Rising and Falling

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I touched briefly on this yesterday but it is so important I wanted to take it a step further.  There will come a time, sooner than you think, when your outward condition is going to change into something very positive.  As a result when things are becoming better your emotional outlook will begin to rise as well.  People will be contacting you to share your story, you may write a book or even get involved in ministry helping others who are like you were and when you see success in what is being accomplished, another problem will present itself:  pride.

Certainly, not another drug or substance can touch you.  There is no mistaking another substance being introduced to you.  You are too wise for this and even God won’t allow it to happen even for lesson’s sake, but what does occur is, feelings of being needed is replaced with, “they can’t do without me”.  Perhaps the biggest drug you will ever encounter will be “ourselves”!  I think, too, this will be the biggest fight you will ever have to undergo.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

We MUST remember ALWAYS what it was which prevented us from continuing in the path we were on.  It had nothing to do with us but everything to do with God.  WE MUST REMEMBER THIS!!!  God was our answer and not ourselves.  People are being drawn to us because of the Drawer, not “us”.  He put us in these positions of power for them, and not put them in these terrible positions of addiction for “us”.  And as long as we remember where we came from it will keep us from returning to worse. 

Contentedness is one of the greatest lessons to be learned.  You will learn it, though.  Whether it will be an easy lesson or difficult is totally up to you.

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Keep Your Eyes on God and Not Man

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One of the most prominent problems faced in recovery is we are too busy looking around us and “envying” those who have been blessed.  We see the cars, houses, families, money and apparent happiness and we desire it.  There is nothing wrong with desiring but there is something wrong with “coveting”, wanting something so badly we would do whatever it takes to get it, and being so consumed on having it we forget or discount our own reasoning of why we are here.

Certainly, there are blessing ahead, for you, when you have gain ground on addiction, but keep in mind those you see have been placed in front of you for a purpose.  It is to have “hope” in that all you are doing will not be in vain.  There is no guarantee, nothing written and stamped with God’s approval this is what He will do for you.  These are the blessings He has given to them and you should be pleased someone, such as you are and were, have been restored to some semblance of happiness.  Yours is coming.

We have to keep in mind God has called us to this place where we are right now and when He sees it fit, He will grant those things which we would like and make us happy.  He gives us in moderation so we don’t lose sight on what is most important:  our relationship with Him should be ongoing and not temporary when we have received what we want and then have no further need of Him!  Oh yes, this is a major problem not just for addicts but for those who’ve never tasted substance abuse.  There are many other forms of “substance” abuse which doesn’t include drugs and alcohol.  This is why so many people who were blessed with “shiny things” lose them because they got caught up in the reflection and brilliance and not in the Source.

Don’t put all your interest in attaining earthly “stuff” when our focus should be on heavenly blessings.

Falling is not Guaranteed

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There is nothing preventing us from falling especially when we are not paying attention to those around us who fell.

During the beginning stages of my recovery, both in houses of ministry, three of the key people responsible for me and my fight of addiction fell!  Two of them I never heard or saw them again and the third we did meet and decided to join forces and combat addiction.  I cannot say I was afraid for myself when I heard of them reverting backwards or better known as “relapsed” because I was too focused on my own circumstances.  I didn’t know then what I know today that no matter how far along this road you travel there is “ALWAYS” the possibility of making a mistake, or better known as “relapse”. 

God places people in our path who will be in their own struggle.  He wouldn’t cause someone to fall just for your benefit but if it should occur remember they are human, too.  Remember they are traveling along the same road you are and it doesn’t matter, or should matter, that you would look upon them as being any different from you.  If anything, you should have compassion for them because you would want the same.  The fact you witnessed someone who was doing so well and fallen, again, should give you this one confidence:  Only God can prevent yours.  We should not feel so secure within ourselves this will not happen to us.  There is nothing of us which prevents us from falling, except God, and when we begin to depend upon our own strategies and think we are incapable of “relapsing” then we are setting ourselves up for that day when it does happen.  And then what?

 

Our best efforts are nothing when compared to God’s effort for us.

Step by Step before the Crash

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God never punishes you without you being forewarned.  This is the loving way of such a Great Father.  His love for us is so great, He encourages while correcting in offering stages of help to match our stage in life to bring about the desired result.  He knows exactly where we are in the scheme of things and all done, on our behalf, is in proportion of where we are.  Nothing is too great for us and when it seems it is too advanced, it is done to lift us higher in our experience toward the perfect goal.

