Thanks God, I’ll take it from here.

April 30, 2010

I often “term” the patterns of thought and behaviour I come to recognize in recovery and life in general.  One such behaviour I have termed the, “Thanks God, I’ll take it from here”, pattern. 

This is where we have recently had a profound enlightenment of some kind.  A realization, awakening, breakthrough, or victory.  Something life-changing.  Often, served up to us under unlikely and undeserving circumstances.  We are instantly grateful to any and all persons and powers who helped us.  We are for a time, truly humble in our brokenness.

It is not uncommon then for a sense of self-confidence to sprout.  Something in our subconscious mind suggests to us that we have in a small way arrived.  Yet we don’t often say it outright.  But we sense it and act as if we have. 

This sense of arrival often then overshadows the enlightenment and humility that followed.  And we end up with the mistaken notion that the source of the enlightenment wasn’t really worthy of the credit we previously gave them.  We forget from where we came.

What usually happens next? Some form of failure.  A relapse perhaps for those of us once addicted.  A reversal of progress for sure.  The one step back after the two steps forward.  Then comes time for another enlightenment.  Then repeat.

Is this a tragedy or just the nature of growth and learning?  I think the latter.





  1. I feel like an expert on taking two steps forward and then one back; but sometimes the one step back teaches me more than the two steps forward.

    However, I have less and less steps back, because the pain becomes too great. My personal journal helps me stay aware of this fact.

    I write how I feel in my journal, what thoughts and behaviors influenced the One Step back, and what thoughts and behaviors helped me overcome, two steps forward. I write about the pleasure (delight) I feel, breaking free and living free. My daily goal is to focus on that pleasure.

    Chaz, thank you. I am grateful for your posts. They are very helpful.

    • Hey Dale… the step back is so valuable isn’t it. In fact, I would venture to say essential to allowing the next two forward.

      If we were to word it as a TV announcement, it might go…. “Today’s two steps forward brought to you by!!! Yesterday’s one step back”!

      Glad to hear of your victories and that you are finding things that work for you. Most of us had to experience many things that didnt before we discovered what did… so your progress is no small thing. Congrats.



      • Thanks Chad!


      • No problem. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Great point! You’re describing the very depth of the reason for human failure …when they take over the job that God starts in their life. The human mind tends to seek God during the “bottoms” in their lives and release Him once they “think” they’re on the right road. On that road, they say exactly what you said in your poignant post…“Thanks God, I’ll take it from here”. What happens when you care for a little bird with a broken wing? He stays with you only until he can fly away…seemingly with total disregard for your help. When will people discover the absolute freedom in following and adhering to God’s way??? It so works.
    God bless you, Chad & great job!

    • Thanks for your reply and reflections.

      I think the answer to “when” will people discover the freedom of adhering to God’s ways when we exaust all other possibilities and are sufficiently defeated.

      Think of the Children of Isreal. God let them out of slavery through a monumental leader like Moses and a series of miracles. Led them by a pillar of fire and fed them Manna from Heaven.

      Even so, what do they do while their leader is absent for a short while to commune with God? They build a golden calf to worship.

      I gotta say… whats up with that? They are living in miraculous provision and they drift off and say, “Thanks God, we’ll take it from here”, at first opportunity.

      This tells me simply that it is nothing new. It is human nature. When comes when our eyes are opened. Usually repeadedly and usually through pain or loss.

      Even so, when the pain subsides, the temptation can arise again. In fact it will probably repackage itself and show up in new an subtle ways. It does this to me all the time. Which is one reason I make sure I am connected to others who can reflect back to me what they are seing in my behaviour, speech, and thinking.

      This, I believe is why God tells us to be in fellowship. It is a safeguard against the increasingly sneaky temptations of self-reliance.



      • Believers often ask, “why am I sick”? or “why won’t God heal me”? I firmly believe that the physical condition condition of believers often hangs in the balance with illness in order to preserve one’s soul. The health of the spirit is sometimes not attained, or even thought of, until the health of the body or mind is lost.

        There will always be “the remnant” who commit to God’s will & purpose from the moment they open up their eyes each day; then, there are those who, as you say, wait until the pain is too intense to bear. For myself, I waited many, many years…until my mind was totally shattered and broken from drug addiction…to realize that HE must be in control for every moment that I live and breathe. Doing it ourselves is a plan for failure and disaster…possibly even the loss of one’s soul. Now, THAT’s sobering!

  3. I think that it’s important to try to stay engaged with my Higher Power and to try to view what I’m doing as carrying out His will. It’s when I think I’m being pushed the wrong way by those little voices inside my head that I try to say “Thanks, but I’ll take it from here.” It’s progress, not perfection, for me, though, and I just try to keep moving in the right direction and doing the best that I can. Thanks.

    • Greg… agreed…. this does exemplify “progress, not perfection”. And we see it everywhere. Getting a firm grasp that our pride and complacency can set us up to listen to the voices that steer us the wrong way can be our undoing. Yet, I know of no other way to grow than to do our best just for today in seeking the will of God as we understand him, then DOING THE DOING, and if we trip, get up again and keep going. Chances are we are in a two-step forward, one step back cycle.



  4. It’s far more important to “identify” who your higher power is…it is the “power” of the success overcoming addiciton, permanently. There is only One who saves and heals. There is only ONE voice to listen to and He says…”My sheep hear My voice and they know Me and they folow Me” (John 10:27). When your mind speaks to you in other voices, it’s time to get down on your knees. While I don’t agree with the 12 step programs, if you identify your higher power as Jesus, the Name above all names…your success is secure and guaranteed no matter what road you’re on!
    It’s been said by an unknown author that “The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor. The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything”.

