Monthly Archives: December 2011

Goodbye 2011! Hello Serenity!

John 12:46

I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.

I had mentioned in a previous entry that this last year was a very very crazy one! As this year draws to an end I can’t help but reflect back on the chaos that my life was.

I was hospitalized 3 times due to my drinking and using! For me the party ended a long time ago but I just could not stop. The only times that I would stop was when something would stop me, hospital etc. My physical and mental health were a disaster area.

There were times where that lifestyle caused me to think that I was losing my mind, and to be honest I was. When you continually ingest those poisons it deteriorates everything about you. Some of my best and most loyal friends in the world could not even handle being around me for too long. When I look back on it I realize that I wouldn’t have been able to handle watching someone commit prolonged suicide either!

Acts 22:16

What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord.’

For most of my life I knew absolutely nothing about God. It says in the Bible that when you search for him, honestly search, you will find Him.

Jeremiah 29:13

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

That is why I call this blog what I do. I spent years living in the dark, a slave to my addiction. That lifestyle is a full time job in itself, and the most lonely depraved way of life there is. When I prayed my first real prayer God really did save me. He put me on a path to become whole again! I had no idea that His impact would be so huge in my life. I guess that if God can create everything there is in the universe,picking me up and putting me on a road to salvation is nothing to Him!

2011 will go down as the worst/best year of my life. I say this because of the hell I put myself through. I also say best because God reached down, and changed my life forever! God bless you all and I pray that 2012 brings you happiness, true happiness, the kind that God loves to give us!

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under blog, Christianity, faith, Inspiration, Life, lifestyle, Recovery, Religion, Uncategorized

The Disease of Addiction

Many,way too many people are ignorant to what addiction is and what that means for the person who suffers from it. I have heard it all, “why don’t you stop?” “You’re just weak willed” “It is your decision so just stop!” If only it were that easy! Well lets go ahead a clear a few things up. According to the DSM-IV, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders this is the Criteria for Substance Dependence…

A.        A Pattern of Compulsive Use marked by a loss of control over the ability to regulate use or to abstain.

B.        Tolerance marked by both the need for larger amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effect and a diminished perceived effect with the same amount.

C.        Withdrawal marked by the development of a specific withdrawal syndrome upon the cessation of use or the use of the same or similar type of drug to relieve or avoid the withdrawal syndrome.

D.        Substance-induced Organic Mental Disorders that result from the toxic effects of chronic alcohol and drug poisoning to the brain.

And further…

DSM IV places a heavy weighting upon the pattern of compulsive use as the primary factor distinguishing between abuse and dependence.  This pattern of compulsive use is marked by the following signs and symptoms:

1.         Craving:  A strong desire to use the substance.

2.         Loss of control over use:  The tendency to use larger quantities of the substance than intended and to use the substance for longer periods of time than intended.

3.         Inability to abstain:  The persistent desire to cut down or control accompanied by the failure to be able to so in spite of past attempts.

4.         Addiction Centered Lifestyle:  The increased amount of time spent in seeking and using alcohol and other drugs resulting in the centering of major life activities around alcohol and drug use.

5.         Addictive Lifestyle Losses:  The tendency to give up or reduce the frequency of involvement in important life activities to accommodate the increased amount of time spent in drug seeking and using.

6.         Continued Use In spite of Problems  The tendency to continue to use alcohol and drugs in spite of problems.

According to what Psychiatrists use for Diagnosing then it would be appropriate to say that Alcoholics and Addicts who meet this criteria of Substance Dependance do in fact have a disease.

If it’s a disease then why do people treat it as though that person is a moral defect? This comes from what society as a whole is made to believe or conditioned to believe. If we hear that someone was arrested and charged with a crime we almost always view that person as guilty before the trial even begins. It seems that we as a society like to see others struggle and fail. Our whole society is insecure and very prideful.

Just like in the trial situation most people get some sick satisfaction in having the opportunity to judge others. Thats just the way that we are conditioned to be. I myself have been guilty of this over and over again.

