Archive for November, 2013

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“Sometimes God lets you hit rock bottom so that you will discover He is the Rock at the bottom.”- Dr. Tony Evans

Everyone’s rock bottom is different. There are mental and spiritual rock bottoms and there are physical rock bottoms. Bottoming out is not a pleasant place to be, at all. But somehow we put ourselves there, or did God put us there? Everything happens for a reason right? If you have purpose today then you know exactly what I’m talking about! Without purpose it is very hard to distinguish the reasons for our bottoming out.

I know for me, my rock bottom was an extremely dark place. It was a gloomy period in my life full of overcast and dismay. I didn’t get there quick either. It took many years of abusing drugs. Many years of being straight up ignorant and selfish. My rock bottom was me laying down on a bedrock of solid stone with no place to go. My enabler’s were gone. I was broke. I was sick, physically, mentally and spiritually. I was suicidal. No one wanted to be near me, no phone calls and no visits. I was a thief, a liar, a manipulator, a great schemer; a junky. I mean, who WOULD want to stay in contact with that?

Some of us have hit rock bottom, it’s the lowest place you can go being alive. It may be jail. It may be in an institution. It may be a place where you have limited options or limited choices. A place where you may never understand how and why. It may even be at home with your family, you got plenty of money and plenty of support around you but there is still this mental prison keeping you from expanding your horizons and moving forward. You may have bottomed out and you are not sure why.

I know right when we hit rock bottom, all hope seems to be gone. It’s a confusing state of mind. There seems to be no path to choose from. We trusted in a chemical and worked for it for so long to give us an euphoric outlook on life but there was no retirement plan. There were no paid vacations. No sick days. No stock options and no overtime. Drugs and alcohol did not come with a ‘Consequence of Use’ form. There were no guidelines on how to keep substance abuse at a ‘Minimum Rate’. There were no books written on how to be a ‘Controlled Addict’. Wow, is that an oxymoron or what, a controlled addict.

Rock bottom is the worst place to be but it gives a chance to start over. If you have been there, you know it was needed to get you to where you are today. It gave us a chance to see things in a whole new perspective. We may have learned the hard way but we grew from it. We started over, humbling ourselves and remaining teachable, opening our minds to accept a Higher Power and an understanding that our way does not work.

There is only one way from rock bottom and that is up! Everything around us which has purpose has once been useless. It was given purpose from a creator. Everything. Look around you. Your phone, your computer, your clothes, the fence in your back yard, the trees, houses… All useless materials until created for a purpose. Sometimes we need to become broken and useless in order to be used the correct way. We need to be emptied out, cleaned up and renewed. There is a purpose behind everyone’s rock bottom.

We do not have to stay at the bottom either. There are resources all around us to help us out of the pit. Reach out and ask for help. Take the steps needed today. Make your rock bottom a reminder and a gauge of a place not to live by but to learn by. Make your rock bottom the foundation on which you live your life. Become a purposeful asset today!

So did God ruin your life, or did He set you up for purpose? If you do not have an answer, it WILL be revealed one day!

Become Free! Become the Difference!

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Yes, we all eat. Ultimately, if we do not eat… we die. This is how we were designed. We were designed to eat and drink in order to survive.

I believe, as you probably do, that there are three parts to us. Mind, body and soul.

Mind Food: Our minds are extremely expandable and are capable of holding large amounts of information. In case you forgot, we all were required to have a kindergarten through twelfth grade education, minimum. Some of us continue on to college, earn a bachelors’ degree and even continue on to earn a masters and a doctorate degree. Some people continue daily trying to learn new things to further their horizons and to fill themselves with knowledge. We feed our mind in order to learn and grow.

Body Food: Our bodies are formable as well. Some bigger than others :). We all have had to partake in physical education through our growing school years. We exercised and we were fed somewhat healthy foods. Some of us go on to be professional athletes and some of us Olympic athletes. Many of us simply enjoy exercising because of how it makes us feel and seeing the results of it gives us motivation. Our bodies require sleep too. We were designed to rest and to recover. We eat, drink and sleep in order to stay alive and to grow.