As I progressed in my recovery I could see how He brought me along.  What I know today I could never have accepted it in 2002 when, I believe, began my ascent from the life of drug addiction.  What I experienced in 2002, I could never accepted in 1991, when my addiction was in the full-blown stage, never mind in 1989 when I had my first experience.  As I review my history in this walk, I can clearly see how He has brought about these changes, in me, which will get better as I continue to live and experience what He wishes for me.

In contrast, I also learned about failure and warnings He provides.  When I didn’t listen to my heart, what I really wanted to do and my conscience, Him speaking to me, He would tell me what would happen and sure enough, it did!  I didn’t like the “spanking” He gave me but as in all natural spankings, it ends soon and then you get another try to make better.  In receiving Father’s spanking, I recognized it was done not because of what I had done but because of Who He is.  He loves me.  He wishes the best for me and if this would bring about the desired result He would never withhold it from me.

 

Every crash is meaningful if taken for what it really means.

You Will Not Lose…

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…when you’ve decided to allow God to bring you out from addiction.

When you have made the decision addiction will no longer be a part of your life, God will put into place every necessary ingredient to make this decision a reality.  There is nothing you can do for yourself which will not bring about His efforts to couple with yours into achieving your goal.  He has placed within you the desire and guided you into making this decision and once agreed by turning your will into His hands, He will hold nothing back.

Whether it is from a secular or religious program/ministry, all genuine effort will be rewarded.  This is the key:  genuine.  The other key to making it work is:  effort.  The remaining key to achieving total success is:  sharing.  You cannot have a fulfilling and successful lifestyle of clean-living without these three components.  Each one works together and is intermingled to produce the result you want:  clean-living.  For so long, we were “genuine” in our “effort” to acquire and in “sharing” with others our find, our lives were lost to addiction.  Now, through “genuine” “efforts” in wanting to be a participant in “sharing” our recovered stories of what God is doing for us will be the catalyst, not only for others, but ourselves in having clean-living lives.

God will never overlook anything you do on His behalf. 

 

 Remember the three keys of successful recovery:  genuine, effort and sharing.

When All Else Fails…

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…give God a try.

Society has given up and provided institutions called “rehabs” which will testify not having a cure to a disease, and yet will boast of extraordinary success rates in having clients abstain from addiction.  It is recognized and I accept the premise, “addicts lie”, so when they send out those surveys to former attendees what did they expect to receive back if they received anything at all?  Would someone, “out there” still admit to being, “out there”?  It would smack of failure of themselves, their families and last and not least would be the rehab who supposedly sent them on with all the tools they needed for success.

This is a fact:  God never fails.  He has never lost one person who has made the final decision to turn their lives over to Him.  Not one.  With Him working in our life, there is no fear of admitting when we have made a mistake because He is gracious to help us get back on track.  He knows what we are dealing with and has the absolute solution where others do not.  So many times I tried those other ways and they didn’t work.  I realize now, they were dealing with something they had no idea of how deep it runs.  They were trying to treat what could not be treated in a conventional setting.  I needed a miracle and to date, there is only one Source of miracles.  So, give God a try.

He may require you to go to a facility to learn more about Him if you haven’t had this experience or need a refresher.  He may require you to get away from it all and spend time in a setting conducive to getting back on track with life.  Or, He may very well deal with you on a more personal level because for you it is all that is required.  Whatever way He brings you, it will be the way to success which is only possible through Him.  So, if the others say they can’t, why waste time?  Go the One who says, “I have already”.

 

They say, “With God all things are possible”.  Well, they aren’t if we don’t try Him.

Our Personal Prayer Time

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This morning I awakened about an hour before I usually do.  I did have a disturbing dream, but I don’t believe it was the real cause of my lack of sleep especially since I went to bed later than usual, but I attribute it to a need for prayer.  Not only did I think God woke me because I had a need to pray as well, as it being He had a desire to hear from me.  While there were storms throughout the night, there are storms in my life.  Now since morning is here it seems calm outside and the same is needed in my life.

It doesn’t matter what the situation is for our lives, it is those same situations which should draw us closer to Him to let Him know what is on our mind which trouble us.  We need to hear from Him to learn what it is He wants us to do.  These things will remain a secret until we spend the necessary time in conversing with Him.  How many times has He waited for us and we have failed to spend any real quality time with Him?  Those harried prayers over meals and before falling asleep cannot possibly be the conversation He wishes to have with you.  If this was the type of communication you’d have with a spouse, child, or employee/employer how long do you think the relationship would last?  It wouldn’t and couldn’t.

