I Believe in Culture
As I sat and listened to the women on Sunday evening, I realized a shift that had happened. The women’s side of the Omega Project is only 15 months old, and during those months it has gone through the predictable trials of a recovery program. We’ve had many crises. We will continue to face more difficult situations.
But there has been a shift. Culture. The prevailing values. Who wins ultimately is decided by what we care about. People will give up amazing amounts of control to evil people, just to have peace and quiet for a moment.
In the drug/alcohol world, everybody is looking for something safe. In the name of protecting themselves, most people escalate in ways that are destructive. They use anger as a tool to intimidate or dominate to keep themselves “safe.” And how does that work out in the end?
Or, addicts hide … sometimes in a bottle, in pills, or even physically in a bed in their room. Many get into abusive relationships because they think they have found someone “safe,” someone who will protect them. Protectors tend to be strong personalities. Far too often, that “protector” becomes a controller and then an abuser.
In a recent article, I wrote that “I Believe in Character.” When there is a person of integrity in your life, who is godly, that person can be trusted. Having one person like that is very good. But there is something that is better. Healthy culture. When the accepted values of a group promote healing and life, it is much more powerful than having a single person who is helpful.
Earlier in the day, one of our men had declared, “it’s starting to work for me.” We reinforce continually to those who come to the Omega Project that months 4-6 will likely be difficult. These months will be frustrating and confusing. The value we are instilling is “Don’t quit! Keep going.” Most people lose their recovery because they quit trying “one week” or even “one day” too soon. This young man was starting to emerge from the fog of those difficult days. He bought into the value. Many encouraged him to keep going. They repeated the values of the culture over and over again to him. He fought through the fog. He won! Culture is powerful.
That is what I heard as I listened to the women. Many of their old problems are still there. The program will face more difficulties. But some baseline values have been established. “When you are in a hole, stop digging.” Stop escalating problem areas! Accept that you are mostly blind to yourself. Learn to listen to what others are saying. Be for one another. Give everyone every possible chance to get better. These are just some of the values that we instill day after day. When problems would surface, I was hearing various statements of healthy values as a response to the issues.
I believe in culture. Many times, churches and religious people defend unhealthy values in the name of not violating their traditions or beliefs. Everything Jesus teaches translates to healthy living. To live holy is to live healthy. Jesus’ words value the good of all.
Insecurity tries to carve out its own little niche and in the end, generally puts some kind of dictator in charge—whether that dictator is internal or external. What are the values that drive you? Much of what we do to help addicts get better is to identify unhealthy values and then start them toward a place of “believing” in a new approach to life.
Find a godly culture. Help build a godly culture. That should be the essence of what a family is all about. Let’s be the godly family that God declared that we are!