When I Am Ready To Give Up

Some days, I am so weary. I just don’t know if I want to continue on this journey. It seems as if it’s too hard. I ask if it’s worth it or if it’s just pointless.


I don’t always want to do the things I am doing. Sometimes, my work is exhausting. Sometimes, my family is exhausting. Sometimes, my sobriety is exhausting. Sometimes, writing is exhausting.

And I just don’t want to do it anymore.

There is so much commitment, so much endurance, so much…everything. There is never a day when I have no responsibilities. I always have to be doing something. And not in the over-committed, too busy hustle and bustle of life. Just living out the necessary responsibilities makes me worn out at times.

In this particular blogging exercise, I have committed to writing 40 posts over the course of the (almost) 7 week Lenten season. I have missed 3 of those days. A couple others have been reposts or long quotations/works by others. And some days, I have made it until late in the afternoon before realizing I have not fully completed what I want to share for the day.

And I find it exhausting. I have to requirement to do this. It is not fulfilling any obligation. It is just something I want to do. And I truly do hope people are reading and enjoying.

But even in this optional exercise that I willingly chose to do, I struggle with continuing.

Day 30 out of 40.




75% of the way complete and I am asking, “Is this good enough?”

In my journey of sobriety, 75% of the way through the 12 steps brings me to making amends. It is a difficult part of the process. But I know it is not the end of the process. There is still more work to do. But as I look at the list of people I have harmed; as I look at the list of things I have done, I am weary. As I approach each person to confess and repent, I feel a little more exhausted.

But I know there is more to come. So am I going to stop where I am at? Or will I continue.

In my journey through Lent, I am trying to sacrifice some things in order to rely on God more. It is a time to remember that life is temporary; things are temporary. I am working to prepare myself for the joy of the resurrection. Through it all, the focus is on how my faith can grow through this period of time. I am 75% of the way through this season. Do I need to continue?

I know that more good can come from my surrender. So will I stop here? Or keep going?

I wonder what Jesus was thinking and experiencing on day 30 of his 40 days in the wilderness after his baptism. How weary was he? How lonely was he? How hungry was he?

Did he experience feelings of doubt? Or a desire to give up and think that 30 days was long enough?

Jesus continued. For 40 days. He gave up fulfilling his own desires in order to draw closer to God. And he persevered.

I think about how difficult day 30 is (for example, I’m posting this on day 31 because of the busy-ness of day 30). I think about how hard step 9 is in the 12 step process. I think about how difficult it is to be a husband, father, friend, employee each day. And I draw a little bit of comfort from this:

You cannot experience the challenges of day 30 without first making it through day 1. You cannot complete a journey without passing through every stage of that journey. If you want to make it 100% of the way, you will have to complete 75% before doing so.

Some days, I am weary. Some days, I think continuing is too hard. Some days, I think the goal is unattainable. And then I remember: I am only in today. I have made it this far because I have lived one day at a time for quite a while. When I bring my focus into today, it provides a little bit of rest for my weary soul.

Healing Through Seeking Forgiveness

My last post provided the story of an attempt to make amends that did not go well. For my ongoing journey, a couple of important lessons were learned. First, I was indeed willing to enter into this process. Second, I could encounter challenges and face them, not run from them.

Yet, there was a third lesson in that experience that took me a little while longer to figure out: their response to my attempt at reconciliation really didn’t matter.

There is a great feeling of relief that comes when I apologize to someone and they accept my apology. I feel that I have accepted responsibility for my actions, acknowledged my wrongdoing, and stated that I am willing to do whatever I can to make things better.

I approach those conversations with some anxiety and nervousness: what if they reject me? What if my apology isn’t good enough? And there is also the embarrassment of having to talk about the wrong I have done.

So when the person says, “I forgive you,” I feel quite a bit of consolation. However, I had to learn during this process of making amends that the “I forgive you” is not the goal of making amends.

In fact, the goal of making amends does not have a whole lot to do with the person I wronged.

I make amends because it is what I need to do. I need to take responsibility for my actions and acknowledge my wrongdoing and commit to doing whatever I can to be better. Period. I don’t do those things because I need other people to forgive me.