I intend to get dressed now and have a little something to eat and then put on my sneakers and spend some time outside while the new day is dawning and talk with my God.  You may not have the privilege if you are in the beginning stages of recovery, but can’t you find somewhere where you can go and it is just He and you?  Go find it now.  God is waiting to hear from you.

 

He’s always waiting to hear from you.  Perhaps that’s why we are so confused now because we haven’t spent time with the Source of clarity.

Friends Will Help Keep Us…

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…from returning back to the struggle.

You have memories of visiting with friends and spending time with them?  Perhaps those special friends you enjoyed having Thanksgiving Dinner.  Perhaps it was the time spent after having a rousing church service.  It could have been a lazy weekend doing nothing and just sitting on lawn chairs, out on the deck or porch, swatting gnats.  Whatever time it was, it was a pleasant time.  If you listen carefully to those people whose company was graced with your presence they will admit to you you were missed from the holiday dinner, and from time to time, their eye glanced to the chair you once occupied.  They will tell you you were missed when there were gatherings and it was not your voice they heard.  Those lazy weekends were not the same because you were not there.  You were missed. 

All of this can happen again.  Now you are back and it is time to be reunited with them and get back into doing those things which were simple but filled with such joy.  And you can be certain once you are back into the fold, they will do all they can to keep you because they are not willing for you to be lost again and missing from their lives.  This is what friendship is all about.  It is what relationships are all about.  Wanting to hold onto the other so tightly to prevent another period of time of you being back, “out there” because the relationship is affected in such a way it is like someone dying, and to have it recognized there is even a chance of this happening in the real is not a pleasant thought.

You have a responsibility today to begin attending those dinners, spending lazy weekends and now instead of swatting the flies of filth from hovering over your unwashed body, swatting those pesky gnats will now be a pleasure.

 

When we are reunited with friends, it keeps us from wanting to be reunited with those who are friends only while you had something to use.

Praying Friends

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One of the greatest weapons against addiction is the power of prayer among friends.  First, to have such a bond with another human being is in itself filled with so much power and to couple it with prayer, inviting God to join with you in defeating this awful foe, what addiction can possibly stand?

Along this road to recovery you will be brought into a mindset of re-establishing friendships which might have been, not broken, but put off until such a time as this.  True friendships never die.  In fact, the distance along with the troubles you have faced has only made them stronger even though maybe not articulated.  Once you have reached toward recovery and desire to rejoin friends, who have been praying for your safety while you were struggling, “out there” are more than ready to join you, in prayer for your completeness. 

To hear a friend call out your name to God is such a powerful force knowing God is listening and ready to put into motion your salvation.  It is not just recovery which is given you but salvation, the end result of recovery.  We must use this tool, often, to combat the lingering urges and voices which will speak to us because the enemy is not satisfied we have gotten to this level in our experience.  This is truth:  we cannot fail as long as we continue to bend our knees before God.  We cannot fail!  No one who has determined this as a part of their recovery plan has ever lost their battle with addiction!  We are obligated to pray for one another and if this has not occurred with you, today should be that day.

Get that friend by phone, email, in the next room, however method necessary and simply say these words:

 

I need to pray with you, this time.

God Wants the Credit

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When I decided to let God save me from my addictions He guided me into paths which would bring about the desired result.  Many decisions were made for me because I was unable to make those decisions with my clouded mind.  As I was gaining ground against addiction, I began to lean on those things, people and places which seem to work for me, believing they were the reason for the success and suddenly I was faced with failure again! What I thought was my strength I learned was a crutch and God removed it until I began to understand my true strength, guide and companion through these difficult days was Him.

When we consider the Children of Israel making the golden calf we wonder after seeing all they saw how could they revert backwards?  We are guilty of the same thing.  We see the wonderful miracles God does on our behalf and still we want to give the credit to man or things and not the One who has put man and those things into our path to work on our behalf.  So, when we begin to idolize them, God will remove them by various ways until we come face to face with Him and began to see the true Source of our recovery; God and God alone.

God has already told us He is a “jealous” God.  He will give His credit to no one and until we come to the realization He means what He says, then we will continue to stumble along a path which need not be.  Although you are in a ministry or program receiving the help you need, understand God didn’t need to use them in order to get you back on your feet.  He could have done it instantaneously; but many of us would not accept being healed in this way because we are not able to accept true healing in the way it was meant to be, by faith.  We have an expectation we have to do something so God has to bring us along in this way.  We need to learn God doesn’t need our help or the help of others, but until we recognize what He wishes to give us, He already has.  We just need to accept it, by faith; He has healed us already and live accordingly.

The only reason why recovery takes so long is because of our lack of belief.