Another point to think about is something that was discussed in the big book of A.A. Some of the more common disease‘s that people suffer from are Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Cancer. So let me ask you this…How would you like to go down to the Childrens Hospital and ask some children who are dying of cancer to just stop having cancer? I mean, don’t they see thats its slowly killing them? Why would anyone want to have Cancer? Sounds ridiculous because it is!

This is the dilemma facing addicts and alcoholics. Why can’t we just stop? Don’t we see that its slowly killing us? The truth is if it were that easy we would be cured. This disease centers in the brain, therefore we must change our thinking to gain some kind of defense.

The most important defense against this disease is God, [may you find him now. (A.A. pg 71)]

One of the reasons I have such faith in God is the scientific evidence for God. First the Big Bang theory shows that something miraculous happened at the dawn of creation. This theory holds up to this day and is without a doubt the accepted way the Universe was born. Also, everything is so fine tuned in the universe to be able to support life that if one minute thing were changed at about 1 part in 10 followed by 60 zeros life would not exist. Thats hard to comprehend isn’t it? Also, nano- biologists, basically people that build molecules, are completely blown away by what they are finding out. As they get down to that incredibly simple single cell they are seeing what they have begun to call “Gods Fingerprint” There is simply no way that it sprang up out of nothing.

Evolutionists are a dying breed. Darwin himself admitted it wasn’t true. The evidence for God is overwhelming. If God can cause the Big Bang and create the Universe, it is a small feat for him to restore the addict and save us from this disease. Faith is a gift and because of that gift, life gets a whole lot easier to handle. God will save you.

Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Comment

Filed under blog, Christianity, faith, Inspiration, Life, lifestyle, Recovery, Religion

Blaming God?

With each new transgression, more damage is done to our race and the world we live in. As we invent new ways to sin and grieve God, we also bring more and more suffering and evil into our world (Romans 1:28-32)

14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Romans 7:14-20

Everyone is guilty of it. Something horrible happens in life and we blame God, or whoever we think is up there. It’s amazing how many people don’t go to church, or read their bible, and only seem to recognize God when something goes wrong, or they need something. A society of spoiled kids. Your Highness the Baby!

The truth is that God doesn’t cause evil. That would be a massive contradiction because God is good…all the time! So why do so many bad things happen here on earth? Why for instance is there a commercial on T.V. with a sappy Sarah Mclachan song playing and horrible depressing images of abused animals? How could a good God allow this to happen?

God told Adam before Eve was created that he was not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 2:17) Further God warned that in the day he did eat fruit of that tree man would surely die.

God gave us free will, he knew we would fall short of his perfect standards. Free will is responsible for some of the greatest atrocities in history. What does God have to do with the Nazis and their mass genocide of millions of Jews? Or, more closely to here and now, the attacks on the world trade center and Oklahoma City? These were brought on by men and their own decisions.

What about some of the bad decisions we make in life? Why would God let us go down a path that he already knows is going to destroy us? Why if he loves us so much, does he allow us to do things that will hurt us?

Remember that God is the father. The creator of everything.  I am reminded of my current situation. When I was going through the hell that drug addiction is I didn’t understand why so many bad things were happening in my life. I thought that God had abandoned me. In reality he had simply taken a step back, allowing me to experience all that pain so I could come out with life experiences that He can use for others! It’s like the parent who takes a step back while their child is trying to learn how do something. They keep trying and trying and the parent wants to step in and show the child how to do it. But deep down they know that if they allow that child, with minimal guidance to figure it out, the rewards and character building for the child are invaluable.

God wants us all to be with him in eternity. He knows that with certain pains and life experience we are able to better serve His will. Its very hard to understand because God is on a totally different level than us. Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation with an ant? What we say and do makes sense to us, but that insect could never understand us because we have speech capabilities. The awesome power of God is unimaginable. His plan for us, we do not know.

