Workshop: Rebuilding Relationships in Recovery

Obie-Host Welcome to the "Rebuilding Relationships in Recovery" Workshop!
We are glad you could join us.
Who would like to open us in prayer this evening?
Heavenly Father.....
We ask that You anoint our speaker Michael tonight.....
as he speaks to us....
open our hearts and our minds to Your truths....
help us to share openly and honestly with one another....
lead those who are in need of fellowship to this workshop....
in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Tonight our speaker is Michael Clark. He is a Chaplain, Biblical Counselor and Speaker.
He is also in recovery himself.
Michael will talk for a period of time after which we will open the floor to questions for him.
I now introduce to you Michael.
You now have the floor Michael.

michaelclark-speaker Hello, as Obie Mentioned, I am in recovery myself from an active crack addiction that .....
a course of about five years....
during those five years, I lost everything....
wife, children, house, 4 cars, and somewhere along the line....
and the end of myself........I decided to go to recovery on a Tuesday, and the person....
I was living with at the time, burnt up in his house the following Thursday, so I know it was a God thing..
I spent a year in a faith based recovery center, and another year as director of the facility,
God had left me with the only thing I Needed to change, ME......Only by his grace am I here today.....

Today I am a counselor, addiction professional, and chaplain, speak at recovery center and prisons....
I speak at those places not only for them but for me...in the jails, I'm reminded where I could be, and
in the recovery centers, I see myself sitting in those same chairs they know sit it.....that is where my best
thinking got me......

Well on to relationships.....
The first thing I assumed when I went to recovery is everybody would just except me back in their live...
like nothing ever occurred.....nothing could be further from the truth....its been a while since I cleaned up...
the addiction, but there are still some behaviors at times that show up....I am now remarried to the same..
wife that divorced me due to my addiction, I blamed her for a while, and even played the spiritual card....
Christians don't get divorced....but the truth is I left her no choice, she had to do what she had to do to...
protect my children.....

But there are still issues being worked through......it takes time, the longer you are clean and relapse it....
will take at least that much time before you can expect any door to open again, I was clean once for 9 months...
and the second time I tried, I reminded her at 8 months how long I had been clean, and she simply reminded...
me that, so what last time you had 9 and still relapsed....so the longer your clean the longer your can ....
expect it to take before people are willing to even consider letting you back in their life.....its not that they...
don't love you, it them protected themselves, they have come to expect us to fail...and most of us prove...
them right at least once.....

When making amends,at first I got offended when I didn't receive it right away, when someone pointed out....
your trying to manipulate the outcome, your expecting a particular answer, and that's manipulation....you may..
be clean....but the behavior is there...your responsibility stops with only asking for amends....
not the outcome, that is for the other person to decide, and sometimes they have their own issues they....
must work through before and process, before their willing, and some want to sit back and see action, not...
word....

I'm not the same person I was before my addiction, and relationship I had with anyone, is the same either...
not only did I change, I forced changes in others...my wife had to become independent, play two parents...
support the household alone, she a tougher person, and a little more cynical because of my choices.....
I used to get mad at first, because she didn't except me at face value, but then one day I realized. she had...
done that before, only to be let down...her guard was up and still is to a degree even after time in recovery...

I realized,...People have a right to feel how they feel, because I did the things I did.....they weren't that...
way before I made my choices.....they trusted me until I stole, the believed me till I began lying....everything
that I find upset me, was things that I caused......I had in an essence created my own monsters....just because
I said I as recovered didn't make it so....a lot of spouses assume the leadership role in the house, and....
when we step back in, we think it should immediately be given back, but that's a battle for them...they have...
become accustomed to leading the house, making all the decisions and for some its hard to give it up...
it takes time to find a balance again......I still have people today, I'm sure that question my serenity and
you know....what there thinking is really none of my business, I only have to worry about my thinking....

