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Addiction Recovery: Are You Willing To Climb A Tree?

Addiction recovery can be like climbing a tree.

By Pastor James Exline

Addiction is a disease. Addiction is a deadly disease. Addiction kills. How ironic—as I write this, I just received notification of another death due to overdose!

A disease this deadly and relentless requires drastic measures to overcome; it takes whatever it takes!

In the Bible, in Luke 19, we learn about a man named Zacchaeus who knew he had a need, and was willing to do whatever it took to find the solution to his problem. He was a tax collector, collecting taxes from the local Jewish people, the Pharisees. Tax collectors were the most despised of all people, considered the scourge of society. The last thing he would have wanted to do was to draw attention to himself, especially around the very people they collected taxes from.

Yet, this is exactly what Zacchaeus did. One day, in the middle of a crowd of Pharisees, he climbed a tree. Why would he do such a crazy thing? Why would he do something that was certain to draw attention to himself? Jesus was walking by, and he wanted to meet with Jesus. He had a need, and he knew Jesus was able to meet that need.


Finding a Solution

As an addict or alcoholic, you have a need — a need to be sober, to overcome the bondage of addiction. You need positive outcome in your battle to stay sober. The solution is walking by, what will your reaction be?

What is that solution? Here are a few:

  • Get a sponsor
  • Work the steps with your sponsor
  • Go to meetings
  • Get involved in a local church
  • And above all else, surrender your will to God and allow him to be the master crafter and planner of your life.

All of that seems simple enough, yet it is often met with resistance and excuses as to why people won’t do what is necessary to stay sober, why they won’t “climb the tree.”

Some of those excuses are:

  • I had a sponsor once; it didn’t work out.
  • I’m here to help other people.
  • I have my willpower.
  • God is all I need.
  • I have been healed; I’m not an addict anymore.

The list goes on and on. Either you are doing what is necessary, whatever it takes, or you are making excuses and are most likely not staying sober. You are either, “climbing the tree” or you are doing your own thing. You are either, finding the solution to your problem or you are finding more of your problem.

Zacchaeus had a need, and was willing to do whatever it took. At the end of the story, Jesus states this about Zacchaeus, “Salvation has come to this home today.” By climbing the tree, by being willing to do whatever it took, Zacchaeus obtained the solution he needed.

How will your story read? Will you find the solution? Are you willing to climb a tree?

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