I finally watched the Twilight series. My wife had watched it through three or four times and I figured I might as well find out who this Edward guy is she keeps talking about. For those of you who are late to the vampire party, like myself, I promise I won’t spoil anything important if you continue reading. I didn’t fall in love with anyone in this series but I did learn a few things about recovery. So my apologies in advance if you are looking for something fawning over Edward or Jacob, but I trust you’ll find some helpful recovery information that has nothing to do with Jacob’s inability to keep a shirt on.
What I found fascinating about this series was how much it described the struggle between our new life in Christ and our old life in the flesh. The main family, or coven, in the films is the Collins family. They are radically different from other vampires in that they have determined they would not feed on human blood but only animals.
This is not easy for them. Their nature as vampires longs for human blood. It’s an intoxicating desire. Even the scent of a human will “trigger” them and make them yearn for what their bodies naturally crave.
And yet they resist. They restrain themselves. As the movies progress, we learn that this restraint gets easier with time. Initially, when someone first becomes a vampire, the desire is the strongest. The desire to feed on human blood is overwhelming and it requires the other family members to intervene and protect both the hunted and the hunter.
What does all this have to do with recovery? A few things seem obvious to me…
- The desire is real. Our flesh wants what it wants, and it’s rarely if ever good for us. Paul writes in Romans, “For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (Rom. 7:18). A vampire, by nature, wants human blood. How would any of them ever know that this desire was misdirected, or, to say it another way, sinful? They wouldn’t know it without revelation (someone pointing this out to them) and they wouldn’t be able to beat it without submission to that revelation. The same is true in our recovery. We believe that God has revealed truth to us, leading us away from misdirected desires and sinful, broken patterns of life and towards something whole and right and pleasing before God. Admitting that we have this desire in us, that it is not right, and that we are powerless against it on our own is the first step to being free.
- The first few months are a killer. For a new vampire the first few months the desire is the strongest. It requires extra vigilance to get through this period without taking human life. In our recovery, those first 90 days are brutal. You need to recognize that you are in a war and it’s going to be difficult. But not impossible. So how do you get through it?
- Get help. You can’t do it alone and you need the support of others traveling the same direction as you. In the Collins Coven, they looked out for each other. Those who were further along in their “recovery” from desiring human blood were able to help the newbies understand their strong urges and give them tools to help them through their trigger points. These first 90 days you should be in a meeting every day whether that be in person, on the phone, online or something. Get around others who are pursuing wholeness and freedom.
- It gets easier….but never drop your guard. The more mature vampires were not totally immune to the scent or the desire, but over time it was easier to resist. If you are early in your recovery you no doubt feel like your skin is crawling and everything within you must have your drug of choice. Please know that if you feed that urge, it only extends the amount of time that the desire stays so strong. As you starve it, you will find over time it gets easier. A day will come when you will wake up and realize many weeks or months have gone by and you haven’t even had the urge. You’ll know you are free! But be wise. Remember that the enemy is always lurking, looking for those of us with years of recovery who might let our guard down (1 Cor. 10:12)
These are just some of the recovery themes I found in the Twilight saga. I’m sure there are more. If you seen the movies, what would you add?
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16)