General Recovery

Are You Rejoicing in What is Wrong?

1 Corinthians 13:6 RSV
[Love] does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

When I was growing up, going to jail was a terrible shame, not only for the person in jail, but the entire family. No one wanted to have a family member serving time, no less become that person themselves.

Now, I have children in my classroom who are intimately familiar with prison (to the point of having been there many times to visit family and friends). And sadly, these children have told me that they would like to go to prison themselves. They like having a bad "rep" and being in the position of being a bully, of having power over others.

Remember, I'm talking about elementary school aged children.

Motivating Addiction Recovery Program Participants (Part 2)Premium Content

See: Part 1 | Part 3

When I came to Kansas City in 1990 and my focus turned from direct involvement to training people to become addition counselors and helping them to manage more effective programs. However, I’ve stayed in touch with the "hands on" dimension of recovery work by volunteering at local rescue missions and for other organizations that help addicts and their families. Conducting chapel services for program participants and interacting with them is something I always look forward to doing.

One local mission, the Kansas City Rescue Mission, where Joe Colaizzi serves as executive director, is an example of a rescue mission recovery program that is doing a lot of things right. Their recent follow-up efforts reveal that for three years running, 70% of their graduates are still sober for year or more after leaving the mission. This is a very good rate of success. So, what are some of the things they are doing to promote such success?

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Motivating Addiction Recovery Program Participants (Part 1)Premium Content

The more time I spend with rescue mission recovery programs, the more I’ve become convinced that the most important “gift” we can give homeless addicts is community, a place to belong. Homelessness is a state of complete disaffiliation—being cut off from all meaningful and supportive human relationships. Suc­cessful mission residential programs actually provide a supportive “family” environment where homeless addicts can examine their lives and take the difficult initial steps toward a new, sober, and productive life.

There are two other important communities that program participants must become involved with so the process of change begun at the mission continues after they leave. The first is the Church, the Body of Christ, where program graduates experi­ence fellowship with other believers and spiritual nurture.

The second is the recovering community where involvement with support groups for recovering addicts give them a place to continue personal growth through mutual sharing and encour­agement with others who have overcome addiction.

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A Christian Philosophy of Addiction and RecoveryPremium Content

There's a long standing debate in Christian Counseling circle as to whether addiction is a sin or a disease. I have addressed this issue in a previous article. What I want to say here is simply, any rescue mission, Salvation Army ARC or other Christian ministry that works with alcoholics and drug addicts must establish an official philosophy of addiction. This is best done at the level of the board of directors. How we approach addicts from a philosophical and theological perspective will ultimately guide everything we do. Certainly, it will serve as the framework for our counseling approach. But it will also influence whom we hire, the curriculum we develop, and the expectations we have for the people in our programs.

For potential use with your program, and to serve as a framework for developing your philosophy, I offer the Philosophy of Addiction and Recovery I developed for New Creation Center, the residential treatment program I led in Atlantic Mine, Michigan for over ten years. Feel free to use as much of it as you wish.

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We Must Have Grown Up In Our Sleep (reflection on Wisdom & Aging)

It seemed to mark the end of summer,
The school bell rang and it was gone.
So many friends to share the moment,
How the days drug oil and on!
     We didn't know that we were changing.
     We thought today was ours to keep.
     Lord, what happened to tomorrow.
     We must have grown up in our sleep.

Mary smiled, and my heart fluttered,
So many things I never said.
But the kisses that I dreamed of
Were for someone else instead.
     Puppy love may be for children,
     But the hurt goes just as deep.

I Just Ain't Got the Time (Do you want to be healed?)Premium Content

A Study of John 5:1-16

The city of Jerusalem was in full bloom, for it was a religious festive day. Its streets were full of excitement as pilgrims from all over the known world, came to perform their religious duties. Many were in awe as they viewed the majestic temple of that era. I can hear, a parent saying to their son, "My child, the great I AM resides in that building!"

But as the mesmerized masses were focusing on the wondrous

Work build by human hands. God incarnated (John 1:1-4, 14) was entering through the back entrance of the city appropriately called the Sheep gate, for this is where the livestock were herded into the great city. We are told that near this gate was a pool of water called Bethesda (House of Mercy). And it was at this pool that laid a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered. For it was believed that an angel of the Lord would at certain times stir up the water; whoever then first after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well

It was there that Jesus noticed a man who had been ill thirty-eight years.

One can only imagine what was going through this mans mind, when Jesus entered into his little world of shattered dreams. Over the years he had come to terms with his lot in life, and there was no reason to believe this day would be any different from the previous ones. But God has a way of changing one's world in a twinkling of an eye and this day would prove to be the greatest moment of this man's life.

We read that, When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him. "Do you wish to get well?" John 5:6

INTIMACY
Let's not forget that this man was just one of a great multitude, but when Jesus saw him He knew (aware of the truth) that he had been stuck in this

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Why Do I Have to Be Ready Again? Taking Step 6Premium Content

Many people (myself included) spend very little time, if any, on Step 6: "We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." We think, "Hey! I was over ready when I first got into recovery!" or "I have been ready and eager at Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Why do I have to be ready again?"

Why does Step 6 ask us to be entirely ready?

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Breaking the Old, Negative Grid SystemPremium Content

At MSN I can go to "maps" and, after clicking there, enter the address of my first home ever -- in Washington D.C., my hometown. Once I have a map of the city up, I can find Southeast by crossing the Anacostia River and then find Good Hope Road. Soon I am in my old neighborhood via the "birds eye" feature of MSN maps. I can zoom close -- so close it is very real. And there is the old neighborhood, seemingly unchanged after 50 years, as if time stood still.

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Set Free - Replacing the Old with the NewPremium Content

In searching for, and living in the truth that can set us free, the first thing we need to do is replace the old with the new. Romans 12:2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

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The Truth Shall Set You Free - Part 7Premium Content

When I started this study, it was in the spring of my last semester of my teaching career. A lot of things were on my mind. I was sad--very sad. Earlier in the year I was pretty depressed about retiring. As I reviewed the various options in my head, I still had to come to one conclusion: I should retire. I just am no longer the man I once was. I just didn't have a lot of the energy you need to really do a good job. I readily admitted to this; it did not take any rocket science to figure it out. I accepted it easily: it was time to retire.

Teaching was my life. Sometimes it was the best part of my day--being in the classroom. But, it was not my entire life. I led with my heart, and that is probably one of the reasons why I got tired at the end. Emotions such the energy right out of you. I loved it so much--teaching.

I remember Ernest Hemingway. Writing was his life. The trouble was, writing really was his life. That was it. Nothing else. This focus made him to be a very important writer of our time, but this focus lead to his suicide, I believe. He could not write any more. What was the point of living?

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