Archive for the ‘Perseverance’ Category

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Some of you may have read this before and agreed with it or disagreed with it.
The highlighted area is what bothers me.

If we believe we have a disease, that there is no cure, that we can’t beat it and that we will always struggle with it, then we will never get better.
God gave us the ability to conquer anything. How do we do that? We surrender to Him daily. We remain humble and admit we have a serious problem that is not only an addiction but something deeper that we need to fix.
I refuse to accept that addiction is a disease. We are able to overcome, we are able to succeed and we are able to let go.
This is why I named this site Become Free. I was an addict for over 10 years. I struggled with heroin, opiates, cocaine, benzo’s, anti depressants and God only knows what else.
My daily intake was over 1000 mg’s of OxyContin a day. I got to the point of suicide and absolute complete depression.

Then one day I gave my life to Jesus Christ and I haven’t been the same since. It took time and perseverance. It took rehab and wonderful people in rehab to help me. Over time I became free from my bondage and my slavery to drugs. I had a renewal of my mind, I gained my self control back and I am a new creation.
In order to believe I have a purpose I must believe I was created. As a book glorifies an author, as a painting glorifies an artist, so are we to glorify God.
And you know what is awesome, I’m not alone. There are so many that are living the same way. Freed from addiction.
You have to want it as bad as you wanted your poison.

I didn’t learn to deal with my addiction, I learned that I was in need of a Savior. I learned that I was created by an Almighty God that loves me no matter what I do. I learned that giving up MY ways and living according to His Word, I am set free!!!!!

Listen, God is either real or He’s a fantasy. You either have a purpose or you do not.

You have a choice to believe it or not and that choice is going to determine your lifestyle.

Become Free, Become the Difference.

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I think the number one thing that holds us back from progressing, growing and moving forward is the inability to forgive and let things go. Are you ridden with anxiety, problems and wonder why there aren’t more blessings?

We hold on to so much. We have been hurt. We have been sexually assaulted. We have been verbally abused. Beat. Thrown around. Left for dead. We have been destroyed in so many ways. Neglected. Ridiculed. Bullied. You can add one if I may have missed a specific event. You get the point.

Now before I move on, I am not and I never will ask anyone to ever or even try to ‘Forget’. Because that’s impossible. It may come with time but everything that impacts our lives and that has wounded us leaves a scar. Some deeper and bigger than others. Scars that can be seen not just through our own eyes but even through other people’s eyes. Scars that have affected our personalities, which have affected our quirks, our manners and how we react in different situations.

There are reasons why we react and overly engage when strife comes our way. There are reasons why we gossip and verbally destroy others when we are around a certain person. It’s the outcome of what has happened. The outcome of what we think may happen. We have a predestined and a preconceived notion of just about everything that is going to take place with people all around us.

So even with these scars, are we able to let go? Are we able to let go of even the meanest and dirtiest things that have ever happened to us? Yes. Are we expected to let go immediately? No. But we are expected to forgive. We also need to understand that we are not the only ones going through this. That there are others, many others, that have been through worse circumstances than us and that have also been freed from them as well.
We do have it in us to forgive. To let go. Sometimes we need time to figure out what happened, why it happened and how it could ever happen. It’s mind boggling to think about. But we need to forgive.

Feelings of resentment and anger towards someone may never go away. And when we come across that certain someone it may trigger extreme immediate anxiety. It can be painful. I have been through it. Hyperventilating and blackouts. A feeling that I can’t breathe. Loss of direction. Loss of a reason of even why I was standing where I was. Vertigo.

It took time. It took perseverance. It took talking to God and reading the Word of God to understand why I went through what I went through and why I needed to forgive. Could I say that all the drug induced instances and problems I caused were because of a childhood trauma? I could. I could also say that people never forgave me and why the hell would I ever forgive them? And even worse, I am done caring. I am sick and tired of everyone, just stay as far away from me as possible. People suck.

I can come up with one thousand reasons why I did what I did. I can give you thousands of legitimate reasons and excuses on why I am the way I am. I could write a blog that would sound so good and so comforting that many psychiatrists and therapists alike would just swarm in their chairs with excitement. It would be ‘socially’ and ‘politically’ correct to the society we live in.

But I will not give not one excuse or one reason for causing pain towards others and for the destructive mess I left behind during my addiction. I take full responsibility. Period.

Why?

Because I let go of what was holding me back. I let go of the torturing pain that set me off like a rocket. I let go of the destruction of my childhood, the pain, the loss, and the indescribable events that happened behind closed doors. I let it all go. I will never forget. But I have forgiven. There are scars. I am human. I am not perfect. I still have flaws. I am and always will be a work in progress and I am not afraid of talking about anything that has made me who I am today.

As gross as things can get, they happen for a reason. That reason will be revealed to you one day. My problems and trials made me a stronger person. I didn’t always persevere, but when I did, when I made it through the storm, purpose was revealed. The sun shined and strength, like no other, blanketed me. God said, “See, I told you! Follow Me.” As I called upon Him, even when I thought He wasn’t listening, He was there guiding me the whole time. How I even knew to call upon Him during struggling times is beyond me. But today it is an automatic. He has guided me and brought me out of darkness so many times. His presence is so evident.

