What I eventually came to realize is that for the longest time - I had allowed myself to be unequally yoked with family members who continued to persist in their own toxic attitudes and behaviors.
Attempting a recovery program without having a spiritual awakening and without having a power greater than oneself leaves one paralyzed in their active substance use or dysfunctional behavior. Denies the reality of one being humble, contrite in spirit, and seeking liberation from our own problems and situations.
The right attitude and behavior rests on the reality of the sacrifices one needs to make to engage in their own recovery program. This may involve being selfish to grow, learn, and discover who you are. People are not going to agree with this process. They may not even like what is happening.
The cost of recovery is the very act of denying who we presently are and willing to put to death all that old person represents. Burying the old and rising up in a newness of life. No longer bound to the shackles of our addiction, compulsions, or other dysfunctional behaviors. We are freed to develop a character that creates a person of courage, integrity, and faith.
True spiritual success is when we step out of the Saviors way of healing and restoring and instead work with Him. This is what he called us to do. To go forth, make disciples, teaching others all that he has commanded, and know that He is with us always (Matthew 28:19-20).
My thoughts turn to Proverbs 9:10 - Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. In the serenity prayer, we seek after acceptance, courage, and wisdom. Acceptance in knowing that there are things in life we are not able to control. Courage to make necessary changes in our lives. And wisdom to understand and know the difference between what we need to accept because we can't change it; and courage to strive and make those changes we are able to make.
No one else is capable of living my own life. I am responsible for my life. I am responsible for my own recovery. And because of this I either wallow in worry and become lazy and complacent. Critical and judgmental. Where I am not receiving any blessings, any healing, and any restoration. However, if I submit over to God's will and care, faithful walk-in spirit and truth to what He has in store for me and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me - then I will receive those promised rewards He has prepared for me.
I have come to learn that when I feel abandoned by Christ. Abandoned by my Heavenly Father and that I feel abandoned by Christian fellowship - it is not that they had abandoned me. It is me having abandoned them. Whether it is out of fear of showing my vulnerability and weakness or hiding in my own shame and guilt of what I continue to carry with me from my family dysfunction.
To become the hero of my own personal story and life - I need to take up my own hero's journey and place my faith in God and trust in His will and divine providence. Through my faith and confidence, labor and toil, fellowshipping with others, being held accountable, seeking after wise counsel, and following the directions - my extraordinary adventure and story may be among many heroic journey's that inspire people.
I was uncomfortable with the idea of fearing God. I defended Him as One whose love is so great He needs not be feared. This was based on my own understanding of 1 John 4:18: “Perfect love drives out fear.” Today, I have come to understand that when the scriptures calls our attention to fear … Continue reading Where Wisdom in Recovery Begins – Damascus Way Recovery
Wisdom in recovery begins when we come to realize the love God has for us and are able to confidently find rest and peace. I know the truth of this reality. Such true understanding had to come by my own overwhelming awareness of His greatness, holiness, and power as they contrasted with my own sinful and carnal nature. There was nothing more fear-inducing than this. It is where I needed to begin. It is where healing and restoration of my mind, heart, and soul had to begin.
Over the years I have attended a variety of men’s fellowship groups within the Christian Faith. Some were quite small while others boast a good following. Some of these groups appeared to have died down and were no longer meeting. It was not until I stepped into a fellowship of those engaged in their own … Continue reading A Vibrant Fellowship Is Needed – Damascus Way Recovery
The greatest deception of one who is living an active and sinful lifestyle is one who is imprisoned by their own denial. In essence, we lack the awareness and fortitude to admit there is something wrong with us. Because of this, we build systematic defenses to protect ourselves from the reality of our condition. For the alcoholic and addict, this defense system protects them from an awareness they have an inherent problem with drugs, alcohol, and/or other addictive behaviors.
There appears to be some aversion to attending, participating in, and following the 12-steps of sober support meetings. The underlying question: does a 12-step program help people achieve sobriety? In Chapter 2, of the second edition of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, we read the following introductory statement: WE, of Alcoholics Anonymous, know thousands … Continue reading Does a 12-step based recovery program work?
