I’ve Had a Good Life!

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I ran into my brother-in-law of my first marriage and it seemed as if time hadn’t changed from the almost thirty plus years last seeing him.  He was on the corner looking for a handout.  Whether alcohol or drugs, if not even for food, the point was, nothing had changed in his life.  He was still, “out there”.  After speaking with him for a few minutes catching up with the news of former family and friends, and putting money in his hand, he said something which caught my attention, “I’ve had a good life.”

A GOOD LIFE!  Having lost your wife to AIDS!  No job and no job prospects, living in a rooming house and that was barely because I knew the landlord and the word “eviction” came up in a conversation pertaining to him, and in winter, no support whatsoever and you’ve had a “good life”?  Either he’s stoned now or I am, because, I missed something.  Then I thought about what he said and the context in which he said it.  He was alive when many of the people traveling along the path he traveled for so many years were dead.  He’s saw a lot regardless of how he has seen it and except for some obvious situations, he and I were pretty much the same.  I’m, too, am only a “hit away” from a full-blown addictive lifestyle.  I, too, am only a paycheck or two away from being homeless—again!

It is a good life actually.  I’m alive and can feel.  I can think and I’m thinking right now how good life really is.  How I am grateful in spite of all the superficial difficulties I think I am in, I still have a God who is taking care of this child.

Yeah, thanks Chuckie for teaching me truth about life.  At least we still have it!

No matter how difficult life may seem at the moment, we’re still here and for all tense and purposes, we’re still making it work and there is a God who’s still giving opportunities…

                                                                                   

*Chuckie died in 2010.  This was written 2007

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Just Turn It Off!

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I was not finished with the conversation I was having as I was finishing with work.  So, I took a room for what would be only for an hour.  I worked at a hotel.  I still was not finished in time to be able to catch the bus, so I had another hour to wait.  I had breakfast and caught the next bus.  When I arrived home, there was yet additional people online I needed to speak with and ended up chatting with them while watching the Virginia College shooting tragedy.  I took a sleep aid, not a full dosage because I would not have adequate time to sleep it off, just time for a four hour nap before having to get up and head for work where it would start all over again.

I lay in bed and sat straight up!  I recognized the symptoms of addiction.  I sat in front of the pc, after a short prayer, and began to uninstall two of the chat services out of the five I used.  Then the ones remaining, I reduced the amount of people on my list, only keeping the precious few I developed friendships with.  I was then able to not only sleep peacefully but later at work I was able to accomplish goals I had set previously for myself because I didn’t have the distraction as before.

Whether online sexual chatting, drugs, sex, alcohol, shopping, etc., an addiction is an addiction and it needs to be conquered in whatever form it happens to have a hold on you.  The one important and good thing I had was the experience to recognize when I was addicted.  When you’re not able to sleep as you should, or shop for necessary items like groceries and it’s not because you don’t have money such as in the case of a substance abuse, but lack of time because of inappropriate, compulsive chatting online, then you need to put into practice the same techniques used for any addiction of your past.  Just “turn it off”!

 

The beautiful gift of having had an addiction is the experience learned, and the prevention of additional ones which are very subtle in their first appearance.

Why Continue Feeding the Locust?

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The Bible talks about God permitting the locust and caterpillars to eat away at our assets when we do not follow Him.  In other words, He orders those things we call good: homes, jobs, families, money, education advantages to disappear because we are not being mindful of the One who brings us those things better known as blessings.  As an addict, you remember how you sold those items of value to give you what money you needed in order to obtain more drugs.  You continued and continued until you ran out and then you began to look around to see what others had so you could steal.

Those days are finally over.  There is also a text which says God will make the former house greater than the latter.  He restores unto us the years the locust and caterpillars have eaten, WHEN we return to Him.  Isn’t this great?  How many times, when testifying about addiction you talked about things you lost?  Well, here’s a newsflash:  You did not lose anything.  You see, when you lose something, it means you’ve misplaced it.  Like a coin in your pocket falling out and when you reached into your pocket to complete a sale, it’s not there.  Well, you remember exactly where that television went, where that car went, where those family members went, where those laptop’s, as in my case,  were sold.  You didn’t “lose” them, you “sold” them.  We just happen to have a Heavenly Father who remembers exactly where you gave them away, and He promises to restore those things back to us “if” we give ourselves and our addictions over to Him.

So, now that feeding time is finished for those locust and caterpillars, it’s time for us to eat and enjoy the fruit of our labor.

When you sit sullen and remember those things you have given away for a moment of ill-gotten pleasure…

Just keep in mind the treasure you will soon experience.  The reward of giving your life to God.

