"I can't give up friends I've known all my life. If they are drinking, I will leave so I don't drink too."
"I know that there is a lot of drugs there, but that is where everybody hangs out. I don't want them all to stop being my friend because I don't hang with them."
"C'mon, what is wrong with doing this? It keeps my mind off of all of this crap I need to deal with!"
These statements above are statements similar to what is heard when dealing with people new to recovery. It isn't unusual for them to buck the idea of giving up hanging around friends, going places, and doing things just like they did when they used and drank. Fear of losing old "friends" or being out of touch drives them right back to old haunts, where things everyone does leads to using, boozing, and losing again.
Nearly every failure I have witnessed by those new to recovery came from ignoring this warning. You will, in time, be able to be with old friends without fear of relapse. You will also feel confident to go to old places, if you are actively doing the work of recovery. Things you love to do, won't be a reason to ignore doing what is necessary to amend past behaviors, and deal with consequences.
When I first came into the sober life style, by God's grace, I accepted the fact I was alcoholic. I took the advice given in recovery meetings and determined to stay away from triggers to drink or drug. After around six months, I had a hankering to see some of my old friends. I went to a local bar, had conversations with those I had missed, drank Mountain Dew, and left satisfied that they were still my pals. Had I tried that earlier in my recovery, it would have been a disaster.
I learned much in those six months. I had went to more than one hundred meetings in my first ninety days, at the advice of others who had success living sober. Not going around my friends was hard at first, but that saved me. The places I loved to hang out in seemed foreign, even frightful.
The main thing was that I listened and believed what I heard. Don't think it was easy, but it really wasn't hard either...just different. There is a prize awaiting those willing to accept their addiction, the fact they are powerless, and want to experience life without drinking or drugging. The prize? That is really a package deal of perks that transcends what our pea-brains can contain.
Everything...everything improves, nothing is lost when we give anything. God in His wisdom returns manifold blessings when we give. That is also giving up things as well. Conforming our will to His will, hearing others warning of staying away from people, places, and things that have brought us to ruin, is returned with new people, places, and things that lead to real life, joy, and peace.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
If it weren't for God's Word, and His steadfast love and constant protection, I would not be able to have gone through the past two years without losing my sanity. As I write this post I am in the deepest state of perplexity and frustration I have ever personally encountered. There is only one solution, one door to this heaviness leaving me.
Have you ever came to the place where you seem completely alone? Have you gotten arrived at the doubt that maybe you were wrong about your every move? Or even doubting why you still are allowed to live after all of the crap you pulled? Welcome to my world. The questions above are just three examples of what I am experiencing in my adventures walking with Christ. Every post I make here in these writings, I face.
If I write about getting to meetings, I seem to get slammed with overtime at work. If I write about prayer and applying spiritual principles to recovery, I cannot seem to "think" to pray. I know the sources behind the struggles. There is a real enemy, "old scratch" I prefer to call him. he never stops the badgering of constant guilt. He tries every way to get me to try and control every outcome, everybody, and every decision without looking to God.
I am grateful for everything I just said above. Even grateful that the enemy fights me without relenting. Why? Am I completely nuts? Have I lost sanity already? Nope. I know his nonstop attempts to topple my world proves I have an effect in God's kingdom in my personal recovery from alcoholism and drug use. I am grateful to be an alcoholic.
I am a work in progress, just like you. The difference we make hangs on many things God blesses our lives with as we learn recovery from addictions. Two things weigh heavy; one, our service to God is our serving others. Two, gratitude for everything, good and bad. Praise to God for who He is, is gratitude. Thanking Him for all He has done for us, is gratitude. Praise is all about Him. Thankfulness is all about what He does for you and me. Different meanings, but lauding the same Source.
I cannot list all of the gratitude I have today. I will not even offer the short list, I want to keep my post here short, so maybe it will be read. I'll end this with a passage for us all to think about:
"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul. 'tberefore I hope in Him!" The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. Lam.3:22-25
Thanks for reading. God bless and keep you all! If you think about it, pray for me. Now would be a great time.
I can help myself stop thinking about it. I have a job now. I get to see my kids and have a place to stay. Things are better now than they have been in years...why can't I just stop thinking about using again?
Last evening in a small group discussion, not one, but two men said these words. Others in the group nodded their understanding, going through, or having been through the same thing. The fear of relapse is heavy on them. So heavy, in fact, that they cannot see solutions, hopelessly rambling to relieve some of the pressure.
"Keep doing what you are doing and you'll keep getting what you're getting."
I heard this statement early on in my recovery from alcohol and drug use. That goes for recovery as well as using. If you and I keep doing what helped us get clean and sober, we stay clean and sober. If we keep using and boozing, we will keep losing. The one straddling the fence, however, has one foot in the past and one in the future and miss the concept, "just for today." We only have a daily reprieve, and that is only if we do what is necessary to maintain freedom from addictions.
When most people struggle with their compulsion, they wrestle using willpower, doomed to fail and relapse. Forgetting how we received the gift of sobriety is where relapse begins, and that long before one actually does the deed. For some, they feel it would have been better for them to have never gotten clean, than to go back and do it again, killing their confidence, disappointing their loved ones.
"But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to its own vomit, ' and 'a sow, after washed, to her wallowing in the mire." 2 Pet.2:22
So if you are struggling to stay clean and sober, how did you get sober in the first place? If it came from being incarcerated, or from family insistence, or from most rehab programs, you have little to fall back on to maintain your freedom. If sobriety comes from getting to meetings, prayer, working the steps, serving others, etc., you have something to fall back on. Being diligent goes miles in recovery.
In short, if you are having a bad time with the compulsions, get to your knees, ask God for help. Get to a meeting, get on the phone to your sponsor...or get a sponsor, get into your devotional readings, get out of self and help another. The word get implies action and diligence. Diligence from the onset of recovery can keep the desire to do it again nothing more than a passing thought.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
There are days I do not want to deal with life's problems. How I handle that is, I don't deal with life's problems. Those days are rare. I know avoiding problems or challenges does not move me toward recovery, but away from recovery and away from spiritual fitness. It does not hurt anyone to take time to relax from all of the action, you know, heal up, get your "spiritual balance."
Resting for a time does not mean to ignore who I was for nearly two decades. It is not to forget where God brought me from either. I can remember without stressing my self out or thinking about all of the things that I need to accomplish.
There are several ebooks I really want to complete. There are people I need to call. I want to get back into the regimen of 3-4 miles per day on the treadmill. I want to get to some AA meetings I have not attended, in a while. I want to spend time with family....I want ....STOP! See what I mean?
I do not have to forget, ignore, overlook, visit, call, attend, or do anything at all for one day. The need for rest cannot be overlooked, ever.. The passion for life is stifled when I ignore rest. That day of rest never omits God, I know He is my true rest. If I declare a day of rest, it is a day for He and I to bond, where He can "restore my soul." I may take my guitar out and strum Him a few tunes. (He is okay with my pitiful performance). Or I may just meditate on Him, talk to Him a while, and dig in to His Word.
The results from the day is; my passion for life comes alive again! I'm ready to help others with renewed vitality. Hunger to serve becomes ravenous and in the forefront of my thoughts. So I ask myself, "why not make that a weekly requirement?"
My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1