"Humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove your shortcomings."
Humility being the keyword. We must always approach the Lord with reverence and with our pride stripped from us.
I have been pondering the action words here, " ask to have your shortcomings removed". I believe it to be a righteous desire, one worth asking...but I think even greater, to be coupled with that, is to have the courage "to give" them to Him.
How can we show the Lord that we desperately want them removed if we still hang on to them, can't quite let go of them. We must surrender them unto the Lord in order for Him to take them from us. He will never remove from us our free will.
Have the humility to bare all to our God, Ask for him to remove our weaknesses and shortcomings, but have the courage and the faith to give them away.
What am I supposed to say this time? Some days I am able to sit with you, hold you, love you, encourage you, remind you that things will get better, that you will get better. Then there are days like today. Days when I am so angry; The days I think you just wont ever get it, the days I want to tell you what an idiot you are and how you are destroying our family, how I pretend that I trust you but really don't, but fear that if you really knew how I felt you would give up and say, "whats the point, no one else believes I can, so why should I try".
When is enough, enough? When does one finally get to that point where they realize they must change? Change for themselves, not for everyone around them. I know that people can change, and I know that God can help them change. The hard part is knowing whether or not you really want to change.
I know there will be relapses, I just wasn't expecting this one. I am usually good about them, but today I am not. Today I am hurt, today I am angry, and today I am going to be honest with you and with myself. You are not the only one you are hurting. WE are hurting too, and much of OUR hurt is due to consequences of your actions. Love and support and kindness will come, but today I think I'm going to let myself grieve.
A word and an action that many of us seek in our lifetime, yet fail to give it in return. We often times make a judgement, and hold on to that judgment, eager to see an individual suffer, or punished. I wanted to address the loved ones of addicts who are finding it difficult to forgive.
In the Bible it reads, (Matt. 7:1-2.) " Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall me measured to you again."
The Lord will judge with the same measurements meted out by us. If we are harsh, we should not expect other than harshness. If we are merciful with those who injure us, he will be merciful with us in our errors. If we are unforgiving, he will leave us weltering in our own sins.
We are unable to look upon the heart and see anothers intentions, we can not discern what another thinks, often leading us to judge wrongfully. Only the Lord is capable of doing so. Do not hinder others progression as well as your own by refusing them the opportunity to change, and not forgiving them of their trespasses.
He who will not forgive others breaks down the bridge over which he himself must travel.
"Recovery provides peace, serenity and wholeness when we did not believe we could be whole again. We must do our own work to achieve these things by attending local support group meetings, working the 12 Steps, and beginning the process on our own, for we cannot rely on someone else's recovery to find our own serenity, and it is only through our personal relationship with the Savior that our self-inflicted wounds can be healed."
"Being human, we would expel from our lives physical and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery."
I have dedicated much of my time lately to one of the steps of Recovery; that being CONFESSION. It is one of the most vital, if not THE most vital step in recovery, yet so many hit a wall when they reach this step. It is quite understandable why; the fear of being rejected, hurting our loved ones even more, etc. etc. Admitting it actually means we have to accept it in our own hearts as well.
Through my studies, I came across some things regarding confession that I desired to share. I wish I could claim some sacred insight to myself, yet these are words of another, but was testified to my heart that these things are true.
The first is in the Bible, Romans 9:10," For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Salvation is granted AFTER we confess our sins and then forsake them. Do we just tell anybody our sins or our mistakes, or our addictions? No, there is a difference between a confession and recovery sharing, and the latter is done as support for another individual (which will be addressed at a later time).
Some rationalize that addictions are private sins and that it can be privately worked out. THEY ARE WRONG. It is a lie that the adversary tells us so that he may continue to have claim upon the person for their sins. I quote Donald L Hilton Jr. ,"...given the nature of addiction,it will be impossible to actually quit the behavior without the assistance of others. In secrecy, the person my think he can overcome the addiction by willpower alone and may go for extended periods of abstinence. At some point, however, when the stress is right, isolation returns, and old patterns are rekindled and acting out in the addiction is inevitable. The addiction may lie dormant for months in some cases depending on the resistance, but it will return if the person is not in full recovery. Confession is essential not only for spiritual healing and eventual forgiveness, but for mental and emotional healing and recovery as well."
For those of you who are struggling, be not afraid. Confession is not the end, yet it provides a wonderful feeling of a burden lifted. A weight that is lifted and shared with another, who can help you carry that weight and eventually help you remove it.
For those of your loved ones who are being confessed to, I encourage you to be loving, patient, and understanding. IT WILL HURT! And you will have to recovery in your own sense for the wrong that has been done. Seek the guidance of the Lord, and you will know how to proceed. Encourage them to seek the proper ecclesiastical person to confess to as well, for recovery is not complete without spiritual healing as well as physical.
I was raised in an alcoholic home amidst the usual tension, chaos, fear and violence that drinking provokes. When I was twelve I discovered the perfect sedative: food. Eating enormous amounts of sugary "treats" presented no problem until I started to gain weight.
I was terrified of being fat because I knew it would make me even more unacceptable than I was. With my protruding front teeth, big ears, acne and shyness, who needed another handicap? The more afraid I was of getting fat, the more I had to eat to squelch the fear. I now ate against my will and had lost the power of choice.
For the next eighteen years, I was obsessed with food, calories, diets, pills, and scales. My food intake determined my mood and my actions. My weight controlled my participation in life. If I binged, I could not go to school the next day because I would be too sick and bloated. Eventually the "A!' average which had represented my only asset fell to a "C" due mainly to absenteeism.
