One Day at a Time

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":

I have been divorced a long time. What can I do?

I have been divorced for ten years. What should I do?

It is so unfortunate that you felt that your problems were so difficult and unique that there was no way to resolve them. It seems that you are now realizing that most of life's problems are short-lived and that on the other side of them, it is easier to see what would have been the right decision.

God: Better Than a Hershey's Bar

I love the series "Mad Men." Most of the time, I confound my husband by binge watching episodes of it on Netflix. And I've been especially giddy as I've barreled through season six. I won't spoil plotlines for you, but there was a particular scene in which the Madison Avenue advertising protagonist, Don Draper was pitching to Hershey's. Yes, the Hershey's, the famous chocolate candy bar.

Anyway, in this pitch meeting, Don calls the candy bar "the childhood symbol of love" and the "currency of affection."


Taking it to the Briar Patch

For those who don't know the Disney's story "Song of The South" a character named Brer Rabbit, who after being captured by old Brer Fox and bear, began to plead with them " can do anything to me, but please don't throw me in the Briar Patch!"

When these two old fools heard his pleads for mercy they threw him into the briar patch, it was then that old Brer Rabbit begin to chant, "BORN AND BRED IN THE BRIAR PATCH!"

The point was he used strategy to out think them. They thought they were hurting him, when in actuality they were hurling him into a safe and profitable place.

It's the Waiting in Recovery

Recently, I chatted with a young girl I've been mentoring. She's currently in an eating disorder treatment facility- and fighting her treatment. She has flat out refused to eat, drink or take any medication. She's been closely monitored, mainly due to a recent episode in which she swallowed glass.

Yes, you heard me right; she swallowed glass.

I asked her what brought this on and she responded she wanted to feel pain and she was tired of waiting for her recovery. I don't think it has sunken in that recovery is very much a process, not an instant cure.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Criticisms of Recovery - Part 1

See: Part 2 | See: Part 3

Let's begin with the obvious. The most argumentative, tenacious, illogical and misguided criticism of recovery comes not from other people but from me. When it comes to my own recovery journey, I am the person who resists the most. Like many of us, I have always been my own worst critic. I can think of 50 reasons, easily, why my recovery is just a pop-psychology, navel-gazing, trusting-the-wisdom-of-men-instead-of-God, self-pity-party.

I do not need any external hostility to recovery in order to remind me of how I should be better by now, of how I should be able to just pray about it and trust God, or of how I should spend more time helping others rather than selfishly focused on my own needs. I have yet to find a criticism of recovery that I haven't already internalized in some way. I have recently finished reading a series of books highly critical of the recovery movement and there were few surprises for my personal Inner Board of Critics. This distinguished panel of Judges has left few stones unturned in criticizing my own recovery. I suppose there are some obvious reasons why we resist our own recovery so tenaciously. Let me mention just three.

Resistance to the Truth
First, of course, we experience denial as having such tangible benefits. Denial has a lot of appeal - it always seems like it's going to be less painful than facing the truth. I've gotten along so far without having to face this, why should I have to deal with it now? The truth, by contrast, always seems like the worst possible thing. So, we resist recovery because it is less appealing than denial. This is, of course, why few of us choose recovery just as a kind of personal enrichment activity - most of us don't begin the recovery journey until our pain becomes so intense that we are forced to take measures that in ordinary circumstances we would resist if at all possible.

Back to the Basics in Recovery

"Now I am really confused," said Jerry. "I'm doing all the things I think I'm supposed to do. I've been in therapy for a year and a half now, and I've been going to the 12-Step group at church. But somehow I have lost track of things. What is this all about? And why is it so painful?" Like Jerry, many of us have experienced times in the recovery journey when we 'lose track' of things. Why are we doing this? What is the point?

Sometimes when we are in the middle of painful transitions it is particularly difficult to see clearly what's really going on. The changes can seem disorientingly fast and then, moments later, frustratingly slow. The changes can seem too good and too painful at the same time. In times like this, it makes a lot of sense to focus on the fundamentals. Afterall, there really isn't much in the way of 'advanced recovery.' If there is a graduate level recovery course, I haven't found it yet. I find myself returning again and again to the most basic and fundamental of truths. It is in Recovery 101 that I find renewed clarity, hope and determination to "keep on keeping on". I am quite fond of the old AA slogan "KISS" which stands for "keep it simple, stupid". That is precisely what we need.

Rules to Live By

1. Wake Up !! Decide to have a good day.
Today is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24

2. Dress Up !! The best way to dress up is to put on a smile. A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance; but the Lord looks at the heart.
I Samuel 16:7

3. Shut Up !! Say nice things and learn to listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth, so He must have meant for us to do twice as much listening as talking.
He who guards his lips guards his soul. Proverbs 13:3

4. Stand Up !!... For what you believe in. Stand for something or you will fall for anything..
Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good... Galatians 6:9-10

5. Look Up !!... To the Lord.
I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

6. Reach Up !!... For something higher.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, And He will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5-6

God Fights for His People

There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel. Joshua 10:14

We don't have to attack and subdue physical cities - which in any care aren't walled today, military technology having changed since Joshua's day. Paul said that "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses" 2 Cor. 10:4, and that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Eph. 6:12 We fight, we struggle, but not against physical enemies. Even when the church faces persecution from human beings, with very real guns, very real prisons, very real torturers, and very real executioners, the very real struggle isn't against those tools of Satan, but against the spiritual wickedness which impels men to act so barbarically.

And we're not in the fight alone. There may be no armed and armored armies beside us, and there may be no massive forces to back us up, but we're not alone. On the contrary, the Lord fights for us.

Hold Fast !

Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. Revelation 2:25

Jesus asked, "when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8 Sometimes, as we look around us, we wonder if He will. There are so many - individuals, congregations, denominations - who haven't held fast anything, but have piece by piece or wholesale given away the most precious truths in the universe, exchanging the Word of God for a bowl of weak, watery, unsatisfying something.

Jesus has called us to hold fast what we have. We don't know everything about God's will, His plan, His purpose, or His activity, but what we do know, we are to cling to. We have His Word - I could reach out my hand from my chair right now, and touch or pick up 15 separate copies of the Bible, plus what's on my computer - and we are to hold fast to it. And this isn't merely the physical printed Book. As wonderful as it is to be able to own 15 copies of the Bible (there are places in the world where a single copy, or a single book of the Bible, has to suffice for an entire congregation), it's not enough to own them, or even read and study them. Someone who's drowning in Bibles, yet lets what it says slip through the fingers of his mind as water slips through the fingers of his hands, might as well never have seen a Bible in his life.

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