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LOST – A story of addiction recovery?

January 22nd, 2010

Last night Jeff “Doc” Jensen published his long teased theory of LOST as a reflection of a recovery program in his article: ‘LOST’: A Shot at Redemption. It is a wonderful article, and the theme of redemption and recovery resonates with me partly because of where/when this build up to its ultimate season occurred and how it has affected me personally.

Before you read any further, this is not a humorous look at “LOST addiction.” My hope is to start a very real discussion of real life addiction, and how recovery programs have made a difference, not only in my life, but in a great many others too.

Disclaimers:

  • This entire post may be a very bad case of projection.
  • I have to tip-toe a bit, because of the requirement for anonymity and safety in any recovery program. Anything I reveal here is regarding my journey, and only reflects my opinions as I work through my personal recovery process.
  • I’m currently attending a recovery program that is a local extension of the Celebrate Recovery (CR) program that was founded at Saddleback Church (the home church of Rick Warren mentioned in Doc’s article). The nature of my recovery and addiction I’ll be keeping private. Publishing that I’m going through a recovery program is a very sensitive disclosure. I’ve never really put this ‘out there’.

imageCelebrate Recovery generalizes its recovery program as an application to our ‘hurts, hangups and habits’ (HHH). This generalization opens up the program to many other aspects in our culture where people can find great relief and growth in completing a recovery program. Even if they may not be under the influence of a chemical addiction. Celebrate Recovery also specifically identifies its higher power is God, and the recovery program revolves around the acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Savior, and working out one’s recovery through the power of his love, grace and forgiveness.

For many years I’ve struggled with my own personal temptation, struggled with denial, struggled with how to make amends with the people I’ve hurt, and acceptance and forgiveness towards the people that have hurt me. Recovery from a HHH is a difficult road, with many dips and struggles. Recovery is not an event, but a journey that is never smooth, always a challenge, and very difficult. 2008/2009 was a low part of my personal road, relapsing into self-destructive and harmful acts, and drowning in a sea of denial.

Near the end of LOST season 5, my head started to appear a bit above water, and finding a community of fans I started interacting with people online. While my personal struggle centers on being very secretive and isolated, the start of the Twitter group Watch From the Beginning (#WFTB) gave me an open outlet to connect with people with similar interests to my own and slowly pull myself out of isolation. The danger with addiction is often taking one habit and replacing it with another habit, which truthfully I still struggle with when it comes to internet communities. Finding the balance between being present in real life (RL) and interacting healthily with an internet community is difficult. This past week has been one of the times where that balance hasn’t been optimal. I’m still working on it.

Last night was one of my regular meeting nights. A Celebrate Recovery meeting and the community of accountability partners and sponsors that are focused on facing their HHH’s and reconciling their struggles with the Great Physician is essential in continuing my road to recovery. The weekly community, the time spent listening, reflecting and applying changes to one’s character is difficult to explain, but powerful in its execution and meaning. I’m by no way perfect, but my recovery is gradually gaining traction. Each day is a struggle in trying to reject the lies I tell myself and accepting the truth and love that God reveals.

For image me, after coming home from a meeting, then reading Doc’s column about LOST being a recovery story was a bit surreal. I’ll need to re-read it again, because I spent a lot of the time not really reading the article, but skimming as I reflected on my journey these past 4-5 months. Recovery, its problems, its solutions, its processes are powerful metaphors for how we live, the scenes in LOST where recovery is shown (Charlie’s journey in the Moth, Locke’s anger management, Christian’s AA meeting) don’t do it justice.

I think Doc’s column goes a long way into exposing the hope that recovery programs such as AA or CR give to those suffering from additcions, hurts, hangups, habits and steeped in denial. Applying recovery from addiction as a pop cultural reference to LOST is a powerful metaphor. These little glimpses and hints that pain, denial and addiction can be overcome through the power of faith, hope and love, is one reason why I enjoy television, and especially shows such as LOST, and thoughtful commentators such as Jeff.

Thanks for reading, and your prayers as my journey continues are appreciated.

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