If I binged during the day, I would not go out socially at night because I looked and felt too awful. My social life shrank as my withdrawal from reality progressed. My only pleasures were escapist ones in which I took no active part. Going to movies was my favorite because it was dark, diverting and no one could see how many candy bars I ate.
Reading books about beautiful heroines were another escape, for I lost myself in their adventures. The best escape of all was my fantasy world where I was slim, stunning, charming, and every male within a fifty-mile radius was pining for me. I pictured in detail my hair, clothes, and scintillating personality.
I was a compulsive calorie counter, especially when bingeing. I would compute repeatedly how much I had consumed so I could punish myself. I ate to the point of nausea for the same reason. In fact, punishing it became a fulltime job.
When I was sixteen, I went to work part-time in a drugstore and found another answer: dexamyl. For the next ten years, I played Russian roulette with alternating or combined intakes of pills food and alcohol. I was equally addicted to all three. In this manner I kept my weight under 160 pounds and paid the price in mental, physical and spiritual demoralization.
I lost weight, courtesy of the pills, on special occasions only: when I was "in love", when I became ill with some interesting new malady, or when tragedy struck. I welcomed any situation that brought a temporary halt to bingeing. During a period when I was heavily addicted to diet pills I reached what I thought was the perfect weight for my five feet, seven inches: 95 pounds. My dream of being as scrawny as a Vogue model was finally realized. No more did I have to compare myself with other girls at parties and come out the one with the biggest hips. I felt gorgeous. Never mind such minor drawbacks as anemia and malnutrition.
At this point, two events occurred that caused me to gain 45 pounds in three months: my pill supply was cut off and I got married. My shapely legs and vibrant (chemically induced) personality, both of which rapidly disappeared, had attracted my husband.
I do not function when I binge. I miss work, get sleepy, depressed and paralyzed. I sat in a chair for eighteen hours, watching television and eating, too scared to open the drapes or answer the telephone. I played the resolution game for years. On Monday or the first of the month or New Year's or my birthday I resolved to go on a diet, stop drinking, not smoke and assume my place in the world.
I was sincere because I neither knew nor would have believed that I was ill and powerless to carry out my resolutions. Resolve, for me, was something that broke down in a matter of hours, leaving me totally bewildered by the repeated failures.
I lost jobs. My husband was a student and we needed the income, but I became too sick to help. I found energy only to get to the market and cause scenes at home. Finally, my husband could not take it any more. He left. This prompted a dramatic suicide attempt on my part, followed by two years of therapy.
The earnestness of my efforts to get well lured my husband back home. Soon, he found himself on a treadmill of working, going to school, cooking and cleaning. I felt enormous guilt, but I could not change the destructive course I was on. Therapy was unsuccessful, for I misinterpreted the psychologist's words to fit my needs. I never faced myself or accepted responsibility for my actions. I convinced my husband that as soon as my parent-induced neuroses were cleared up life would be ideal; I would be able to eat and drink moderately. The sad part was that I really believed this. The doctor finally dismissed me.
Years that were more compulsive followed years of diet doctors, self-help books and resolutions. My husband again decided to leave me. I was desperate. I knew that this decision would be final. I began the OA program only to keep him with me. Before I knew it, I was going to meetings for another reason: a sincere desire to be straightened out. Life, for the first time, held a promise of hope.
The twelve steps introduced me to reality. What a shock it was to discover that I had to assume responsibility for the way I lived, that I was not merely an innocent victim, nor was my illness the fault of cruel parents or a punishing God. I had to become honest with myself and in doing so, I was able to let God remove the deadly resentments I had carried against Him, my parents, and the world in general. I now had a reason for living. I felt a part of humanity.
After my first month in OA, the compulsion to overeat was removed. I enjoy food now for what it is, not what it used to represent. Food is no longer a weapon with which to get back at "them" or an anesthetic to stupefy my emotions. Working at the twelve steps has slowly filled that big empty hole in my gut that no substance, chemical, or refined 86 proof could satisfy.
I have been maintaining a 40-pound weight loss for more than a year and a half. It feels strange to be the same size month after month. I used to have clothes in sizes five through sixteen, and alternated up and down with alarming speed. I will bet I have gained and lost several hundred pounds during my eating years. Now, when I buy a dress, I am fully confident that I will be able to wear it until it shows signs of deterioration, not me.
I have found that if I take my will back and decide that God is not working quite fast enough, the obsession with food returns. Now I have a choice. I do not have to eat because the program enables me to sit still and hurt. I can now accept emotional pain as a prelude to growth and not try to push it down.
My sponsors and friends truly love me for myself. I do not have to wear false faces or try to impress them. I can be the self I have always longed to be, at home in the world. I am not on the outside looking in, but rather take an active part in life. I hardly ever go to movies any more. The old escapes just are not appealing. Helping a newcomer brings every good feeling I looked for in fantasies. Having lost my fear of people, I find I have my own opinions and the courage to express them.
I have even come to like myself, finally. I realize that even at my worst I did the best I could. Guilt has been like a comfortable old shoe and I wear it well. However, if God has already forgiven me, it is time for me to forgive myself. Self worth comes very slowly, but it brings real freedom from all the old ideas.
It has taken a great deal of pain and effort to live in reality. However "we are not saints ... we are willing to grow along spiritual lines." That sentence has saved me from discouragement many times, for I still insist on taking backward steps. Now that I know a better way, the self-will does not last as long. I no longer enjoy suffering.
