Healing

Nature vs. Nurture: An Unanswered Question?

Nature versus nurture: it's still an unanswered question. And that mystery applies to all things appearance.

Faces have always captured my attention. I am fascinated by the variety of features and expressions they contain.

A Couple of Kittens...

I first was obsessed with my mother's set of three cat figurines. There was one "mother cat" and her two smaller white kittens. I was especially preoccupied with the kittens.

And here, perhaps, is where I encountered one of my first harmful disordered ideas about image. I viewed one kitten as cuter, a/k/a, "better" than the other. Why? It was because this kitten- let's call her "Sally"- appeared to have a sweeter, more pleasing, "good kitty" facial expression. The other kitten, however, had more of a "Sophia- Loren- exotic- eyeliner-drawn- face" situation going on.

And, somehow, to me, that kitten face - let's call her "Sophia"- symbolized more mischief and displeasing, "bad kitty" behaviors than that of innocent-and-cute-looking Sally.

Indeed, in this kitten context, my toddler self was already learning inaccurate appearance associations all on my own.

But soon, other influences contributed to my preferences. Adults also instructed me about which emotions, often depicted in the human face, were acceptable - and which were not.

An Image Utensil?

Tapping into the Unknown

Part 1 Breaking Habits | Part 2 Tapping into the Unknown | Part 3 Breaking Habits and Sin | Part 4 God's Love | Part 5 Scary Secrets | Part 6 Are You Ready?

The unknown can be a scary place. We might ask God to guide us through the maze...

God, I'm not even sure if you exist, but I know I want to be free from of this habit. My motives are selfish and not totally pure, and I might be blind to other things in my life that also need changing, but I ask You to open my eyes to who you are, and to my need of you. Come close to me. Open my mind as I continue in my life, and give me the courage to do what I should do.

It's not hard to imagine that anyone could break habits if they had didn't have the supernatural power of God flowing through them. Its also hard to believe that we have the ability, right now, to tap into this power, but our beliefs prevent us from doing so. One of our biggest stumbling blocks is to think that we are so contaminated, or that God is too Holly for us to relate too. The fact is – we are, but we must develop a belief, deep within that God has paid the "cleaning bill" for us when He gave up his life on the cross.

The Valley Called Decision

One day a man walked into his place of worship and to his surprise the devil was at the altar weeping bitterly. When the man asked him, "Hey, what's wrong with you?" His reply was, "Everyone blames me for everything!"

This fictional story serves to remind us how easy it is to point fingers. We, like water, seek out the easiest course to follow. You see, it's so much more convenient to blame everyone rather than to look deep into ourselves. Not until I began to honestly take inventory of my own personal life, was I able to admit to myself that I was in dire need of a total spiritual and emotional make-over.

It's a humbling experience for anyone to look into the mirror and say, "I have met the enemy and the enemy is me!"

But, like a master sailor uses the contrary wind to get him to safe harbor, we too can use our imperfections as a driving force to relearn and refocus on our true self and mission on earth. Be comforted in knowing that because of Gods amazing grace, He is able to draw a straight line using a crooked stick.

If we will fearlessly open up the chapters of our past, I think we will be surprised to see that many of our hell-on-earth experiences have been caused by the inability to make right decisions. Never forget, we are the very ones who chose alcohol and/or drugs as a solution to life's problems. (Some may say, "Alcohol, drugs? That's not my problem!" That may be true, but take a good look into the cup from which you drink, is it filled with fear, pride, unforgiveness, greed or guilt?) If your answer is yes, then we welcome you to join us as we seek for the solution.

The 3rd step in the big book of A.A. reads "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."

The word decision means: The act of making up one's mind. When a person lacks this ability they are likened to a double minded (doubting, hesitating) man who is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8 paraphrased). One never builds a mansion on a unstable foundation, much less will a marriage built on sand (unstable people) survive the storms of life.

But wait! There is a better way. For He who has all POWER says to us,

"For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

But for us to enjoy the fruit of this better way we must pass through the Valley called DECISION.

Many of us have missed out on excellent opportunities in life, due to the inability to make up our own mind. You see, when we doubted and hesitated, another came and snatched up all that was dear to us. In the twinkling of an eye, family, friends, careers and even our own self respect was gone.