He Knew Beforehand

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During the long years of my addiction, I never had this thought until many years in my sobriety did I realize God knew all of this long before I ever picked up my first drug.  Think about it.  Before you were born, He knew the suffering and pain you would have to undergo before you would reach this part of your life of having overcome addiction!  Now, as awesome as this might sound, the second part of it will really amaze you.  He knew it would be the catalyst whereby you would be saved!  That’s right!  He was going to use all of the heartache associated with addiction to bring you into His presence where He would be able to save you!

We couldn’t see Him while hanging on the corner, in the ‘hood, looking for that next hit.  We couldn’t see Him while sneaking around the dilapidated buildings trying to find a dry place to use.  We couldn’t see Him when we sold our television or wedding rings, or couldn’t show up for work, or was kicked out of our homes, separated from our families, left in isolation in “The Box” in prison.  We couldn’t see Jesus was right there, all the time, not only in the midst of our filth, but He wanted us to see Him, to ask Him what we are asking Him now, for salvation.  Why, oh why, could we not see Him then as we are seeing Him now?  What’s the difference?

It is for certain, He has never changed.  It is us.  Let’s use this time now to continue looking at Him, promising Him and ourselves to not lose sight of Him again, knowing from whence we’ve come.

Nothing about you has gone to waste, except, when you have given up.

Be Easy on Yourself

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In some of our past lives, prior to addiction, some of us were attorneys, pastors, accountants, housewives and husbands, doctors, clerical workers, etc.  We had a purpose and goals set for our lives until addiction came and robbed us of everything.  Then we found the way to sobriety and began to have desires and reclaimed those lost dreams.  We found ourselves pushing, striving and reaching for those things which were the hallmark of our happiness.  We also learned to desire for those things we hadn’t thought about before and we very often found ourselves disappointed and frustrated because they’re not happening fast enough.

I struggled with fame and the need to do great things for the Lord.  I should be on the pulpit with this message given to me.  I should be managing houses of ministry for persons caught in addiction as I was.  I should be on the air, in print, in everything until God stopped me dead in my tracks one night while walking to work.  I was praying and asked Him what it was He wanted me to do now I was saved and sober.  What great tasks was I to perform which would bring acclaim to His name?  How many people did He want me to go out and be the catalyst of their salvation?  His answer was both short and a surprise.  It was,

“Can’t it be enough My goal was to save you?”

When we think about all the great things we have lost, all of the great things we now can do…

Remember what great thing God had done, just in saving you!

Don’t Count on It!

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It was to be John’s 20th year celebration of sobriety.  The cake was laid out and nicely prepared.  There were wrapped gifts and trinkets on the table to commemorate this milestone in a “former” addict’s life.  All was prepared except, John.  You see, John relapsed the night before, just for a moment, but was brave enough to confess it to the group, in tears.  People were stunned and a great silence fell over the room.  No one knew what to say.  Then the meeting continued as if nothing happened except the cake was divided during the break as if it were a normal part of the program, no celebration, no giving of gifts.  There was nothing to celebrate.

I knew then there was something grossly in error with AA/NA/CA.  I thought John was very courageous to admit, at this particular meeting, the truth about himself.  When others could only hope to have counted the years he had, he was treated as if it didn’t matter at all.  What was even more disheartening was, he would now begin at day “one” again, as if those years achieved had no value at all!

I am so grateful my sobriety is due to Christ’s forgiveness and help and isn’t depended upon my ability to count; and should I fail, even today, I don’t begin to count over again, no, it just picks up from where it left off.

I’m so glad in terms of counting, it only matters I “count” to God.

Today I Struggled

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Actually, it’s been all week I’ve thought about picking up.  During the weekend, I began to formulate a plan:  where I would go, how much money I would take, how long I would plan to be gone, how to avoid detection, how to salvage what was left behind.  Today, the Sabbath, I did not go to church.  I thought perhaps if I had gone the thoughts would go away, but I also know the truth about this.  It doesn’t.  Church has little to do with it except if you really want to use, it just delays the timing of the first usage.  So, instead, I struggled with what I wanted—really wanted.  And it was not drugs.

I made a statement once to a member of a N.A. association whenever I needed a meeting or wanted to talk to my “sponsor”, I would just fall on my knees.  So, instead, I had a talk with my “Sponsor—Jesus” and had a meeting with Him.  I told Him I really didn’t want to do this and I certainly could use His support in this time of struggle.