Recently, I celebrated four years of abstinence from alcohol and two years of abstinence from compulsive overeating. God, as I still do not and maybe never will understand Him, has given me the gift of abstinence and the Fellowship has shown me how to work this beautiful program.
My lifestyle has changed almost in spite of me. I was always a night eater and stayed up late. I slept all day because I hated to wake up to the consequences of my binge and the emptiness of the hours ahead. Now I enjoy getting up early for I have things to do worth while things like going to meetings, keeping a clean house, being a wife and mother. The hours fly by. I have discipline in areas I never imagined I would, such as exercising every morning just because it feels good. I eat more healthfully than ever before. It still amazes me how much energy good natural food provides.
I have learned to be moderate — yes, that scary word — with cigarettes, gum and beverages. I take vitamins instead of drugs, and with all of this clean living; my chronic physical problems have disappeared. I go to bed at a reasonable hour and go right to sleep. No more marathon stomachaches interrupt my nights.
I could never have fantasized a more beautiful life for myself. I want to continue to allow it to happen and keep my destructive self-will out of the way. My hope knows no limits, for God has no limits. I see more growth and freedom. One day at a time, I look forward to a forever in OA.
If you are familiar with the 12 step program, note the action words in each of the 12 steps: Admit, Come, Decided, Make, Become, Ask, Continue, Seek, Share. Recovery is an "ACTIVE" process, which requires great mental and spiritual energy, especially early in the process, with continuing diligence for the rest of your life.
We must put into our recovery the same amount, or even more than we did into our addictions. Addictions are hard to keep up...the lies, the secrecy, the search for our "substances", financing our addictions...etc.etc. Our recovery will require just as much effort. Recovery will require maintenance for the rest of our lives...But the effort behind recovery, in the end, will be far more satisfying and fulfilling than that of addiction.
I was brought up in a wonderful Christian home with two parents who fully imparted God’s love to me, and nurtured in the faith by an excellent Bible-believing church. I came to know and love Jesus in a very authentic relationship in early childhood.
I didn’t struggle with most of the temptations urban teenagers encounter: drugs, alcohol, cheating at school, fighting, stealing. I had a superego the size of a Wal-Mart. Yet, sexual fantasy was a challenge for me, a source of incredible guilt and torment. Fortunately, through high school, I had limited exposure to explicit material.
But in college, that changed. I was living with non-Christian roommates and in an environment where pornography was pervasive, I found myself drawn to it, at first when no one was looking so as not to ruin my witness. By senior year, I gave up pretending and convinced myself that looking at porn was not sinful. This wasn’t by some theological revelation; it was because I got tired of having to constantly confess when I fell.
I got married two years after I graduated. By now, I’d renounced my attempts to make pornography use morally acceptable. I was sure that marriage would solve this problem (by now, it was a full-fledged addiction). It didn’t. No problem like an addiction gets solved by marriage. It made things worse.
Things deteriorated over the years. As technology changed and my resistance diminished, I found that behaviors I’d previously deemed unthinkable became normalized. All this while being deeply conflicted, ashamed, and terrified of being discovered. In my journal, I wrote:
"This is heavy………
Something unnatural, and way beyond my control is driving me on a futile search for more and more.
I love You, Lord; no other sin do I routinely commit in deliberate, premeditated fashion, not wanting to hurt you, but unable to stop.... Why?
I’m operating on two levels now. On one hand, I’m a deliberate, rebellious sinner, bent on a consuming lust, casting aside all concerns of godliness.
But then, I’m a man of God, desperately desiring to do what is right.
Do not utterly forsake me!”
Many a day, I’d wake up not wondering if I’d yield to temptation, but wondering how bad it would be. For several months at a time, I would stop taking communion, knowing that the next day, I’d probably be back at it again.
Even though at times I shared aspects of my struggle (including going to counseling), no one, including myself, understood and realized the extent to which this sin-sickness was consuming my soul. But in 1991, I became desperate; I saw clearly that I was being destroyed and was no longer able to hide my secret life. I disclosed all to my wife, parents, selected friends. For the next few months, I tried to change my life through counseling and accountability relationships.
However, I did not really understand how deeply embedded the addiction was in my soul, nor did I or those around me have a clue about the recovery process. And, in retrospect, I never really stopped addictive behavior. While I’d cut off the worst forms of acting out, there were many “minor” concessions I was continuing to make to lust. Soon, I was in full relapse. And too frightened, proud, and self-deceived to admit it.
One summer morning in 1995, my wife confronted me after I’d stayed up all night surfing online for pornography. In many ways, that morning, my life ended. In an instant, I went from being a superstar in my community, the ideal husband and father, an admired leader in the church, even the model recovering addict, to being a moral failure, a visual adulterer, a liar, a porno junkie.
As I confessed and came to realize how low I’d gone, as I saw the unspeakable pain these admissions caused my wife, as I bore the humiliation of church discipline (I was a leader and employee of my church), as I tallied the amount of money I’d spent and the time I’d wasted, as I was confronted with my moral bankruptcy, I began to question the ability of God’s love to extend to me. I understood grace, unconditional compassion, mercy beyond understanding; but I started to wonder if I was the exception clause, the one that God had abandoned. I wondered if my family, my community would be better off without me and even considered suicide, though for the sake of my children, I did not dwell on this for long.
Fortunately, my story doesn’t end here. Truly, with the psalmist, I can say:
“I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.” Ps. 86: 12-13 (KJV)
In the darkest night of my soul, I began a new life. And for the past eleven years, I’ve been involved in a journey of recovery, transformation, and restoration. And I can say that today I walk in freedom and victory.
