Last month, we started a two part series on how to have great recovery check-ins with people who care about your life. Sharing your recovery journey with someone is a delicate process and can’t be taken lightly. Therefore, we have to be wise with who we invite into our lives. Not everyone can handle the weight of what we have to share. Having said that, there are some incredible people out there as well who have so much to offer us!
Here are five more tips for having great recovery check ins:
1. Be defensive & be offensive with check-ins — Defensive: I’m feeling temptation right now. Offensive: Pulls, feelings, go on the offensive, reaching out to someone. Simply put, recovery takes action on our part. It takes focus and it takes clarity. We have to not only field the attacks that we may feel, but we must also lean in to truth. This is why we’re talking about a two part strategy. Ephesians 6 is one of my favorite portions of Scripture because it gives very specific instructions on how to fight in spiritual warfare. The armor of God mentioned in verses 11-18 isn’t just meant for our protection, it’s meant for our advancement. The same applies to our recovery. If we want to heal, if we want to grow, we must go after the areas of pain that send us down unhealthy paths. A great check-in helps us to do that!
2. Timing evolution — Check-in with someone before a slip, in the middle of a struggle. Recognize triggers & pulls. I’ve met very few men that have learned to do this consistently. I say this because I was one of those men in the other camp: I would wait until the battle was hot & heavy, slide into isolation, act out in some way and then run to other men to confess my transgressions. This is the opposite of what this tip is talking about. The ideal time to check-in before the temptation strikes. Someone once called this technique “book-ending”. The idea is when you know you might be walking into a scenario that might be triggering in some way for you that you reach out to someone BEFORE. And then there is a follow-up conversation AFTER on how you felt you did. Much of our success in recovery requires a great deal of forethought and planning.
3. It takes practice to become comfortable. This one is pretty self-explanatory. When it comes to conversations and communication, you get better at it when you commit to the process of doing it regularly. And so that’s why having 2-3 people is probably a pretty good number. These aren’t just people you’re having regular conversations with about sexual purity. These are people you’ll want to do life with. Hang out with them. Eat with them. Worship with them. Play with them. Build your relationship with them so your conversations have the opportunity to go deeper. What you’ll find is through time spent with people your comfort will also increase.
4. A good friend on the other end asks good questions. You’ll want to make sure you’re able to find people who are interested in going deep with you. This doesn’t have to be the most spiritual person you know, but there’s also nothing wrong meeting with someone who knows the Word and has an intimate, thriving relationship with God. Perhaps someone who has a counseling or therapeutic background. Most of all, find people who are curious. People who don’t just take what they see at face value. They’re always digging deeper to know more. These are the kind of people you want to spend your time with. You will be able to tell a surface-level person verses someone who really wants to walk with you. Yes, they will have the ability to encourage you. But they need to be able to ask the tough questions too.
5. Have many guys to talk to, text, email, & meet up with. Take advantage of communication wherever you can. Some individuals will be more able to meet at a coffee shop or for lunch. But distance may separate you geographically and maybe you’re only able to do a phone call or Zoom meeting. Even taking time throughout the week to text that person how you’re doing and what you’re feeling is super important! Be flexible with the men you’re meeting with.
And as always, if you’re looking for a community to help support you in your recovery journey, Small Groups Online would be worth a look! SGO offers a weekly online group experience via Zoom where you will join other men and women who are also seeking community. Check out Small Groups Online today!