Category: Addiction

Spiritual Death.

.Becoming dependent on a substance takes time.
No matter what your substance of choice is, I bet we can all agree that the ultimate result of addiction is death-
but before that, there is this place where we live.
It is the last stop before physical death:

Spiritual death.

This is a place where nothing good happens.
No positive thoughts enter.
No smiles form.
Tears dry up.
Everything cuts deep -but isn’t felt at all.
On the surface, we show apathy for everything.
Neutrality is where we live, as long as our one need is met.

This is where we go before we die.

Some of us stay for a long period of time, and for others the stay is shorter.

Aside from drug dealers, liquor store clerks, other addicts, bail bondsman who know us by name, or people who we consider ‘friends’ there is usually no one else around.

No meaningful, intimate human relationships are left.
Not one.
We have shut them all out, or they have had all they can handle.

How do we make it back from a place where we spend most of our time harming ourselves wondering why we haven’t died yet?

Well, it takes a village to tear the walls down. 

The intense discipleship that has taken place in my life from the time of my overdose, right up until this very moment is absolutely breathtaking to think about.

God has placed so many people in my path who have all played a vital role in helping me to tear those walls down that I had built around myself, and in learning how to rebuild my life wall-free.

We really are stronger together.

If you are someone who is going through the difficult process of rebuilding after tearing walls down,
Here are reasons why we have to learn to let people in to help:

1. They help the walls to come down.
I get it. They’re our walls. We can get a tiny bit territorial of them and angry if we feel like someone is crossing a boundary or tearing them down too quickly. The truth is, they need to come down, and the faster the better. It is not going to feel good to see beyond them at first, but it is what is best for the long run. Let them crumble.

2. To Combat Negativity.
We are totally fine with being alone and walking alone, crying alone, worrying alone, and doing life alone.
But this is just not a healthy way to try to attempt lasting recovery.

Lies, shame, guilt, and other creepy things really prefer us to be alone and will thrive off our self-doubt.

We need have to have some people around us to help us get through some of the tough spots that we will all face in early recovery.
We have to have people to help us separate the lies, and what the truth is, the facts, and the crap that we have been believing about ourselves for so long.

3. We can learn valuable things from others in Recovery.
No two walks or journey’s are the same but being around people who have been where we been makes us feel hopeful.
We see that they have made progress and have really turned their life around.
We really start to believe that maybe, just maybe we can too.
This requires us to be around people, to meet new people, and to be willing to put ourselves out there by attending groups, counseling, or meetings of some kind.

God works in many ways and one of them is through people.
He will use them in different capacities to love you back to life.

It took that first person in the long line of people who have been a part of my healing and recovery, simply looking into my eyes, and not seeing what I saw- they saw a person.
They saw broken.
They also just happen to know someone who knows what to do with broken.

 

 

Knowledge is Power.

http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/monitoring-future/trends-in-prevalence-various-drug

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The more that I study different substances, signs, symptoms, side effects, withdrawal discomforts and brain altering effects-I become more and more interested in prevention.

The bigger picture.

Not only do I empathize with people who suffer from and struggle with the powerful stronghold of addiction,
I am very concerned with the growing numbers and statistics of our young and curious teens who casually use street drugs and household products to get high.

I want to work to educate parents about the importance of talking with their young people living in their homes.
No longer should it be acceptable to sweep uncomfortable issues under the rug, or avoid them because of personal feelings of inappropriateness.

The bottom line is: You love your young people and your young people need to be aware.
They need to be talked to on their level, in a way that they can understand.

It is dangerous to assume that because you:

*Live in a nice home
*Your child goes to a great school in a wonderful district
*You are raising your children in a Christian or religious home
*You have no family history of drug use
*You kids know right from wrong
*Are involved with your children’s lives

You believe that drug use is an irrelevant  or is a ‘non-issue’
and it does not need to be discussed in your home.
Drug use has never had a favorite demographic.