God has used many tools to accomplish this including deep friendships that involve much more than just reporting my failures, periods of counseling with a therapist who really understands addiction, intense involvement with a 12-step group, the discipline of routine self-reflection, and the ministry of helping others who have struggled like me. And in this journey, I’ve had some amazing experiences and witnessed unchallengeable evidences of God’s grace and power.
Without question, the most miraculous sign of God’s favor has been in the ongoing restoration of my relationship with my wife. I will never fully grasp the depth of pain I caused her, the degree to which I betrayed her trust and shredded her self-esteem. Our former pastor described the impact of my addiction on my wife as like that of a Mac truck driving though a beautiful stained-glass window.
My actions ruined our marriage beyond repair. God has given my wife the amazing grace, the inexplicable capacity to forgive, so that we could work together to build a new marriage. I can never again question God’s love, for each morning I wake up next to a beautiful godly woman whose love I don’t deserve.
So, where am I now? I am free and I am being freed.
Free, in that I no longer worry about how bad it will be. Situations, environments, opportunities, emotions that would have led me to sin no longer do. I really can say “no”. Free, because I have developed a lifestyle of rigorous honesty, routine accountability, and behavioral safeguards, knowing that I am still vulnerable to temptation and self-deception.
And being freed. I am not perfect. I’m not what I used to be, but I ain’t what I’m gonna be. God continues to point out ways that I concede to my sinful nature (lust-based and otherwise). And I continue to heal from the patterns of thinking and relating to others that my years in addiction taught me.
When my life had fallen apart eleven years ago, I didn’t know if there was any hope for someone like me. But now I know that “… the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear” (Isaiah 59:1).
God has saved me. God has heard me. God has restored my life!
I am honored, yet overwhelmed when people ask me what to do with their meth addicted son, or their alcoholic husbands...etc.etc. The only experiences I have to draw from are my own. I have never claimed to be educated or qualified to counsel another. I simply let them share their story, and if I feel so inspired, share mine with them. Their comes a strength from knowing and understanding what another individual is going through. They want to be
Over the next few days I will be sharing stories with you. Stories of recovery, stories from family members, loved ones, spouses, children, parents...etc. They all need to be heard, they all need support, and they all need some form of recovery.
The deeper I delve into this endeavour, the more and more amazed I am at the Lords hand in all things that I do regarding it. I have struggled this week as I have worked on my Executive Summary to submit to the committee for the business competition that I have entered. Not only have I struggled with the words to place upon the paper, but have dealt with quite a bit of discouragement too.
Most often discouragement fuels my fire. It first makes me angry that individuals have such little faith in me, then lights that little " I told you so " fire, and then the work gets done. However, this time I have started to believe what has been said. Maybe this is an insurmountable task.
I did the only thing I knew to do....I prayed. I shared with the Lord all that was on my heart; My desires for this type of business and my reasoning's why. I also shared with him what my shortcomings were and what I was struggling with. I then pleaded with Him as to what to do. How do I move forward, when I don't know how, and I obviously don't have the experience everyone keeps telling me that I lack.
Then something wonderful happened....So much information started to pour into my mind that I had to stop praying. I stopped so that I could write it all down before I forgot it. I then received an email from an old family friend (whom I haven't spoken to for many years) expressing words of encouragement, and sharing with me her thoughts on how proud my parents would be of me.
Shortly after reading that wonderful and God sent email, my son....My 12 year old son comes in and asks me how my "business stuff " is coming. I told him, " I don't know son, it is really hard and I just don't know if I can make it work." He then smiles and looks at me and says, " Of course it will mom. It is your dream, and you are just you, and everything you do turns out great."
The Lord knew what I needed to revive my faith in myself. He gave me knowledge and encouragement all in the same day, and I would've been foolish not to have recognized it.
I am doing the right thing. The Lord expects great things from me. I know that when others loose faith in me, and even when I loose faith in myself, he grants me those moments and shows me that He still has faith in me.
Please feel free to post comments, ask questions, or express what is on your mind regarding addictions and other related topics. I see your visits, yet no voices to be heard. All can be done anonymously too for privacy. I look forward to hearing from you and hearing your stories. The best support we can give is to share with one another and lift each others burdens through our experiences.
A Life changing book for both my husband and I. It is geared to help understand and breaking the chemical and spiritual chains of Pornography addiction through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Although it is mostly based on Sexual addictions, it has brought to me a better knowledge of all addictions, as well as those that are not an actual chemical or substance.
In the past, I would have been one who thought that Crystal Meth, or Cocaine would be more highly addictive and harder to break than lets say, a food addiction ; or maybe even go as far out there as gaming. Yes ladies and gentlemen, gaming can become an addiction!
These kinds of addictions can almost be harder to break. Not only do they provide our brain the same type of "chemical high" that an actual substance does, but our brain itself produces it. WE PRODUCE THE CHEMICAL! The addiction must still be sought after, like one seeks the crack on the street, but we can actually give ourselves a "boost" just by thinking about or anticipating the "non drug" addiction.
The spiritual damage done by addiction is far greater than many understand. The physician who wrote this book shared a story of inspiration that he received while performing brain surgery. I quote from his book, " After removing the tumor, I could look through the Foramen of Munroe into the floor of the third ventricle. This area contains the hypothalamus where emotion and hormones interplay. It is close to and connected to the nucleus accumbens, the ventral tegmental area, arcuate nucleus, and locus coeruleus, and all the other integral areas involved in pleasure and emotion. I though of Noonan's quote, long one of my favorites : " And if that which is human is also somehow divine, then nervous tissue is both the means of the miracle and the miracle itself. Complex beyond mans understanding, the human nervous system is the most sophisticated arrangement of cells that exists."
