Discouragement

God Worked Powerfully in My Life

In the late sixties, long before I committed to follow the Lord, God delivered me from an intense IV Meth addiction. There were no withdrawal symptoms of any kind, I simply stopped.

In the mid-seventies, I lived in a hippie-type community in Pennsylvania. I smoked as many packs of cigarettes a day as I could get my hands on. Filtered or non-filtered, it didn't matter. When I ran out of cigarettes, I rolled my own with Blue Bugler, the cheapest package tobacco you could by at that time. I looked physically fit, but every morning, I woke up congested with phlegm and I could not walk up a flight of stairs without stopping several times to catch my breath.

Living a Double Standard

My feelings of guilt and shame towards a same-sex attraction began at an early age. I experienced frequent sexual abuse from an older male friend during most of my teen years, and hustling for money soon followed.

Years later, I was baptized in a Mennonite Brethren church as a public declaration that I would follow Christ. My secret desire was that maybe now my attraction and sexual fantasies towards men would disappear. They didn't, and the fantasies soon turned into years of acting out behaviours.

I attended several MB churches in different provinces over the years, all the while living a double standard. I became addicted to cruising public places that were well-known to the gay community as places where homosexuals could meet for anonymous sex – a behaviour very typical of this community. Frequenting gay bars was a given.

Life in the gay community has been tumultuous and everything but a happy time. I would be in the arms of a lover on Saturday night and then actively participate in a worship service on Sunday morning. My life was such a lie – a secret I was able to maintain for many years.

I Was Addicted to Sex and Could Never Get Enough

My name is Jeff and I am a recovering sex addict. It all started when I lived at home with my parents. My father was and still is a sex addict and alcoholic to this day. I can remember when my mother would go to bed, my father would turn on the cable adult channels and allow me to watch them with him. He also had pin up posters and other adult stuff in the household. My father was verbally abusive to us and my mother. After 23 years, my father walked out on all of us. I moved out shortly after, when I turned 18. I lived from place to place and I would hang out with my friends during the week and watch porno movies and drink beer. On the weekends we would go to clubs and try to pick up on girls to have sex with. All I wanted was sex. Little did I know that the craving and the snares of Satan began there.

I slept with a lot of women and could never get enough. I was married at 26, only to last 9 months. I could not be loyal to one woman. A year later I married again but the problems did not stop. I became addicted to pornography on the internet. I was spending at least 18-24 hours a week on the net. I met women, had sex with them and I got deeper and deeper into it. My wife became saved, and I did shortly after but it did not even stop there. I was so bound to my addiction. I had an affair on my wife again and this time I confessed to her. Things were better for a while but I found myself back on the net again.

I Died, Stayed Dead in Many Ways Until CIR

My recovery birthday is the day I registered at CIR. It was shortly after I joined. I chose it because I began to seriously take on my recovery as a whole: Alcohol, Codependency, Sex/love addiction, Bulimia (teens-20's), then became Compulsive overeater, Workaholic, PTSD from Childhood rape/molestation.....abuses/ bullying of every variety including self-inflicted. I experienced a date rape with an abortion in 1994 (I died / stayed dead in many ways until CIR). All are interconnected.

I have since found a measure of serenity, of freedom from sin (or enslavement to righteousness) !!!! Romans 6:15-17), healing in the areas my mental illness/health problems & I have found the blessing of relationship/fellowship.

Secrecy and Lies

"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." Deuteronomy 5:20

Who would have guessed a doll could teach me about secrecy and lying?

When I was a child, I received a much-desired china doll, actually named after Florence Nightingale. So, obviously, when my mother bought her for me, I was thrilled, so thrilled, I shared my excitement with the wrong person: my dad.

"Earthquake, thunder, fire and fathers."
Japanese Proverb

Remaining Happy in the Face of Adversity

Relationships are built on the quality of our conceitedness to God.

People can be so quick to judge. I sometimes am guilty of this. It is an issue that I struggle with. Maybe it is because I so badly need to affirm my fragile righteousness, I don't know. What I do know is that Jesus wasn't like that and I need to acquire this knowledge quickly.

Jesus is always gentle with anyone who seeks His help. That person might not receive the help neatly wrapped in a predictable way; that is in a way they perceive.

Power In Discovering Your Audience

Coming from a theater background, I'm no stranger to an audience.

"All the world's a stage... And one man in his time plays many parts..."

In William Shakespeare's play, "As You Like It," Act II Scene VII, purpose-filled life is compared to that of a theatre stage.

How much more does that apply for those of us recovering from addiction, disorder or abuse?

Besides my theater background, I also have an eating disorder history as well. In college, I battled both anorexia and bulimia.

Indeed, during my sophomore year, desperate in my bulimic behavior, I began to dumpster dive...

"... I'd try to play it off, pretending everything was normal as people passed by me scrounging in the dumpster... in broad daylight... I couldn't hide any longer from others what I was doing... people were noticing..."*
*Excerpt from Sheryle Cruse's book, "Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder"

This was an unwelcomed audience for me.

Nevertheless, people saw. And, no matter how I tried, I could not escape the Presence of the Most High.

For a long time, I fought God.

The Value of Trials

REJOYCING
There are those who would consider that going through the recovery process is far from joyful. For most of us there is a great deal of pain along the recovery path.

    James 1:2-4 (Amplified)
    Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations;
    Knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience.
    And let patience have its' perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing.

Stopping Destructive Self-talk

For those of us that are in recovery, whatever the substance, activity or behavior might be you can here the "mantra", which is a phrase or often repeated expression or idea that dominates the individual’s every thought." It often justifies the behavior as being acceptable to those who are within hearing range.

  • "I'm not hooked, I just like the feeling that ______________ gives me."

  • "I can quite anytime, I just don't see any reason to do so."

What’s in My Suitcase?

I have this roll around bag I carry with me every day to work. In it, I carry my journal, extra pens, a small laptop, and anything else I think I might need for the day. I decided to get a bag that had rollers because the one I carried over my shoulder grew too heavy for me. I wish I could do the same for the other baggage I have carried with me over the years.

The other suitcase I carry with me has no handle. It resides within the chambers of my heart and the confines of my soul. It has years of control, co-dependency, self-blame, regret, sadness, grief, and pain within it. As I face Step Four of my recovery journey, I know there is more in that piece of luggage. I know there are things I haven’t admitted to yet. I know there are probably even things I am not aware of. But I know this is an important step in the recovery from my past.

These issues I have carried with me are common for people like me. I haven’t always known this to be true. Working diligently on making a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself showed me this. Reading Psalm 139:23-24 guides me toward God’s loving arms to reveal the truth about me.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

I ask God to search and know my heart. I ask him to

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