Try to ask yourself these basic questions: 

-What are some ways to approach the subject with my children/teen? 
-What age is appropriate for my children?
-My children know right from wrong. Why do I need to talk about this specifically? 
-What household products should I know about that can get my teen high?
-I trust my teen. They will tell me if something is offered or suggested.

Maybe just start there.
Start somewhere.

It is as easy as googling some information and asking your kids some questions.

We should all just make sure that we are keeping the dialogue open.
We can play a part in decreasing the number of children who fall prey to this nasty epidemic.
Let’s arm them the best that we can with knowledge and good, solid, information.
And love.
Don’t forget love.

Passionate Work.

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Not everyone gets to this place, or has the opportunity.
Often, the people who I meet who have, have stumbled upon this gift as a result of going through some really tough things through some self-revelation.
But they come out the other side, and they just know.

It is an incredible thing and it is a rare thing.
You experience that ‘ah-ha’ moment.
You just know.
Maybe it came in a progressive or subtle way,
or maybe it  hit you like a ton of bricks in the face,
but you know.
You can feel it tugging your heart and tingling in your bones!
It gets your blood pumping.
You feel driven and focused.
And you are grateful.

You have identified what you are truly passionate about.
Now what?

Simply put:
You figure out a way to get yourself out there.
You take risks. Lots of risky vulnerable risks.
You figure out a way to make sure that your passion overflows in all of the right places.
You saturate yourself with as much knowledge as you can squish into your brain.
You acquire as many tools as possible.
You share what you know with other people.

Discovering your passion and using it for something is not synonymous with ease.
Even when you are in route on a road that you know you are suppose to be on,
one that you are desperately passionate about, it doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing.
There will be road blocks, detours, and disappointments along the way.
Working passionately is not all whimsical and dreamy.
Some days are really, really, difficult.

What can help us to stay dedicated to our passion, or our cause?
How do you keep your eye on the truth?
What is it that will keep you going; ignoring all of the doubt, whose main job is to hold you back?
What can help keep us enthusiastic about all of the possibilities and the future?

1. Remind yourself why you started. (How do you keep your eye on the truth?)
When I feel that nasty feeling that tries to pull me down, or slow me down, I just remind myself of why I started.
I ask God to help me stay focused and confident. I remind myself of my ‘why’.
My original goal is to reach out to people who might need some encouraging words; I care about the hearts of those who are broken. I remind myself of this when I start feeling like I am beginning to doubt what I am doing.
The truth is, I started to help people who really want to give up. I want them to keep going.

2. Pay attention to the signs. (What is it that will keep you going?)
A few things keep me going. God never fails to provide me with much needed confirmation at the right times.
These tiny confirmations have come in many different forms.
Some days it is a nice or encouraging compliment from a friend.
It could be an email from a stranger or a comment from an acquaintance, and some days it is as simple as a feeling.
I also make sure to take care of myself. If I am not healthy or focused, it is so easy to begin to feel defeated.

3. When you don’t see signs, keep going anyway. (How can we stay enthusiastic?)
I really have to keep probing and creating goals for the future. There are so many ways to help others and so many people who need encouragement. I cannot hinge my ambition on consistent, well-timed confirmations. Yes, they’re nice but that shouldn’t be why I keep moving and working. I don’t work for recognition.
As long as I know that I am moving in alignment with where I feel God leading me, I might not always get pats on the back. I don’t get a count of how many people that I might have offered hope to. I don’t get to check the stats on how many hearts may have absorbed something that I have done,
and that has to be okay. 
I think that is the reality of life.
It is the truth about having a passion or a calling.
Isn’t that what passion is?

You continue to work hard, and to remain passionate, and faithful,
even when you don’t get the opportunity to see results or effects that you might have had on someone.

In my case, it is all about giving back.
It is about using and exhausting my abilities to help others
and continuing to praise the Lord for the opportunity.

What are you passionate about?

The Beauty of Letting Go.

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Don’t we all have those feelings…
The ones that we just want to hold onto- even when it hurts us or is holding us back from something new?
The ones that have the ability to completely conquer us if we allow them to?
All of those things that we really can’t change or control. Wouldn’t it be nice to just let them go?
That was a very important part of my early recovery.