Somehow these structures I was looking at and gently manipulating with curative intent were ports through which the immortal spirit manifested itself to the temporal world.
Although I have performed hundreds of brain surgeries, this one somehow helped me gain more insight into this process than I previously had.
In some way, this unique organ allows our spirit to punch though into this world. It is in the neuron that this transition occurs. That is why damaging the brain is more than just a neurochemical addiction. Because the brain is the most tangible representative of the soul, the merging of the body and the spirit,... damage to the brain literally damages the soul."
If we loose our link to Deity and loose the ability to feel and receive communication from our Father in Heaven, we Spiritually die. If we die spiritually, what good are we in this life or the next.
The Lord has proved tool for us to Return to him. Both spiritually as well as physically. Both are needed to succeed. Come unto Him. He will show you the way, heal your soul, and heal your addictions.
If you would like a copy of the book, please contact me and I can get it for you for a very low cost.
" The nearer we get to our Saviour and our Heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing Souls." Neil A Maxwell
" Jesus Christ shows forth all long suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him" 1Timothy 1:16
I believe that once we realize that we ourselves, have been met with long suffering through our own inadequacies, we are more inclined to show patience and long suffering with others who are struggling.
I have such a greater understanding of the Atonement of our Saviour as well. I will never fully grasp all that the Lord has done for us, but through my own struggles and trials, I understand that it is not just for the sinner or the repenter. Because of the Atonement I can be taught to have greater compassion, to forgive and allow broken hearts to be mended, to love with a greater capacity, to allow others to change, to heal from loss, and so much more.
I have been blessed with a clearer understanding and a greater compassion for those who struggle with addiction. Not just a substance, but addiction of all kinds. The Lord truly has changed my heart as I have sought for Him to, and asked for further light regarding the matter. As human nature we are so quick to shove another's face in the dirt and belittle them for the mistakes they have made. We also become their enabler by not allowing them to change, or not giving them the opportunity to change. The only way we can change that is to draw closer unto the Lord and ask for a change of heart, so that we too may look with compassion.
I have decided to enter a competition called Idea Wichita Falls. It is put on by our local colleges school of business. The idea is to find small business or persons with grand ideas to submit their ideas for start up funding. They will be awarding the individual with the best business plan ( not necessarily the best idea) close to $30,000 as well as other services and incentives.
Many of you know my desires to create my own addiction center, and this is a wonderful opportunity for me to raise capital to jump start my process. I have worked hard over the last year at writing my business plan and researching this field so I can better grasp what it is that I am getting myself into. I know that this is something that the Lord has inspired me to do. I have been given very specific promises and I am going to see this through regardless of the nay sayers and the challenges that may lie ahead of me. Please pray for me and my behalf, and wish me luck in this competition!
The Story of the Butterfly A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole. Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily but it had a swollen body and shriveled wings. The man continued to watch it, expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge and expand enough to support the body, Neither happened!
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around. It was never able to fly. What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle required by the butterfly to get through the opening was a way of forcing the fluid from the body into the wings so that it would be ready for flight once that was achieved.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us. We will not be as strong as we could have been and we would never fly. So have a nice day and struggle a little and teach well.
Your first thoughts might be, " Are there mountains in Texas?" The answer is yes there are; more like hills, than great majestic mountain, but mountains is what they are called. We even have our own miniature grand canyon.
The land is vast here, and varies from each corner of the state. We have deserts, mountains, trees, hills etc. Just depends on where you are at. Some parts are humid, while others are bone dry. I love it here and couldn't imagine living anywhere else.
I have been contemplating how this great land could help me in my Rehab facility and programs. Do I really want a facility? Or do I want a wilderness program? Or could I have both?
Many ideas have been swimming in my head, and I do feel that wilderness programs have greatly benefited and helped many addicts, know a man who helps run one, and know an individual who attended one, enjoyed it and learned from it. Definitely something to look into!
Greater understanding of Sexual addiction came to me when a WOMAN confessed her struggles to me and shared with me her addiction and the guilt, shame, and pain that was associated with it. Honestly, I was very unwilling to be understanding UNTIL I was able to see it and view it from a Womans eyes. I always felt that it was a mans issue, not a womans. She directed me to a wonderful website. It is for woman, but encourage you to check it out to have a greater understanding of what it is that men feel too. REAL SEX ADDICT don't wave that little flag around as soon as they are caught, real addict hide their addiction and shame in the darkness and are fearful of being discovered. They don't know why they do it or how to stop. Please please go to this website and read some of the article and go to the forum and read what it is sex addicts really go through, You will gain a greater knowlegde as well as more compassion for both men and women in this position.
Men aren't the only ones lured by Internet porn. A revealing look at the shameful addictions of a rising number of Christian women.
34 %. That's how many readers of Today's Christian Woman's online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn in a recent poll. While many women wrote in to explain they'd accessed these sites to better understand what was luring their husbands time and again, it was the other e-mails—from Christian women who shared about their own Internet porn addiction—that caught our attention. Apparently online sex addiction isn't just a male problem anymore. Read on for startling statistics about this new phenomenon, personal insights from those who are hooked, information about pioneering ministries reaching out to these addicts, and hope that exists in the face of this disturbing trend.