Within the past year, we have heard stories from social media, news outlets, and ongoing conversations around the rise of the opioid crisis. Reading through the various commentary, there is a noticeable trend of individuals caught up in emotional responses. Yet, as a society, do we fully comprehend the nature of addiction and how individuals … Continue reading Nature of Substance Use Disorder and Social Responsibility
Those who do not grow up in a healthy environment—perhaps one scarred by emotional or physical abuse, neglect, or over-parenting—may not develop a sense of self in the same way. Their identities may have been minimally acknowledged, if at all. When feelings and thoughts are ignored in childhood, children may grow up not recognizing that they have their … Continue reading ‘I Don’t Know Who I Am’: Establishing Your Sense of Self
Recovery is a dark journey for most of us. Through our faith in Jesus Christ, we come to full knowledge of His light, love, and truth. Do we forsake others struggling in their own darkness and journey? God forbid. This is the heart and foundation of recovery support groups.
Authentic recovery separates those who are being in recovery and those who are doing recovery. Much like the Christian faith - this means an individual cannot escape their Garden of Gethsemane. We are tasked to experience the painful awareness of our behaviors that were the results of our dependence on substances, sex, food, gambling, et al. It is the painful process of moving toward the new life. Putting to death the old man in order to rise up with a newness of life. Unfortunately, many rather be in recovery instead of actually doing recovery.
Having been a moderately seasoned counselor for the last six years, I've come to realize that recovery isn't for you. Before you start drawing some conclusions, keep reading. Sitting in counsel with many patients, conducting and facilitating various therapy groups, and utilizing all the best practices and evidenced-based material, I've come to realize the strength, … Continue reading Recovery isn’t for you
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ~ Ephesians 4:32, ESV ~ We are actively influenced, and are influencing, those relationships around us. One of the greatest frustrations a person experiences in recovery is this: operating in the illusion we have control over, or others have control over … Continue reading How we love self and others reflects Christ
There is a stark difference between costly and cheap recovery. Cheap recovery is the single most deadly enemy. An enemy of one’s effort toward a healthy and well-meaningful and purposeful life. We are fighting for costly recovery. What is cheap recovery? It is a cut rate recovery journey where there is minimal cost with supposed … Continue reading Costly Recovery
But whoever has doubts is condemned ... For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. ~ Romans 14:23 ESV ~ Recovery helps us rediscovery our own personal values. These values become our reflection of what we believe. They help us live a true, authentic, and practical life. This is not only demonstrated by our … Continue reading Actions reflect our personal beliefs and values
Imagine you are walking along a very narrow path. The forest is thick and dark. As you struggle your way along the path, you notice a possible clearing up ahead. In haste, you rush along the path. The clearing becomes more and more welcoming. At last, you take your last step out of the darkness … Continue reading Nature and Power of Belief and Hope
give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. ~ Luke 6:38, ESV ~ When we think of abundance, wealth, and prosperity, we look to the materialistic things obtained. The greatest … Continue reading Sharing the Wealth and Abundance
When my daughter was younger, she'd love to watch Veggie Tales. I had a copy of one of her favorite VT videos. The title: Larry Boy and Fib from Outer space. The premise of the story line focused on dishonesty vs. honesty. Each time Jr. Asparagus told a lie, Fib grew larger and larger. At the … Continue reading Nature and Power of Honesty
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the name of the Lord from a pure heart ~ 2 Timothy 2:22, ESV ~ Making one's journey through recovery requires a right way of living. A true pilgrimage through the process is one where an individual strives … Continue reading A Right Way of Living
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable - if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise, dwell on these things ~ Philippians 4:8, ESV ~ The Savior taught his disciples a fundamental truth when he responded to a … Continue reading Being Grateful
As a moderately seasoned counselor, one of the frustrating aspects of working with individuals suffering from substance use is the lack of motivation and engagement in their treatment and recovery. I become frustrated because they appear to be unmotivated, and underachieving. In my attempt to work with these individuals I am experiencing some consternation. This … Continue reading The Mystery of the Unmotivated patient