The True and the New

"It's Only Natural"

Playing Hide and Seek with God?

I searched hurriedly to find just the right hiding place. Breathless I hid silently behind the shower curtain in my parents shower. A giggle slipped from my mouth and I quickly cupped my hand to keep it quiet. I could barely hear my friend counting... 6... 7...8 ...9... 10! Ready or not, here I come! My heart raced for fear I would be found.

I'm sure you remember the exhilaration and suspense of playing hide and seek with your friends. Now that I am older, I no longer play this childhood game with my friends or anyone else—or do I?

It is Just the Beginning

I have learned to trust God. I have faith my past is gone. I have let it all go and given it to God to handle. This is just the beginning for me, though.

My journey through recovery begins with Christ and it continues with Him. I could not have started nor could I continue without His help and guidance through all of the steps of recovery. I may not be an alcoholic or addicted to a drug, but I have other issues to contend with as a result of living with addiction.

  • Each day I must turn my need for control over to God’s care.
  • Each day I must turn over my past shopping compulsion to God because He is enough to fill any void I have.
  • Each day I must rid myself of co-dependency and be fully dependent upon Him to comfort me.

Listening in the Quiet (Pain, Loss & Suffering)

The historical account of Job is one of pain, loss, suffering, and God's wise control. The long and short of this book of the Bible is this: Job was a stand-up guy. He was faithful to God. He had a family, a farm, and a good life. One day, God and Satan were having a conversation about Job and his faithfulness to God. Satan believes he can turn Job against God and God accepts the challenge. While God is watching, Job loses everything. He loses his farm, his wife, and his sons.

Okay, let's stop there. So, God allowed Satan to test Job's faithfulness? Yes, but you see, while God allowed this, He was in complete control the entire time. God knows all things; therefore, He knew Job would remain faithful. So why would God allow Job's suffering? I don't know the answer to that for sure, but I believe there is purpose in our pain. I believe that God works all things according to His purpose and for my good.

In the end, Job remained faithful to the Lord and he was rewarded for his faithfulness. The same is true for me and for you. What does this have to do with Step Four?

While working through my searching and fearless moral inventory, I have to remain faithful to God. I know His

FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

"Once is never enough, never is and never was, uh-huh,
Here and now is all that counts, here and now in large amounts, uh-huh"
~ Adam Ant, "Room at the Top"


In our culture today, there is a go-for-the gusto acronym, "FOMO," "Fear of Missing Out." I see it influencing our behavior. It declares we need to pounce on living life, taking advantage of every opportunity, going for our dreams.

But I also see its addiction message too, mainly reflected in the bender/binge concept with which some struggle. Each of us must deal with our individual vulnerabilities concerning substances, food, chaotic behaviors and relationships - and any other tempting vice under the sun.

Two events which spring to the top of my mind are Fat Tuesday and Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Your New Identity in Christ

There I was, sitting in the green room of the Oprah Winfrey television show, waiting for my turn to share with the world how my new identity had transformed me from the inside out. I stood in front of the floor-to-ceiling mirror startled by my own image. The mirror reflected an image of a tall, slender black woman with shiny, wavy hair that sparkled like dew drops on a crisp autumn morning. The chestnut eyes beamed with vibrant life. The air was filled with deep love, passion, and hope. I didn't recognize "me."

As I crawled out of bed the next morning, just out of curiosity, I checked in the mirror. I now saw what I had seen hundreds of times before: an under-tall—5 feet, two inches and shrinking to be exact—Caucasian, over forty-nine and holding, work-in-progress lady.

Perhaps it was just a dream that seemed so real to me. Ten years later I still remember the precise details of my "Oprah adventure."

Confused and baffled by my identity, I wondered: Who am I anyway?

The Trigger of Grief

In the work of recovery, we address the danger of triggers. Its very word itself suggests the power to cause us harm:

"Something that precipitates a particular event or situation; To set off; initiate; To fire or explode."


On one August morning of 2003, I encounter such a trigger. The phone rang. My dad was dead.

My grief, for the next year and a half, was an alarming, unexpected reality. And each subsequent "anniversary" proves equally tricky also. Both defy what I thought I would - or should - be experiencing.

After all, coming from an abusive childhood, I didn't think the loss of this pain-inflicting parent would register as significantly as it did.

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