Physical defensive measures and preparations can teach us important lessons when it comes to defending our sobriety gained during recovery. For example, many Medieval Castle defenses included carefully designed staircases that spiraled up to towers, curving in such a way that attackers coming up the stairs had their sword hands (right hand) against the wall, impeding their ability to effectively swing their swords. Conversely, the sword arms of the defenders were away from the wall so they could freely swing their swords in defense as they descended the staircase.
We are certain to face attacks and temptations as we work through our addictions and attempt to maintain sobriety. In order to provide the best chance of success we must have a plan already in place to defend against those inevitable attacks. However, just having a plan does no good unless one practices the plan, like practicing quick-reaction drills over and over until the response becomes second nature; defined as: “A characteristic or habit in someone that appears to be instinctive because that person has behaved in a particular way so often.” Let’s look at some parallels that could be applied regarding our daily jobs and our spiritual/recovery progress:
First, in both situations it is necessary to have a partner; whether it is your patrol partner or the Holy Spirit, they are often the one who gets your bacon out of the fire: But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you (John 14:26 NKJV).
Next, just as we would don protective vests prior to hitting the road, we need to put on the ‘whole armor of God’ (Ephesians 6:11-18) before going out to face the temptations and trials of the world. Additionally, our flashlights are essential for seeing our way and ferreting out danger, and can be equated to Scripture in that God’s Word is, “…a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105 NKJV). Weapons proficiency is essential to our physical and spiritual safety and survival. Just as we need continual practice to maintain intimate familiarity with our sidearm, we need to spend regular time in God’s Word to remain proficient with our spiritual weapon, the Sword of the Spirit – which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).
One last key item essential to our safety and survival is communications. Proper radio procedures/discipline allows us to ensure those who are working with us, and will come to our aid when called, have full situational awareness on our whereabouts. On the spiritual and recovery side, this equates to keeping our channels of communications open with God, through prayer, and ensuring we are open and honest with those to whom we are in accountability relationships.
As the saying goes, ‘if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’. This is definitely true when it comes to our recovery progress; if we do not anticipate temptations, and have a plan in place for dealing with them before they appear, we are likely to fall prey to the attack and relapse back into our addiction(s). One of the best defensive strategies is always avoidance – don’t put yourself into compromising positions in the first place and, if this is unavoidable, have an Escape & Evasion plan in place, to include backup support.
If necessary, and all else fails, install a ‘moat of isolation’ until you are secure/strong enough to resist. Get away and spend time alone with God in prayer and immersed in His Word. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7 NKJV).
Taking Every Thought Captive!