Monday, December 28, 2015
If you have continued abusing drugs and alcohol over long periods of time, you have either thought about quitting, tried to quit, or quit but then quickly started back up. The reason is clear. Drugs and alcohol have a hold on you. And even though your addiction gets in the way of your success and relationships, you have grown accustomed to living with the consequences. You have settled in to your desperate lifestyle and don’t believe that you can live life without getting high. Actually, you don’t want to live without having an altered state of mind. You love getting high more than you love anything else. Your substance of choice has become your idol. It’s what you think about, what you obsess about and what you won’t let go of.
That’s why you justify your addictive behaviors and try to convince yourself and everyone else that your problem isn’t as bad as people say. But let me say this: If people are talking about your problem, there’s a problem. And if people are worried about you and praying for you, there’s a problem. Your denial can’t change that reality, although your denial is what you use to give yourself permission to be self-centered and hard hearted toward others.
Denial is your refusal to accept the truth. That’s my simple definition. But the Urban Dictionary expands on this. Here’s what it says about denial. “While people in denial generally still have the seed of truth still buried within their heads, they generally cannot believe that it is the truth even when confronted with it. This is due to the mind in effect rewriting or superimposing a more acceptable reality over the original memory.”
Denial is your way to cope with things that you can’t or won’t face. It's not acceptable to be an addict or a raging alcoholic, so you make up your own story. The reality is still within you, but you choose not to deal with it. Instead, you have created your own version of the truth and try to convince the world to see things your way. You minimize your addiction and shift blame all over the place, often making yourself a victim. The more distorted your reality becomes, the higher the level of your denial rises.
As denial rises, so do your addictive behaviors. And, as your addiction spins out of control, the deeper you must go into denial. It’s a never-ending cycle that takes you to your bottom.
So denial protects you from the hard truth. But knowing the truth is what sets you free, according to John 8:32. Yes, I know you’ve heard it all before. You know all the verses about freedom and transformation. You say God’s word can’t help you now, but what you don’t understand is that your denial keeps you far from the only One who can rescue you.
If you are ready to get your life and relationships back, repent of your denial, ask God to help and begin a conversation with your loved ones. Right now, I want you to find that seed of truth that your denial keeps hidden. Look for it and you will find it.
I wrote “Follow The Solid Rock Road: Pathway to Radical Recovery” to help you remember your truth, and to help you out of denial and into the process of freedom from addictions. I suggest you read it, personalize it and then live it out. Meanwhile, you can visit our website for more information about our Christian recovery program and ministry. www.thesolidrockroad.com.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Christian RecoveryStaying sober during the holidays is not only possible, it’s easier than the devil wants you to believe. In fact, Satan is a master at helping Christians think he is stronger and more powerful than the blood of Jesus. But nothing is stronger than that! ALL the power is in the blood!
Yes, it’s a struggle. There’s no denying that there is a spiritual battle going on and we have to fight. Yes, there are temptations that force us to resist some things we crave. But no, you are not powerless. You are not too weak. You are not a victim of your addiction.
With God, you have the victory, as described in 1 John 4:4 – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
There are numerous other Scriptures that talk about our ability as Christians to resist temptation, to maintain our sobriety, to win the fight, to be courageous, to counteract the enemy and to have victory over our addictions and other issues of life. And while the spiritual battle is best fought using the Word of God and applying Christian principles. It’s also important to take some practical steps to stay sober during the holidays.
The following are the Top 5 strategies for Staying Sober during the Christmas season:
1. Do not put yourself in tempting situations. For example, if alcohol is your issue, do not attend parties where you know there will be excessive drinking. It’s okay to tell your friends and family that you are not able to attend because you are fighting the battle of addiction. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to tell your truth.
2. Create new traditions that replace the spirit of addictions with the spirit of the Christmas season. For example, invite sober friends over for Hot Apple Cider or Hot Chocolate, or establish a weekly holiday game night. You CAN have fun without drugs or alcohol!
3. Serve your city. Find out what charities in your area are doing for the homeless and poor during the holidays, then partner with them. You can help feed the hungry, work at food pantries or find other ways to help. The goal is to keep your mind off of yourself and to focus your energy on others.
4. Read the Bible every day throughout the month of December, and ask God to speak to you through His Word.
5. Keep a record of your new holiday experience. Write down all the positive things that happen in the season of Christmas.
No one ever said that staying clean and sober was easy. But God has made it clear that HE has given Christians the power to get set free once and for all. And more than that, to live a better way and to enjoy the new life that was given to us when Jesus died and bled for our sobriety.
