Signs of Trouble

A good friend came to me recently to discuss their recent relapse. “I just don’t know what happened, it just happened.”. I do not judge them, just listen and offer help if I can. I am aware that when a relapse occurs, there is a reaction to the fall. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That is not a law for physics alone. That law pertains to body, soul, and spirit as well.

“Don’t be misled you cannot mock the judgment of God. You will always harvest what you plant.” Gal. 6:7 NLT
“All went well for a time, but he failed to enlarge his spiritual life. To his consternation, he found himself drunk several times in rapid succession.” AA’s Big Book pg.35

Everyone in recovery from drink, drug, porn, anger, gambling, or insert any addiction here, need to know there is a ripple effect of consequences to face when the slightest relapse happens. First, Guilt comes knocking. How do I face this with friends and family? What will my sponsor say? The remorse alone causes many to quit altogether.

Second is getting honest with yourself, and with others. Forget the embarrassment. Everyone knew you were in relapse mode long before it happened. You thought you couldn’t possibly fall. Your words and actions, or lack thereof, were the indicators for them. You can’t stop doing what it takes to keep you sober and expect to remain that way.

Third, actually facing the music with others is frightening. Again, that is remorse, having to admit the fall. Anyone having the audacity to judge you will face judgment themselves. What you find out is that for the most part, people rally around you. They are glad you have returned.

Many who read this post are struggling right now from some addiction. The advice I want to give is the same from AA’s Big Book. asking God to remove the thought immediately! He alone can do so, I have experienced this personally, and witnessed it in others.
Don’t follow through with the thoughts and indulge because you know God and others will forgive you. Stand. Give yourself to God and to recovery. You will grow personally and be filled with a sense of well-being from resisting and winning each battle.
Reaping and sowing works both ways. Be determined to do what it takes to find out what life is like freed from the chains of addiction. The harvest is plenty of life, joy, and serenity you never dreamed you would experience.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!

Advent…If It Never Happened

I wonder what the world would be like without Christmas. No Santa, reindeer, elves. No tinsel, lights, no presents. For adults, no holiday off from work, or double time if you work through the holidays. How many songs would be gone? movies? books? poems? The contributions of Jesus’ birth are huge for Madison Avenue, department stores, school pageants, and on and on. In the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the main character George Bailey wishes he was never born, and the movie was depicted in a powerful way, the ripple effect of just one man’s life can have. This man in the movie had done so much for so many without knowing all the good he had done. With his never being in the picture, many lives were in ruin.

 Sadly, there are many people who wish that this holiday didn’t exist. Many hate the commercialization, others the religious symbols, some just hate. They wish Christ had never come into the world, they’re full of disdain and anger over Him. They don’t like the fact that a “fictitious” story could have importance on the path a man. That is a topic for tomorrow perhaps. But the truth is, He was here, He was foretold, He is here today by His Spirit that lives in us by faith. Jesus was, is, greater than George Bailey. Jesus is greater than any man, any king of earth, any person that ever lived. Lives have been transformed by this little child of the manger, civilizations have been structured.
 “…you will find the child wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:2 (NKJV)
George was depicted as a morally good man, and at the end he could see his worth from a different perspective. (Please Hollywood, leave this story alone, no remakes. I can’t imagine what you would do destroying this classic with obscene language and sexual overtones. God forbid.) George Bailey’s story is about one man in one town. Jesus however, is about an entire world changed through His life. Today He is still changing lives, as the bumper sticker I once saw said, “Wise men still seek Him.” That picture of the nativity and His advent, coming as a servant in obedience, changes in the end as God exalts the Son of His love:
“And being found in appearance as of a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore god also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of those in heaven, and of those on the earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil.2:8-11 NKJV                        
Jesus was the greatest man who ever lived.                He had no servants….but they called Him Master                He had no degree….but they called Him teacher                He had no medicines….but they called Him healer                He had no army….but kings feared Him                He had no military battles….but conquered the world                He had no crime….yet they crucified Him                He was buried in a tomb….yet lives today              Jesus is the only reason for the Christmas season!  Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Keith.