Maggie* had promised herself she would stop. But at the end of another long day filled with work and errands, church and choir practice, carting her daughter to school and helping her with homework, she was beat. After she'd finally gotten her daughter to bed, Maggie fixed herself a cup of peppermint tea and sat down to read her e-mail. She vowed that was all she'd do.
It was a promise she broke less than 15 minutes later.
One of her e-mails was from Bob*, a man she'd met in a chatroom who'd helped ease the loneliness that had followed her divorce. After a sweet greeting, Bob wrote that he'd thought of her when he read a story online, and he included a link to the story. Maggie knew she shouldn't read it; she suspected it was an erotic story that would tap into an addiction she'd been trying to break for several months. But his words were enticing: She'd been on Bob's mind when he read it, and his interest in her made her feel important.
She clicked the link.
The story's heroine was smart, funny, and beautiful, and Maggie felt flattered. The story also aroused her, recalling the delicious intimacy and the physical "high" of sex she missed so much since her divorce. Maggie didn't want to let go of that, so she read another story. Then another. Some of the stories had links to photographs that showed couples gently caressing each other, then becoming more intimate. The high continued as long as she clicked.
As Maggie finished a fifth story, she reached for her teacup and discovered it was ice cold. Startled, she looked at the clock. It was after midnight, and she'd been surfing a porn site for more than three hours.
Disgusted, Maggie turned off her computer and went to bed. The high was gone and she felt lower than when she'd started. Tears flooded her pillow as she begged the God she'd known and loved for years to give her help, direction, and answers. She'd never felt so alone.
Not Just a Man's Issue
Unfortunately, Maggie isn't alone. One of the great myths about pornography addiction is that it's only a male problem. Although the church has begun to recognize that pornography addiction is almost an epidemic among Christians, most ministry programs still focus on men as addicts and their wives as victims.
Yet the statistics are both startling and terrifying: One out of every six women, including Christians, struggles with an addiction to pornography. That's 17 percent of the population, which, according to a survey by research organization Zogby International, is the number of women who truly believe they can find sexual fulfillment on the Internet.
Surprisingly, many of the women who find themselves drawn to online porn sites are much like Maggie, a respected business owner. These women are wives, moms, and sisters who all profess faith in Jesus Christ; they have normal jobs, attend church regularly, and sing in the choir. Though their lives appear normal on the surface, they're hiding a dirty little secret from their families, friends, and colleagues.
So how—and why—does an average Christian woman become addicted to pornography?
According to Marnie Ferree, a licensed marriage and family therapist and clinician at the Woodmont Hills Counseling Center in Nashville, one of the few centers in the country that treats female sexual addiction, the draw of pornography can be as complicated as childhood sexual abuse—or as simple as unresolved loneliness. Marnie, a recovered sex addict and the author of No Stones: Women Redeemed from Sexual Shame, counsels more than 50 women each year and fields calls from almost that many each month.
Typical of the type of women Marnie counsels is Julie, a young wife and mother from Georgia, who first saw pornography as a child in the home of a relative, and whose curiosity led her to explore it further as she grew older. She and her husband later rented X-rated videos after hearing it would help their faltering sex life. "That's the ugliest lie out there," Julie explains. "Instead of bringing you closer, it drives a wedge between you and your spouse!" As many couples who turn to porn experience, their marriage continued to falter, since they now also were dealing with unrealistic expectations. As the problems persisted, Julie's husband withdrew from her and she turned to porn to ease her increasing loneliness. "I was using it as a tool to escape the problems in my marriage."
Loneliness also is the reason Rose*, a single mom, turned to porn. She didn't go looking for it in the beginning. "I was seeking companionship. In chatting with other lonely people struggling in their marriages, I learned of some Internet sites I could visit to make friends and have fun. At first, the sexual talk in these chatrooms seemed harmless and non threatening. My loneliness and craving to feel wanted drew me into relationships I really didn't want."
Lacey*, who's 30 and single, wasn't particularly lonely, but she was in search of her "soul mate." She'd developed her ideas of romance and love from popular novels, and believed much of a woman's worth is based on her sexuality—which led her to Internet pornography.
Women desiring to find companionship often prefer cybersex and online chatrooms to porn sites that offer only pictures and graphic stories, but they eventually start surfing both. All forms of pornography can stimulate the user, releasing chemicals in the brain that act on the body in much the same way as cocaine does. It's an exhilarating but unfortunately short-lived euphoria. The loneliness returns, leaving the woman wanting more contact and more stimulation, thus creating the cycle of addiction.
This need for connection doesn't always stop at cybersex, which leads to one of the more alarming statistics about a woman's addiction to pornography. "More than 80 percent of women who have this addiction take it offline," says Marnie Ferree. "Women, far more than men, are likely to act out their behaviors in real life, such as having multiple partners, casual sex, or affairs."
The Lure of a Triple Threat
One of the lures of Internet pornography lies in the fact you don't have to go anywhere or spend any money to become seduced by it. More than 70 percent of porn sites offer free images and stories to draw in people. The abundance of sexually related "spam" (unwanted e-mails) also lures many unsuspecting computer users. According to Marnie, easy access is one of the three As of pornography: accessibility, anonymity, and affordability, reflecting research reported by the Sexual Recovery Institute of Los Angeles. That combination makes becoming an addict incredibly easy.