If you need more reading material for Christian recovery, you can find my book “Follow The Solid Rock Road: Pathwayto Radical Recovery “ on Amazon. You can also visit our website or follow The Solid Rock Road on Facebook.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
It’s Biblical to cry out to go God for help in times of need. In the book of Psalms, David wasn’t afraid to yell "Help"' or to reveal his true emotions. But David didn’t continue in his distress. Instead, he thanked God in advance for coming to his rescue and began to praise through his problems. David’s prayers and conversations with God were full of praise because his love and trust for God overpowered his fears.
If you want to be an overcomer like David, you will need to enter a deeper dimension of prayer, praise, and worship. Only then can you make the great exchange from fear to faith. Like David, you can enjoy a sense of impending blessing in the midst of a trial or disaster. You just have to remember that God’s intended end for you is always good, even when things look bad. And, you will have life-changing prophetic revelation in times of need, rather than fear the future as it appears to be unfolding.
As a Christian, God’s truth replaces our logic. We come to understand that two plus two doesn’t always equal four. With God things don’t have to always add up, they can multiply. If God wants, He can subtract or square things off. If God is God, He can stretch your income beyond mathematical laws. God can choose to give you back more than you allowed the devil to take, and He can give you blessings well beyond your highest expectations.
When you learn to praise and worship in your times of need or in the midst of a crisis, you will discover that it really is possible to have peace when there’s trouble brewing and negativity surrounding you. It’s possible to be content even though you don’t have what you want, or even what you think you need. Simply put, your peace and happiness don’t depend on what you get, but who you get to spend time with.
If you’re struggling with a stronghold or addiction, you can get set free because God’s power is available. For more help, visit www.thesolidrockroad.com or call 541-778-8680.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Christian recovery: Identifying IssuesWhen I think of betrayal in a Biblical sense, Judas comes to mind. I have never understood how a disciple of Jesus could betray the Messiah. Judas was one of the chosen ones. He had continual access to the Son of God and first-hand knowledge of the teachings of Jesus. And he was part of a covenant relationship – a brotherhood – with the 11 other disciples. That’s why the betrayal of Judas against Jesus is a mystery to me and everyone else who reads the story. But so is the betrayal of many Christians in addiction who plot against their own families, friends and communities for their personal gain.
The reason betrayal is so painful is because by definition it is a “deliberate act of disloyalty.” In other words, betrayal doesn’t happen by accident. Betrayal requires plotting and planning. And there is no doubt that the life of a drug addict is all about scheming. Sadly, the first victims are the people closest to the addict, usually the loved ones. The addict, like Judas, goes behind the back of those who are the most loyal to them. They create lies, manipulations and methods in order to steal from others so they can feed their addiction. They do it deliberately and at the expense of the ones they are kissing on the cheek.
Betrayal by addicts becomes a lifestyle and the result is a long line of people they hurt. This includes Christians in addiction who have become experts at playing the grace and mercy game. These addicts know how to work on the faithful and how to ‘manage’ those closest to them, especially those who are prone to guilt.
In The Solid Rock Road, we don’t just work with Christians in addiction, we work with those who have been betrayed by them. If you need help sorting things out, you can call 541-778-8780. For more info on the Solid Rock Road Christian Recovery ministry, visit www.thesolidrockroad.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Christian Recovery - Faith at Work
Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that God is involved in your life when your needs and desires are put on hold. It seems like God doesn’t hear when you pray for relief from financial stress, or are fighting the urge to use drugs or alcohol. Yet, the opposite is true.
It’s because God cares that He often allows you to suffer longer than you think you can. Read the book of James. It begins with a discussion on perseverance and patience. It talks about hope being the end result. He wants to teach us to understand the difference between our ways and His ways. For those who consistently self-medicate and interrupt the process God has them in, God’s ways don’t make sense at all. And they never work because addicts never complete the process. They never endure to the end. They lose faith.
One definition of faith is “An unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence.” If that’s the accepted definition of the word, then you have no right to ask God to prove He is answering your prayers. Instead, you have to live your life knowing that He is. This is nearly impossible unless you worship God at His throne and learn how to praise through your problems. When you visit the throne, you realize that God is God and you are not.
There is a time and place for crying out to God in your distress. In fact, it’s Biblical to yell, “Help!” But you can’t spend your entire Christian life as a chronic crier. If you read the book of Psalms, you’ll see that David wasn’t afraid to tell God his feelings. David consistently thanked God for coming to his rescue and saving him – well before it had actually happened.
David had intimacy with his Creator and was a perfect example of pure trust in God. The reason David could praise and worship God in the midst of being tested was because his love and trust for God overpowered his fears and sin nature.
If you want to love God like David did, you will have to enter a deeper dimension of prayer, praise, and worship. Only then can you make the great exchange from fear to faith.
It’s possible to have a sense of impending blessing in the midst of a disaster. You just have to remember that God’s intended end for you is always good, even when things look bad. And, you will have life-changing prophetic revelation in times of need, rather than fear the future as it appears to be unfolding.