*It all started with my sobriety.
Being sober for any big chunk of time feels really foreign. It is almost like finally waking up from anesthesia after a really long surgery and not being coherent for a few hours, feeling groggy, and finally coming to. Then, the world starts to feel more real and less like Super Mario Land 3, and your vision begins to clear up.
As you look around you try to feel amazed or surprised at all of the things that have been waiting for you, but if you are going to be real- you knew they were there all along.

*Uncovering the Junk.
-Anger

I was an angry person. I was mean and negative.
Early sobriety challenged me to really begin the process of taking a look to see how much stuff I was carrying around.
The truth is, until that time, I really didn’t want to let go of what I carried.
I really battled with myself; because I just had to keep all of the hatred.
In order to stay exactly where I was, I needed to keep that resentment and anger right by my side.
This made my addiction seem necessary to me.
I relied on having the convenience of falling back on all of this.
I had packed these feelings away for a very clear & obvious reason: to continue destroying myself.
So, I had already started the process of learning to forgive, and let go of the anger.
By allowing myself to forgive people in my life who had hurt me, that meant that the healing process had permission to begin. Over time, the resentment and bitterness began to dissipate too.
and it felt so refreshing.
-Shame
This is the kind of shame that takes years to develop but only a short time to completely base your identity on.
I am guessing that it resulted from years of struggling to be seen by parents who had problems of their own that they were focusing on, and not having my needs met as a small human.
Pair that with years of chosen self-destruction & knowing all of the people that I trampled on and treated poorly, and wala. You have a nice recipe for some self-shame. It was a sad cycle of self-hate. I would not let my mistakes escape my mind. I reminded myself all of the time of the things that I had done and who I had become, and then I would hide.
Facing this shame meant that I had to analyze some things that I preferred to keep quiet, and in order for me not to think about any of it, my plan had been to stay incoherent. It was always so much easier than thinking about any of it.
I had to admit that I had actually stolen, lied, cheated, and manipulated.
I burned bridges.
I hurt a lot of people.
I had made a long list of really terrible choices that were physically and emotionally unhealthy. Facing all of that meant…
that I would have to fess up to mistakes, take responsibility for my actions and in some cases, inaction.
I had this crazy huge fear of being exposed for what and who I had become.
Even though I was finally facing a version of myself who everyone else could plainly see already.
The reality of it was, I didn’t have to face every bad choice all at once. I had envisioned what facing these things would be like, and the reality was different. People were pretty accepting and understanding for the most part. The ones who weren’t I quickly learned were out of my control and I could only do my part to make amends. Either way, I fought my own self-shaming, by facing one thing at a time.

Facing the anger helped me to get rid of bitterness and resentment.
Facing the shame I hid from, helped me to feel less sad and really helped with my negative outlook on life.
Facing the fact that I simply won’t be accepted by some people, really helped me to embrace self-acceptance.
Over time I got strong enough to branch out, and start work on the other things.
The idea of letting these things go was really was scary.
Like everyone else I started this process feeling blind. I wasn’t sure how to ‘be’ without that familiar stuff that I identified with. Who was I if I wasn’t that old me?

After about a year, I began reading my Bible and really digging into it. I wanted to know about Jesus and who He was.

Turns out, as I learned about who He is, I began to form a more clear picture of who I was; who I really am.

God knew who I was all along, and was still waiting for me anyway. 
I learned that His word tells us a lot about self-destruction.
*Hebrews 12:15 says: See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
*Micah 7:19 says:  You will again have compassion on us. You will overcome our wrongdoing. You will throw all our sins into the deep sea.
*Romans 6:6 says: We know that the person we used to be was crucified with him to put an end to sin in our bodies. Because of this we are no longer slaves to sin.

To make the decision to try to learn how to let go of the things that we cannot control means that we are finally ready to accept things for exactly what they are. We are learning to be strong enough to live with reality, even if it isn’t how we expected it all to turn out.

 

 

 

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