Stalled Recovery

Beyond the 12 StepsPremium Content

note: there is a worksheet at the bottom of this article

I have spent a lot of years struggling with drug addiction and alcohol abuse. At one point the drug addiction had completely taken me over. I began trying desperately to stay clean but every time I got a little taste of sanity the world would come crashing in and I would crumble under the weight of it all. Before I knew it I was escaping the pain or responsibility of life by using drugs. I had been through the court system, rehabs, 12 step programs, counseling (behavioral and substance abuse), and many psychiatric visits for medications. Nothing seemed to stick very long. Most of the people trying to help me eventually threw their hands up in defeat and passed me off as a hopeless case. I got to a point I started to agree with them. Nothing seemed to work for me. I was living in constant commendation from the world and in my own mind. Every mistake seemed magnified. I would beat myself up in my head over and over until my only relief was escape.

Through divine intervention I was given a book named "Freedom From Addiction." It captivated my attention because it was such an honest account of the thoughts bombarding an alcoholics mind. Not only an alcoholic but a Christian. Now I have to say that believing Jesus Christ died for my sins did not automatically make me Christ like. I was continually going against God. The shame I felt about knowing what was right but not being able to live it was more shame than I could bear. But then this book was placed in my path. As I read it something started to stir deep within me. There was a message of hope written on those pages that spoke to my innermost heart. The message was not about what I have done as a sinner (that already plagued my mind enough) but a message of who God says I am as his child. I started hearing a message telling me he doesn’t see what the world sees when he looks at me.

When I looked at myself and compared myself to the world’s expectations of me I saw all of the bad things I’ve done and how I just didn’t measure up. I owned my bad behavior as my identity but that’s not the truth. God says I am precious,

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Are you hearing Him?Premium Content

When I was a child, I had repeated ear infections. My earliest memories are of me, screaming in the car, on the way to the doctor, with a hot water bottle pressed against my painful bleeding ear. Fun.

Years later, the ear ache issue pops up again. I've been told I'm a great listener. People feel they can tell me anything, and often do. I love helping people. But there is a line, all too often, they want to cross. And so, if I'm not careful, I can often find myself with a spiritual ear ache.

Most of us know God is love.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God...1 John 4:7

But is love always telling someone what he/she wants to hear? No.

But this desire to only hear pleasant things still exists, nevertheless. We like "feel good" affirmations.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. 2 Timothy 4:3

Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things... Isaiah 30:10

Ever since the book on my eating disorder journey came out years ago, I've been repeatedly approached by people who are also affected by addictions, disorders and dysfunctions. I am not a therapist; I make that clear from the start. Yet, I often encounter people, who feel that, because he/she is communicating with me, suddenly, it's okay to stop his/her recovery program. Wrong answer!

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Demolishing StrongholdsPremium Content

A stronghold is a faulty thinking pattern based on lies and deception. Deception is one of the primary weapons of the devil, because it is the building blocks for a stronghold. What strongholds can do is cause us to think in ways which block us from God's best.

Two very destructive and common strongholds:

The first one: You see God incorrectly:
One of the most popular and devastating strongholds to have, is an incorrect image in your mind of who God is, and how He sees us. People who see God as a taskmaster, live their lives with an unhealthy fear of God.

What strongholds can do is cause us to think in ways which block us from God's best.

The first one, where you see God incorrectly: One of the most popular and devastating strongholds to have, is an incorrect image in your mind of who God is, and how He sees us.

People who see God as a taskmaster, live their lives with an unhealthy fear of God.

There's a good kind of fear of God, which is more like a holy respect for Him, but there's another kind of fear that is very unhealthy that the enemy wants us to have, and it's the kind of fear where we see God as a taskmaster, cruel, cold, distant, uncaring and would snap the whip at us the moment we step out of line.

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Finding Forgiveness in Confession

Blows that wound cleanse away evil;
beatings make clean the innermost parts.
Proverbs 20:30 NRSV

We see sin in ourselves most often when we are in pain. In fact, it often takes the hard circumstances in life for us to even stop and listen to God. And He uses those hard circumstances to keep us from running off the precipice of the cliff of sin.

It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. 3 David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, "This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite." 2 Samuel 11:2-3 NRSV

Most of us are familiar with the adulterous affair of David and Bathsheba, the wife of one of his commanders. The Israelites built homes with flat roofs and used their roofs for rest and relaxation when it was warm. Whether or not Bathsheba chose to bath on the roof hoping to catch the eye of the king, at that moment David was presented with a choice. He didn't have to ask who she was; he could have averted his eyes. He didn't.

