5 Things to Help Your Recovery

Being around the recovering crowd can be difficult at times. Mainly because most topics used for discussion, are often a moaning session. For obvious reasons, as you may guess. If someone happens to say something positive, the whole room may go silent from shock. The groups aren’t used to that. If they say too many positive words, it has an adverse effect, they think the individual is a lunatic.

I understand, as do all who attend meetings of recovery, that it is tough to stay positive with the many consequences we have to eventually deal with. But if we are bent on freedom from the sickness that enslaves us, we listen to what works, take it to heart, and do what it takes no matter how hard or how long. The positive may be elusive at first. But a little effort can produce positive results leading to the freedom desired.

Here are some simple suggestions to help you in recovery. These are not written in recovery literature, per se, but will help when used in collaboration with such.

1. Read, just a little, but read. This may be the most difficult for most in recovery. I have an idea as to why, but that idea is an entire essay. Many people here in the USA have little gratitude for the gift of reading. They state how they hate to read. Globally, illiteracy is staggering. People do not have any education because there is none available.They would give all they have to be able to read. Some are in areas of the world that suppress education. Here, in the US, we have the opportunity and the ability, but “just say no” to reading. Read anyway. Start with a small paragraph and build from there. Oh yeah, read recovery literature, not a romance novel.

2. Exercise. I know, I’m 0 for 2 in likable things to do to help your recovery. There again, do just a little. Merely getting up and walking to the mailbox, or down to the corner and back. Get your blood flowing and your mind works better. You can get positive results in a short time.

3. Change the station(s). Something I noticed from myself and reinforced by statements in meetings is; songs, TV shows, gaming, and movies, may have a dramatic effect on the addicted, to trigger a relapse. Especially, the music you listened to when using. Nobody likes silence, but try music you find tasteful, or tolerable. Try games to exercise your brain, documentaries on the tube, and movies…skip. All of these aren’t permanent changes, maybe they should be. But for a time early in returning from a relapse or new to recovery, try this.

4. A short inventory. This is not listing a 4th step, nor doing the 5th with your sponsor. This is a list, or maybe a name of someone you carry a resentment for, you cannot seem to forgive, or you need to ask forgiveness for a wrong. Take the name, or names, and pretend you are with them, and practice what you need to say to them. If that is uncomfortable, write them a letter expressing how you feel. Don’t hold back…let er’ rip! Do it again but pretend God, (Jesus), is there mediating the event. This may be a game changer to some who may be talking to awol parents, spouses, the officer or judge that sentenced them.

5. Fix your language. Really, seriously, start talking like an adult. You are wanting to recover from your addiction, right? Recover from your gangsta way of talking. Can you? F-bombs fly out in meetings and have become the accepted way to talk, some say. But if you are sitting in an interview for your dream job, I am sure you won’t use foul language in that meeting, will you?
It isn’t that your way of talking made you an addict, but that was the way you talked when you were using and boozing. Change that, bring dignity and honor to your life for being different. People will notice.

Give these thoughts a shot along with meeting attendance, daily prayer, service work, the steps with your sponsor. You may be the positive lunatic in the meeting, or the one who brings some shock and awe to the group where you attend. Just do it.

“Wise people store up knowledge, but the mouth of the fool invites ruin.” Prov. 10:14

Ordering the Miracle

Have you placed your order for the miracle you want? Do you have enough to pay for it? Maybe you didn’t see the price tag when you requested it. Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about…which I’m sure you don’t. Let me explain.

 Miracle defined:
An extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.

Everyone wants to see a miracle. None more than those who have tried everything to get clean and sober from addictions. They know nothing short of a miracle can free them from the enslavement. It would have to be a miracle of biblical proportion, an act of God. Alcoholics and drug addicts that land in AA, NA, or CR, often give up way too soon before the miracle happens. Their reason may be they don’t believe in God, or if He does exist, He wouldn’t help them anyway. After all they have done too many wrongs, He would never help them anyhow.

 “If there were no God, there would be no atheist.”
“It isn’t that they cannot see the solution. It is that they cannot
see the problem.”
G.K. Chesterton

Most who give up aren’t ready recover yet. They haven’t experienced enough pain, nor inflicted enough on others. They will, bank on it. Those who do hang in until “it” happens knew their estate before they arrived broken and beaten by substance abuse, whether the drink, or drugs. They also realized the price to pay for their miracle. I have seen men and women come into AA meetings with their chins on the ground, whipped, hopeless, and even facing consequences enough to choke a horse. They stayed, lingering long enough until the light came on. Then the miracle happened.

