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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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Drug Replacement Therapy

When I was growing up, I always felt a little different. In social situations I always felt like I was on the outside looking in. I felt alone. When I was 16 I tried alcohol for the first time, and I tried it because everyone else was doing it. It instantly gave me courage, made me feel smarter, and filled the hole, temporarily, that was in my soul. My low self esteem and genetic predisposition doomed me to years of filling the void in my heart with alcohol and various chemicals. It’s no wonder that the idea of living totally sober without my spiritual crutch, actually scared the hell out of me.

At 17 I tried opiates for the first time. All I took was 3 Tylox’s but I had found my true love. I felt a warm rush of euphoria, and felt confident and just perfect in all of life’s situations with this stuff. I had arrived, or so I thought

It’s no wonder that years later, when I desperately wanted to stay sober after detox, I found myself searching for a legal replacement. I began to plot on scamming Doctor’s for narcotics, out of being just totally desperate and anxious all the time. Before I go any further, I will say this…Replacement therapy IS NOT the answer! It is just that, replacement, another crutch!

The first thing I tried was Suboxone “Therapy” Here’s the definition of therapy.
therapy [ˈθɛrəpɪ]
n pl -pies
(Medicine)
a. the treatment of physical, mental, or social disorders or disease

SUBOXONE/SUBUTEX

Buprenorphine HCL/naloxone

This stuff is horrible! The first two days I was on it I felt great! I got that warm opiate high and I was feeling no pain!  The Doctor I went to gave me 3 pills a day, that’s 24 milligrams of buprenorphine per day. For those of you that don’t know, Buprenorphine is, are you ready?….36 times more potent than Morphine!  What the?! It works as a partial agonist on the opiate receptors responsible for the euphoria. As I said, the first 2 days were great. After that I had the usual irritability and apathy that come with chronic opiate use. When I say irritability, I mean I didn’t want to see you, be around you, nothing. I became a total loner. I craved real opiates  the whole time I was on it, which is what it is specifically marketed to help with. This stuff made me extremely sick when I quit taking it, and of course I went back to normal opiates. I’m not going to tell anyone what to do, but I recommend everyone stay away from this stuff. It is not the answer!

METHADONE HCL

This is the classic replacement therapy for opiate addicts. It was once used for Heroin addicts only but not anymore. I was able to get into a clinic by faking withdrawals, seriously. I’m not gonna tell you how because again, this is not the answer! Methadone is extremely potent! Let me say that again, extremely potent! This stuff is so potent it is almost poison! I got up to 95 mgs per day for only 7 dollars a day. I was high all the time! When I tried to quit, my God, I was SICK! The full blown opiate withdrawal lasted over a month. I had to take Benzo’s like candy and drink vodka just to be able to get out of bed. Everything hurt, my hair even hurt! This stuff is evil. It feels supremely great, at first, but soon you are trapped and without it, you cannot function. Anything that feels that good is always bad. I’m telling you, stay away from it!

There are many replacement therapies out there. Smokers take Chantix to quit. People take Benzodiazapines like Xanax and Valium to cope with life. Millions of Americans take anti-depressants for this same reason. Although some of these are great for certain situations, many people that take them do not need them. It’s a crutch for some.

I can tell you one thing for sure, I am a full blooded, deep down in the soul, horrible addict. I choose to chase God today with all my heart. Today I am addicted to spiritual growth rather than the easy fix of putting something on top of my emotions. Today I am happy, joyous, and free. From my experience, if you are struggling with any of this, please, find a higher power, mines God, you can borrow him if you want. Find yours, and surrender! Let go of the ego and pride and humble yourself a little. It can happen, sobriety is not only possible but it’s free!

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Rock Bottom

Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.

Way back in July of 2008 I hit what they call rock bottom. At the time I was living in a large old rented house by Lake Wewoka Oklahoma. It was just me and my 19 pound Orange Tabby Morris. By this time I finally realized that I might have a drinking problem, among other things. I was seeing a really amazing woman that I really did not deserve named Jodie. She used to be in the army and really had it together. I promised her over and over that I would quit drinking and I truly meant it every time however, I found out that I couldn’t control it. I wouldn’t admit it yet but I was a full blown alcoholic. I had lost so many things in life and I was only just then realizing the full scope of my sickness.

The second week of July 2008, Jodie decided she couldn’t handle my drinking anymore. She was watching me literally kill myself slowly and couldn’t deal with it. She said I was “weak willed” but ask yourself this, any addict or alcoholic you might know, do they or do they not go to extremes to get what they want? I would say from experience that it takes alot of willpower to live that lifestyle.

Something  just kind of busted in my head. I snapped. I had lost my job, every friend I had, and my girl. I pulled all of my money out of the bank and bought enough booze to fill my fridge and plenty of different opiates. I locked the door to my house and didn’t plan on ever coming out. I was done with everything.

For the next week I was only awake for 3 or for hours at a time, long enough to get out of my mind wasted. That whole week I had the song “life is Beautiful” by Sixx A.M playing on the stereo on repeat. A whole week straight just one song! I didn’t eat anything except pills and I didn’t drink anything except beer and Rum. Somehow I shaved my head to a mohawk right before a court date I had for public intox. I called my mom and said that if I didn’t get help I would die. She just thought I was being dramatic! I had never known God, and I had no idea how to pray, but almost like it was an instinct, I screamed out at the top of my lungs, “God help me!!! Now! Help!” After that I collapsed and came to the next day laying on the floor.

When my mom did finally come by my house the next day, she broke down and started crying. She saw just how far I had gone, the insanity of it all! She took me to TRC, a medically supervised detox and my life changed forever. I spent years in addiction and had no idea that there really was a way out, through God. God accepted me for who I am, and did his part. Faith without works is dead. So I pass it on. Everyone hits that crossroads in life. For me, it was a life or death crossroads, and God gave me a chance.

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