And, since more than 25 million people visit porn sites every week and one out of every ten websites is dedicated to explicit sex, this industry is quite profitable. The mere financial details about online pornography are overwhelming. Seventy-four percent of all revenue collected online comes from porn sites, which amounts to almost $1.2 billion annually. Thirty-one percent of all online users have visited porn sites, and 60 percent of all website visits are sexual in nature.
Beth, a former missionary and one of Marnie's clients, knows about this firsthand. "I would spend literally hours on the computer surfing for porn. At one point, I spent three to five hours daily. I neglected the very thing I longed for: relational intimacy with my friends."
Rose neglected her housework, even her children. Julie neglected her husband and her home, often spending all day on the computer. Maggie says it was her spiritual life that suffered the most: "When you're not doing it, you're thinking about it. Pornography crowds out God and everything else."
Lacey agrees. "The thought of reading porn, or alternatively, the condemnation I felt once I'd fallen into sin, took a lot of time. I would go to church and think about how I didn't deserve to be there."
"It's an insidious industry," Maggie says. "I hate it. And I hate that I kept going back."
Most women addicted to pornography struggle to understand themselves and why they have a compulsion they can't ignore. They long for help, yet they hesitate to seek it because they feel ashamed and alone.
"No one plans to get hooked on this," Maggie says. "I thought this would be an answer to my loneliness, but it only made it worse. I was so ashamed of what I was doing that I isolated myself."
"I always felt condemned," says Lacey. "I felt like an insect—scared of coming into the light—and I wanted to stay in the shadows as much as possible." Julie also felt "very removed from church and my girlfriends. I felt like I wasn't human. Like I was the only one dealing with this."
Beth agrees. "I thought no other women struggled with this addiction. By feeling all alone, I lost hope." Rose is even more blunt. "I thought the Lord never would forgive me."
The Path to Hope and Healing
The first step toward healing for an addict is to realize she's not alone. She needs to know there are people out there who understand and can reach out to her in love.
"Women addicted to porn need professional therapy with a Christian counselor and a renewed sense of kinship with other women who understand," says Marnie. "The worst thing you can do with these women is lecture them about praying more or asking God for help. They've already done that, often to the point of despair. They do need to be held accountable for their sins, but they also need help, support, and unconditional love."
The first few people Maggie turned to for help told her all she had to do was get rid of her computer. "That's nonsense," she explains. "I use my home computer every day for my business. That wouldn't stop my addiction, only one way to access it."
Lacey also sought help many times, with similar results: "I'd told friends and pastors, but I discovered that many people who should be able to help aren't completely equipped to deal with a woman's addiction to porn." She finally found assistance in the same place she'd found her addiction: the Internet. "Setting Captives Free helped me the most," she says, referring to the Internet-based ministry that offers a free 60-day interactive online course—available to individuals and churches—for people trapped in sexual addiction. "The journey to recovery isn't easy. Am I 'there' yet? No. Breaking this cycle is one of the hardest things I've ever done."
Rose also found help on the Internet from Pure Life Ministries, which provides numerous resources, including guided studies with qualified counselors and curriculum to be completed at home, to help sexual addicts. Beth and Maggie eventually turned to a Christian counselor to assist in their recovery process. Julie sought help from her husband, then gave up her computer for a while and still limits her use.
Donna Rice Hughes, president of Enough Is Enough, a nonprofit organization dedicated to exposing the ills of Internet porn and to making the Internet safe for families, says a program isn't enough. "I don't believe true healing can happen without the power of Jesus' blood," she says. "Many people in the church struggle because while they've changed their behavior, the images from pornography exposure still are there. Christ has to renew their minds."
Donna also strongly recommends Internet filtering tools, as well as getting an accountability partner who can check the monitoring feature most of these programs offer. "God calls us to understand our culture and the temptations we face, and warns us to guard our hearts and minds. We can't just ask him to protect us and not take practical steps. We have to do everything we know how to do, then pray for spiritual protection, because in many ways this is a spiritual battle."
As Maggie worked with a trained therapist to overcome her addiction, she also found help in reading the Bible and journaling. There's a verse in Corinthians that hit home for her: "We must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever" (, MSG). "I love that verse," she says. "I'm making it my life's theme."
Beth, who underwent counseling with Marnie Ferree, knows healing is a matter of taking small steps. And someday she hopes to use her experiences to help others.
"God's calling me to take steps of faith out of hiding and shame," Beth says. "The truth is, many people, well-meaning Christians especially, aren't aware of how prevalent this struggle has become among women. But there are those who understand." As well as a God who freely offers his healing and hope.
This topic has come about recently and I felt the need and the desire to address it.
Food can be an addiction
Just about anything in excess can become an addiction of some sort. The difficulty with food is that if it does become an addiction, it is extremely difficult to overcome, and the process to overcomming it are different because food is needed to sustain life. We cant go without it.
So are we really addicted to food...
Well, here are some basic symptoms of someone who is probably suffering with food addiction:
Eats to relieve worry or stress
Eats untill they feel sick
Overeats because the food is there
Feels guilty when they overeat
Hides food so they can eat it later when no one is around to watch or notice what they are eating
Obsessed with thoughts about food or eating
Having one or more of these symptoms doesn't mean that you are addicted to food. However, if you are concerned you should speak with a trained professional who is qualified to help you and diagnos you. There are many avenues of help out there and many others who understand what it is you are going through and are willing to uplift and support you through this process.
Many underestimate the determination and power that I hold within myself. They see kindness, tender hearted, loving, an emotional being, and find that as a weakness; unsuitable in the business world.