Having tried everything, or thinking we have, there was a constant committee meeting going on in the gray matter. They yak constantly, the majority telling us multiple reasons we could never give it up. A few brain committee folk are saying, think about your spouse, kids and family, your friends and your job. It is maddening.

Yet the individual remained, the committee adjourned, and they faced their consequences, working the program in total surrender of their will to continue self-serving and quit. The impossible happened, their chins were no longer dragging the floor, even their countenance changed. Some go even further and continue meetings giving back what they were given, long after the miracle of sobriety happened.

For these, gratefully remaining to help others, see things return to their life that they thought never to experience again, a home, new car, money in the bank, the return of friends and family, and a deep spiritual relationship, in many cases. There are some side-effects from recovery, too. Laughter, a song in the heart, and return of having feelings and thoughts of how to actually decipher right and wrong, truth and lies, and wow, what a difference. I know, by the grace of God, I am one that stayed for the experience. Life is far from perfect, troubles still come and go. The trade off, however, is worth the price.

You may have given up yourself. Perhaps someone you love threw in the towel long before the miracle arrived. If they swallow pride, or if you do, life will return, finally asking God’s help to do for you what you could never do for yourself. Miracles do happen, God is real, come and find both where hope is really realized.

When Plans Go Awry

I normally anticipate getting to church on those Sundays I don’t work. In fact, every long weekend I get, I plan for church, recovery meetings, and visiting grandchildren. Saturday’s plan is to do all of the household chores and shop for food and necessities. This being spring, outside windows and screens were scheduled, mowing for the first time, etc. Judy and I rolled up the sleeves and went after the work with gusto. We worked, really worked hard to get everything done…but didn’t.

I figured after church Sunday, I would be able to see the grandchildren, then finish our work. We were exhausted. I showered, laid down nearly comatose, and aches and pains with restless leg syndrome paid me a visit. I had to get up and take ibuprofen to sleep. It worked.
I awoke Sunday morning too late to even attempt to get ready for services. Guilt, my arch-enemy’s favorite tool, paid me a visit. I also saw that someone with a serious issue had tried to text me when reviewing my messages. For about an hour we talked over his problem. God gave me words to help him and I believe he was helped. I figured that since the day’s plans were already ruined, I would get back on the chores, so she and I went back at it.
As we were doing work, our neighbor, and elderly gentleman in poor health was riding his mower on a slant about ten feet behind us. We waved and yelled hello, as he did our way. Simultaneously, Judy and I saw the mower’s wheels tip, and the neighbor’s eyes flashed a big uh-oh. We darted over Judy grabbing the back, I holding up the front of the huge mower, the neighbor slid off of the mower, killing the engine.
He threw it in neutral and the three of us steered the mower to flat ground. I believe he would have been killed or permanently maimed in that short tumble had we not been there.
We went about our work. I didn’t get to see the grandchildren, go to the NA meeting, or the evening AA meeting. I sat on the bed thanking God for the great weather and apologizing again for missing services. The thought immediately came to my mind, “had I accomplished my plans today, my friend would not have received the help, my neighbor, well, I believe his wife may be making his arrangements today.” 
God is good all of the time, never doubt that. After God energized me to recognize His presence always, and guilt slithered away from me, these passages came to mind:
ADONAI directs a person’s steps and He delights in his ways. Ps.37:23 
A man’s steps are ordered by ADONAI, so how can a person understand his own ways? Prov.20:24
A person may plan his way, but ADONAI directs his steps. Prov.16:9 
                                                                                (Complete Jewish Bible)
My plans and every intention I have may be good, but good for who? Me, ultimately. You may have the same good intentions, but you find yourself on a complete opposite path, a different job, suddenly moving or in a different church, or even in a bad place you didn’t plan. Stop, thank God for where your feet are that moment, then listen and think with your heart. This is the place your spirit may see God’s goodness in Christ, you surrender, and healing comes to your body and mind.
Don’t stop going to church, recovery meetings, or planning. But when plans fail, remember He is present with a better plan for you.

Thing One and Thing Two

Two things, and I’ll keep this short. Quick thoughts for the quickened. Long post get likes but aren’t seldom read.

Thing One:
This is Thursday, Dec.11, 2014. It is 5:23 in the afternoon. Here is a couple of questions for you to ask yourself:
1. What have I done for my recovery from addiction(s)?
2. There are 86,400 seconds in today.

