. Frederick Douglas was correct with, “without a struggle; there can be no progress.” Recovery has taught me that without faith, there can be no hope!