You fail to recognize the quiet strength that lies withing, the fire that is fueled by your discouragement, you have not had the occasion yet to experience the fierceness I am capable of expressing, your lack of faith in me only makes me more determined to rise to the occasion; Not for you my friend, but for myself. I have nothing to prove to you... I have enough faith in myself for the whole lot of you.
You will be the one to choose weither or not you stand beside me...I will never be the one to walk away
A young girl introduced herself, "Hi, my name is....." and declared, "I am an addict!" Tears fell from her eyes, down her cheeks, off her chin and into her lap. She was a young girl beaten, and Meth had definately been the one winning. She had fallen into the absolute depths of despair and sorrow, clawing for solid ground, hoping that someone would take her by the hand and lift her from this place.
She recounted her history of drug abuse, her families rejection and inability to see that she was reaching out for help; hopeless and unable to help herself, wanting desperately to be set free from the chains that continued to hold her captive. Not knowing where else to turn, she came to NA with a story, and a small sliver of hope.
Others continued to share stories of failures and of success, many directed at her in the hopes of lifting her, encouraging her, giving her that small piece of solid ground she is grasping around for.
The one next to me is prompted to take his turn. He states, "Hi, my name is Bryan....and I am an Addict." He then pauses a moment, looks across at this hauntingly skinny girl, who's hair is falling out, eyes red from crying and declares, "You are the reason I am clean today."
" I remember that place....too well. I have lost everything! My wife, my children, my family, my home. No one wanted to support me, no one believed that I could or can change. I hated that place, I despise that place, I desired nothing but death to consume me for I could not bear the loss, the dissapointment, or the physical torment of withdrawing. You needed support tonight from others, but I needed you. I needed to be reminded where I never want to be again...where I never can be again because I won't survive it."
I begin to cry, realizing what had just happened and what had surpassed between this young girl and the man next to me. The strenght that each drew from one another, hearing and finding some things they needed to bouy them up and assist in keeping them clean one more day, realizing the importance and need for NA, for support groups, and the need to be understood by someone who has traveled along the same path.
My own tears are now flowing freely. I had witnessed a strength pass between two strangers; I had witnessed defeated men and women, I had witnessed a genuine concern and love for another,I had witnessed a brighter hope, I had witnessed a declaration and a desire to remain clean.
But the greatest was to witness this man declare," You are the reason I am clean today...and You are the reason I can Never go back!" This man is ...my brother inlaw, and it wasn't long ago that he was in this young girls position; Lost, frightened, sick, and Alone...hoping for someone to lift him from that place and offer them a piece of solid ground to cling to.
After much fasting and prayer, I have decided to make my main focus in the teen and young adult programs. Through my research and disscussion with a friend whom is also a drug counselor found that the success rate is greater with this age group. Kinda like the saying, "can't teach an old dog new tricks".
Although I believe that anyone can changed at any age if THEY truly want it, I feel impressed that this is where I am needed most. Young adults are still pliable, still moldable and not so set in their ways; often times yearn for the ear of another to listen to how they really feel, not be told how they should feel. From there we can teach them how to cope with those feelings and chanel themselves and teach them skills that they can use to enrich their lives forever.
Experts have long known that addiction can negatively affect all family members and disrupt family relationships. But recent studies have also shown that recovery from addiction can also exert great strain on family members and family relationships at the very time family relationships have to be readjusted to meet the realities and demands of recovery. Here are several things family members can do to help speed these adjustments:
1. Educate yourself on the recovery process for individuals and families.
2. If your recovering family member is living with you, provide a sober environment to support that recovery.
3. Seek professional and peer support (from a group like Al-Anon) for your own physical and emotional health. Support your family member's involvement in treatment aftercare meetings and recovery support groups.
4. Assist the recovering family member with assistance in locating sober housing, employment, child care, transportation or other recovery support needs.
5. Assertively re-intervene in the face of any relapse episode.
Started going to A.A, and N.A this week. All I have to say is WOW! Totaly overwhelming. It is amazing to see that many of these people truly are good people...just stuck in a situation they so desperately want to get out of and not sure how they wound up there. Very humbling experience!
So I know you are thinking, "What in the world does Alpaca's have to do with a rehab center?"
Well, let me tell you. I wanted animals to begin with as a form of therapy. I think it is important to have something to do, to work at and to work on while detoxing and recovering from substance addiction. It is a great teaching and learning experience to take care of something and have something depend upon YOU.
The other reasons are purely selfish ones, but need to be addressed as well. You see, I have always had this love affair with yarn. We are friends...good friends! I am always knitting or crocheting a project and have begun to learn how to make, dye, and spin my own yarn!! Lots of fun for the yarn psycho's!
Alpaca is much softer, better quality, and very durable and I just plain like it better than wool.
Now, this will serve many purposes. I also plan on having all sorts of classes and crafts available to those who are interested in doing so, and use the fleece from the animals to do so.Also, I can experience something new, something I love to do, with my own animals, while using them to benefit the lives of others as well. Hopefully, we wont go wrong with that. Plus, there is quite a profit in Alpacas I hear. Nothing wrong with a little extra to provide those little extras (like neato classes) for clients ready to reclaim their lives!
Did you know that you are more likely to be affected by addiction than you are by Cancer?
Whether directly or indirectly, 2008 statistics show that 23 million people in America are addicted to drugs and alcohol alone. That doesn't account for all the others who suffer from other forms of addictions such as sexual addictions and food addictions etc. etc.
Cancer statistics are a little above 11 million.
Why aren't we donning a colored ribbon and fighting so hard to find a cure, or support those who are currently fighting the disease of addiction?