Have I used one second to say thanks?

Thing Two:
From this moment through what is left of today, stop and think of what may help turn your day around if you answered the above questions no.
1. Say thanks to God for your recovery, for keeping you alive, that you can read this…how grateful are you? If you’re not “feeling it” right now, say thanks anyway, and add as many things as you can think of that you are thankful for.
2. Are you planning to go to a meeting tonight? If you can’t because of work, prior engagement, or you are bed-ridden, that’s good reasons. I’m sure there are more. If you are just too busy with cleaning or cooking, watching your favorite shows on the boob-tube, or maybe inundated with emails and blogs you have to clean up, like me…stop, hit the meeting instead. Else you are on thin ice. Maybe not to the point of using, or getting drunk, but in the danger zone, heading that direction.

It is a busy season, with shopping and all that stuff. Use your head. If you aren’t moving toward recovery, you’re moving away from it.

“First comes pride, then disgrace; but with the humble is wisdom.” Prov. 11:2

The Mighty Fall

We think one person has developed to the place in recovery that they are above temptation’s ability to deceive them. Our admiration of such a person places them as heroic in our minds. Then, this mountain of stability takes a major tumble into relapse. Some of us are quick to point out why, in a judgmental pose from our own perch. Others say, what’s my chance to stay clean and sober when someone with their knowledge of sober living comes  to this? They go ahead and give up, and relapse. “What’s the use?” they ask.

We cannot be deceived to think we are too full of recovery smarts that we cannot fall. Relapse can come from many sources, in ways unexpected. The first way is pride. The thought that we do not need to go to meetings regularly.

Never think that you have paid the price and can’t see the need to get to meetings. Prideful people are very fast to judge other’s sobriety. I really feel pride has such a negative impact on an individual that it’s presence affects the spiritual plane of our existence, causing one to face the weaknesses they see in others.

Another biggie is complacency. This little booger is closely related to pride. The difference is the complacent individual is awareness they aren’t above relapse. Their issue is not “feeling” like going, not feeling like reading positive materials, or praying, or helping others. This kills most people’s recovery about a year, more or less, ahead of the actual fall back into their addiction.

Procrastination, the five syllables of death has ruined the recovery of many. Putting off working the steps to recovery, or doing the next right thing because they are so loaded down with other tasks they cannot see a meeting, calling their sponsor, or helping a neighbor, etc.

Also, some are laden with consequences from the past. They try too hard to “fix” or undo their past by taking on the bigger problems. If unsuccessful, they just quit. Do little things first, the big ones will become easier as each little problem solved builds confidence.

Religion can be a bad thing for a person choosing to go the church attendance route instead of AA, NA, GA, CR, etc. I am all for church attendance for aiding recovery. Keep this in mind; Recovery meetings teach you how to recover from your addictions, help you understand and accept and surrender what you have become, and help you learn to deal with consequences.

Church meetings can reinforce and help with these problems, but it is highly doubtful the weekly sermon will be about your recovery. Many take this route because of pride, not wanting anyone to know they are anything other than a sinner, not a weak, out-of-control addict or drunk.

There are other things that bring down the mightiest of recovering individuals. For your information, I don’t have these thoughts from just observing others. I have, and still do face many of these issues personally. My enemy, or addiction is me. Self- serving is my real problem, addictions to anything are side effects.

For all of us working our recovery, don’t get too smart. Don’t be dishonest of where you are when things are awry. Total honesty is an admission that may save us from pride, complacency, and putting off recovery. The season of joy is here when we celebrate the birth of Christ, and welcome the new year. Humbly ask God’s help for understanding the purpose of Christ’s coming, and the purpose He has for you today, the upcoming year, and direction to keep you from falling.

What do you think? What would you add as a reason for relapse?

Hide and Seek

We played the game as children. In fact, I play it with my grand children when they stop over. I always try to make them think I’ll never find them. “Where are you,” I’ll say, their little giggles gives them away. Hide and seek with “pappy,” they call me, will always be a good memory they will retain.

The cares of life have often caused me to continue to play hide and seek. I hide when in a crowd, a group, or even a family gathering. I hide my troubles and feelings most of the time. That isn’t stressful to me. I do not turn the problems inwardly hiding them, hoping they will disappear. I found a hiding place. If I stay within that hidden place, like my grand children, when the storms of life gather with intent to discourage me or even destroy me, I can giggle.

