Speak truth. Breathe life. Give You.

There exists, in the human experience, a certain unity. Most of us are recovering from something or someone. Addicts are recovering from the train wreck that is our life. Our loved ones are recovering from us. We can be a hurricane, tornado, typhoon, and monsoon all rolled into one. The storm of us leaves a wake of destruction reeling in its path. Trust violated. Broken promises. Lies told, sold, and delivered. Check.

You recognize there is a problem. You look in the mirror and realize it’s you. You decide to stop. But…try as you might, you can’t. Not alone. Not without help. You continue using despite the consequences and although you want to STOP. How crazy is that? You keep doing what you no longer want to do but what you’ve been doing controls your thinking and your decision-making. You’re no longer the boss of your own life. You are no longer the master of your domain. Your addiction is.

Animated Infographic: Monitoring the Future 2017 Survey Results

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You want to die because living hurts too much and causes too much pain. You cry for help. No one hears you. You cry louder. Still, no one. You are broken. Shattered. Your life is in pieces. You’re in shambles, shackled to your addiction. You look up to see bottom. Finally. Help comes.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

 

Slowly, minute by minute at first, you start the process of recovery. You are powerless over your addiction. Your life has become unmanageable. You come to believe a Power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity. Sick and tired of being sick and tired, you decide to turn your will over to the care of God as you understand him. You begin searching and taking a fearless inventory of yourself. All the hurts. All the hang-ups. All the heartaches. All the habits. You take a big step forward that requires courage. You admit to God, to yourself, and to another human being the nature and extent of your wrongs. The list is long. That’s how we all begin. Going forward, we will strive to keep our list short. Live simpler lives. You ask God to remove all your defects of character. You humbly ask the Lord to remove your shortcomings.

This doesn’t happen overnight.

Some of our dents are easier to fix. Others are more difficult and need further work. You sit down, write a list of all the people you have hurt and harmed. You determine to make amends to all of them, except where doing so would further injure them or others. Some will receive your apology and forgive. Others will shut, even slam, the door in your face. You determine to no longer be a source of hurt and pain. You decide to treat others like you want to be treated. You begin to live your life in a way that does not cause injury or harm to others. Undoubtedly, you will fall short. So, you keep taking a personal inventory, promptly admitting when you do wrong and immediately making amends. You keep the list short.

Through continuous prayer and daily meditation, being mindful of others, you improve your conscious contact with God as you understand him, asking for the knowledge of his will for your life and the power to carry it out. Having had a spiritual awakening, you live a life modeling servant leadership, carrying the message to others who, like you once were, are struggling and fighting for their lives to overcome their demons of addiction. Today, you are no longer just a taker. No. You have become a giver.

Speak truth. Breathe life. Give You.

Praying UGMD

Greg Butler testimony: From Addiction to Jesus

Need help? Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Choose Life.

I’ve struggled finding my serenity lately. I’ve been a bit rattled and feeling a little unraveled. Addiction is a disease. Left untreated, I tend to break out in handcuffs. Accepting that addiction is an illness means recognizing that fueling and feeding my disease with drugs and alcohol leads to no good. It’s hard for people to understand. Lots of people drink and some even do drugs without getting out of hand. I know people who can have one drink and stop. I don’t understand them, but I recognize they exist. Personally, I could never do one of anything. More was always better.

We live in a world that loves labels. People like to know what box you fit in. It makes them uncomfortable if you color outside the lines or refuse to be boxed in according to their perceived notions of who they think you should be and how you ought to behave. They want to deny that you have an illness despite seeing that your life is spinning out of control. I get it. I want to deny it too. But I can’t. It’s not a luxury God granted me. For me, sobriety is the difference between living and dying.

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I can’t spend time worrying what other people believe about addiction. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. After all, they’re not the ones in need of recovery. I am. It’s hard though. We want people to like us. We like to please people. We want to make the people in our lives happy, as if we actually have the superpower to do that. I struggle to make me happy. How the hell am I going to make someone else happy?

1 Corinthians 6:12 (NIV)
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.

Addiction is a taker. It takes all you got and comes screaming back for more. That’s why each time you try to get sober and relapse, you fall harder and deeper than you did before the last time was the last time. You remember that night, right? You were hugging the porcelain god, puking your heart out, praying to the heavens above that if you survive this bender you’ll stop. You promise to quit using. Then you toss your cookies up in the sink. Not your finest hour, no doubt.

Luke 9:23 (NIV)

“Then he said to the crowd, if any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”

As recent high-profile celebrity relapses have reminded us, the struggle is real. Money and fame don’t insulate us from addiction. We have to learn to live differently than before. We must keep life simple. We live today–right now–not yesterday, not tomorrow. We tackle one day at a time. We diligently practice keeping track of our own inventory, keeping the list short, making amends quickly. We learn not to take other people’s inventories. That’s not our job. Working on ourselves is full-time work. It’s not for the timid. You want it–you gotta work it.

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People need our help. Not to help them is selfish and self-centered. People are dying, literally, from addiction. Over a hundred people die from addiction every. single. day. 100. That’s one person every fifteen minutes. As recovering addicts ourselves, we are uniquely equipped to help other addicts. We have to be present to do that. We have to show up. We have to work our program so that we can help others work theirs.

Addiction is death. Recovery is life. Choose life.

Blessings.

If you or a loved are struggling with addiction, get help.

You can find resources near you, here.

Demi Lovato “Sober”

Addiction Revelations

Writing about addiction and recovery isn’t always as glamorous as it’s cracked up to be. But it can be gratifying. Talking about addiction isn’t always my favorite thing to do, however I am glad that it’s helped people—both addicts and non-addicts–understand more about addiction and how it affects them–either as the addicted one or the person affected by someone struggling with addictions. I think we pretty much all fall into one of those two categories—addicted or affected by addiction.

There are times when I feel disconnected, even callous. There are other times I feel way-too-in-tune with every little thing around me.

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I don’t hide who I am.

Since I got clean and sober, I no longer pretend. I’m free from hiding who I am. While this freedom provides great benefits, it also comes with unintended consequences. I’m not everybody’s cup of tea. Sometimes, who I am scares people. Other times, my story about overcoming my addictions inspires them and gives them hope–either for themselves or for someone they care about deeply. I lean in favor of being honest and open about who I was and who I am now.

Lot’s of addiction stories don’t end well. 100 people die every day because of their addiction. That’s about 1 person every 15 minutes (if I did my math right).

A recent study estimates that nearly 21 million people living in America, over the age of 12, are addicted. That number doesn’t include tobacco.

Addiction can end well. That’s part of my motivation for sharing my own story–to let people know they can get out alive.

Blessings.

Do you or a loved one need help with addiction?

Find help here.