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Don't Talk to Me Like That

healing progress sobriety Dec 28, 2020

You are no good. You are a loser. You will never get this right. You messed up again. Why don’t you just give up? You don’t deserve your wife. She despises you and thinks you are a loser too.

If those words were directed to me from the outside, I would be pretty upset. I would even consider those “fighting words.” But there was a time not long ago when I let statements like that enter in and  dominate my thoughts. Worse than that, they were phrased in the first person: “I am no good...I am a loser...I will never get this right…” etc.

I let them slide through because I assumed that they were true. This is the ultimate form of self-deception—I was telling myself lies about myself.

This kind of thinking and self talk has to stop if solid sobriety and recovery is to occur in your life. Recovery is not possible when toxic thoughts are allowed to run wild in your mind. Why? Because your behavior is usually consistent with who you think...

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Transferring Success

Sometimes I am amazed at the successful, accomplished men and women in my local 12-step groups. There are physicians, engineers, computer programmers, college professors, musicians, teachers, diesel mechanics, surgery nurses, business owners, and ministers. And those are just the people I can think of off the top of my head.

I don’t know why I am amazed. Maybe I expected a bunch of guys sitting around in trench coats when I first came into the program. I don’t know. While I wasn’t wearing a trench coat back then, the addiction had me feeling like I was down-and-out.

And yet, parts of my life were quite accomplished. I had (and still have) a successful computer programming business for over 20 years. I was basically self-taught and became one of the top experts in my field. I was earning enough for my wife to stay at home and raise and home-school 8 wonderful sons. I was logging thousands of miles on my bicycle every summer. I was teaching hundreds of people in a...

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Is It Going to Hurt?

“Hello Mr. Q. I will be over in 30-minutes to take your bandage off.”

My visiting nurse was on the phone. It was June of 2012, just short of a week after open heart surgery. Instead of sewing up my chest with Frankenstein-like stitches like the old days, they used glue to close the incision in my skin and covered it with wide, semi-clear tape, sort of like packing tape.

“Is it going to hurt?” I asked her before she hung up. 

Oh no, it won’t hurt. See you in a half an hour.”

About 30-minutes later, I answered the door, only to see a different nurse. “What happened to my regular nurse?” I asked.

“She got stuck at her last call. I am here to take your bandage off.”

A few minutes later, she had worked her fingers under the top of the bandage and was getting ready to pull it off. “Are you ready?” she asked. 

“Yes,” I replied. “Is it going to hurt?”

“Of course...

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Friction and Inertia

healing progress temptation Dec 21, 2020

I felt a strong craving. A lust craving. One that I wanted to fulfill with a woman. Any woman.

It was a Sunday evening as I was sitting in church. During the preaching. If that shocks you, this website may not be the place for you.

My Bible was flopped open on my lap and the preaching was lively and relevant. But I didn’t care. My mind was somewhere else, being pulled by my craving. I had been sober for a long time so I was a bit disoriented, but the sensation also felt familiar, like an old friend. Like the bad kid from the neighborhood that you liked getting in trouble with.

I discreetly hit the home button on my phone and scanned the apps. I had gotten rid of all of the dangerous apps that I had previously used in finding sex partners. Friction. Something to slow me down. Slightly frustrated, I got onto the NFL app to check the football scores. My team was losing a game they shouldn’t be losing. Bummer.

I launched a classified website that has some dark corners and...

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Three Aspects of Peace — Part 3

god healing progress Dec 20, 2020

Part 1 was about peace with God, which is the result of being reconciled to God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Part 2 was about the peace of God that comes in response to making requests to Him with thankfulness and giving our cares over to Him.

This post is about a peace that rules in our hearts, a ruling peace. It turns out that this has been the most difficult aspect of peace to write about. I pictured an armored sentinel at the door of my heart keeping everything out except peace. She would be peace personified. I was actually daydreaming about this as an analogy—until I got cut off in traffic and she disappeared. But I persisted in this line of thinking until I found myself standing in a FedEx location frustrated with the clerk about a lost package. I know, just little things, but how quickly my peace went missing!

After taking another look at the passage, I realized that my analogy wasn’t very good.

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to...

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Hearing the Word of God

healing practical Dec 18, 2020

A vital part of renewing our minds comes from large doses of the Bible. While it is good to actively read and study the word of God, we can benefit from “passive” consumption as well. One way I do this is by listening to the Bible as I fall asleep at night.

I use my smartphone, but if you are at a stage in your recovery where you are not using a smartphone, you can listen to the Bible on CD or on an MP3 player. Here are the steps you can use to do it on your phone.

Download and install a good Bible app

I use YouVersion, which is available for iPhone and Android.

Here it is on the Apple app store:

Set up the King James Version

After you download it, open it and click the Read icon, which is the second one from the left at the bottom of the screen. 

Click the default Bible version at the top of the screen and navigate to the King James Version. Make sure you click the Download button so that you can use the Bible without internet access. NOTE: You may have to log...

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How Do I Get Unstuck?

healing progress Dec 15, 2020

I recently asked my 12-step home group: What do you do when you are stuck? I asked the question because I felt stuck. As always, I got some great wisdom from the group. Here some thoughts on the topic:

Admit it to someone

Two things that have been vital in my recovery: I have to bring things into the light and to be honest about my weaknesses. When you go to the hospital to get a wound fixed they don’t examine you in a dark room. When I had open heart surgery, my open chest was flooded with powerful lights so that the surgery staff could do their work. The darkness was not a good place to be in our addiction; healing began when things were exposed to the light, whether the exposure was on purpose or not.

One of our 12-step meeting guidelines is to lead with our weakness. I don’t find that very pleasant because I want everyone to think I have it all together. But I don’t have it all together and if I can’t admit that among my fellow recovering addicts, where...

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Enjoying Temptation

healing sobriety temptation Dec 12, 2020

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations” (James 1:2, emphasis added).

I admit that this verse doesn’t make much sense to me, especially in the midst of temptation. I have experienced a ton of temptation in my life and I don’t think joy has ever entered my mind as part of the experience. 

This verse has always been a marvel to me, so much so that I have a big, bold exclamation point drawn next to it in the margin of my Bible. Joy? All joy? In the second verse in the whole epistle? But maybe the joy part is the result of what is said in the following verses:

“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:3, 4).

Temptation is a means of trying my faith and Peter says, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be...

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Escaping Temptation

healing sobriety temptation Dec 11, 2020

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

There are three things to note here: temptation is common, God is faithful to provide an escape, and you can bear temptation. As with the passage we saw in James, temptation here is presented in a remarkably positive way. I can almost picture it as a challenge or game: Here comes a temptation; let me see how fast I can find the escape.

For me, finding the escape is not the hard part; actually using the escape is where I have the most trouble. It can only take a split second for me to choose the wrong door. I have to act quickly and make the phone call to my sponsor, pray, leave the premises, delete the email, etc.

Avoidance as Escape

There is one type of escape that is usually more beneficial for us as addicts: ...

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Enduring Temptation

healing sobriety temptation Dec 10, 2020

Temptation is an overwhelming force that we addicts have to deal with in sobriety and recovery. It can be next to impossible for us to see it as positive, but surprisingly, temptation is often shown in a positive light in the Bible. There are three particular things I want to look at regarding temptation. In this post, we will look at enduring temptation.

First, though, it is important to understand that temptation itself is not sin. The Lord Jesus Christ was tempted but sinless throughout His entire life.

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15, emphasis added).

Endurance from Temptation

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).

Already we see that temptation is associated with blessing, which is...

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