Imagine how your stomach might churn, your knees shake, imagine the thoughts racing through your head if your Dr handed you down this news..."you've got 6 months, I'm terribly sorry." Kinda creepy, isn't it. It happens every day to people. But in reality none of us know which day will be the last on Earth, and we should strive to make each one count. Here's something you must do, write your obituary as if you died today. Write it honestly, think about your accomplishments, people you've helped. This is a real eye opener, seeing how you view your life. Before sobriety, I honestly felt my life had no meaning and I had an unhealthy self-hate. The people I would help in life were the ones close to me, and I seldom did anything for them. Clean and sober, I want to do all I can for as many as I can for as long as I can. I want to spend my time on this planet with purpose, that being serving God and man. I don't want anyone to feel I'm being bragadocious at all. This is just what drives me today.
"teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Ps.90:12 (NKJV)
I'm unsure how I would use each day of 6 mos. if that's what I had. But I'm sure I wouldn't go skydivin' or Rockie mountain climbing. (I love that song) Giving it some thought, I would talk, or write to my wife, my children, my grandchildren, as much as could about life and living. I would try my best to help them understand serving God and all of the rewards, and the joy, and the serenity doing His service offers. I would explain the benefits of serving people that need help, not to be big-headed, or proud, don't trust in money, be prepared spiritually in every situation, and pray often, pray daily over your home, your children, spouse, coworkers, friends, your place of worship. I don't think I could mention all of the things I would want to say, but they'd probably hope I would give it a rest, my wife does now. The question I ask myself is, "why don't you do that now, why wait?" I think its fear of being over bearing and turning them off. So, if you had just 6 months, what would you do?
Most people may think of that dream trip, or hanging out at the casino, many would try just to enjoy what's left, I understand. But think about it. Now do one more thing, write your obituary as if you died 20 yrs from now. Would anything be different? Think about it. Have a great weekend, stay clean, stay sober. God bless and keep you all. Keith
Letting go of resentments or grudges if you prefer, are liberating to the soul that's searching for spiritual growth. Exposing and unloading grudges is key for anyone looking to be free of any type of addiction. Most addicts and alcoholics enter into recovery programs with similar stories of how and why they became addicted, and most with a similar grudge, against God. They are mad at Him because of where they are. "He didn't keep me from jail when I asked," or, "He didn't keep me from the DUI, it bankrupted me and I lost everything." I can tell you something else He didn't do for you, He didn't leave heaven, come to Earth and stick a needle in your arm or shove whiskey down your throat. People who are mad at God, or don't believe in Him, have never really made an effort to find Him in the first place. If you refuse to see your part in where you are and you want to play the blame game, blame the god you were serving when addictions and consequences came, yourself. Or blame the evil one that coaxed you to that lifestyle.
Other relatives can be a source of grudge bearing, as well as employers and co-workers. If I continue here I may be redundant and I'd rather save it for another time because we really need solutions to unloading these weights unforgiveness lay on us. If we live in the solution, the above mentioned is much easier to deal with. Here are good, effective suggestions that have worked for many: 1) Pray for the people in life you can't tolerate, or ones that kind of irk you when they're around. Ask God to really bless them, bring them to Himself, give their hearts desires. You may say, "you sir, are a complete imbecile." Well that's beside the point, but it really works! I have seen it first hand with myself and my wife, and people who I've personally worked with in recovery. They may not change, but they may change in your eyes. And you will change when you take the time to pray for others, but especially your enemies. 2) Forgive anyone for anything you feel is a wrong done to you. Then just let it go, surrender your will. Give it to God. When thoughts of picking up the load come back to you, and they will, ask God to remove the thought immediately. 3) Find someone, a friend or a mentor that you can really talk to. Make sure they're not a critical towards others, but thoughtful and. It's great to know God is there to hear your prayer, but He also uses people, and this person will hold you accountable for your thoughts and actions. 4) Think about your goals or aspirations, your children. If you don't change you'll be the way you are the rest of your life...are you okay with that? Unforgiveness will leave you where you're at, no personal or spiritual growth. And your children will be just like you, is that good? 5) Think thoughts of love and kindness to those around you. Read 1Cor. 13 in the Amplified Bible, (you can get that online at Biblestudytools.com), read that for 30 days straight, you'll never be the same.
