Therefore comfort each other and edify one another” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NKJV).
The paradox of recovery is that both the wounds behind addiction and the healing of those wounds are relationally based. This is why healthy relationships are a protected and essential part of Celebrate Recovery. Unfortunately, many men are resistant to healthy relationships and, as a result, are not maturing in recovery.
One of the reasons men resist needs-based relationships is what I call masculine-masking. I believe one of the most spiritually crippling masculine-masking messages is the belief that “needing someone is weak.” This mask is especially dangerous because spiritual growth is relational. We grow spiritually and emotionally through healthy relationships with God and others. When we say we don’t need anyone, we are halting our own progress. In reality, this mask reveals emotional wounds rather than emotional health.
When I was a young teenager and both my parents were incarcerated, my response was to protect myself from close relationships in order to avoid getting hurt. In his book Hiding From Love, Dr. John Townsend explains this response: “When you experience emotional injury, fear, shame, or pride, your first impulse is to hide the hurting parts of yourself from God, others, even yourself. Often you’ve learned these hiding patterns during childhood to protect yourself in a threatening environment. The problem is that when you hide your injuries and frailties, you isolate yourself from the very things you need in order to heal and mature. What served as protection for a child becomes a prison to an adult.”
Wearing the mask of not needing anyone else keeps us from being authentic. It imprisons us by isolating us from the healthy relationships God has provided for our recovery and spiritual growth. The man who reaches out for help and maintains healthy relationships is someone who has taken off the mask to be his authentic self and is stronger because of it.
Do you want to grow spiritually and in your recovery? Then remove the mask of “needing someone is weak.” Invest in your healthy relationships and accountability support team.