12 STEPS to Recovery — STEP #1

Focus on the Recovery Process

An old, well-known method of catching monkeys is to place fruit in a jar with an opening just large enough for the monkey’s hand to fit through. When the monkey reaches into the jar to grab the fruit, their closed hand will not fit back through the jar’s opening. Panicking, the monkey tries over and over to get loose. The harder they try, the harder it is to get free.

Likewise, humans, as prisoners of harmful desires, are driven to insanity, trying to fix the problem in the same way. “over and over again, expecting a different result.”1 The harder we try, the harder we are held.

Controlling is part of human nature. The illusory hope of compulsive behavior is that you can have control as many times as you want, before the next acting out. Moreover, the frustration, which come from attempting to control their inside leads them to keep trying to control their outside (people, facts, even God).

Then we start playing God, taking in our hands the responsibility for our sanctity, struggling with our salvation, ending up paying the high wages of our own transgressions.

Since Adam and Eve, humans have had a hard time denying their faults, blaming others, and playing innocent, which those “admitting powerlessness, and unmanageability over their lives” are spared of.

The “good news” is that we don’t have to play innocent, to fix ourselves, or deny our sickness. “You are never going to be saved, unless you find yourself lost.”2 The tax collector only “went home justified” because he cried “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:13).

As well as for monkeys, letting go is the key, which sets us free from the shame of our souls, guilt of our conscience, and fear of our heart. “This is where the healing begins, this is where the healing starts, when you come to where you’re broken within, the light meets the dark.”3

Pr. Edmilson S. Villalba, MDiv student
Andrews University

1Albert Einstein
2 Paraphrasing Billy Graham on the movie “The early years of Billy Graham.”
3 Healing Begins, Song by Tenth Avenue North