I really hope these past few blogs have helped. If we have all agreed unforgiveness, grudes or resentments stifle joy and serenity in our lives. Then just let them go. God bless and keep you all. Keith
Holding a grudge or resentment is the heaviest weight one can carry. Being focused on them can be very addictive, and can take you dark places in your heart and mind. They can take the doper, drinker, gambler, sex addict, every type of addict into a relapse. So, I posed the question yesterday, who is it you cant' forgive? An ex-spouse or significant other, your boss, the company you work for, someone supposed to be your friend, God, church people, President Obama? Chances are good I hit one of them with that list. You may be thinking, I really don't have a grudge against anybody, and I hope that's true. But when you see a person that did you wrong in the past, how do you feel? "He/she will get theirs one these days, or, how could they have done this to me?" Or maybe you envision them getting into their car and it blowing up. Or even their losing everything...you get the picture. The most damaging grudges we carry is in the home, either sibling rivalries or husband and wife discord, when it comes to grudge-holding damage. But the number one life choking, goal killing, addiction starting grudge is.....ready..that person in the mirror, that's right, you. We have to fix this person first.
I know that when I was younger I had ambitions or aspirations of success, wealth, and even fame. I could write that check for the full amount, but had an empty bank account. After each failure, each time I changed jobs to get ahead but didn't, each idea I procrastinated until I forgot about, gave me a literal self-hate that led me into alcoholism...that, I was good at. I resented everything about myself, my upbringing, my education or lack thereof..I wanted to reinvent myself. By drinking and using drugs, I could rub elbows with prominent people and they would shove my sorry self up the latter of fortune. That didn't work. Getting sober and working the AA's 12 steps, and turning my life and will over to God's care did. I then knew that I can forgive myself in the light of His love for me through Christ, and the love of those dear folks in recovery. They loved me until I could love myself again.
More words of Jesus, "...love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those that curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you." Luke 6:27-28 (NKJV)
Families all have struggles with internal grudges and unforgiveness whether in the immediate household, or others like, meddling mom and dads, brothers and sisters, or aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. This internal strife are marriage destroying even if there is no separation or divorce. The driving force behind the resentments are people entering marriage without understanding the partnership and purpose of the union, both striving to control the other, both being intolerant of the other's annoying habits, both spilling their problems on outsiders in the family, neither communicating. Normally, silence is the ultimate killer, no talking it through, just regular explosions and raging when things come to a head. Finally the couple tire of arguing and just don't talk at all. The children pick up that behavior and the parents add to the flames of bitterness by carrying their anger toward the kids poor grades, or messy room. Those little lives become adults and do the same to their spouse and children. So, what's the answer? Just let it go, surrender trying to control. Surrender first to God, turn your will and life over to His care...and mean it, say to Him your sorry. Then ask Him for help to mend up the messed up family relationship. Second, make an attempt to heal the wounds of resentments. Don't say something stupid like, "I can't live like this any longer," you're asking for another brawl. Say this, "I'm really sorry for how things have turned out, can we just talk for a minute?" And expect a "no" at first. If you get that no, start smiling, maybe go around the house singing, and be pleasant. Hug the kids, tell them you love them, they're much more forgiving. Give God time to work on the other, but be surrendered. Don't bring home flowers, make a big meal, or dress sexy. Let it go, let God melt the other's heart. He will. But if you're thinking that this is bogus, he/she hurt me way too bad too often...continue your way, I hope it works for you. But if you want the warmth and love of a home under His influence, try Him. Forgive yourself, forgive your family, life will be better until it's wonderful, you'll see, let it go. Tomorrow I want to go a little further about letting grudges go in regard to God, our jobs, and hopefully friends. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
I've done many things in life I'm sorry for. And for the most part, those are things I coulda, shoulda, or woulda done but didn't. Most of these were things that I may have learned with a little patience, like getting a little more education to land a better job. But lessons have been learned, and life goes on. What really causes remorse are people I've hurt, grudges I carried, those vengeful feelings toward those who hurt me. Now these things....I can't pass off with an, "oh well, thats how it goes." Unforgiveness is a load you carry to your death. Resentments destroy personal and spiritual growth. Unamended wrongs never allows sorrow from bad memories to disappear. I have to break free of these to truly live.
