Category Archives: Inspiration

Spiritual Warfare

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

I haven’t written in a little while, and there is reason why. Not an excuse, don’t get me wrong, just a reason.

In their walk with Christ all Christians will experience the trickery, lying, and pathetic attempts the enemy (Satan) will try to use to hold us back. I have experienced these “attacks” and over the last 2 weeks in particular it has been very difficult.

A couple of years I came under attack for the first time while I was reading the Gospels. It was all new territory to me as it was the first time I had ever read what Jesus did and what he taught.

Over the last couple of weeks these attacks seem to have been moving through stages. The last week, they have been happening through people. I’m someone who seeks approval from others. It is a sickness I have identified and started to work on. Satan knows this. He uses that insecurity to drag me down through people and unfortunately I have let it happen.

I was discussing this earlier with one of my Christian brothers and he reminded me that these attacks are not a bad thing. The enemy is freaking out because now I am living in God’s will. One of the best defenses if not the best…praise God! Do not give Satan credit in any way. Do not think that “if I praise God that should shake Satan up a bit”. NO! Satan does not even deserve that recognition, at all! He is not even worth our contempt!

You might be saying, “ya but you sure are talking about the enemy alot” True. I do that for others, hoping they will recognize the struggle that is going on in their life and use the ultimate weapon, the word of God!

God is full of an unimaginable source of love and Re-enforcement it boggles the mind! Faith in God is the greatest gift of all! Praise the Lord!

If anyone else out there is having any of these attacks please do not hesitate to message me and together we will pray and bring our loving father into the mix!

Ephesians 6 10-20

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it

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Temptations in Sobriety

Life is a trip. Its full of wonderful times and difficult times. Everyday cannot be a perfect day. No matter how you live your life there will be trials and tribulations. Some days are more difficult than others. Sometimes early sobriety especially can feel like an all out battle. In reality it really is. Learning to cope is something new to most of us in recovery. Here are a few of my favorite bible verses about overcoming lifes challenges.

1 Peter 5:10

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Matthew 19:26

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Romans 5:2-5

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

I’ve seen it so many times, people come into the rooms and get sober, they get that early feeling of peace, what they call the “Pink Cloud”, and when something bad happens they give up and go back to their addiction. I have done this more than once and its heartbreaking to everyone involved.

I started off my New Year yesterday with a gratitude list, some of which I shared in my blog. Remaining grateful is something that I learned through coming to Christ. It is one my best defenses against picking up.

Another wonderful tool is something else that comes from Christianity, helping others. Step 12 of A.A. is-Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. Helping others is one of the best defenses against temptation. In my experience it keeps me in touch with where I was and also takes me out of myself. My brain can sometimes be an enemy.

We must keep in mind that even though we are sober, things do not suddenly get perfect. Some of the people we hurt are going to need a lot of time to heal. We can’t be discouraged and think that things will never get better, because every day sober gets us closer to, well, ourselves. Be mindful that the mood swings will pass. Prayer is extremely vital at this point in sobriety. Beginning to develop a prayer life early on creates a new habit of humility and admitting that we do not have all the answers.

I thought I would write about this subject because I struggle from day to day with temptation. The trick, even though its not really a trick, is to use the tools I have acquired. I go to Christ and I get some peace. It’s that easy. Faith, the most wonderful gift of all!

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Gratitude

Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Well, I made it out of 2011 alive! I pray to the Father that 2012 will be a much healthier, happier year. Having said that I think it would be a good start to think about the things I am grateful for. This will give me a positive thought process and an optimism for the possibilities that God has given me!

A good friend of mine who is in A.A. and has about 13 years sober put gratitude like this.

“You get invited to dinner at a good friends house. Afterwards you thank them for the wonderful meal and go on home. That is being thankful. Now take the same situation, you go to dinner at a good friends house and instead of thanking them for the meal and leaving, you stick around and help with the dishes to. That is being grateful.

It is important to remember to always be grateful for everything in life, good or bad. God uses tough times to teach us. These tests bring us closer to being able to serve his purpose for us, and there is nothing more satisfying than that!

Therefore I’m going to mention a few things I’m grateful for with this new year ahead.

First, my family. After years of putting them through so much, I get up this morning and I have an email from Dad. The message meant so much to me. I have my family back in my life and I realize what unconditional love really is.

I’m grateful to have my health of course. I’m lucky I got out of that hell of addiction with a functioning liver and somehow, no gray hairs!

I’m grateful for all the amazing people that God has put into my life recently, all of them wonderful teachers.

I’m grateful to have a roof over my head and a safe place to call home.

I’m grateful to all the addicts who came before me and paved the way for recovery from this brutal disease.

I’m enormously grateful for my lord and saviour Jesus Christ for giving all just so we can spend an eternity of peace and serenity with God.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to go back to school and earn a college degree. Second chances are very rare.

I’m grateful for church as a place to meet and fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

This may confuse some people but I’m grateful for all of the rough times in life because with it came experience and wisdom, and with that the ability to help others. Credentials of a sick life if you will

I can go on and on and on but you get the idea. It’s a very empowering thing to have gratitude and direct it towards the better of humanity. Even if it is only a small scale, impacting just one persons life can change the world for the better.

This new year brings us all an opportunity to do something great. This gratefulness that I have did come with a price. I wouldn’t change a thing! Thank you God for everything you have done for me. The sky is the limit my friends, as it is for all of us. Remain grateful, and the positive in every situation will be revealed and it will propel you into a bigger and better life. God bless you all and Happy 2012!

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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