Anonymity Anonymous: Recovery from My Addiction to Self-reliance

Tuesday Re-mix –

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing…What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?  Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:15-25 (selections)

“My name is Blake.  And I am an anonymity addict.”

I am thinking further about the notion that the American  culture has become addicted to anonymity and that the church must choose whether it will “enable” that addiction or be a place of healing from it.  This healing, I believe, is an important objective for the church today.

The “addiction” manifests itself in me every time I find myself in trouble or in pain and the little voice inside me tells me to just keep it to myself, do not show anyone this weakness, do not trouble anyone with my problem, and definitely do not let anyone see my flaws or my brokenness.  All those words and phrases like “be a man” and “buck up” and “don’t be a whiner” rattle through my thoughts.  I take it to the Lord in prayer and I decide He and I can deal with it by ourselves.  But my theology betrays me, because other words and phrases also haunt me: “We were created for community” and “there are no lone ranger Christians” and “confess your sins one to another” and “carry one another’s burdens”.  And so this tension inside remains and, alas, I usually decide against community.  I decide to just stick it out, keep it inside, and deal with it that way.  In short, I know the right thing to do…but I choose otherwise.  That, my friends, is what addiction feels like!

Like any addiction, it spins out in a variety of ways in my life.  It’s not just about my brokenness and my flaws.  It is about how genuine intimacy with friends makes me a little uncomfortable.  It is about my preference not to be bothered by YOUR problems either.  It is about my desire to bury my head in the sand and to just see the people in my church as Godly Christ-followers and not as broken vessels.  It is about being comfortable, and clean and positive and pretending to be trouble-free.  It is about deception and pretense dressed up in “positive mental attitude” clothing.  It is profoundly and pervasively present in every area of my life.

So what is the pathway of healing for this addiction?  That is what we will explore in this series of Tuesday Re-mixes.

If this problem is truly an addiction, then the solution must also be a solution for addiction.  It must be Spiritual and it must be practical (I see those two things as always going together…for me, truly Spiritual experiences have an unmistakable practical feel).  What we need is a 12-step program for our addiction…one which emanates straight out of God’s Word.  It must be founded on the eternal truths of scripture and the power of the Spirit moving through God’s people.  And if we are truly serious about healing from this particular addiction, then we will need each other.  This will not work if it is just me and my thoughts.  I will need you and your thoughts as well.  We will need to do this together.

We will call it Anonymity Anonymous: a 12-step program for our addiction to self-reliance and anonymity.  We will form our own “little” group right here on this blog.  We’ll meet here every Tuesday for the next couple of months.  I’m looking forward to it.  How about you?  Are you in?  Can we do this together?  I hope so.  See you right here next Tuesday!

© Blake Coffee
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8 responses to “Anonymity Anonymous: Recovery from My Addiction to Self-reliance”

  1. phariseeinrecovery Avatar

    It seems we are all in the same boat. There is no greater blessing than having trusted friends who we can open up to about the harder challenges. The sins you normally keep inside. You know the sins that you keep only to yourself.We It takes special people in our lives who we can speak to about those. I do not recommend opening up with unsafe people but with godly and noble friends. We sometimes fail to receive great healing from confessing because we are always perpetuating the perfect myth about ourselves. We confess to some things but not everything. It is understandable too, don’t throw pearls at swine. The church is riddled with hypocrisy, due in large measure to anonymity. No one truly knows us. I thank God for the trusted people He has given me that I can share things I would not have dared to share without the beautiful guidance of God. Recovery folks have taught me to open up with the safe people in my life and to be brutally honest, as best I can, about my weaknesses, because they make me feel safe from judgment and the condemnation that normally follows.

    Romans 8:1 NIV
    [Life Through the Spirit] Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

  2. phariseeinrecovery Avatar

    in haste I wrote pretty sloppy…forgive me lol

  3. This is so good, it is so hard to share, to trust, to let ones heart spill open and show the true self to others. My first two years of blogging I did it in a private setting, so others could not read my ‘journey’. Then my husband said “if God brought you through it don’t you think he wants you to share how it changed you?” That required sharing in a less anonymous way.
    It takes risk to do that.
    It still scares me to have my blog open.

    1. phariseeinrecovery Avatar

      Hi Sharon may God bless you for your courage, which edifies everyone. Jesus surely wants folks like you sharing your true story it heals us all.

      Luke 18:9 NIV
      [The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector] To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” It does not seem like God was impressed with the seemingly upright perfect church going guy, but with the messed up humble guy in this story. : ) Get closer to God by really seeing who we are before Him.

  4. Henry, great word! Love that phrase: “perpetuating the perfect myth about ourselves”.
    Sharon, isn’t it amazing how much blessing comes our way as we become more and more transparent! Your journey will no doubt bless many others! Thank you for the courage it takes to share it!

  5. I am in, spent the first 45 years of my life avoiding transparency and not letting anyone really see the struggles and challenges in my life and then God did something and I felt led to begin sharing in an effort to help others, every day I realize thats not it at all, in each relationship they end up helping me and bringing more blessing to me. Looking forward to continuing this recovery.

    1. phariseeinrecovery Avatar

      Don…….A resounding Amen!

      Hey Blake, I must admit. A little confession, Never met you brother but feeling the bond of God’s love for all of us and I am glad you are my brother.

  6. When I have thought about how sinful I am, my prayers have been about forgiveness for my immorality, greed , anger and selfishness. I have prayed for help to overcome these sins for years and yet they persist no matter how hard I try. Recently, my wife caught me being unfaithful and moved out, I was on the verge of total destruction. I tried even harder to plead with God to save me from my addiction to sins of the flesh. In even signed up for Sex Addiction therapy. But to my amazement and dismay, I found He revealed in me much deeper sins; addiction to self-reliance, self- glorification, self-love , self-justification and self-righteousness. To me these sins can be summarized in what I will call PRIDE, NARCISISSM or SELF-WILL. As a result,I started reading the scriptures for deeper meaning of these sins. it was then that I saw a bigger picture of what my relationship with God must be.
    I discovered the primary sin of my accuser, Satan, was not immorality but that of self-reliance, self-glorification, self-justification and self-righteousness or PRIDE/ SELF-WILL (see Isaiah14 and Ezekiel 28) Satan tempted Eve with these same sins( eat the fruit and you can be like God, thus you will not need God. When Satan took Jesus to the mountain top, he tempted Him , not with immorality, but with SELF-WILL.
    I do not have a degree in Bible, but my reading and meditation has led me to believe that I must be honest with God and ask for forgiveness of my root sin not just my symptomatic sins. My root sin is that I really want my will to be done not His will. Fighting only my addiction to sex is just a small battle in the war against addiction to SELF-RELIANCE or SELF-WILL. As I look back most of my prayers have been about manipulating God for my will to be done. God’s will is for me to love Him and others. I cannot even begin to do this, if I am mostly in love with my self.
    As hard as I try to save myself (self-reliance) I cannot do it. I know that only Christ can set me free. I am grateful that I can be more truthful to God in my confession of sins. I feel a peace like never before. I have not overcome sin. I battle it every day but I don’t battle it alone.

    thanks so much for starting this blog so I could share my thoughts and personal experience on self-reliance.

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