“For He will conceal me in his shelter on the day of trouble, he will hide me in the folds of his tent, he will set me on a high rock”…Ps.27:5 CJB

“You who live in the shelter of Elyon, (Most High), who spend your nights in the shadow of Shaddai, (Almighty), who say of Adonai, ‘My refuge! My Fortress! My God in whom I trust!’ -he will rescue you from the trap of the hunter and from the plague of calamities: he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge”…Ps.91:1-4 CJB

The rules of this hide and seek I speak of, allows the player to hide and seek at the same time. We humans are always looking for some hidden treasure of sorts. Most often, that treasure turns out to be gravel, not gold. The person we were sure was the one, is more like two, or three. The one good quality they had came with two or more bad qualities. The car we just had to have was a lemon, the dream home turned out to be a nightmare, that drink turned into a life of drunkenness, etc., etc. So we may learn to look before we leap into a search to realize dreams and hopes that are mostly unrealistic.

There is a solution that satisfies the seeker. That is, for those are followers of Christ. But anyone who seeks him, like the magi who sought the child Jesus two thousand years ago, are wise to do so. Only he can satisfy the longing in every heart. Seeking is required. But in the discovery of Christ, the individual continues to seek him out…HE always has more to give and that never stops.

“So if you were raised along with the Messiah, (that means your life has been changed from giving you to him), then seek the things above, where the Messiah is sitting at the right hand of God. Focus your minds on the things above, not on things here on earth. For you have died (to self), and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God.” Col.3:1-4 CJB

“”When you seek me, you will find me, provided you seek for me wholeheartedly, ‘and I will let you find me,’ says Adonai.” Jer.29:13-14

This hide and seek has no loser, you always win with hiding from the insanity of wrong-doing, of a life totally given to self, its appetites and desires. I have used the illustration of Biblical text to show how this hide and seek works. I have used more scripture than normal, that’s good. Here is one more:

“The clever see trouble coming and hide; the simple go on and pay the penalty.” Prov.22:3 CJB (Complete Jewish Bible, it is an excellent resource)

Be assured of this; seek trouble and it is yours. Don’t hide from danger and you will own it. To know what trouble is does not take a twelve year college degree. We know. To those that hide in the “Rock” trouble may hide from you in time. Those who seek God through relationship, along with serving mankind, and pleasing God by actions and attitudes, blessings will not hide from you, favor will follow you, and go ahead of you, everyday.

I pray those little grandchildren I’m so blessed with learn what to seek in life…or rather who. I pray they hide in Chist and hide from following the herd. I pray that you do likewise. Be well.

Failure to Understand the Story

The Big Books of AA and NA have examples as to what happens and causes so many that fail to recover. In recovery meetings, we say they didn’t “get it” when someone relapses. Celebrate Recovery offers explanations as to why the failure, being based on a “Christ-centered” recovery from various types of addictions. If you are taking the time to read this post, you may be a victim of relapse, or know of a loved friend or family member that has been.

I’ll attempt to get to the point. Everyone has this issue. You may not be a drinker, use drugs, be a gambler or hooked on porn…thank God. But you have flaws, vice, or sins that you deal with.

An example being someone who worries. This individual constantly fears what may happen. Because of worry, the nag at their spouse and children because they don’t comply to their repeated advice. They become angry over anything that goes against what they think is right, i.e. the government’s stance on various social issues. Or, they may be paralyzed by fears, ending up in deep depression.

This type of individual needs recovery too. The problem is that few people see worry, nagging, or anger as sinful. They feel above the addicts because they don’t smoke, or chew, or run with those who do. Hint: they need as much help as any alcoholic…they’re hooked.

Jesus taught using parables, or stories. People love to listen to stories. A good orator knows to keep the attention of a crowd, tell a story. One of Jesus’ parables was given with what seemed to be no final result or moral. In Mark 4, he tells of the farmer scattering seed for crop.

Some of the seed fell on the wayside and was eaten by birds. Some fell on rocky soil, sprouted, but the sun burned it up. Some fell among the thorns, which choked the seed, killing it. But some of the seed landed in a fertile loam that grew and yielded many times, perhaps making up for all of the failed crop. The end.

Jesus left the story there, and later, told the disciples the parable’s meaning. The Word is the seed. The scripture may reveal a message of recovery from any addiction, whether substances or emotions. His words explain, in my estimation, why so many fail in recovery, in business, in their faith, and in life. And why some succeed almost effortlessly.

