Relapse

Cross-Addiction: A Way That Seems Right?

Recently, a young girl reached out to me concerning her struggles with disordered eating; she informed me she just took up the habit of smoking.

For what I am doing, I do not understand... The Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15

She's currently in a facility, being treated for bulimia, a mood disorder and self-injury behavior. I asked her what her treatment center thought about this habit. She told me she thought it was a better action than engaging in the eating disorder and self-injury behaviors.

But, to me, it smacks of cross-addiction. Indeed, someone afflicted with an addiction, obsession or disorder can often become convinced if they just switch it for another passion or behavior, he or she will be fine.

I did this myself.

Recovery: Practice, Practice, Practice

When I was in kindergarten, I took dance class, with emphasis on ballet and tap. At least once a week, I attended these classes, held in Mrs. Taylor's basement. My strongest memories were the gigantic black bow pinning the back of her bun hairstyle and the 45 records we were given to practice our routines. I especially remember "Alley Cat" and "Practice, Practice, Practice." I spent hours in my tap shoes, striving for improvement on a square piece of plywood. After a while, I grew to dislike that song immensely. "Practice," after all, was tedious, boring and frustrating.

Little did I know, however, so often, would life be as well.

According to the famous myth, the character of Sisyphus was condemned to an eternity of hard labor. For a crime against the gods, his assignment was to roll a great boulder to the top of a hill. Each time he completed this task, requiring tremendous effort, reaching the summit, the boulder rolled back downhill again.

Tedious, boring and frustrating...

I recently came across this famous Margaret Thatcher quote:

When the Past Haunts UsPremium Content

I often find myself going over and over the past,like when I am trying to go to sleep at night and can't because of these thoughts. All the fear and panic of the past creeps into my present. It is as if I re-live it all in real time. It can be extremely painful both spiritually and emotionally.

I have come to learn a few things.

1. I can always learn from my past and I think we are supposed to learn from our past mistakes and missteps.

2. Satan can use the past to keep me in bondage. And that is certainly not the will of God. The last thing I want is to be doing what Satan wants. So, when these thoughts come back to me I pray. I ask God for healing in this area of my life.

When the past comes back to haunt me it can be something from years ago or from just yesterday. Usually the result is confusion in my entire being. But scripture teaches:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33

So I have to wonder if it is not Satan who drags some of this stuff up to confuse me, to make all of these emotions boil over and create a mess. Now, I am not saying I have to ignore these feelings and emotions. They should and must be dealt with in a godly and biblical fashion. But I cannot allow them to create confusion and a mess in my life. I have to be aware of these emotions and deal with them, not allow the pot to boil over.

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What are you willing to change?Premium Content

We're in the middle of cold and flu season; sickness abounds.

And, it's at this time of year, I think about healing. It's one thing to be flu-ridden, queasy, achy, possessing a high fever and wish to be well.

However, it's another thing if we struggle with addictions and compulsions; they are also referred to as "disease." With that situation, we're often conflicted at best and resistant and unhealthy at worst. What is our response to the question, "Do you want to get well?"

Hey, even Jesus asked the question.

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Surviving the Holidays: Some Tips for People in Recovery

For most people, the weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year are a special time of joy and celebration. Yet, it can be an extremely difficult and stressful time for those who are just beginning to recover from addiction to alcohol and drugs. Spending the holidays in a shelter or residential recovery program is hard.

Here's a few simple thoughts that can make the experience a little more tolerable

A. Remember the spiritual significance of the holidays - This time of year is a major commercial event for America's retailers. It is also a time for special celebrations of family and goodwill. Still, we must remember that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season". Above all else, we are celebrating God's sending of His only Son to be our Savior and Redeemer. Keeping Christmas as a spiritual celebration puts all of our other expectations for the holiday season in proper perspective.

B. Don't isolate - The holidays can be the loneliest time of the year for the recovering addict. On one hand, we are reminded of all the relationships we've messed up. Some will spend Christmas haunted by memories loved ones and friends they've alienated with destructive and manipulative behavior. We know, too, if we want to keep our sobriety, we must avoid people who are still using alcohol and drugs. What's the solution? Take advantage of the new sober acquaintances God has brought your way. Reach out to those around you and use this holiday season s as a special opportunity to get to know them better.