The result of their extended affair was that Bathsheba got pregnant. In a fit of panic, David ordered her husband, Uriah, to the front where he was logically killed. David then took Bathsheba into his home (and his bed) and his wife, thinking that his sin had been unseen. I'm sure that he believed that he was doing the "right" thing by marrying Bathsheba, that this marriage was a sign of penance toward God. But God wasn't fooled. Manipulation is never part of repentance. Yes, we are to make restitution, but first comes confession. And David hadn't confessed.

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:

Denial: Trying to Disguise the Truth

What Cracker?

He who covers his sins will not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Denial: it's a ridiculous looking thing.

I once saw a photograph of a mouse, looking straight at the camera, cheeks puffed out to a Saltine's square shape. And the tag line attached was "What cracker?"

It made me think of my own erratic disordered eating behaviors, including stealing my roommates' food and dumpster diving.

"...I thought I was hiding my secret well from the outside world. I replenished the food I'd stolen from my roommates. I played ‘beat the clock' before they came home to notice...

...It became a regular hide and steal, hide and eat, hide and deny game... I knew their schedules by heart. I'd wait for them to leave for class. I'd hurry home, skipping my own classes to ensure enough time alone... I had to eat as much as I could before they came home...

... I'd be first to volunteer among my roommates to take out the trash, because I knew what ‘goodies' I'd thrown out...

...Trips to the dumpster at 2:30 a.m. were not unusual... I'd rummage through other people's trash bags...

...I was caught on more than one occasion. I'd try to play it off, pretending everything was normal as people passed by me scrounging in the dumpster. As I became more desperate, however, I began going to the dumpster frequently in broad daylight while other students were coming and going from class... I tried to convince myself I could ‘just act natural' and disguise the truth..."

I was asking, "What Cracker?"

At the Pleasure of the Savior (A Big Recovery Key)

One of my favorite series I catch on Netflix is "The West Wing." While watching it, I became aware of a standard response regarding the president's staff: "I serve at the pleasure of the President." I don't know if this response really exists or if it was just for dramatic purposes. But I started thinking about the service issue.

When I was thirteen, I served as a waitress for my cousin's wedding. Thank you. Yes, I'm still recovering. Let's just say I was not skilled. I tried not to spill food, break plates and grumble. It was not an easy feat. So, I had a negative view of serving.

But, alas, it's all over the place in Christianity, isn't it?

Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name." Deuteronomy 6:13

"...what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul," Deuteronomy 10:12

"If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour." John 12:26

Five Ways to Help an Alcoholic, Addict or Dysfunctional Person

1. Prayer
Since the alcoholic, addict or dysfunctional person cannot be helped until he or she wants help, it is necessary that we begin to pray for them, asking that God will bring them to that place that he/she will seek help. Do not be discouraged. Things might get worse before they get better; but remember, God answers prayer.

2. Offer the Gospel
In Romans 1:16 we read, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth."

So often, we tend to try everything but the power of God in helping the addicted or dysfunctional person. Now it is true that he may always need medical help, possibly psychiatric help, and the help of a counselor may be profitable; but without the power of Christ working in the life of this individual, nothing will be of lasting value. Witness to him or her of your own faith in Christ and through your church, putting them in contact with others who have a vital testimony to the power of God to change lives.

Good Christian literature will also be a help in getting this message across and we would be glad to make suggestions as to what books he might find profitable.

3. Fellowship
One of the strongest points of recovery groups is the fellowship that they have one with the other. It is necessary that when an alcoholic, addict or dysfunctional person makes a step toward recovery that we be willing to offer them fellowship, to make them feel welcome, to make them feel needed and to encourage them to share with others. This could be done through CIR or through the fellowwship of a church or a Christian businessmen's committee such as a Gideon Camp.

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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Prayer: Lord we come to YOU

Thank You Lord that You have been with us all year and that we have seen many things and also have had our trials and our struggles. We look to You for new life Lord and we know Your promises.

We are glad that when we are not faithful... You Are
and that we can come to You this day and grow in all that You are, learn new things every day and walk in Your Spirit which is life to us.

The life You have for us is full of power and peace. We cannot even imagine peace on our own Lord too many things in our lives and relationships with our passions and anxieties.

You are God -- Lord God Almighty God and Your make a way into our hearts and our lives. You reach Lord where we don t even know what is there and You bring life from it.
Nothing is beyond YOU.
We cannot hide from YOU.
No where can we go from Your spirit

So Lord we come to YOU.
Teach us.
Root out those places where we hold pain
where disease can settle
and where fears can develop.

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