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  • Marty Lythgoe

Relationships & Social Distancing

I write this at a time when the Corona Virus has greatly altered our lives, most notably in the area of our social interactions with others. To protect ourselves and others our government has demanded the closure of all non-essential businesses, severe limiting of group gatherings of 50 or more people, and recommendations to cancel even smaller gatherings. Those smaller gatherings include church services and 12-Step meetings.


This has caused me to reflect on a couple of fundamental truths I learned in my early recovery and in my Christian walk. I was taught that the 12 Steps are all about relationships. In Steps 1-3 we establish our relationship with God. We do this by first admitting that we are not God, then coming to believe that we will need some power greater than ourselves to restore us to sanity, and finally by making a decision to trust that power, which is God.


In Steps 4-7 we establish a relationship with ourselves by taking inventory of our moral compass, admitting where we have violated our own morals, and identifying our character defects and shortcomings. We then set about to act the opposite, and failing miserably, again ask God to change us.


In Steps 8-9 we establish the foundation for a relationship with others by acknowledging our wrongs, asking for forgiveness, and trying to set things right. We become what the Bible calls "ministers of reconciliation." It is this accepting of personal responsibility, as opposed to placing blame elsewhere, that will allow us to have healthy relationships.


Steps 10-12 are often referred to as the "maintenance steps," as we continue to check ourselves, develop our relationship with God through prayer and meditation, and then develop and maintain our relationship with others by being of service.


In this time of "self-quarantine" it is our relationship with others that has been the most greatly impacted. The cancellation of 12-Step meetings and church services, the closure of restaurants, fitness centers, etc. forces us to be creative in maintaining our relationships with others and avoiding the pitfalls that come with social isolation. What has not been limited is our responsibility to our relationship with God and with ourselves. Let us continue to take inventory. Let us continue to seek God and His will in our lives. Let us continue to focus on the positive - our recovery, our many blessings, and the hope for our future.


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