“Call it what it is…”
My friend, A.J., is a wise man, maybe one of the wisest men I know. He is part of the team at Mission Missouri and is a Certified Peer Specialist for Not By Might Recovery Services. He is part of the family at Riverbend Recovery. A.J. and I have known each other for well over twenty years, during which time we have both faced our share of challenges and opportunities for growth.
A.J. leads our noon support group Monday through Friday. Facilitating this group for residents of our Esther House and for men and women coming as outpatients will sometimes leave A.J. with an inner struggle. My friend is more than capable of providing this service. His struggle comes when he does not feel his message is getting through when he is sensing resistance from those who are just not quite certain the hard work of change is worth it or maybe not even possible. When he identifies the inner struggle, he will say, “This is how I am feeling, but feelings will change.” When he arrives at this point he will often take a few moments to sit with me or another member of the team and process through to resolution. He already has the answers, but I do love it when I get to be his process partner. I am always the one who receives the blessing on his journey.
Perhaps one of the wisest “A.J.isms” (as we call them) has been his insightful statement of why it is so vitally important to work a program of “rigorous honesty.” I cannot remember the context of the story from which this wisdom was born, but the statement has been used repeatedly since that time. In fact, t-shirts are on order. “If you don’t call it what it is, you’ll treat it like something that it’s not!” “If you don’t call it what it is, you’ll treat it like something that it’s not!” Say it one more time.
So, A.J., you mean…..when I think I am helping someone who is not able to pay bills, and I give them money, but it is spent on drugs…..that I'm not really helping, I'm actually enabling? So….I need to call it enabling, instead of treating it like it’s helping?
So, A.J., you mean….when I say I love Jesus and I want to show Jesus to those around me, but I cannot forgive someone who hurt me…..that I’m actually being a stumbling block….that I'm not really loving Jesus…..so….I need to call it unforgiveness instead of treating it like it’s loving Jesus?
So, A.J., you mean…when I believe I work a rigorously honest recovery program but I don’t like the way others act and I don’t like the way they treat me…..that maybe I am the one with some issues that are unresolved…..so…..I need to call it living as the victim instead of treating it like I don’t have any problems that keep me from living a life of strong recovery?
Here’s the invitation, friends and neighbors, come on over to the noon group sometime….meet my friend, A.J., if you are a brave soul, if you would like to hear more about rigorous honesty, and if you would like to order the t-shirt!
Have a blessed day!