The Importance of Partners

As we continue to walk out our recovery journeys, one thing will certainly become
readily apparent: we were not meant to walk this road alone. “Though one may be
overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly
broken,” (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NKJV).

As it was when I would go out on patrol, partners are essential for safely
navigating the uncertainties that we face each day. While single/solo patrols have
become more and more common, we certainly cannot afford to “go it alone” when it
comes to recovery; there are far too many way in which we could be tripped up or
overcome. Not only do partners provide another set of eyes (or in my case eyes,
ears & teeth); providing a better overall situational awareness, they can also
provide lifesaving warning to dangers coming at us from a ‘blind spot’.

Although it was not a life-or-death situation, I had this concept reinforced for me
just yesterday when I went out for a run in the woods. I was out running by myself
when I heard barking coming through the woods. I immediately recognized the
all-too-familiar sounds of a kennel and had to investigate. I located a tree-strewn
path that led me up a steep hill and was rewarded with the sight of our local K-9
kennels. After briefly speaking with one of the Handlers who was taking his dog out
for training, I headed back down the trail to where I could resume my run. I was
feeling good after seeing the dogs and, as a result, was feeling a bit energized and
overconfident as I ran down the steep, unfamiliar trail. Unfortunately, I did not
have anyone with me to reign in my enthusiasm and I managed to step into an unseen
hole, badly twisting my ankle which delayed and complicated the completion of my
run. In this instance, a partner could have provided a word of caution or, in case I
ignored their warnings and still injured myself, assisted in completion of task
following injury.

This is just as true when it comes to our recovery journey. Partners may be able to
keep us from becoming overconfident in our own abilities (and progress) and provide
us with necessary warnings to keep us from experiencing setbacks and potentially
giving up altogether. Likewise, when we ignore those warnings and end up falling,
they can be there to help us back up on our feet and back into the fight: “Two are
better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall,
one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he
has no one to help him up,” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 & 10 NKJV).

Over the years of doing our jobs, we have developed the ability to trust our
instincts; when something does not see right, it usually isn’t… However, there
are those occasions when our judgment and instincts can become clouded and not fully
functional for one reason or another. It is during these times that a partner can
be a true blessing and it is imperative that we have learned to trust our partner
since our very lives could depend upon this relationship.

If we try to work through our recovery issues alone, we will most certainly come up
against situations against which we may not be fully prepared to stand on our own.
Relying on a godly accountability partner, sponsor, spouse, or friend can often make
the difference between successfully navigating the perils of recovery rather than
succumbing to the wiles of the enemy. Sometimes out partners must be blunt and
forceful in order to get our attention, rather than just going along with our
desires in order to ‘keep the peace’ just as we are told in the Bible: “Faithful
are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful,” (Proverbs
27:6 NKJV).

Taking Every Thought Captive!

Scott Pipenhagen
Recovery / Transition Chaplain
Serve & Protect
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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About Scott P.

Scott is a retired Military LEO and a Volunteer Chaplain with Serve & Protect (www.serveprotect.org) where he seeks to provide transition services for First Responders and Military personnel by mentoring and connecting them with local 12 Step or similar Faith-Based recovery programs, local Chaplains, and Trauma Therapists to continue their recovery journey following residential care treatment. Scott contributes these devotions to the Serve & Protect ministry Facebook page: Guns'n'Hoses (https://www.facebook.com/GunsHosesMinistry). Scott has been involved in Faith-Based recovery programs since 2006 and has a Bachelor of Science in Religion through Liberty University and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies through Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary. He currently resides in Fredericksburg, VA, and can be contacted at spipenhagen@liberty.edu.
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