The birds that ate the seed was the adversary and his imps. His aim is confusion and distraction. He is successful through many means, knowing human weaknesses, desires, and sloth. He capitalizes with fears like shame and loss of friends. He loves to complicate the simplicity of recovery by making “doing right” for wimps, totally uncool.

The seed burned up by the sun is those who accept the Word with joy, but the moment any sort of persecution, or trouble arises, they move on or back to their old life.

The seed choked out by the thorns is those that hear the message, but the cares of life, the deception of fame or wealth and living the life of the glamorous is their desired choice.

The one who hears the message, accepts it, and surrenders to do what it takes to find real life, is where the seed fell into the soil and took a strong yielding root. The Word thrived in these individuals and not only fed them, leading them to a life of joy and freedom, but also yielding so much crop, potentially feeding masses.

The teaching Jesus brought in this open-ended parable gives the religious a lot of ammunition to condemn those hearing but non-conforming. My suggestion to the religious is to unload your weapon. That goes as well for those who judge others in recovery as they hold court on the relapser. Stop and think. 

The message Jesus taught is true, the listener has heard, the seed is sown. We do not know where the seed falls in every person. Think and pray for God’s best. Expect that wayward Christian to return, the fallen addict, alcoholic, or any addicted to anything to give up and return broken, ready to comply. When they do, show how deeply the seed landed in you…accept, love, and help them.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!

Song of the Captives

Life’s lessons come at a very high price at times. Seldom does anything make us a better person by osmosis but rather experience. I have found that giving serious regard to the lessons of history can steer me away from having to experience very bad things. Parents warn us about what may be if we do wrong, and we may comply. I can say I was not that type. If my parents told me it was bad, I may have believed them but found it necessary to check it out. Shoplifting and skipping school seemed to be the right wrong things to do, so I did. I was a real rebel. The price paid was painful, very painful.

Wising up didn’t appeal to me until I was out of my teens…er, twen…thirt..into my forties when I began to sense my mortality. To keep it short, I have found lessons in scripture, of Israel’s history to be the story of me…of us all. We have choices to make as Israel did. Life or death, blessing or cursing, freedom or captivity, and the directions that take us to the choices are laid out elaborately so we know how to choose right. In short, Israel chose to reject God, and captivity resulted. So did I.
Deep into my rebellion I became so self-indulgent that led to alcoholism and drug use. I was a captive. The joy of life, my hopes, ambitions or dreams were gone. There was no song in my heart, no reason to sing. I was a slave to self-service. Those close to me eventually wondered, what’s wrong with him? I had no song to sing about this strange land I was living in.
.
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, and those who plundered us requested mirth, saying, ‘sing us one of the songs of Zion!’ 
How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?”  Ps.137: 1-4
This passage and the entire message of do right and all will be well with you, or don’t do right and the consequences of wrong will follow, rings true to us all. Addictions and self-indulging behaviors we live out now have placed us into a captivity that has removed any understanding of a joy-filled existence. What seemed like fun, or felt good at the time was deceptive and led to a compulsion to revisit a feeling that never seems to return. The fun we knew left with our refusal to say, “this is wrong, I cannot do this.” But now we are captive to our desires, the music died.
In time, God had mercy on Israel once more. He returned them to the land He promised them. That story is powerful. That story is for us to see the truth in as well. God has provided a way for you and I to return to freedom in life. No more addiction to dope, no need for another stiff drink that turns you into a stiff. This lesson is the lesson you can agree is really the truth for all once experienced, and kept. It is the freedom that comes from dying to self, to the norm of what we think is acceptable today, choosing to believe in Christ’s redemptive blood for your sin. Just ask God for that gift. He will not refuse. Then stand strong, stay free, and sing.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Gal.5:1
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

It IS About You

Before I dig into these thoughts I want to make a brief statement or two. First, thank all of you that follow my posts. I am truly humbled and grateful that anyone would take the time to read what I write. I hope they help you. If so, give what you get from them to someone else. Second, I have been inconsistent writing posts of late and unfortunately that is out of my control. When I post, I try to keep it short, under 600 words so they are easy to read. This post may not be one. Of all I have written in the past, this may be  the most important. If you cannot read all of this in one reading, bookmark it and read when it is more convenient. 
Also, I covet your prayers. Tremendous attacks from darkness are weighing heavy, but through the prayer in faith, God is able and will deliver me.

