Guidance

What’s in My Suitcase?

I have this roll around bag I carry with me every day to work. In it, I carry my journal, extra pens, a small laptop, and anything else I think I might need for the day. I decided to get a bag that had rollers because the one I carried over my shoulder grew too heavy for me. I wish I could do the same for the other baggage I have carried with me over the years.

The other suitcase I carry with me has no handle. It resides within the chambers of my heart and the confines of my soul. It has years of control, co-dependency, self-blame, regret, sadness, grief, and pain within it. As I face Step Four of my recovery journey, I know there is more in that piece of luggage. I know there are things I haven’t admitted to yet. I know there are probably even things I am not aware of. But I know this is an important step in the recovery from my past.

These issues I have carried with me are common for people like me. I haven’t always known this to be true. Working diligently on making a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself showed me this. Reading Psalm 139:23-24 guides me toward God’s loving arms to reveal the truth about me.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

I ask God to search and know my heart. I ask him to

Nature vs. Nurture: An Unanswered Question?

Nature versus nurture: it's still an unanswered question. And that mystery applies to all things appearance.

Faces have always captured my attention. I am fascinated by the variety of features and expressions they contain.

A Couple of Kittens...

I first was obsessed with my mother's set of three cat figurines. There was one "mother cat" and her two smaller white kittens. I was especially preoccupied with the kittens.

And here, perhaps, is where I encountered one of my first harmful disordered ideas about image. I viewed one kitten as cuter, a/k/a, "better" than the other. Why? It was because this kitten- let's call her "Sally"- appeared to have a sweeter, more pleasing, "good kitty" facial expression. The other kitten, however, had more of a "Sophia- Loren- exotic- eyeliner-drawn- face" situation going on.

And, somehow, to me, that kitten face - let's call her "Sophia"- symbolized more mischief and displeasing, "bad kitty" behaviors than that of innocent-and-cute-looking Sally.

Indeed, in this kitten context, my toddler self was already learning inaccurate appearance associations all on my own.

But soon, other influences contributed to my preferences. Adults also instructed me about which emotions, often depicted in the human face, were acceptable - and which were not.

An Image Utensil?

The True and the New

"It's Only Natural"

Why is it Important to Have a Sponsor?

Why is it important to have a sponsor? Why do I need someone to guide me along in my journey through recovery? Can't I do this thing alone? I'm a private person. I don't want someone else knowing my problems. It's nobody's business what is going on in my life.

I asked those questions and said those things when I first began on my recovery journey. It wasn't until I read the Scripture that goes along with Step Four that I finally realized God doesn't desire for this journey to be solo. His desire is for me to find someone I trust to help, guide, and teach me along the way.

Playing Hide and Seek with God?

I searched hurriedly to find just the right hiding place. Breathless I hid silently behind the shower curtain in my parents shower. A giggle slipped from my mouth and I quickly cupped my hand to keep it quiet. I could barely hear my friend counting... 6... 7...8 ...9... 10! Ready or not, here I come! My heart raced for fear I would be found.

I'm sure you remember the exhilaration and suspense of playing hide and seek with your friends. Now that I am older, I no longer play this childhood game with my friends or anyone else—or do I?

It is Just the Beginning

I have learned to trust God. I have faith my past is gone. I have let it all go and given it to God to handle. This is just the beginning for me, though.

My journey through recovery begins with Christ and it continues with Him. I could not have started nor could I continue without His help and guidance through all of the steps of recovery. I may not be an alcoholic or addicted to a drug, but I have other issues to contend with as a result of living with addiction.

  • Each day I must turn my need for control over to God’s care.
  • Each day I must turn over my past shopping compulsion to God because He is enough to fill any void I have.
  • Each day I must rid myself of co-dependency and be fully dependent upon Him to comfort me.

Listening in the Quiet (Pain, Loss & Suffering)

The historical account of Job is one of pain, loss, suffering, and God's wise control. The long and short of this book of the Bible is this: Job was a stand-up guy. He was faithful to God. He had a family, a farm, and a good life. One day, God and Satan were having a conversation about Job and his faithfulness to God. Satan believes he can turn Job against God and God accepts the challenge. While God is watching, Job loses everything. He loses his farm, his wife, and his sons.

Okay, let's stop there. So, God allowed Satan to test Job's faithfulness? Yes, but you see, while God allowed this, He was in complete control the entire time. God knows all things; therefore, He knew Job would remain faithful. So why would God allow Job's suffering? I don't know the answer to that for sure, but I believe there is purpose in our pain. I believe that God works all things according to His purpose and for my good.

In the end, Job remained faithful to the Lord and he was rewarded for his faithfulness. The same is true for me and for you. What does this have to do with Step Four?

While working through my searching and fearless moral inventory, I have to remain faithful to God. I know His

FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

"Once is never enough, never is and never was, uh-huh,
Here and now is all that counts, here and now in large amounts, uh-huh"
~ Adam Ant, "Room at the Top"


In our culture today, there is a go-for-the gusto acronym, "FOMO," "Fear of Missing Out." I see it influencing our behavior. It declares we need to pounce on living life, taking advantage of every opportunity, going for our dreams.

But I also see its addiction message too, mainly reflected in the bender/binge concept with which some struggle. Each of us must deal with our individual vulnerabilities concerning substances, food, chaotic behaviors and relationships - and any other tempting vice under the sun.

Two events which spring to the top of my mind are Fat Tuesday and Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Munchausen Syndrome (Attention Seeking through Illness & Adversity )

Note: Munchausen syndrome is a condition where a person fakes an illness or disease mainly to get attention from with the medical profession or from their family and friends. Sometimes it is done to obtain sympathy, to act out anger or even to control the behavior of others. It is not common but it happens occasionally. Now it is happening on the internet.

When you discuss a condition with a person in a chat room or reply to questions and comments on a message board, you may be communicating with a person who is just faking the problem. (This is important to keep in mind.) But how would you know? That person may also be playing several roles in the chat room or message board. They have simplified the deception by taking to the internet rather than attending a hospital emergency room or doctor's office.

The Trigger of Grief

In the work of recovery, we address the danger of triggers. Its very word itself suggests the power to cause us harm:

"Something that precipitates a particular event or situation; To set off; initiate; To fire or explode."


On one August morning of 2003, I encounter such a trigger. The phone rang. My dad was dead.

My grief, for the next year and a half, was an alarming, unexpected reality. And each subsequent "anniversary" proves equally tricky also. Both defy what I thought I would - or should - be experiencing.

After all, coming from an abusive childhood, I didn't think the loss of this pain-inflicting parent would register as significantly as it did.

Your membership & donations make this ministry possible.
If you have been helped please:

Join Us  or  Donate

Contact Us

Syndicate content