Day 8339: Continuing to Face the Challenges of Living Life in Recovery

Recently, I’ve been reminded of how challenging sobriety is. I’ve lived in recovery for over 8,300 days. 8,339 to be exact. Even after all that time, I’m not guaranteed sobriety tomorrow. It’s a decision I make first thing in the morning when I get up out of bed. Every day.

“I’m going to live sober today,” I say to myself.

“Yes,” my Self replies.

Keep in mind that I do this even though I don’t always feel like it. Yes. There are days where the fight to stay clean and sober is difficult. Even 20+ years later. And I still run into people every day who don’t really understand addiction or know what to do with former addicts like me (that’s ok–I don’t always know what to do with myself either).

Recovery isn’t’ something I got right the first time. It took a few tries. I wavered between stringing a few days back to back and over a year of sobriety. That’s right. One year. It ended like this:

“Want a beer?”

“Sure,” I shrugged. And off to the races we went.

For me, alcohol is the key that unlocks the door to a wild ride. Prior to recovery finally sticking, I went out on a 33-day binge that nearly killed me. My binge was fueled by a ton of things I won’t mention here. I don’t want to glorify them. I don’t want to tell you that you can do them and live. You can. Most people don’t. Those that do, usually wind up in jail. A fortunate few of us get rescued, finding refugee in the Halls and solace in the Rooms that offer us a free space to be ourselves. There’s no judgment in the Rooms. At least not usually (we are human after all). I guess a better way to say it is that there isn’t supposed to be any judgment. We each have our own story to tell; our own truth to share.

I’ve seen addiction steal lives. I’ve witnessed addiction destroy dreams. I’m grateful that I found a way up from the Bottoms. Although it’s something I had to do first and foremost for myself, it’s not something I did alone. A lot of people have helped me overcome my innermost personal demons. It’s because of the love and kindness of others that I can claim to live in victory today.

Semi-colons mark a point where a sentence could have stopped; a spot where the story could have ended. But by the grace of God…my life didn’t end with my addictions.

semicolonAre you struggling with addiction? Has alcohol or have drugs taken control of your life? You aren’t alone. You don’t have to keep suffering. You don’t have to keep living a lie. You don’t have to keep leaving a wake of devastation wherever you go. You can change. Life can be different. But you got to want it…

Start here or here.

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What to Do When the Crazy in Your Life is You

Admitting your life has become unmanageable and asking for help takes courage. You’re not quite sure when it happened, but sometime during the 24-7-365 party, you became powerless over your addictions and compulsions. You may just have one; or if you’re like me you suffer from a combination collectively destroying your life. And make no mistake about it: your addiction and compulsion will kill you, unless you get help.

Getting over yourself, your hurts, habits, and hang-ups isn’t a solo show. You can’t do it alone. You need strength from above and support from a community of people who know what you’re going through because they themselves have gone through it.

It won’t happen overnight. You won’t wake up Monday morning cured. What ails you runs deep and has its roots firmly implanted inside you. Addiction won’t let go easily. You won’t just suddenly give up your compulsion.

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The longer I was out and about actively chasing my highs the floor of my lows gradually dropped lower and lower. What were once solid boundaries crumbled like the walls of Jericho. The friends I once partied with got busy, so I got busy getting new friends. The crowd I hung out with got rougher and rougher. The line between right and wrong faded in the distance. All I cared about was copping a buzz or getting high. No matter what the cost or consequence. The more the merrier. Until one day, everything came crashing down and I found myself  hugging the porcelain god, sick and tired of being sick and tired. Getting clean and sober became a matter of living or dying. The choices before me were clear. One road led to recovery and a new life. The second road led to a lifetime behind bars (the kind they have in jail cells not by the hotel lobby) or an early grave. It wasn’t easy. It didn’t happen easily. I stumbled a lot early on. And I got up, only to stumble again. But I kept trying. “Hang in there,” they said. “Keep coming back.” So I did.

Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you can’t quite yet.

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Romans 7:18 (NIV)

Change

Wherever you are in your journey, know that you don’t have to go it alone. You weren’t meant to. There’s plenty of help out there. You can find meeting rooms for you compulsion or addiction of choice in your community. You can find support and help online (this blog is an example).

Life CAN be different. Life IS worth living. Remember to keep it simple and take it one day at a time. I’m praying for you. You CAN recover. Take the first step…

You’re not alone.

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But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

Romans 8:37 (NASB

#recovery #itworksifyouworkit #overcomers #together

One Day at a Time

God Remains Good

It is easy to focus on the evil in the world and miss the goodness. Evil sucks the light out of everything it touches, enveloping our lives in darkness, leaving us unable to recognize the truth. Yes, there is evil in the world. But the darkness has not overcome the light. The light continues to shine through it, piercing its veil. But instead of seeing the goodness, we focus on the darkness. That is just how we process a fallen world, in our natural state. Responding supernaturally amid excruciating agony is not our go to answer.

No doubt, evil works overtime to deface the image of God and destroy His reputation. Evil knows that if it can cause you to doubt the goodness of God, then it has won a victory in the battle between good and evil.  In light of heartbreaking tragedies, it is easy for us to be afraid and doubt the goodness of the Lord.

“In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.” Genesis 1:1 (ESV)

Typically, every time when our world faces tragedy brought upon us by a demented, evil madman (or perhaps it’s madperson in our Uber-PC age), shouts can be heard asking “Where was God?” or “Why would a good God allow this type of suffering?” as if the presence of evil someone discounts the power of God or worse, attempts to write Him off entirely, like He never really ever existed. But, evil acts happening in our world shouldn’t push us away from God. Rather, these horrific tragedies should cause us to pull closer to Him. Evil exists to counter the goodness of God. In spite of evil, God is good.

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God’s goodness is unfailing. God’s goodness is unceasing. God is truly good all the time.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1 (NIV)

God didn’t cause a troubled killer to walk into a school and murder innocent children. This blame game is not new or strictly true just of us. People have been blaming God for things He does not do for all of history. The Lord does not dish out a quota of misery every week. Yes, bad things happen. Evil walks among us. God’s heart breaks each time evil strikes like it did in Parkland, Florida last week and at Columbine over a decade ago. Our suffering pains God just as it does us. Jesus weeps for us like He wept for his friend Lazarus.

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About that time some people came up and told him about the Galileans Pilate had killed while they were at worship, mixing their blood with the blood of the sacrifices on the altar. Jesus responded, “Do you think those murdered Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die. And those eighteen in Jerusalem the other day, the ones crushed and killed when the Tower of Siloam collapsed and fell on them, do you think they were worse citizens than all other Jerusalemites? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die.” Luke 13:1-5 (The Message)

In the midst of our suffering, we can trust that God is at work, bringing good out of that which the Enemy intended for evil. This is a foundational biblical principle. God is for us. He is not against us.

 

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

Don’t let the evil in this world blind you to the goodness of God. He truly is good. You can trust the Lord to deliver on His promises. You can count on God’s loving-kindness and His unending delight in us who delight in Him.

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