I do those things because that is what I need to do.

It is my responsibility to work towards restoring what I have broken. It is not my responsibility to require a certain response from others. If I only apologize because I expect all people to greet me warmly, I am not apologizing for the right reason.

Making amends is not just about the people I harmed. It is about me learning how to become a better human being. In the process, my relationship with others will likely improve. But that is a secondary benefit. 

Primarily, when I consider my journey, I have learned ways that I have hurt other people. I have grown to recognize the need to confess and repent. And I am committing to being a better person. I don’t want to cause the same hurts I have caused in the past. I want to restore what I have broken.

I feel a great sense of relief when others accept my apology. It is affirming and comforting. But I have learned to not make that my goal.

My goal is recovery. My goal is learning how to not break things in the first place. My goal is learning how to confess and repent quicker.

It is indeed a journey. One that I hope continues.

When Making Amends Doesn’t Work

My first attempt at making amends did not go so well.

In the 12 step process of recovery, step 9 is making amends to the people we have harmed. It is a difficult part of the journey; it involves humility, confession, repentance. It is never easy to walk up to someone and say, “I acknowledge that I have wronged you in this particular way. I am committed to changing my life and ensuring I never do that thing again. Is there any way I can repay you for what I have done?”

There is a lot of healing that comes with the amends process. Taking responsibility for one’s actions allows us to be free of the fear that comes from trying to hide what we have done. Learning the difference between humility (willing acknowledgement that the world does not revolve around me) and humiliation (being shamed) is vital to our growth in sobriety. Developing the courage to face up to the conflict in our lives and restore relationships instead of hiding in a bottle allows us to maintain and grow in our health.

So for me, the first time I made an attempt to sit down and meet with a couple of people to make my amends, I felt I was ready. I had written their names on my list. I had discussed it with my sponsor. I had prayed about it. I had become willing. I set up a time and place to meet. I arrived. I spoke honestly about what I had done. I apologized. I committed to doing better.

And they brushed me off. They essentially said, “Whatever.” They pointed to a couple of decisions I had made (sober decisions for the good of my family and myself) and said they disagreed with them. Instead of talking with me about ways to restore the relationship, they actually said things that drove a deeper wedge in the relationship.

(Quick note to say two things: I am going to address this more in Monday’s post, so be sure to keep reading! Also, although this particular meeting did not go well, reconciliation did occur–it just took a little bit longer.)

As I left, I remember feeling defeated and deflated. I remember asking myself what exactly the point was if this is how these conversations were going to go.

And I spoke with my sponsor about it. He told me he was not surprised. He actually anticipated the conversation going the way it did.

I remember being a little miffed with my sponsor that day.

But he asked me to recognize some important things: I was ready to have these conversations regardless of their outcome. I was willing to have these conversations no matter how scared I might have been.

The work of reconciliation is rarely easy. Some days, our messages will not be received the way we hoped. Some days, we will be reminded of even more wrongs that we have done. Some days, people will just be too hurt to hear us.

But we have been preparing. We have been praying. We have been intentional in listing the people and the harm. We have become willing.

So we still enter the room. We still make our confession. We still make our pledge. And regardless of the outcome, we prepare for our next conversation.

Are You Willing?

One lesson I learned repeatedly during the course of my sobriety was how often the need for willingness kept coming back up.

Willingness to admit powerlessness.

Willingness to accept help.

Willingness to believe in God.

Willingness to make change.

Willingness to start making amends to those people we have harmed.

In our spiritual journeys, it is the same.

We must be willing to acknowledge we do need a power greater than ourselves.

We must be willing to acknowledge that we need help: both from God and from our community.

We must be willing to believe in God.

We must be willing to to make changes in our lives.

We must be willing to work towards reconciliation and restoration in our relationships.

Whether we are trying to grow in sobriety or in spirituality, we must be willing. Willing to be humble. Willing to be vulnerable. Willing to be in community. Willing to acknowledge what needs to be changed. Willing to give up the destructive habits that we have been clinging to.

Our willingness is going to be the key to growth.