Ok so… we can agree that our bodies and our minds are capable of receiving ‘food’ in order to grow and survive. It’s just the way God created us. Actually, everything on this planet that obtains life needs some form of food. It’s the order of life in which we live. There’s nothing we can do about it. And I’m pretty sure we all can agree that we need all three, mind, body and soul, to function. Without one, the others are rendered useless.

Soul Food: Our souls are also susceptible and capable of being ‘fed’. It is our soul that makes the drastic decisions. It’s that little voice that tells us when we should or shouldn’t be doing something. It’s our moral standards. It regulates everything we do. It’s the part of us that needs a Higher Power. The part of us that glorifies God and becomes at peace when we receive Him. Our soul is what is left over when our mind and our bodies cease to exist. It’s the unique part of us that is like no other. Our ego. Our personality. A part of us that has no DNA and can not be traced. It’s what makes us special and keeps us going.

The food our soul needs is praising our Creator. Digging into the Word of God. Surrounding ourselves with constructive, productive and strong people who know God and who try, every day, to live life according to His Word. Our souls become at peace when we walk with God. No? Why, because you can’t see it? I guarantee what you cannot see will fill you. We cannot see the wind, yet we feel it and know it’s there. I am convinced God exists as I am convinced I am using a keyboard to type this. I have changed. My friends have changed. People all over the world have changed and continue to give thanks to God through His son, Jesus Christ.

Funny, we feed our addictions without question. We hurt. We blame. We cause arguments and fights over a chemical or substance we love. We will do ANYTHING for that feeling, that HIGH, that temporary fulfillment which has not a speck of worth or backbone to back itself up. We just do because we want to do; to satisfy our mind, our body and our soul for no reason at all.

Do you really want to become free? Are you serious enough to want to change your life? If you are an addict, you know our ways get us in to jails, institutions and death. Maybe you’re not there yet. Maybe you need to go through a little more pain and agony, maybe you need to hurt more family members and friends in order to get you to think straight. I don’t know. All I know is there is an Answer right in front of you, it’s up to you to persevere and choose.

Become Free. Become the Difference!

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You have probably heard this before, in movies or even from your friends who think they are ‘too tough’ for rehab. Or you may have heard this used as an innuendo for people ‘giving up’.

Well, rehab IS for quitters. People who want to quit their addiction. People who have given up living their reckless life. People who have chosen to do something about their substance abuse problem. Unfortunately, many rehab beneficiaries are stipulated to complete programs like this as a result of a judgment from drug court. It’s good and not so good. Good that they have an opportunity to learn and get better; not so good because they are forced there and many times they are not ready for any improvement.

But there are the few who show up at a rehabilitation center seeking help. The ones who are all out of gas and need a tow. The ones who have given up, shut up and humbled themselves to be open for teaching and open to new behavioral changes.

I was sick as a dog my first day at rehab. I went to a Salvation Army, Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC). And as good as I felt knowing and hoping I was going to get better, my body was not agreeing with me. I had stopped cold turkey off lots of opiates and only an addict knows what that is like, I need not explain!

The ARC is a Christian ‘working’ program. You have to work 40 hrs a week in the warehouse and you got a gratuity starting at a few bucks your first week. This program brought work ethic and money management back into my life, one of the many things you learn here. It was difficult the first 3-4 weeks. My body was withdrawing intensely off the drugs I was abusing for the past 10 years. But I eventually started to gain my strength back and learned why I did what I did for so long.

After working eight hours in the warehouse, they would feed us with very good sized, fatten me up, portions of food. They feed you very well! And after a short break to get cleaned up, it’s learning time.

The Salvation Army hosted great lectures, meetings and one-on-one’s with counselors that are extremely beneficial. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings were held a few times a week. It was so good to hear others talk about their issues as well as being surrounded by people of a common bond.

Most importantly, I got a chance to refine my spirit and being a Christian program, there were many chances to do so. I saw myself changing. I also saw many others changing too. We were given spiritual principles to live by, to learn from and to use for the rest of our lives. I learned so much about myself and why I did what I did. It was a great time for me. Me and another guy who I made friends with called it a ‘Spiritual Retreat’!