Here’s another question that needs to be answered, or at least acknowledged. What about the millions of people starving around the world? A recent study showed the psychological and spiritual impact that extreme suffering such as this can bring on. People that are happy in life don’t go to the religious extremes that people who are suffering go to. Study shows in fact, that people put in these extreme situations actually have more faith than ever! It’s an interesting point to ponder.

I can honestly say I am grateful for what I’ve been through, what I put myself through, what God allowed me to do to myself. My experience gives me the chance to help others get out of that hole.

The Apostle Paul put it like this…

…or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

3 Comments

Filed under blog, Christianity, faith, Inspiration, Life, lifestyle, Recovery, Religion

The Subtle Art of Surrender

Step 1

We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable

The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called willpower becomes practically non-existent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.
– A.A. Big Book, p. 24 (Substitute your own addiction for drink if your addiction is different than alcohol)

This disease is powerful! Very powerful! It says in the literature that it is cunning, baffling, and powerful, and I can tell you from my experience, in all fairness, that might be an understatement. I repeatedly found myself in sick situations and doing things that were way out of character and went against all my morals and beliefs! The fact is that if it were only willpower that was needed this would be a piece of cake! I proved to myself that I have plenty of willpower.

 This may not make alot of sense but I want to take a look at the idea of a disease. What is a disease exactly? Mr. Webster says a disease is : a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms.

So what are the symptoms here? For me, when I took that first drink something was triggered immediately. I would go from 0 to 88 in one second! I learned a few years ago this was caused from a physical allergy to alcohol. My body simply did not react like others did to alcohol. A physical allergy that manifested itself by a phenomenon of craving. The definition for the word “allergy” is, an abnormal reaction to any food, liquid, or substance.

The are other symptoms too. The character defects we all have, but in the case of the alcoholic, addict, or spiritually sick, they are very powerful. The lying, stealing, isolating, depression, anger, rage, God hating/blaming the list goes on and on. Usually if one is sharp enough, they can recognize these personality symptoms early on and avoid a relapse.

So what next? We’ve identified in a very basic way what the problem is.   I can tell you this, there is no easy way out or quick fix! Rehab won’t even give you a miracle cure, however it will give one a solid foundation on which to begin recovery. The first thing is to know deep down that nomatter what, you are totally screwed! Pardon my bluntness but that’s the way it is. The addict and alcoholic, if they are a true one, are totally doomed! If you can know that deep down in your heart you begin to become willing and open-minded to try a few new suggestions.

Nobody can tell you that you are an addict or alcoholic. If they do what is the normal reaction. Usually they’ll tell you where to go! It is up to you to come to that realization on your own.

It’s all about surrendering to your Higher Power, whatever it is! Find it and use it, because this thing will destroy yours and everyones  life that’s around you! I know that the idea of surrendering goes against who we are as human beings, but it is necessary. How can someone turn their life over to something if they are still holding on to old ideals? It is quite frankly impossible! The only thing you have to change is everything! I heard that in a meeting one day and it’s so true.

There are 51 pages in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous dedicated to surrendering. For someone with an ego like mine the idea of surrendering was a major shake to the idea of who I am. It took 3 years for it to finally make sense to me. I hope that whoever reads this realizes that this simple step will open up a beautiful new world. One that is rewarding beyond all comprehension.

5 Comments

Filed under blog, faith, Inspiration, Life, lifestyle, Recovery, Religion

The insanity that was my life in 2011…Part 1

I personally do not like to sit around and talk about old war stories. It always gets my gut twisted up and honestly brings on some serious depression. However, in some ways in can be therapeutic. We addicts and alcoholics speak our own language. As it says in the Big Book of A.A…

“But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours.  Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.” – The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 18

Today I thought I would share a little about this past year. My life completely spiraled out of control and brought me to my knees finally in August. Earlier that year I was seeing a girl that was in recovery too. Our relationship was a total mess! We were not good for eachother and she has her own issues that hopefully she will work on. After one of our breakups I “twisted off” bad! I found myself taking alot of Dilaudid and drinking again of course. Dilaudid is a synthetic opioid, Hydromorphone. Its very strong and when you mix it with benzos or alcohol it can put you out permanently.