Quit turning to drugs and alcohol for relief. You won’t find it in the glass, the pill, the smoke, or the needle. You’ll find your relief in Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the One who died so that you could overcome your issues of life and live in victory.
Monday, August 3, 2015
I often find myself helping women undo guilt and shame. These women’s stories of addiction are traumatic in terms of their personal pain and the damage done to relationships with loved ones, especially children.
Bad things happen when mothers, wives, sisters and dear friends begin to choose their drug of choice over important relationships. This process of demoralization happens over time until the addicts are no longer themselves, and their loved ones wonder how this person went from being a giver to a selfish taker. The children feel often feel abandoned and blame themselves for their parent’s lack of care.
Addiction is selfish. There’s no need to sugarcoat it. Whether someone considers addiction a disease, a weakness or a sin, the end result is the same. It becomes all about the needs, desires, cravings and emotions of the person who is obsessed with alcohol and/or drugs. In this single-focused state of mind, women make a lot of decisions that are not in the best interest of those they love. In truth, they manipulate and take advantage of families and friends, break ties with concerned friends, and put their children at risk or abandon them altogether.
I recently counseled a young mother who had been clean and sober a few months. (We’ll call her Karen for the sake of this article.) Our session started with Karen being angry at certain family members who she claimed had control over her two children. Our conversation then moved on to Karen's frustration with a case worker at the county’s family services division, who she said was making her “jump through too many hoops.”
I allowed Karen to vent and acknowledged her anger and frustration. After all, her feelings were real. But then I asked her to take a minute to think about and describe the real emotions at work. “Everyone makes me feel like crap. I’m trying to get my life together and all they do is bring up my past.”
“Are they making you feel like crap, or do you just feel like crap?” I asked.
Karen paused before answering. “I feel like crap. They just confirm that I am a piece of crap.”
Her answer didn’t surprise me. I’ve been there, and have worked with many women coming out of addictions who judge themselves more harshly than anyone else. This shows how guilt and shame hide behind other emotions while playing a major role in preventing true recovery from happening.
True recovery from addictions is much more than the act of getting clean and sober. It’s coming to a place of peace regardless of the past. It’s allowing the truth to be told, no matter how painful it is to hear. It’s looking in the mirror and admitting mistakes, then taking responsibility to turn things around. It’s working as hard on getting things right as the addict worked to get high.
After several counseling sessions with Karen, she began to be accountable for her actions and to partner with the family members who had temporary custody of her children. She met with her case worker and agreed to jump through every hoop handed to her. Most importantly, Karen forgave herself for having cared more about the drugs than she did her own children. As a result, she overcame guilt and shame, which set Karen on a course to true recovery. She is now regaining the trust of her loved ones and will soon regain custody of her children. The goal is to get a fresh start and live a life of integrity.
Every woman who has ever been addicted has regrets. I have mine, for sure. But I use my regrets to help other women see the value in getting honest with themselves. From a Christian perspective, this is bringing all the dark parts of our hearts to the light. It’s not allowing the enemy of our soul to keep us bound up with guilt, and instead allowing repentance to do its purifying work. This is how we gracefully deal with the consequences of addiction.
If you or someone you love is addicted, or coming out of addictions, you can visit our Christian recovery website at http://www.thesolidrockroad.com. You can also follow me on twitter @solidrockroad, or find The Solid Rock Road onFacebook. I also co-wrote a recovery book titled “Follow The Solid Rock Road:Pathway to Radical Recovery, which is on Amazon.com.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
When you are transformed by the power of God, you have been completely changed from the inside out. This kind of change can't happen through a natural process. It is supernatural. It requires God’s intervention. But it also requires that the addict surrender his life over to God.
Surrendering seems like such a big deal. “You mean you want me to surrender my entire life to God?” Yes, that’s what must be done if you want to be set free from your addictions. And besides, you have surrendered your entire life to Satan. Wouldn’t surrendering to God be wiser? The fact is, we are always surrendering to someone. We’re just not conscious of it.
Your surrender to God gives God the ability to use His power to set you free. But let’s get real. The problem is that often times addicts who say they want freedom from addictions don’t want that freedom more than they want their drug of choice. They’re not happy with the consequences of their addiction, but they still love the drug more than anything else. They still choose to get high over living the Christian life of sobriety. If you really want to have freedom from addictions, you can!
So you may have to suffer from withdrawals, and you may have to resist temptation, but that’s why Jesus died on the cross for you. That’s what His Grace is all about. Grace is God’s enabling power! "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor. 12:9
So surrender means that you want freedom more than anything else. And it means that you will do what it takes to get clean and sober. This is how you start the process. Of course, starting the process of Christian recovery is the first step. The goal of very Christian in recovery is to stay on the path of God.
Our book “Follow The Solid Rock Road: Pathway to Radical Recovery” helps guide you from the process of surrender to the path, and to your destiny in God.