So in conclusion, you would think I lived happily ever after and it’s been smooth sailing, right? Wrong, I relapsed after 10 months and readmitted myself for another round. I actually completed the program twice, in the same year! (See Photo Above)

Again, I had a lot to learn! And it is possible to have fun while you learn. It was an experience I will NEVER forget. I have made many friends with whom I still keep in touch with. I also still keep in touch with many of the counselors as well.

I am, to this day, extremely grateful for the Salvation Army basically saving my life and grateful for the ones who shared their wisdom and insight and guided me along my journey.

If you are struggling and have no where to turn to, I encourage you to seek help, whether it be a detox, a rehab, or where ever you can go to receive help with your addiction. There are resources all around us, it’s up to you to make a choice.

Keep God first and He will use WHEREVER you are to help you make a difference in your life!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

You have a purpose… Become Free! Become the Difference!

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How selfish have I become. Who am I to take control of my own life? Wanting to end it because I couldn’t hack it. Wanting to end it because I had no other alternative. I had no purpose. I had not one ounce of hope left or even a reason to say the word.

Who am I to make this final conclusion, this determining judgment? Like taking my life would have somehow cosmically balanced the world as I knew it. Well I had so many reasons to do it. So many. I was in pain. I was hurt. Every breath was painful. My eyes felt heavy and it hurt to look, it hurt to see. I blamed many people for the way my life turned out.

Just trying to make sense of it all, what ever reason sounded right in my mind. What ever made sense. I needed a solid foundation to jump off of. An underlining agreement. A grasp on why, and the way I was going to do this. I know, it makes no sense, but that’s all I needed. It wouldn’t take much for me to go over the edge once I was there. All I needed was the courage to finalize the deal. But I had none. I didn’t even have enough courage to talk to anyone. I didn’t have enough courage to make ANY important decisions. I had no courage at all. I had no faith, no hope and no sense of self worth.

I lost control so I thought giving up was the next step. I was nearing the end of my addiction. I had been abusing opiates like it was my profession and I was working overtime trying to make the boss happy. I was the boss. I was self employed and I was stock sharing and profiting off my own redundant gains. I was a reckless, self indulging machine heading for disaster. I was a fast moving mechanical device which was out of grease; heating up and ready to explode.

This is what my life came to. I abused it and now I wanted to lose it. I had been clean for a couple weeks, many times, but the thought of being alive was still dreadful. I was depressed beyond the definition of depressed. I was oppressed and addiction was my oppressor. I didn’t get it though. I didn’t know why I was so suicidally depressed.

I had thoughts racing of different ways to terminate life as humane as possible. How people… family… friends would have judged me and how the rumors would have spread if they found me a certain way. I would drive and stare off into an abyss of ways to end my useless life. I went through so many different mini episodes of death like looking through a Rolodex. Trying to find the right one. The series finale of a stupid show which was down to its last rerun. I was done.

I would sometimes get a little boost of hope through a song on the radio or my ipod. I would relate my life to the lyrics. I would substitute my depression with music because I wasn’t at peace and music seemed to free me a little bit. My anger was filtered through songs. I would use the music and relate a scenario to it and try to sooth the effects of my past. It felt good too.

I was in search of something… anything. I had a huge void in my life that needed to be filled real quick. Wishing someone would fill it for me. Hoping someone would sweep me off my feet and carry me through this. But as time went on, I realized that wasn’t going to happen.

I realized that the drug abuse, this slow death, was artificially filling a void in my life. Some of us cut. Some of us drink. Some of us over eat. What ever it is that we do, we do it because we are trying to satisfy a hunger.

We were designed to follow and love our Maker. It’s in our DNA. We were constructed and fashioned to worship a Holy and Living God. We also have evolved into believing that there are other alternatives. But I tell you, God is real, He IS listening and He does love you and wants you in His arms! If you are struggling with the thoughts of suicide, I beg of you to constantly call upon Jesus Christ. This is between you and Him. I will leave it at that.

It is written: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.


You have a purpose! Become Free! Become the Difference!