One day in particular I was over at a friends house off Riverside. I woke up in the morning with a couple of Klonopin and went straight over to my Dilaudid hookup, who was this sweet lady in her 50’s, sick right? I started with 3 and a friend and I headed straight to the bar at around 3 in the afternoon. All I can remember is the cocktail waitress kept coming over to check on me. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and I was breathing very lightly. To give you an idea, look at me here, I look like I’m dead, because really in a way I was.

That right there is just a little chunk of reality. I remember back in September when I had finally gotten sober, I opened my email one day and saw this picture. It really freaked me out! I couldn’t believe that I ever got that bad! It really hit me hard.

This past year I have been in the hospital twice because of full blown black outs from alcohol.

I urge anyone that is having a problem to please seek help! I’ve known too many people who are casualties to this disease! The only way out is to change everything! Sounds pretty difficult huh? Well, it is, and it isn’t.

For me I was finally so worked over by this disease I was able to surrender and turn it over to God. Thats it! God came into my life and He gave the strength to overcome this!

I remember it used to scare me to think I couldn’t drink or use anymore! I didn’t know how to deal with life without it. I have to tell you with all sincerity that not only am I happier and healthier, but the rewards are incredible! I’m so grateful for what God has done for me and my family! (Yes this disease involves them too) Today I have a chance to work that Step 12. It’s all about helping others! Look at that picture! If you are struggling think about that picture and remember that if God saved a junky like me, trust me, he’ll save you too!

2 Comments

Filed under blog, Christianity, faith, Inspiration, Life, lifestyle, Recovery, Religion

A.A. and The Big Book

There are many many 12 step recovery groups out there. Everything from Gamblers anonymous to Overeaters Anonymous and just about anything that more than one person in the world is suffering from. I think it’s great! The 12 steps are based on Christian principles straight from the bible. This may spark some debate, but it is true.

I’ve noticed that to some people, Bill W.; The co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and the man behind A.A.’s basic text, affectionately called “The Big Book” by A.A.’ers; is put on a somewhat undeserved pedestal. Now before you stop reading hold on. In my opinion and experience A.A. really does work, all of the A’s work, I’m focusing on A.A. because it was the first.

Bill Wilson was a little bit of a hard case. He was known to be a womanizer and a shrewd stock broker. However he had that personality, he knew how to get what he wanted out of life. No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t quit drinking! Bill W. had a sudden and powerful experience with God, as described in the Big Book…

Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It
meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn
in all things to the Father of Light who presides over
us all.
These were revolutionary and drastic proposals, but
the moment I fully accepted them, the effect was electric.
There was a sense of victory, followed by such a
peace and serenity as I had never know. There was
utter confidence. I felt lifted up, as though the great
clean wind o f a mountain top blew through and
through. God comes to most men gradually, but His
impact on me was sudden and profound.

Alcoholics Anonymous p.14 Second Edition.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe Bill W. is given credit where it was not due. I know that doesn’t make sense to you, but hear me out. I have read the Big Book several times and I am fully convinced that a stock broker with only 6 months of sobriety could not have written it on his own. I am convinced that the Big Book was divinely inspired to get through to a bunch of self centered, know it all, hard headed drunks! I’m one of them, and I managed to find God! God wants us all to be with Him in eternity. God is so awesome that he reached down and impacted this man, Bill W., so intensely that a society was able to spring up and now millions have found there way out and have developed a relationship with God.

The Promises

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and selfpity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Alcoholics Anonymous p 83-84 fourth edition.

This book is written so well it hasn’t been changed since 1935! It has stood the test of time and brought millions to freedom and peace. I thank Bill W. For publishing this book, but more importantly I thank God!

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, faith, Inspiration, Life, lifestyle, Recovery, Religion

The great Stevie Ray Vaughn

This is interesting, below is a speech by Stevie Ray Vaughn, one of my favorite guitarist, at an A.A. convention. He’s got some great things to share. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under faith, Inspiration, Life, lifestyle, Recovery