Sex Addiction

Criticisms of Recovery - Part 2

See: Part 1 | See: Part 3

In a previous article I discussed the most insensitive, intransigent and personally painful kind of resistance to recovery - our own resistance. We tend to be our own worst critics. We resist the changes most tenaciously. In most cases we fight it, reject it, hate it - probably more than anyone else.

It is often true, however, that the recovery journey takes us through territory that is either ambivalent towards or downright hostile to recovery. Recovering codependents, for example, may find that some people prefer the 'good old days' when they were more compliant and self-sacrificing. Unpleasant emotions, once medicated with addictive substances or processes, may be experienced as threats to relationships that have adapted over the years to the insanity of addiction. Some people in recovery experience hostility when they start telling the truth in social systems which have been committed to silence for generations. Other people experience shame and rejection when people are skeptical about or merely uncomfortable with the changes that recovery brings.

Recovery is about change and most of us will encounter resistance when change produces new and unfamiliar behaviors. It is not reasonable to expect that all of the changes which take place during recovery will be received with rejoicing as if they were 'answers to prayer'.

Resistance and Rejection
Most of the resistance we encounter in recovery will be personal and painful. Even when resistance comes in the form of intellectualized 'arguments' against recovery, it may feel like personal assault rather than dispassionate analysis. For example, suppose someone says: "You can't change the past, so you should focus on the positive." This may make some intellectual sense to you. It may 'ring true.' It might, indeed, be good advice at this particular stage of your recovery. But for many people it may also feel like a profound dismissal of their struggle towards sanity. The key to sorting out confusing stuff like this is not the truth or falsehood of "you should focus on the positive". What is critically important is the tone of voice in which you hear "you should focus on the positive". Is the tone practical and understanding? Or is it shaming and dismissing? Do I feel rejected as a person when I hear this?

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.

What Do You Think Jesus Wants You to Do?

"My Yoke Is Easy."

What do you think Jesus wants you to do?

I'm not thinking of specific choices like whether to have pizza or turkey for lunch (I don't think He cares). But in terms of overall life choices and directions, what do you think He wants? There are probably a lot of answers to that question, but I'm thinking of one right now that I'll bet nobody else mentioned.

I think He wants me to quit. (It's okay if you're surprised.)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The scripture above is one of the most well-known passages in the bible. It's a source of comfort to folks who are buried under the weight of illness, despair, and impossible expectations. But it's even more comforting when we understand the historical context.

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.

Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 2

by Dale & Juanita Ryan | see: Part 1

We resist getting help

In spite of the abundance of God's love and grace and the many ways in which love and grace are available to us, we do not easily reach out for the help we need. Even when we have acknowledged our need for help, we may find ourselves hesitating, finding excuses, resisting. Resistance to getting help is often the result of a mixture of fear and despair and shame.

Fear

It can be frightening to get help. In the process we feel vulnerable and exposed. Jim's Dad had made cutting remarks about him all his life. Jim was so accustomed to hearing that he was lazy and stupid and irresponsible that every time he shared in his support group, he expected to hear these same hurtful comments in response. Even though people didn't respond this way, Jim imagined that everyone must be privately thinking these things about him. As a result, he would sometimes begin to share only to freeze with fear and find himself unable to talk.

Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 1

by Dale & Juanita Ryan
See: Part 2 | Part 3

The God of the Bible is a God who saves and heals. The Bible is clear about this: He will deliver the needy who cry out, he will rescue them from oppression and violence. Psalm 72: 12,14) When we see our need, acknowledge our inability to save ourselves, and cry out, God delivers us. God rescues us from oppression and violence. Whether it is the oppression and violence of our compulsions and addictions or the oppression and violence of abuse and neglect, God delivers us and heals us. God is powerful enough and loving enough to deliver us from all of the oppression and violence we face.

This is the good news proclaimed in Scripture. And it is the basis for our hope on the recovery journey. We cannot save ourselves. Or heal ourselves. But God can. And God will.

Sound simple? It turns out to be anything but simple. There are several reasons for this. First, we find it hard to believe that God is

Uncondemned

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1


My immediate reaction when I read this verse is, Hallelujah!!! If there's any reason for the children of God to praise the Lord - and there are many reasons piled on top of each other - this must be it. If we were to list our blessings, as the old hymn exhorts us to do, surely the first in line would be the fact that if we're in Christ Jesus, we are uncondemned.

Only those who understand our state outside of Christ can truly grasp what that simple phrase - no condemnation - means. Anyone who lacks a clear vision of human depravity simply doesn't have the background to understand the fundamental importance of this verse. We must first understand, in the words of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, that:

The Role of Ignorance and Want in Our Lives

One of my favorite holiday stories is "A Christmas Carol," the timeless classic, written by Charles Dickens. I've seen many adaptations of it; there have been numerous stage and screen versions, rolled out each December.

One of the constants in the story, however, is that of the boy character, Ignorance, and the girl character, Want, introduced to the Scrooge character via the Ghost of Christmas Present. They're portrayed as creature-like, snarling, hissing and clawing for attention. They make their dramatic appearance, hidden underneath the Ghost's robe.

And, the drama queen in me loves that poignant, uncomfortable scene because it's a wake-up call reality check for humanity. According to the literature classic, here's the exchange between Scrooge and the Ghost:

"Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased."

Run, Don't Walk to Your Forgiving Father

You know, we don't really believe that the Bible is true. We say we do, but often we ignore things in it. We say, "Well, there must be another way" or "In this case, it won't happen like this." But the fact is, the Bible is unequivocally true. Everything it says will happen the way it says it. Period.

When wickedness comes, contempt comes also;
and with dishonor comes disgrace.
Proverbs 18:3 NRSV

With wickedness comes contempt and with dishonor comes disgrace. In other words, we can't hide our sin.

Be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23 NRSV

King David was absolute ruler over all his kingdom. Not only that, but he could have any number of wives and be well within his rights... as long as the women he chose were available to marry him. In other words, he could have any woman except one who was already married. And, of course, human nature being what it is, he wanted a woman who was already married. We all know the story. He had an affair with her and she got pregnant. So, David arranged for her soldier husband to come home, hoping that the husband would have sex with his wife and never know that the baby she bore wasn't his. Unfortunately for David, the husband was a more honorable man than his king and refused to enjoy his "vacation" while his men were still fighting and dying on the front lines. So David, in a frenzy not to have his sin found out, sent Uriah to the front lines to be killed in battle. And so he was.

I Am a Soldier in Recovery

My story about alcohol, drugs, gambling, porn addiction, arrest and recovery.

I was raised in a very loving Christian home. I went to church 6 out of 7 days a week. There was never any history of abuse or addiction in my family. I have no one to blame but myself. I have backslidden severely over these past 3 decades.

You have the wonderful opportunity to become a member in Christians in Recovery (CIR) and therefore invest in the health and spiritual welfare not only of yourself but also of our United States Service men and women. Do not pass up this opportunity.

Chapels can be a great support and alternative for soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen for an hour or two a week while attending Catholic Mass or Protestant worship services. However, soldiers, sailors. Marines and airmen work in a culture that talks all week about how they are going to party on the weekends. When they go back to the barracks they are bombarded with the message that in order to fit in they need to drink.

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