Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 22.37-39 NIV
Self-awareness is a necessary skill for anyone in a recovery program. It is difficult—if not impossible—to make real progress without regular emotional and spiritual inventories. Unfortunately, complete self-awareness does not come pre-packaged in humans, and addictions have the nasty habit of clouding any self-evaluative skills you may have.
Fortunately, there is a handy tool called the FASTER scale, developed by Michael Dye from Genesis Process. Most anyone who has participated in a 423 Communities group for very long is (or should be) familiar with the FASTER scale as a simple and practical self-evaluation tool. The scale breaks down the addictive cycle into 6 stages, each of which leads into the next.
F – Forgetting Priorities. Start believing the present circumstances and move away from trusting God.
A – Anxiety. A growing background noise of undefined fear.
S – Speeding Up. Trying to outrun the anxiety, which is usually the first sign of depression.
T – Ticked Off. Getting adrenaline high on anger and aggression.
E – Exhausted. Loss of physical and emotional energy; coming off the adrenaline high and the onset of depression.
R – Relapse. Returning to the place you swore you would never go again.
This time of year it is easy to become engrossed in the holidays and all the drama that comes with, leaving our health to fall by the wayside. In an effort to remain accountable together—whether you are in a recovery program or not—let’s spend the next couple of weeks walking through the FASTER scale.
The first stage of the addictive cycle is Forgetting Priorities.
This stage is characterized by finding oneself with less time and energy for God, community, and family. It is easy to fall into this category without realizing it as our lives demand more and more spinning plates. We rarely make one definitive choice to stop prioritizing the aspects of our lives that keep us centered and focused on God. More often, there are a series of small compromises, little decisions that compound into patterns of superficiality, neglect, and isolation.
In this stage we lose sight of God’s truth and become increasingly preoccupied with material things: social media, television, work, personal entertainment, etc. And as these become more predominant, we take on the traits they promote: avoidance of support and accountability, superficiality, sarcasm, obsession with relationships, lying, procrastination, neglecting family.
If any of this is striking a chord, please heed God’s warning that it is the first step in the wrong direction. If you do not shift your focus back to Him now, I can guarantee it will be all the harder later. Take the time to inventory your life this week. Have you intentionally set aside time for the important things, not just hoping to have time to fit them in between the material things?
Remember His commandments for us. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22.37-39)
How can we love God, love our neighbor, and love ourselves this week?
Contributor: Jordan N.