Is the price Jesus paid for you and me enough?

"It cost God plenty to get you and me out of that dead-end, empty-headed life we grew up in."

Is the price Jesus paid for you and me enough? Do you feel that you need to add your (good intentioned) efforts-kind of like the "Cross of Calvary", plus you? We may need to meditate on the following scriptures to sort out the before questions.

I posted this recently, but have a strong sense from God that someone desperately needs this truth, right at this moment! Please stand with me in intercession for those who truly can't live another day without the revelation of Calvary.

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And just barely free either; abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, and everything on planet earth.

What Happens if I Relapse?Premium Content

You have not failed because you relapse. You are normal because you relapse. We all have relapsed when trying to find our way out of the alcohol and drug trap. Never allow a relapse to discourage you from coming to sobriety. As a matter of fact, when we succumb to our addictions we can actually learn from them. Most of us fall back on our addictions for many reasons and here are three of those reasons. See if they ring a chord with you as well.

Not Committed

The first reason is because we just weren’t ready in our heart to stop the addiction – we felt anxious and fearful being without our best friend, and so our uncommitted heart caved in under pressure. We have all done it. Think of addiction as a “hard to break bad habit.” But don’t fret too much over it. Just because you’re not ready to quit now, certainly does not mean that you won’t be committed later. Keep trying and don’t give up!

Have you ever listened to the little voice in your head telling you that your addiction is ok? You know the voice – the reliable little guy that keeps telling you reasons why it’s okay to keep feeding your addiction. It goes something like this. “I’m not really addicted, I can stop at anytime” or about this one. “If I was not married to so and so, I would not need to drink anymore.” We have all heard this one. “My life is just too stressful and I only need it to unwind.” We hear the voice and we listen because the voice is a symptom of addiction.

Same Friends – Same Places

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Knots Prayer - a Prayer for StrengthPremium Content

Dear God,
Please untie the knots in my mind, my heart and my life.
Remove the have nots, the can nots, and the do nots that I have in my mind.
Erase the will nots, may nots, might nots that may find a home in my heart.
Release me from the could nots, would nots and should nots that obstruct my life.

And most of all, Dear God, I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart and my life all of the "am nots" that I have allowed to hold me back, especially the thought that I am not good enough. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

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The Jackal of Addiction: Unleashed

Most addicts and alcoholics who have tried running on sheer willpower and defiant rebellion sooner or later discover they lack the internal strength to change, especially if there's a Jackal on the loose.

The Jackal, wearing me down, bracing me up, hardening me, softening me, worrying me, confusing me to where I could no longer pinpoint the basis of my being or direction, plays a deadly game of manipulation, of aggressive control, of parasitic reliance, a game mastered because of its cunning and persistence. It seems there is no way to out maneuver it. During the brightness of day or the darkness and chill of night, the beast stealthily creeps in against the close warmth of cleanliness and sobriety. At other times, it confronts me, making no attempt to conceal itself. The Jackal possesses a rancid aroma of smoke and scorching chemical and is worn like a rash. It devours my spirit and tears at my flesh, for I am wounded prey and a defenseless meal. Grimaced with invisible and obvious fatigue, I am left with nothing but my interpretation of how life should and should not be.

“What if I can’t be fixed?”

“What if I can’t be fixed?”

You ask a bunch of guys about their biggest fears, and you hope for some open dialogue. You don’t really expect someone to whisper from the depths of the fog.

“What if I’m hopeless? This addiction killed my dad and my grandma. My sister’s relapsed over and over for fifteen years. And I’ve prayed and done everything I can for a decade, but I keep falling into the same pattern.

“What if I’m broken so bad that even God can’t fix me?”

How are you gonna respond to that? Think carefully, because whatever you say better not rhyme. It better not be some platitude or theological truism. He’s heard them all, and they’re salt rubbed in an open, bleeding wound.

We don’t want to hear “God can’t.” Our first reaction is to argue — God can do anything! And when that fails — you can’t argue your way out of the fog — we’re tempted to retreat to the safety of the Christian cocoon where the light’s bright, the fog’s clear, and people don’t talk about the hopelessness of addiction and depression.

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