my thinking is where relapse starts, so I need to me more worried about my thoughts than what others
are thinking about me........There will be consequence for my actions for the rest of my life, some my be good,
maybe my children will not make the same mistake...I made a choice to tell them the whole truth, and...
yes, even the foolish mistakes and follies of that lifestyle, I want them to know all the facts, so they are...
not naive when asked to try it....I know what its like to have a 10 year old tell you, no you haven't been a good. father,
I know regret, I know how it feels to think you have failed everyone, including yourself, but it can change...God
can change anything......to say someone is beyond hope, or they will never change...devalues what God...
has done in my life....people use to say the very same things about me....my perspective on addiction has..
changed, I use to think they made the choices the deserve to get what they go, I'm not helping them....

its funny, God has a way of using the very thing you say you will never do or become, to bring you to your...
needs. I realize today I didn't choose that lifestyle, I made a few choices and before long was lost in that ..
lifestyle...and that is the hardest thing for family and friends to understand...by brothers ask me often.....
what made you do that, you knew what could happen....my answer...I don't really have one..I don't really....
know but I'm here now......I guess it was that part in my that thought I was different and better that other...
and it would happen to me.....

I also have come to realize I'm gonna make mistakes and say and do things that have nothing to do with,..
my addiction behaviors, why should I be surprised when I sin or do wrong......its usually because of pride...
I think I am beyond that, I'm past that, I'm not capable of doing that again....but that pride, we sin because ..
we are sinner, why should we expect not to sin....its not a free excuse to sin....but its what sinners do....
only through Gods power and strength do we have the power to overcome ....
life is good today....do I have regrets of course, but in a way I am thankful God allowed my to go down that
path because, like I mentioned earlier I'm not the same person that I was before the addiction, I didn't like..
him much either looking back....life is always lived forward but is understood looking backward....
the hardest part in rebuilding relationships, is pride, admitting the mistakes we made, but beyond that...
it also means recognizing the damage done, is to a large extent our fault....they made choices because we
left them little our now..because of the choices we made...

if I'm late getting home, even 30 minutes, I call, someone told me that was acting like a child....and I told them...
for a long time I acted like a child....if I don't call all those fears are brought back to the surface.....where is he at..
is he using again, why isn't he home.....those fears will usually always remain, I need to understand that...
and do what I can to help my spouse past that, by doing what I can to prevent them from coming to the
surface, for me its consideration for her thoughts and fears....and besides if I stop and call - who does it benefit,..
it benefits me......instead of spending two or three day arguing or trying explain and prove I didn't do anything
wrong.....its worth a 5 minute phone call to tell her I'm running late....it benefits me as much if not more than her
and it keeps me from getting caught up in a situation that could given the right circumstance set me up
for a relapse....

I know using is not an option for me, no matter what is happening...it will make it worse...I have proven
time and time again, it will not be a one time event, if I use.....

sometimes we will have to eat crow, and we don't have to reply when they bring up something from the past,
we don't have to put ourselves in a position to get caught up it the drama.....just say your right, I made mistakes,,
and move on to another topic,.......your actions and your behaviors will show more of your sobriety than any
argument you can have trying to prove how much you have changed, they should see it, and if not, albeit..
you know you have..and your the one that looks in the mirror the next morning, relationships, have issues...
with or with out addiction....addiction just add flames to the fire.....relationship take time to rebuild.....
be willing to accept that, and keep doing what you know to be right, it may seem and may sound like other...
are not noticing.....but they are.....God may be using you to help others...God ultimately makes the changes,..
in us, in others and even in our relationships....

One other important not here is that some relationships are better left to die.....wisdom is not always knowing which bridges to rebuild, sometimes it knowing which bridges are better left burnt.....some relationships are not healthy for us , spiritually, physically, emotionally or mentally.....so another set of choices you are know free to make sense you are make the choices today, of course always asking for God's direction and will, but the substances are no longer making the choices for you...You have a freedom today, a freedom to choose how you want to live you life, and the type of relationships you want to have in your life, with people, with family, with your children, and with God....He is always longing for a deeper relationship with you,and the deeper your relationship is with God the deeper and better your relationship will be with other......