    • Not everyone will see it the same way or at the same time. For me, there is one ultimate higher power, God. I believe the Bible and that Jesus was who he said he was. I find that God uses many people, things, and circumstances that can act as powers greater than myself alone.

      For instance, another recovering alcoholic and me together form a power greater than me alone. Likewise, reading inspirational literature/books/blogs also form a power greater than myself. Likewise, going to the gym is a power greater than myself. Time with my kids is a power greater than myself. All of these help me be something better than my alcoholic self.

      Myself alone has proven to self-destruct. At least years ago when I was actively drinking and thinking like an alcoholic.

      I see all of these, shall we call them “sub-powers”? as gifts from God. Not unlike the gift of insulin for the diabetic or the titanium leg for the amputee. I can thank God for all of these things as he is ultimately the source. Insulin is not God, titanium legs are not God. They are not to be worshipped and we cannot seek their wills, but they are powerful and they can help where needed.

      Yet as long as man has existed, there is diversity of outlook on what and who God is. The current centre of Jerusalem is divided into walled segments where devout Muslims, Jews, and Christians practice their faiths within feet of one another. I can’t account for why others believe differently, I just know what my experience has led me to.

      So I am not in any hurry to require or expect that anyone believe a certain way. My job is only to stay open to what he wants me to do and where he wants me to go. Christondom, in my experience has spent far more time trying to manage the beliefs of others than it has living out the example Jesus lived.



      • I just want to add that there is only one God and His Name is Jesus. I speak with authority on that! I am, by no means, trying to change anyone who chooses not to change. My mission is to get the Word out there, because I see ongoing miracles within myself and all around me each and everyday…for those who choose the only God there is.

        I do agree with you, with much sadness, that “christianndom” is just a compilation of man-made defilement of God’s Word (The Bible); once again, it’s man trying to be a god and make their own rules. I walk by faith, as the early believers once did…worshipping and fellowshipping at home with true believers who don’t put God in a box and segregate from others. True belief (christianity, if you like to call it), is a change of heart, not a set of rules decided by man…NOT a denomination.

        God bless you on your journey of discovery of the true meaning of life. My God says, “today is the day of Salvation”.

  5. Ok… thanks! You too.

  6. What’s the difference between being religious and being spiritual?

    Religious people try to convince.
    Spiritual people try to help, forgetting self and reaching out to others in need.

    When people surrender their will over to God, they choose good over evil. Evil hurts and destroys lives, our own and others; good heals and rebuilds lives, our own and others.

    Do good and good will come back to us (universal principle). To love God is to love others. Or is it, to help others is to love God? Well, I guess if there isn’t any other motive than love.

    Humility is the key. Can we love without first surrendering our will to the cause of people’s healing?

    People don’t care what I believe; they only care that I care about them. Maybe that’s why they flocked to Jesus. He submitted himself to healing people’s broken bodies, spirits and souls. Everything He did was centered in touching people’s lives. Wow, such love.

    Well, no wonder, He was modeling His Father. Didn’t He say that He and the Father are one? I don’t know exact scripture verse, did it say that God was manifested in the flesh, in Jesus.

    However, is this exclusive? Can’t God manifest in our flesh, if we choose virtue and humbly love one another? Seek first to serve and then possibly somebody will ask about God in us.

    • Religion is man-made and, much of the time, it is self serving. It’s somewhat like a “club” with God thrown into the mix “somewhere”. True spirituality is, to me, following out Lord, Jesus, in the simplicity with which He tells us to. It’s having a change of heart from rejecting Him to obeying Him in all ways.
      Jhn 10:30 says, “I and [my] Father are one”.

      • Religion in my experience is man’s best attempt to create a system and environment through which he hopes to connect with and serve God.

        Most religion in my experience is created out of a sincere motive. Yet it doesnt necessarily facilitate spiritual growth or relationship with God. Conversely, it does not mean God is not a part of it.

        To me, religion is a natural byproduct of man’s propensity to organize and create structure. Just because some religions lose sight of God, does not make religion wrong or universally bad.

        I am religious in that I am systematic in some ways about my spiritual beliefs and practices. I see nothing wrong with it if it does not supercede my relationship with God.



    • Agreed Dale…

      Jesus lived his beliefs. He lived the law of attraction. Still to date, the most known man of the past 2 thousand years and that was pre-printing press, pre-radio, pre-tv, and pre-wwww.

      Too many faiths in my experience have been more about the telling than the doing. Jesus did the doing. Only then did he do the telling.

      Why arent people attracted to people who profess to be Jesus’ representatives in similar ways they were attracted to Jesus? Could it be because so many are about the telling more than the doing. Telling others what to do with their lives rather than surrendering their own to God’s will to become more like Jesus?

      I honestly don’t know. But to me, it is more about the doing than the talking. Eventually become just noise.



  7. Yes. I really have to work hard on me to stay in the state of mind: It’s not about me; it’s about making a difference in someone’s life, helping someone find peace so that he/she can experience joy of which comes from unconditional love.

    I constantly have to check my motives; getting my ego out of the way takes daily effort. Setting ego aside, I am a better person. Then, I can help others.

  8. Just want to say thank you for posting this. It is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. 🙂

    • Glad the post and dialogue were helpful. Stop by any time. Ciao. Chaz

  9. I ask God daily to keep me from taking over. Remove all aspects of “me” and my ego from decisions because if I’m in charge – we’re going to have problems!

    • Em…

      Ya, it seems like our will continues to sprout up and want to take over again and again. Like weeding a garden, it is best to be preemptive. It is my experience that we get better at surrender with time. We begin to make it a habit like anything else. Hopefully, we make surrender our default.

      Thanks for stopping by.



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