In recovery meetings and from pulpits, you hear this popular phrase:
“It’s not about you.” 
I understand the meaning to not be so egocentric in life, stop taking everything personally. But I also disagree. People tend to react to the saying as to mean live and let live, don’t get involved, don’t do what is needed to personally grow so you are ready to help when called on. Or in other words, go on your merry way and let God take care of others problems. Also, some tend to use that adage to say, stay out yourself and the drama around you. After all, you can’t fix it. 

No matter how you take the meaning please consider that everything you experience, every good thing, every bad thing in life…is about you. You don’t anything for others until you learn how yourself. Can you show someone how to find bread if you don’t know where it is? Is there anything in life you automatically know the answer to? 

I say no, I had to learn by study or experience everything I know today, including understanding my need for salvation.
I could not possibly help another in recovery from drinking and drugging without being taught myself.

   “God uses everything for His glory, even my sin.” Anon

How is it about me? 
You and I have to realize our purpose, and why that knowledge is important. God did not cause me to fall into alcoholism. He did not condone any sin I have committed. If I have surrendered to Him in full realization of my brokenness and inability to fix myself, He removes the sin and the guilt attached, burns up the embarrassment of admission, replacing what held me in the place of silence to boldly proclaim there is hope to others. I am able to help the broken because I am. It is all about me. My willingness to be free of the facade of perfection, exposing my flaws that are many, that God says in effect, “Now I have something to work with.”

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” 1 Pet. 5:6

It is about our making the decision to improve our lives by using the spiritual as key to fixing the mental as fallen and deceived. Our minds, geared to self-absorption, diluted from years of self-service and delusions that this is the way we are built, and there is no reason to try and fix that, must change. It is about ME. I have to see myself in the light of becoming able to do, not fixated on the myriad of reasons I cannot change. Having the moment of clarity, an epiphany of the possibility of accomplishment in life come more often than we think. But knowing “I never could” in the past darkens any thought of rising above my shattered self to reign in life as a king. The words coming from the depths of my heart are polluted by wrong thinking.

Well, that’s the way I have always felt.
I’m not good at that. 
I never could get into doing this.

These words, hold us hostage to the gene-pool we flowed from.  One man told me his father said to him, “son, don’t try to go above yer raisin in life.” When you accept Christ as Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell you. everything about YOU dies. That moment, changes you, though completely invisible to the eyes of flesh, but alive to the eyes of the spirit by faith. The acceptance of what occurred can move you into brilliant light, a new heritage, a new understanding, if you continue in Christ and refuse to just hang out as a spectator. God will take the willing heart and develop a new you. That is about YOU, allowing Him to re-mold you.

In recovery from addictions, there is a similar occurrence. You listen and learn you can have the moment of clarity revealing your powerlessness and un-managebility over…everything in life. That is, not just powerlessness over your addiction. Every one entering recovery doesn’t get it. Many hear, even agree with what is said, but walk away, returning to their misery. That doesn’t make sense to those determined to stay. But that is about THEM too. They realize to recover means giving up their identity they worked hard to develop. Having to re-think, to change friends, hang-outs, or doing what they “love” to do has to go away. The price is too high. Or they feel they won’t make it from the many failures in the past, and have nowhere to go but back to their old neighborhood and family. That is tragic.

It is about you. What I have stressed above is mainly geared at recovery from addictions and following Christ. There are other things to consider that are about you.
What type of student are you?
How good of a parent are you? Do you take education seriously?
What type of parent are you? Are you just a buddy to your children? Or do you teach them right from wrong, good and bad behaviors, discipline and reward?
Are you a good employee, diligent on the job, faithful in attendance and on time?
Who are your friends? Does the friendship create a desire to be a better you, or are they gossip opportunities when you are together?
How are you with your immediate family? When you all come together, are you still involved in sibling rivalries?

It is ALL about YOU. You can disregard this post, and say, that was a waste of ten minutes I’ll never get back. Or you can ponder what I’m trying to convey. What is about you is everything necessary to giving yourself away to find joy, peace, and love. People would give all they have for this. Robin Williams had it all many thought. Why would he end his life? I don’t know, nor may never.