Jesus said this, "and when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that the Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Mark 11:25 (NIV) There is liberty in total forgiveness of suffered wrongs. Jesus also said in the next verse that if you don't forgive, you won't be forgiven. And there is total restraint in living joyously in unforgiveness. I want, I must forgive any and all. Someone may say, "well I forgive them but I'm not going to forget what they did." Dishonesty is bad too. You haven't truly forgiven if you are unwilling to not even mention the event. We all know someone that is full of resentments, anger, and bitterness, never smiling. That may be how people see you and me. But if we practice forgiveness, and pray for those poor twisted folk, our life will be so fulfilled that we may start looking deeper to find more people to forgive. Don't think that the words of Christ fit His time and not for us. 2000 years later they're even more relevant than ever. Is there anyone in your life you just can't forgive? Should everyone be forgiven that's harmed you? What about grudges or resentments, got any? Tomorrow I may continue this, God willing. If you will, hit the RSS feed at the top when you're done. God bless and keep you all. Keith
Its Sunday and I was watching a little football action, Cleveland over Miami by a nose. I was only about half interested because I was thinking about Sunday afternoons in my illustrious past. Then, after the early game, I was a little lit up and eager for the next game. By the time the second game ended, I was either passed out, or had that empty feeling, another weekend wasted. I'm so glad God lead me out of that life. My thoughts turned to others who still suffer with addictions. Right now, their feeling good, screaming at the TV like the team can hear them, or already out cold. That life stinks. They may not think so yet, but when things are quiet, they reflect and see their emptiness. Is that you? Is that someone you love? After years of waste I wanted out, tried everything, but nothing worked. I came to believe that something or someone bigger than me could help, eventually I found that help.
I cannot tell you the times people have come to me for help to get free. Or family members ask me to give a spouse, a child, or a close friend a call, hoping I can persuade them to quit doping or drinking. I have found that my best efforts are in vain if they are unwilling. When I call, they aren't ready. They call me, they're ready, they've finally made it, they're a the bottom. Congratulations! It's not the loss of property, jobs, or even family that causes the final "bottom." It's the inward feeling of brokeness, the thought that either I stop drinking or I die.
(to God) "So listen! and be kind! Help me out of this!" Psalms 30:10 (MSG) God is ready when you are. Verse 11 says, "and You did it: You changed wild lament into a whirling dance!" Ask Him for help whether you believe he exist or not. If He doesn't exist, it cost you nothing. If He does exist, you'll gain everything! But be serious when you ask. This is surrender, you stop running the universe and allow Him to do what He does best. Then get to an AA or NA meeting where people will love you until you're able to love yourself. These people are ready for you and your baggage, they'll help you shoulder the load. You, or the one in your life that has the drinking/drug/gambling/overeating/pornography/anger/fear/...enough already, whatever your addiction, you must choose, life to the full or living death. If you choose the addictions..God help you, we can pray for your family. If you choose life, you'll be glad you came to believe. Thanks y'all. God bless and keep you. This site is still under construction with empty pages. I will try to have it complete over the next week or so...but you can still click on the pages, the colors are pretty!
Is there anyone who hates compliments, or being genuinely appreciated? I don't think so. If no one ever says, "good job," or I like what you're doing, chances are good we end up hating what we're doing and want to quit. Without proper motivation we tend to give up whatever our endeavor and move on to other things, and appreciation shown to us from others motivates. Mom's will cook, clean, do wash, run kids to their activities, do the shopping, an endless list, and rarely do they hear, "thanks mom for all you do, you take such good care of us." That hurts, doesn't it mom? Dad gets up and goes to work, stressing over making enough money to meet exspenses, and affording a better lifestyle for his family. And often comes home and mows the lawn, makes repairs on the car or home, and doesn't hear, "thanks, your the best." The children go to school in the morning and set through hours of teaching, come home with homework, hopefully do their chores, bathe, and bed, does anyone say, "you're doing great, keep up the good work," do you?
At work, its much the same. Many companies try to find something wrong instead of something right with their workers. Management receive raises, I'm told, if they find violations, in some companies. Do you believe that? Use the iron fist not the hand of unity, where true strength is found. But true appreciation, and complimenting good work, goes miles beyond fear tactics. Those companies that appreciate, make their employees a part of their teams, and show gratitude for their efforts, have dedicated, motivated people that love their jobs. Money and benefits follow because production skyrockets, and the lazy and dissention starters are rooted out...by their peers.
So what should be done? In the home, thank mom for what she does, and be sincere. Pat dad's shoulder and tell him how grateful you are for his hard work. And parents, show your love for your children by a hug, and a "good job," and not telling them your stories of walking to school uphill both ways for five miles through snow and no shoes. Give them household chores. Help them develop good habits, doing homework before TV, and really limit video games, its a bad babysitter.