What He told me was what I already knew.  I didn’t have to do it because that life is already past.  I know addiction doesn’t have the hold on me it once did “unless” I wanted, because I was set free.  So, instead of acting upon something which was not mine anymore—addiction, I acted upon what I did have today—freedom.

The struggle is over, again.

Just when you think your struggle won’t last, and everything you worked for is past, try Jesus.

Learning How to be Quiet

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It happened to me in the beginning and I have seen it happened to many others as they begin this adventure called sober living.  We get a few hours, for some—days, and we think we can go out and conquer the world.  We think we are strong enough to undue all which has been done and resume our place in the world, and for the majority of those who think in this way, it is only “round 2” in the boxing ring of drug addiction and we get knocked out!

I remember Danny.  Danny came into the ministry the same time I did.  It’s a fellowship of camaraderie you build because you gain strength from each other and you need to.  There is no fooling each other about what is, “out there”, and when one is weak the other can bring encouragement which cannot be gotten from outsiders.  You see, it is the outsider which got us into trouble.  Oh, they mean well, those wives, girlfriends, husbands and boyfriends, those parents, children, friends, work associates, etc., who would like to have us rejoin them.  In truth, we are not ready.  We need more than hours and days of clean time.  We need to learn how to be quiet, to be still, and to be able to hear what God is sharing within us.

Danny couldn’t be still.  We were living in a barrack type lifestyle for this next phase of our recovery.  We were required to live thirty days in this way and would move into rooms where there would be more privacy and interpersonal relationships would develop.  Danny wanted to go home.  He felt he could make it now.  We tried to encourage him to complete what he began.  Danny just couldn’t be still.

Well, Danny is very quiet today.  The day he made it home, his mother found him in the bathroom, dead, with a needle in his arm!   Being quiet will happen, one way or the other. 

 

Do not always feel you have to be doing something.  Just be still and let God do it.

Ever Wonder Why You Became Addicted?

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Many will offer many reasons as to why you might have become an addict whether due to your dysfunctional family history, emotional issues or society of which you associate, but “how” you became an addict is simply because you chose to make a decision to use the first time.  Why you did it, is another story.  Many secular programs would have you believe you will always be an addict, and it is a disease and all you have to do is just not, “pick up”.  None of which is necessarily true—if you don’t want it to be.

When I attended my first meeting, I knew instantly what I was hearing, I was in the wrong place.  I could not accept I would have this struggle all my life.  If this would be the case, I was doomed.  I loved the feeling of the high too much.  I loved the hunt, the “mission” as it is called on the street; and if it had to deal with what was wrong with me, from birth or growing up, then how could I possibly correct this?

In short, it was not a program or a ministry, nor friends or a change of ideology which is responsible for my sobriety today.  It was Jesus.  He assured me He could fix any dysfunctional family history.  He assured me He could heal any emotional issues, and He also assured me if I associate with Him, then my desire to associate with others, who were not good for me, would change.

And, so I did.  As a result of doing it, I’m no longer an addict.  I am not bothered by activities of a disease and I don’t concern myself with not “picking up” today.  I just live in the manner which He has wanted me to do, since the beginning, when He first thought about me.

Do not let other’s inability to receiving healing, be the reason for you not living in it.

Thank God You Made It

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When I was taken to the drug addiction ministry which would become the catalyst of my sobriety, it was being administered by an elderly man had suffered his own struggle with addiction during the heroin epidemic in the 50’s and 60’s.  When he asked me why I wanted to be admitted, I told him my story.  He peered over his glasses and under his straw hat, seeming to look inside my soul to see if he could detect anything amiss with his cataract-filled eyes; and after pouring out my heart to him said, “Well son, thank God you just made it.  Come on in.”

His message to those men and women who would enter those portals was this:  We were special and marked as such.  In the spirit world not only angels could see us but the devil as well.  He could see God’s special hand upon us and worked especially hard to destroy us because of the influence he knew we’d have if we were set free.  I believed him.  I knew I was God’s own and I knew the evil one was especially after me and grateful for the privilege to have a place of refuge to enter where I could re-establish my relationship with God.  I knew there would be no other way for me to obtain freedom from the addictions I suffered.

I’ve said it many times before but I’ll state it here for the first time.  If the devil could only realize how in fact he is cooperating with God to drive us forward into the kingdom where he can no longer enter, then he would stop bothering us.  It’s very important as you begin this new journey, this new adventure in living, to not give up when you’re frustrated and disappointed, when you feel the urge to go back, “out there”.  You’re supposed to have these moments because he still wants you, to destroy you, so, “Thank God, you made it”, and now stay where it is safe. 

 

Never give up on yourself. Keep going until the end.

Vikki Blossom