Accountability

Beginning Recovery: What are You Waiting For?

BEGIN

It’s that simple. After all the planning and anticipation, you have to turn the crank the first time.

Without knowing what will happen or where it all will lead, you begin.

I used to think these beginnings should be a big deal, with some sort of grand official sendoff. Simply starting seemed anti-climatic.

Now, though, I sort of like it. I like the notion that you start by starting. It doesn’t require a ceremony or a permit or a “ready-set-go.”

True Friendship or Playing at Friendship?

Proverbs 18:24 NRSV
Some friends play at friendship
but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin.


I think that, on the whole, we don't really know how to be friends these days. In fact, our idea of friendship is often quite skewed because we either liken it to some kind of party (albeit an informal gathering down at the local pub over a brew) or we see it as something that makes us feel better. I think, all in all, we are more likely the first—someone who plays at friendship—than the latter—someone who sticks closer than a brother.

Understand that, when Proverbs was written, families lived together in one compound. Thus, there was a bond—heightened by financial intertwining—that existed between brothers. Sons (and daughters) didn't grow up to maturity and move away, but rather grew up to become part of the family's industry (whatever that was). Brothers were interconnected to such an extent that it was difficult to exist apart. So not only were they related physically (by blood), but there was a geographic and financial relationship that never ended.

Dissecting the 12 Steps

We struggled for years with our addiction. We tried to do things our way. It didn't work. We found recovery by working the Twelve Steps. And in the process we...

1. "Admitted we are powerless over our addiction - that our lives have become unmanageable."
Those of us with addictions may have many reasons for seeking help in literature, support groups, counselors and treatment facilities. Some of us are divorced, jobless, despised by our children, depressed and we have nowhere to turn. We have lied to those who trusted us the most, but they are now tired of our excuses. For months and even years, we have lost our homes and our health - we've lost everything. We are alone, hopeless, and our lives are completely unmanageable - a.k.a. "rock bottom".

Parable of a Sponsor

A member of the program of recovery, who previously had been attending meetings regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, her sponsor decided to visit her. It was a chilly evening and the sponsor found the sponsee at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.

Guessing the reason for her sponsor's visit, the sponsee welcomed her, led her to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. Her sponsor made herself comfortable but said nothing.

In the grave silence, she contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the sponsor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then she sat back in her chair, still silent. The sponsee watched all this in quiet fascination.

Sexual Addiction Relapse Prevention

We have to become willing to tolerate the discomfort of a frustrated impulse - an incredibly difficult thing to do. Because not acting out is like developing a new muscle. It feels there's something wrong, were being brainwashed, we're making a terrible mistake.

Ironically, many of us sexual compulsives seem on the surface to be easygoing and flexible people. But when it comes to changing our minds about acting out, it would appear no force on earth can stop us. Here are some practical steps designed to break through the sexual compulsive's "whim of steel":

Is Porn the Norm?

Several years ago, Faith Popcorn, America's foremost trend expert, hailed by the New York Times as the "trend oracle" and as the "Nostradamus of marketing" by Fortune magazine, declared, "Porn is norm." She was not endorsing pornography, but predicting that media technology would push the limits of what is acceptable and would facilitate a culture of instant gratification; thus porn would be the norm. True to her prediction, pornography has moved out of the back allies of the urban scene and onto the main streets of America.

While most Internet businesses were going bankrupt, the porn industry was raking in huge profits, making it perhaps the most profitable business on the Internet. In the past, one had to travel to sleazy backstreets to find porn; now, it's only a click away on the computer and on the remote control of the cable/satellite TV. Easy, private and nobody knows?except God. At home or in the hotel, porn is private, available and acceptable. Some estimate that as much as 70% of in-room hotel profits come from porn and that over 50% of hotel patrons participate. As people consume it in private, porn becomes the norm and goes public.

Whether it's the infamous Super Bowl incident or the recent Paris Hilton hamburger commercial, porn is seducing its way into the mainstream. The church needs to be on guard against this tsunami of trash. As it inundates our culture, it is also seeping into our churches. Shepherds must be vigilant and use the rod and staff to defeat this enemy and guard Christ's sheep.

A Reality in the Church

Finding a Church to Support Your Recovery

Because recovery is a spiritual journey, it will result in spiritual changes as well as emotional and physical ones. That is one reason, among many, why having a supportive faith community during recovery can be crucially important. In addition to the resources of a therapist and/or a support group, having a safe community of people with whom to worship and learn can be a big help.

Finding such a community may not, unfortunately, be easy. It is not difficult to find congregations with a performance orientation and a spirituality rooted in shame. That is not always the case, however, and it's well worth the effort to find a congregation that is at least sympathetic to recovery. There are, of course, no perfect churches out there - just as there are no perfect support groups, perfect therapists or perfect programs. So, give careful thought to what you really need from a church during this time in your life. If you have a supportive group and a therapist, you may not need a congregation to have recovery programming. It may be more important to have a place where you can experience grace-based worship and teaching.

It's My Life, Right?

It's My Life, Right?

No, it's not.

I love great preaching that spurs me to think differently and dig a little deeper. This weekend Pastor Jeff Lucas offered a new (to me) perspective on idolatry and the 2nd commandment.

You shall have no other gods before me.

"You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments." Exodus 20:3-6

I knew this was about more than golden calves. I knew idols might disguise themselves as jobs or money or power or anything that becomes first priority.

Get Back On Your Feet Because You Still Have To Eat

"Get Back On Your Feet Because You Still Have To Eat"

This little catchy phrase is a great motivator if you need to remind yourself why it is important to look for work and remember to keep your eye on the prize. Jesus never fails. Even when it seems like you are going to walk off into the abyss and you cannot see no way, God will make a way. You have to remember to ask yourself where is your faith in God.

Psalm 118:8 KJV
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

First things first when you start to look for work is to remember what you can do and what you are good at doing. Remember that recovery takes one day at a time and in the beginning you have to heal in all areas of your life. When it feels as if you will not be able to reach your goal it is time to slow down, take a deep breath and remember your God given strengths and talents.

What is Addiction?

What is Addiction?

A state of addiction is reached when people habitually or obsessively surrender themselves to a substance or behavior. A person with an addiction uses a substance or behavior to escape from pain or reality. Yet by the nature of addiction, they only hurt themselves or others, and continue to deepen their addiction.

There is much debate over whether addiction is a disease or a compulsive habit. The body can certainly become highly dependent on various substances like drugs and alcohol. It seems hard believe that someone can validly claim to be addicted to shopping or the internet.

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