Above all, give thanks where it is really due...God. Who gave you the strenth to perform these tasks, the tongue to express appreciation? He did, give thanks. Read Col. 3, Eph. 5, they tell families how to act toward each other. Do this, tell God how you appreciate Him for all He does for you, its life changing when consistent. Thanks for reading, tell a friend...I appreciate, I really mean that. The kind words about the site and the book have encouraged me more than you know. God bless and keep you all. Keith
Saying the wrong thing comes natural for me. I've always wanted to make sure everyone knows how I feel and that I'm right. Ego+mouth=trouble. That is a good math formula, don't you agree? Seriously, most of my life went that way. If you liked Hunts catsup, you were wrong, Heinz ketchup is the best, your tastebuds are really messed up. That would be enough for me to not like you. How childish I have been. Of course, your still wrong about the Hunts catsup, but I like you anyway. Getting sober and working to stay that way has brought the opinions I've had and the things I've said to my attention. God has used the rooms of AA, Celebrate Recovery, prayer, and the daily feasting on the Word, to show me that my opinions had to go. Then the mouth had to be retrained to speak life, not death. "Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Prov.18:21 (NKJV) I have learned that my words carry a lot of weight, especially to the person to whom it matters the most, me. I believe what I say and what I think about myself. If I call myself an idiot when I mess up, i believe that. If I say I don't like to read, I believe that. If I say I'm not much on exercise, I believe that too. I put myself in a "dead zone" so to speak with my verbal opinions of myself. I've had to make the uturn with my way of thinking and talking, and have arrived in the "living life" sector. It's harder to live there because my lease there says, "no procrastination, no laziness," It's easy living with the dead because there's no rules, just be your hateful, scornful, opinionated self.
I want to stay away from dead talk, and spread life with my words. I don't want people running to hide when they see me coming. No one wants to hang around a grump. I think the other six dwarfs didn't care much for Grumpy, especially Happy and Snow White, if the truth be known. People love to be around happy people that pick them up and encourage them. People that wear a smile no matter what their employer does, or how much their wife or husband screams and yells, or how bad the choir at church stinks. So which one are you? Now be honest, if you're thinking right now you're not that bad, you're that bad. People aren't going to tell you, they want to live. Just think when you walk into the group at work what you're about to say. Is it life or death? Think when you walk into your child's messed up room. Is it life or death? I'm doing my best today, I think, to speak life in this world we live in, its hard but needful, I want to live life to the full and stay full of life. Thanks for reading, God bless you all. Keith......oh yeah, t
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews11:1 (NIV)
Don't you love commercials for alcohol. Ah, the high life. If you drink Bud you can salute the real men of genius. Or maybe you'll be cool like Keith Stone, or make the decision once and for all if Miller Lite is less filling or taste great. Do you think beer makers really want you to drink responsibly? I mean, for crying out loud, they spend millions upon millions on commercials to promote drunkeness. I have seen many of the ads that make you wonder if its booze or sex they solicit. The real thing they want is money, your money. You get the picture. And I'm well aware that not everyone is alcoholic. Some people drink a glass of wine or beer with their food and that's all. But those like me even the thought of a glass is unrealistic, even deadly. I not only want to steer my life clear of drinking but also help those who want to really live and enjoy their time on the planet. The key is, they must want to quit.
"Drinking too much makes you loud and foolish. Its stupid to get drunk." Prov. 20:1
The hardest part of sobriety is the admission that you're a drunk. This really happens; people come to AA or other similar programs, and say I'm not sure if I'm an alcoholic. Sadly, they just had their third dui/ovi, lost their job, family, friends, etc. Are you kidding? Their minds are so focused on their own personal goodness that they can conceive they're a drunk! As they return to meetings, they see that they truly are alcoholic, and start working on their sobriety. Don't kid yourself. You're playing with your future, maybe even your very life.
To get sober, get a game plan. First, ask God to help you get real and get right. Second, find a AA meeting in your area, or a Celebrate Recovery group, and get to a meeting. You will find hope. And you will get well. But first you have to get up. Get there with a attitude that you will get well even if nothing else has ever worked. Pay attention to what is said as people take turns speaking. From these find a person to help you be accountable, a mentor or sponsor. There you're going to see how these programs have help others like you, and your life will begin to change. Perhaps you're not the drinker in the family. But your spouse or child, or a close friend is. Don't try to coax them to a meeting, have them check out this site. Let God do what He does...be God. You can't get them to go to a meeting but they may read a blog. Our time here is nearing an end, we're in the home stretch. Let's get sober, serve others, and above all, serve the Lord. God bless all, keep coming back! Keith.