When Strength is Your Enemy

addiction recovery

Quotes. We look them up for encouragement. They make us feel better. Sometimes they change our immediate thinking so much that we share them with others.

Text Message.
There are so many places to share.

But what are we being inspired by? Is it the truth?
Sometimes what seems good can be just slightly twisted, and in reality, we’re feeding ourselves a lie.
For those in recovery, this lie can lead us down a path of destruction.

Let’s talk about strength.
When I was coming out of addiction I felt lost, confused, vulnerable. I heard a lot of words during my struggle. And I read a lot of quotes. Some of them were helpful, but honestly, a lot of them just added to my confusion.

People would tell me to be strong, to be determined, to get back up, —to fight.
I bought this lie and spent over a decade looking for the inner strength I never had.

You can’t pour water out of an empty pitcher.
I was empty. Bankrupt. Dying. But I did what the world told me to do and I put on the face of strength. I died a little more every day, but I was determined to be that strong, single woman, —that mother who was the rock of her family.

But I kept falling down.

Each failure…every vacation from reality into the warm blanket of addiction only strengthened my belief that I was hopelessly lost. It became a never ending cycle of pulling myself up, brushing myself off, encouraging myself, telling myself it was a matter of choice, a matter of self discipline, a matter of willpower…and then the horrible feeling of self hatred when I would pick up the bottle one more time.

All the while I never realized that the struggle wasn’t part of the solution.

Surrender was the solution.

Once I stopped trying to be my own hero. Once I decided to stand in my own truth and just admit that I was as weak as they come, I was able to find the only true source of strength.

This was the beginning of my spiritual awakening.
Coming to terms with my own human frailty.
No more hiding.
No more pretending I was well equipped for this addiction that had come to steal my life and destroy my dreams.
I could finally be content with the truth.

I am a mess and I am unable to save myself.

As soon as my search for strength ceased, I reached for a power greater than myself. A strength that I could run to. One that would never fail me. Of course, I’m talking about God.

At that moment of clarity, I realized I never had to search for my own strength again. I also realized I was never going to magically grow into a strong person, regardless of how long I was in recovery.

The beautiful truth was (and is) that I could forever hide myself in the strength of God. When we are together, I am no longer an empty pitcher. In fact, I have limitless resources. Not just strength to fight addiction, but wisdom, hope, forgiveness, love for others, and peace beyond human understanding.

He is everything I’m not, and He freely offers me a ‘full access pass’ to His unlimited supply every single minute. My only part in this is to be willing to rely on Him instead of myself. I can choose to connect with God and live in full awareness of His presence (constant contact), moment by moment…or I can choose to muster up some of my own. Sounds like a ridiculous choice and a no-brainer, but with the wrong mindset we can be fooled into thinking we have something within ourselves to rely on. We can tell ourselves we are our own hero. And just to prove how bankrupt we really are, we will actually agree with that thought, until we fall down again and are left wondering where that hero disappeared to.

So, maybe we should start this New Year right. Maybe this could be a good Christmas present to ourselves.
Laying down our own ideas and asking God to deliver us from the bondage of self.

Once we do that, and decide to stand in His strength…we have the guarantee of successful recovery.
He promises to never let us down, never let us fail, never leave us unprotected or without a way of escape.
It’s so simple.

2015…No cape required.

addiction recovery


About Robin Bright

Hi. My name is Robin Bright. I'm a mom, author, part of The John Maxwell Team and a recovery advocate who struggled with the torment of addiction for over a decade. I still remember what it was like. I know the desperation and hollowness of addiction. The stories here are about our journey to the light. They are raw, authentic, vulnerable. We talk about getting free, staying free, and loving ourselves through the process. I used to believe I had become the worst version of myself. And then God introduced me to me —as only He can. It is my hope that you will use the resources found here to uncover your own true identity...the vision God had when He formed you. xo


  1. Cat Foster

    Great article! Thanks for sharing

    1. Robin Bright Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement, Cat! I’m very excited about this project!

  2. Walethia

    This is so me right now. My addiction is my strenght. I’ve been seriously ill for the last six months. I’m recovering from pneumonia and a pulmonary embolism. For the first time in my life I can’t depend on my own strenght. I can only turn to Him.

    1. Robin Bright Post author

      It’s so good to know we can just be honest and fall completely apart instead of trying to put on some weird, false strength. His strength is perfect in our weakness.
      I’m believing with you for your full recovery Walethia!

  3. Darlyn Fried

    Your writing is such an inspiration and source of hope to me, someone who has trouble expressing thoughts and putting them into words. I have been reading your daily posting about your recovery since the beginning and I have to tell you that everything you have written has spoken to me. It also has encouraged many others. The Lord is using you to reach other addicts and to give hope to the hopeless. I love you and am blessed to be a part of your journey. I look forward to seeing what The Lord has in store for you, hold on cause you are in for one heck of a ride.

    1. Robin Bright Post author

      I’m not supposed to be crying right now, Darlyn! Thanks a bunch! lol
      I’m holding on and hiding in Him!
      Thank you for being such a loving and encouraging part of my life. You are family and I’m so blessed to know you! Ahhhhhh!!!! I miss you! xo

  4. Sarah

    This was so touching, so open, and so heartfelt. I want to say that I’m so glad you’re doing better, but that’s not it at all. I’m so glad that God is giving you the strength to find a path through this. I’m so glad He is there for you, holding your hand and that you’ve chosen to hold His and let Him guide you.

    That makes you a hero in my eyes. A hero with the power of faith. It takes true strength to admit that you need help and to seek it from the only One who can truly give it.

    I say your cape is His arms, wrapped around you so tightly with love, understanding, and peace. Wear it proudly.

    1. Robin Bright Post author

      Oh Sarah! Thank you for this encouragement! Thank you also for standing with my family and being such a blessing to my daughter while I was away. You are a true friend in every sense of the word. I love you endlessly!

Say It