Remember there are consequences and there is an aftermath of our choices, but to change your past you simply have to start changing your future, allowing God to lead, then your past can be an asset God can use to help others. As time goes by the facts of your past will not change, but your perspective and the perspective of others will change,one day it will only be remember as a bad choice made, and a testimony to where God has you then....people will talk about how hem made some bad mistakes but He overcame through God and his life is totally different today.....or like so many other 20 years from now they will think of you the same way if your still making the same choices......the choice is yours, but remember every choice you make -

directly effects at least 6 others and countless others...
its known as the ripple effect....
once a rock has it the water it send ripples toward the shore
these ripples effect generations.....
the only way to change the ripples
is to step into the water of life...
and cast a new stone, setting the ripples into a different direction....
you might be the one that changes your family history......
and even created a brand new family history....
some days I don't see any good that can come from my choices...
but then I'm reminded of Romans 8:28 - I may not see the good in my life time, it may be in my children,
or grandchildren.....but God promises me all things work together for good....
and today I believe that, I have seen the beginning of it in my life.....

Thank you Michael for your excellent presentation !!

We now open the floor to questions for Michael. If you would like to ask a question, please indicate by typing: ! The host will then call on you to share.
Who has some questions, comments or observations?

BobRush !
Obie-Host GA Bob
BobRush Man, that was real inspiring....
You got me thinking about how my past can be made for good....
and I believe that....
I believe God can change all that garbage into gold......
but I have to be willing to let God work inside of me....
and in my relationships.....
so thanks for all the things you said tonight.
done

michaelclark-speaker I have learned the only times I get into trouble when I try to help God out, and put my hands into the mix,,
he makes the messes, a message, a test into a testimony, and a trial into a triumph,...only by His Grace..
The Praise is all His....

Obie-Host Who else has some questions, comments or observations?
bj. !
Obie-Host GA bj
bj. hI michael
thank you for your hope filled testimony
I was wondering about your statement ...
life is always lived forward
it is understood looking backwards
so many times I have was told in early recovery to forget the past
can you share a little of your experience on that?
done

michaelclark-speaker That's one reason is speak where I do, I want to be reminded where I once was, sitting in the chair at ...
the recovery center I speak it....the old saying if we forget our past we are doomed to repeat it.....
I need to remember the pain I caused, and what I am capable of...its OK to visit the past, just don't get...
stuck there...that when the guilt and same try to come back....there is a difference between shame and guilt...
guilt can help you see the need for change...guilt says " I made a mistake" where
Shame says " I am a mistake" Same is always toxic and a lie,,,,God made no mistakes in creating anyone...

but we live in the present and we in a sense think a lot like teenagers, we only see today...BJ I'm sure...
you saw something as bad.....a break up...or something else, and felt it was the end of the world......but ...
looking back 10 - 20 years later and thinking on it....it was really a good thing, A lot of people would not....
have gained a relationship with God, or be the people they are today if they had never experience addiction...
or a need for God.......so in that sense you can look back and see even though the circumstances may ..
have seemed bad then,,,,,with a little more experience, and a little more living, we almost come to see it,,,,
as a blessings...would I want to go through it again,,,,No way bro....but it Got me where God wanted me...
when all his other attempts failed....all we do is a part of all we are....but out addiction only has to be a small part

Obie-Host Are there any other questions or comments?
Thank you again Michael for your excellent presentation !!
We all learned a lot tonight.
Everyone join me in thanking Michael....
You are all welcome to remain here after the workshop and chat further....

Let us close in prayer.....
Heavenly Father....
Thank You for bringing Michael to us tonight....
to share from his heart.....
thank You for filling him with Your Holy Spirit as he spoke....
help us to take the lessons learned tonight....
and to apply them to our lives.....
to our relationships with others, with You and with our own selves.....
i'll check out the prayers for healing page
in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

michaelclark-speakerIt is I am grateful for having the opportunity to share a life God has changed...one in which only He could change

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