ANON (Those Who Love Dysfunctional People), Info & Help

Hallmarks of a Healthy Support GroupPremium Content

Simply stated, a support group is a regular meeting of individuals who have joined together to offer one another support and encouragement in order to overcome a shared problem. In informal, small group settings, participants, in turn, share their own experiences, feelings and struggles

Ideally, a good support group is, first, a place where recovering addicts will find true acceptance and a sense of what unconditional love is all about. It is a safe, non-judgmental setting where they can express struggles, thoughts, ideas, and feelings without fear of rejection. Hearing the stories of others with similar difficulties and how they overcame them, gives the struggling addict great encouragement to go on in a life of sobriety.

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Find a Treatment Center

Looking for a Treatment Center near you? Here are a great locators:

RehabInfo.net

SAMHSA Locator

Directory of U.S. Substance Abuse Facilities and Programs

To find listings of drug rehab programs and treatment centers, alcohol rehabilitation programs, halfway houses, sober houses, eating
disorder centers and clinics, drug detoxification & alcohol detox centers, etc. see: http://www.sober.com

Men Helping Female Partners Deal with Childhood Sexual AbusePremium Content

I clearly remember the day my wife, Liz, told me that she had been sexually abused as a child.

We were watching TV and I could tell she wasn't really interested in the show.

"What's wrong?" I asked her, unaware that her answer would turn my world upside down.

"My stepfather sexually abused me when I was a child," Liz said.

There was a long period of silence as I searched for something to say. Here I was, suddenly presented with a startling revelation. I was dumbfounded.

Liz stared at me, waiting for a reaction.

Questions began to flood my thoughts. I really didn't know what to think.

"What do you mean?" I asked. "Why would your stepfather do such a thing?"

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Depression and the Recovery ProcessPremium Content

The unrelenting sadness and hopelessness that characterized my experience with depression is something I will never forget. In the grips of depression I often felt paralyzed, not possessing the strength to rise from bed or even to open my eyes in the morning. I felt completely alone, unable to make contact with anyone, not even Almighty God. I lost interest in life and the things that make life special. I became reclusive and withdrawn, not wanting to be with friends I alternated between insomnia and exhaustion. I couldn't concentrate. And always, I felt inexplicably sad. Nothing made me happy. Most frightening of all, I made intricate preparations for my death. 1

This year, 17 million Americans will suffer from depressive illness. In 1988 the General Accounting Office estimated that up to half of the homeless suffer from chronic phychiatric disorders. 2 - many also addicted to alcohol and drugs. While severe forms of psychosis are readily recognized, depressive disorders, which are more subtle, can be overlooked as factors that prevent program participants from moving forward in recovery.

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Client's Boundaries and RecoveryPremium Content

In our two earlier installments, we highlighted the importance of counselors carefully guarding their own personal boundaries while working with troubled people. Respecting the boundaries of those we seek to help is equally important. Here are a few thoughts on the topic:

A. We must teach and model healthy boundaries

    People who grow up in dysfunctional families tend to believe that they are not allowed to have personal boundaries. Though abused and mistreated, they do not feel they deserve anything else. As mentioned earlier, a personal boundary is, essentially, the line that divides me from you. Without boundaries I can't tell what's my stuff and what's yours. Something as simple as saying "No" to drugs and alcohol - or to sin in any form -is a boundaries issue. To do so takes a commitment to caring about myself, while seeking to maintain a growing relationship with God. So, teaching and modeling healthy boundaries is vital if these folks are to begin the road to recovery.

B. "Fixing" vs. "Empowering"

    Healthy recovery can not happen until an individual is able to establish a program of "self-care." At the Pool of Siloam, Jesus said to a crippled man, "Rise, take up your bed and walk. " (John 5:8) In a very real way, this illustrates how we ought to minister to troubled people.

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Am I Codependent or being a Good Christian?Premium Content

On the surface, codependency messages sound like Christian teaching:

    "Codependents always put others first before taking care of themselves."
    (Aren't Christians to put others first?) .

    "Codependents give themselves away."
    (Shouldn't Christians do the same?).

"Codependents martyr themselves."
(Doesn't Christianity honor its martyrs?)

Those statements have a familiar ring, don't they? Then how can we distinguish between codependency, which is unhealthy to codependents and their dependents, and mature faith, which is healthy.

Codependency says:.

    I have little or no value.
    Other persons and situations have all the value.

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Do You Want to Be Righteous or Right?Premium Content

Do we want to be righteous... or do we want to be right? It seems, these days, that many people have difficulties taking constructive criticism. The fact is, our egos are so sensitive (so self-centered) that we want everyone to approve of us all the time, rather than accepting the kind of sacrificial love that comes from a friend who wants us to be right with God. And, oh my goodness, what turmoil wells up inside us when we are rebuked! We take it as a personal offense, rather than quietly wondering if perhaps it's really true and we should do something about it.

    A rebuke strikes deeper into a discerning person than a hundred blows into a fool.Proverbs 17:10 NRSV

Friends don't let friends sin. That's the simple fact about Christianity. If we are true to our faith, we understand that everything here is temporal and our focus should be on the eternal. And the eternal is concerned with pleasing God.

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Twelve Steps to FreedomPremium Content

The Twelve Steps originated with Alcoholics Anonymous in the mid 1930's. Besides being used to help alcoholics and drug addicts, the Twelve Steps have been used in support groups for family members, over-eaters, compulsive gamblers, and even for those desiring to escape from sexual addiction. These Steps formed the basis of treatment and counseling activities at New Creation Center where I served as Executive Director for ten years in the 1980's.

In the past few years, a movement recognizing the power of the Twelve Steps has sprung up among evangelical Christians concerned with those struggling with various addictions. Some believers worry that they bring secular concepts to the Christian counseling field.

From where do these Twelve Steps derive their power? The answer is very simple; from the Bible! Although following the Steps does not always bring an alcoholic (or other sufferer) into a saving relationship with Christ, they do work in overcoming addictions. This is shown by the millions of people who have found sobriety since AA's beginning. In some ways, it is very much like the businessman who succeeds financially when he makes spiritual principles the basis of his business practices.

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Acceptance of Habitual, Unrepentant SinnersPremium Content

1 Corinthians 5:6-8 RSV
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Paul has been admonishing the Corinthian church for allowing (even welcoming) within their midst a man who is knowingly sinning . . . and continues to sin. This is a huge deal in our churches today because we embrace, even in our leadership, those who not only have sinned in the past, but who continue to embrace their sin in one way or another. We refuse to judge them based on the scripture in Matthew 7: Judge not, that you be not judged (v. 1, RSV). But I think the reason we refuse to judge is revealing. I think we refuse to judge, not out of some sense of obedience to God’s word, but because we don’t want anyone messing around in our lives. The old saying goes, "Birds of a feather flock together." We embrace sinners because we are sinners ourselves, but more than that: We don’t have to give up our own sin. By embracing the sin of others, we feel protected, justified.

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When Loved Ones Resent Your RecoveryPremium Content

It is not uncommon for those who start a new life in recovery to encounter resentment from their spouses, loved ones and/or friends. If this is the case, you will be put to the test by those who care for you most. This can be confusing because those who should be encouraging you in recovery are actually making it more difficult.

Your spouse may become resentful because you are spending more time at recovery meetings and less time with them. Stand strong and lovingly explain to your spouse that you need to take time for yourself in order to get your life back on track. Suggest that they come with you to open meetings where the loved ones are welcome so they can better understand your recovery process.

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