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What is significant about this picture? What stands out the most? What looks obvious? It’s a beautiful picture. The trees, the sky, the calm water. It may be a little obscure, color wise.

Yes, it’s blue. Everything in that picture is blue. Everything. You can’t hide it. It’s obvious to the naked eye. There are many different shades but all are of one color, blue.

When we are high or drunk, we think no one can tell. We think we have everyone tricked. We think it’s our little secret, especially when we are in front of family or others who are living ‘different’. Addiction gets us caught up in a fake reality. A reality which deceives us into thinking we are living OK. We take a glance in the mirror and give ourselves an “I look fine”. But in the reality we are actually living in, we are not.

I remember, after sniffing a couple Oxycontin 80’s, how good I felt. How powerful the euphoric wave was. How, when it was raining, the sun came out. All my problems went away. I could see clearly. I felt invincible. Like I could take on any task set before me and accomplish it in record time. In my mind I sounded philosophically correct. I remember my mind racing with ideas and thoughts that could out wit Albert Einstein. I literally could sit on my couch, stare at the wall for an hour and be absolutely content. It was actually fun.

I also remember how itchy I got. How I used to scratch myself everywhere. Constantly. Like I was getting jumped by a lynch mob of mosquitos. My nose. My back. My ankles. And how about my eyes? I used to take Visine drops to try and hide the redness. Little did I know Visine doesn’t hide the pins I had for pupils. Or the thousand yard stare. Or the paleness of my skin.

Jawwing and neck twitching from cocaine. Feeling like I could run a marathon but my body wouldn’t keep up. Going into the bathroom to wipe down a toilet tank cover to dump out another rail. That was an every 15-20 minute interval. Talk about geeking out. After finishing an 8 ball, all alone in my apartment, everyone gone… I didn’t know what to do with myself. Those 80’s I saved to come off the cocaine with were gone. My heart’s beating a million times a minute. Raging anxiety overcoming my mind. How about the weight I was carrying around? Or should I say the lack there of. My shirts were hanging off me. My pants were drooping. I had to drill another hole into my belt to keep my pants up.

I’m not even going to talk about benzo’s. You take them and you’re out. Nodding off. A slow slide to a deep nap. I’m sure a few of you can attest to what happens when you pop a totem pole while you’re driving. Not good.

Every drug has its ‘current’ side effects. Our behaviors change. Our patterns change. Our quirks change. We think we can hide what they are doing to our mind. What they are doing to our body and our soul. But we can’t. Especially in front of someone who has been through it already. I’m practically a professional at this. I can point out a user from a mile away. It’s crazy. And I see myself in others. What I thought I was hiding. How obvious it really is.

What was I thinking? How did I let myself get to such a place? Broke. Begging. Complaining. Stealing. Scheming. My mind wasn’t in the right place. I was on a trip to never ever land. A trip straight down into a deep, dark pit of despair.

If you asked anyone, that wasn’t using, how I was doing, they would have told you “not good”. They knew. A couple times people pulled me aside to talk with me about it but I played it off like nothing was wrong. “I’m FINE!!!”. “Go bother someone else!”. I fought and I fought the help that was offered to me. For years. “What is wrong with these people?” I used to say to myself. I really thought there was nothing wrong with me. That being addicted was just the way I was going to be the rest of my life. That’s how deep I was into my addiction. It controlled me 100%. I NEVER thought I would overcome this. NEVER.

Then something happened. One day… depressed, confused, malnourished, unhygienic, homeless, hopeless and with no faith at all I made a decision. “I can’t do this anymore.” I got help. I admitted myself into a rehab.

We all have to come to our own conclusion. Thankfully some of us are able to get to a conclusion. Alive. Addiction is a struggle I would not want on my worst enemy. It’s a battle we are not designed for. Many times, we lose. Many times we lose great people.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, there is Hope! You can get your life back. You have it in you to overcome your addiction! It can be done. You are loved. You have a purpose. And you have a God who loves you more than you will ever know. Seek Him daily! He created us to be more than conquerors!

“…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

Believe. Become Free. Become the Difference!