I do know that many who end their life don’t realize just how much this existence here is about them. They have a false notion it is about their wants and needs and learning how to get what they want. It is about themselves. Had they learned it is about YOU, perhaps they may have taken the ME approach in life and grew to understand it being about ME is learning to be about learning to be about YOU, bringing God glory. Don’t let that statement confuse you. The point is we have to see without the blinders of self. That takes effort, and thought, and prayer. It is all about YOU, and your making a choice to develop a you committed to change and service, or about YOU that sees only its needs, thinks every moment, every conversation, every event is because of their existence.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!

What Lies Ahead (let this lift you)

A topic came up in an AA meeting recently that caused me to think about what the recoveringthinks about. Drama is not just a word to describe a movie type when selecting something to watch. Drama is what recovering addicts/alcoholics call problems they own, or that others own, and anyone striving to recover aim to stay clear of. They are aware that the drama coming from whatever source is unhealthy mentally, when one desires to live clean and sober.

So why dwell on drama? Why is that the frequent topic?
Drama does not belong to those living a life of successful achievement. Especially the follower of Christ living and walking according to the scriptures, maturing in the Faith, and knowing their purpose. They have drama to be sure. They may also have their mind-set on the eternal home, dwarfing any problems in this life that sidelines their growth, their personal recovery, their ability to pursue serving God by serving people. They hear the drama from others, deal with their own as well, but find no need to allow the temporal things and problems of this life to be constant in their minds.

What lies ahead?
When many of us think about heaven we think about harps, clouds, golden streets, those friends and family members already there, and sometimes God. I would like for you to step out of the “Hollywood heavenly thinking” of heaven, try expanding your mind’s eye to imagine what lies beyond the gates of pearl.

“If you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above where the Messiah, (Jesus), is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not what is on the earth.” Col.3:1-2

Imagine colors so vivid that you cannot stop looking…at anything there. Imagine aromas so wonderful that you actually feel them. Imagine sounds that captivate so intensely that you have to become aware your feet and body are moving with the sounds, as is everyone around you. Imagine tasting foods where every morsel melts in your mouth, or every hand shake or embrace feels far beyond anything felt here, in this life. You feel everything, words, smells, tastes. Imagine being captivated in conversation, meeting those from history, hearing their story. Joy and excitement everywhere, and everyone busy!

Imagine the first moment you see the One who made your arrival there possible. The brilliant light of His countenance, indescribable love radiating from Him, His words hitting your ears with the sounds of thousands of people laughing, “welcome home where you belong,” He says to you, “wanna see your place?” And suddenly what appears to be Him becoming two people separating, a familiar second Person says to you, I’ll show you”…No wonder  He looks familiar...The Holy Spirit, so sweet, so personal, taking you to your place Jesus prepared. “Lets make a stop on the way,” He says.

Suddenly, you hear sounds that stir every emotion, every good feeling you ever experienced, and you have this sense of total awe…and unworthiness. Your breath wants to leave as you behold the Almighty’s splendor and majesty! Face first you fall as a natural reaction to the force of His magnificence! You hear this beautiful sound you have never heard, and looking up you see the source of the sound H-O-L-Y in duplicate coming from these two beautiful creatures circling the throne. With each time they circle the throne they see a new characteristic of the One seated...El Shaddai, The Lord God Creator, saying to you…well done, enter, I have so much for you to see…just a moment in His Eternal Presence and your mind id filled with knowledge and understanding!

(In my personal view of heaven, we may know and understand much the moment we arrive, but not everything. I believe that God designed us for discovery, and a desire to find out things by searching. We will still have the desire to achieve. We will have eons to discover so much of what our heart ultimately desires…God Himself.)

You are guided by the Holy Spirit to your place…a galaxy that seems to extend forever. You see a greeting line of people welcoming you…but very few are familiar. Who are all of these people?” you ask the Holy Guide. “These on the left are your lineage all the way back to Adam and Eve. On the right, everyone you influenced in life, either personally, or by another in this line, they all came to your homecoming party.”

What lies ahead for us may not be like what I see so much. The implication, however, is to give thought to the eternal destination with imagination more than the drama of this life. Set your thoughts on the Eternal One. Think of the brilliance you encounter there, but realize He is in you here thus the drama has little impact. C. S. Lewis, in his book, “Mere Christianity,” wrote:

“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.” 

I’m aware not everyone in recovery has the hope of heaven. I pray they do eventually. Our minds will have something on them constantly. We choose drama, or we choose to think growth and moving ahead. Though everyone views differently, things temporal, things eternal, life takes a major turn for the good, for the believer, when Home, not drama is the aim.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.