So the big question, how do we let go? How do we let go of the anxiety fueled train that is steaming through blockades of medication, gossip, character assassination, anger, hatred, bitterness, scorn, self-pity and ignorance? How do we get to a place of peace, hope, love, temperance, faith, joy, long suffering, gentleness, goodness and meekness? How is this even possible? How do people get over their past? How come some people move beyond the destruction in peace and walk a life of happiness after all that has happened to them?

Read this verse, the immediate verse after the Our Father Prayer… “For IF you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But IF you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14, 15.
Now believe what you may. Truth is not determined upon one’s belief. It merely sets a stage for a choice to believe or not to believe.

There is so much in this one verse. This verse is very self-explanatory and needs no introduction or synopsis. It only needs an origin for the strength to do so. The strength to ask God to forgive and the power to forgive. We pray. We seek. We ask. We take action. Continually. We persevere.

“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your STRENGTH. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” Isaiah 58:11

Become Free. Become the Difference!

Some of us will be doing the same old thing, some of us will be making changes, some of us will be continuing on the road toward a brighter future.
What ever path you are on be Humble, remain Teachable and stay Grateful.
Thank God for all things.
Be Strong, Be Courageous.
Always look back and see how you are doing. Make adjustments, make improvements, better yourself and become an example for others to follow.
Life comes at us hard sometimes but we have people placed in our lives to help us get through just about anything!
Most of all we have a God who we can call upon when we are down, a God to praise when we are grateful and a God to thank when we succeed.
Persevere, keep your head up, be confident, renew your mind and walk with your chin up knowing that your strength comes not from you but through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the One who died for us, the One who has your back no matter what.
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Be full of Faith, be full of Hope.
Walk not just believing, walk knowing.
Love blindly.
Love.
Become the Difference.
Happy New Year and may God Bless you beyond your wildest dreams!

This may be too much truth for one to handle. Some of you may agree with this, some of you may not. It’s a blog and I’m sharing how I feel.

What, you went to rehab. You went to a detox. You got all better on your own. You got ‘cured’ from that disease that had been destroying you for years. You fixed what was broken. You broke the shackles, the chains and everything’s all better, right!?

Life is just this smooth canoe ride over still waters during the sunset, with birds flying by and a perfect breeze blowing through your hair.

I know many people that have fixed an area in their lives, specifically an addiction, and they just can’t seem to stay out of trouble or they can’t seem to better their lives, like they are stuck in the same spot and can’t get out. They just put a blanket over one problem, expecting it to go away, and keep living the same way day in and day out. Talking change but not living it. Taking no action to further their lives. Saying things that sound good and make them look good but we know it’s all a facade. And once that blanket is removed and placed on another problem, that previous problem becomes number one again.

If you can’t tell by now, if common sense hasn’t kicked in some where down the line, or maybe you just haven’t realized it yet. You have a lot more than one problem. And taking care of only one of your problems will not make your life any better. As a matter of fact, taking care of all your problems won’t solve that universal peace that you are looking for because you are as stubborn as they come.

Here’s a blanket, medication. You know, those pills you take to get rid of the ‘pain’. How are you going to learn and grow when you resort to a pill every time something bad happens in your life? You MUST be at peace having those prescriptions in your drawer. Everything’s solved right? No worries. The definitions of perseverance and faith are no longer needed. Everything’s fine. As long as that little orange or green bottle is full.

You ever walk around telling people you are the President of the United States? Why not? It’s pretty obvious no one will believe you right? It’s also obvious that your life is where it is today because it’s what you made it. Living off of excuses and ignorance. Trying to find hope through a facebook post and sharing it like it’s going to make everything better. Trust me, everyone sees it.

Then you realize that nothing is getting better. No one wants to hang with you and be your friend. You are just coasting along. Hoping for anything better than what happened yesterday. Truth is, people have already tried. Friends have already tried. So much time has lapsed by that no one thinks you are going to change, ever. So they stopped communicating with you.

And why is this? Because how can someone who wants to succeed and better themselves commune with someone who does not? You are a weight. Dragging down people who live productively.

Change takes a complete 180 degree turn. A complete turn from your ways. You got issues, you got trauma, you got mommy and daddy issues, no kidding. Join the club. Everyone does. You’re not the only one.

The problem isn’t the drugs, it isn’t your living situation, it isn’t your past, it isn’t anyone but you. The day you start dealing with your ‘self’, is the day your life will start to get better. Change starts with you. Keep feeding into the lies and your own self pity and your universe will continue to be nothing but a shadow. Misery loves company. Yes, the ones who feed off your ridiculousness and spawn new cravings on how to worsen their lives.

If you don’t want to change then stop complaining. Call your local transitional assistance, become disabled because you can’t handle life, suck on the government’s nipple, and get that check every week. It’s now the new American Dream. Don’t worry, the successful ones will pay your way. It’s the life you have chosen… funny, guess you have made a choice. Just don’t expect anyone to go on that run with you. And don’t tell me your problems. I know so many people with problems just like yours that are living as conquerors. Don’t tell me you have this special disease that no one else has and it’s the reason why you are the way you are; that disease is you. You are so wound up in it that it’s all you know. You let go. Now it’s time for me to let go.

The ones who live victoriously can only deal with people like you for so long. Good luck.

I’ll be praying for you,

I wonder how long that will last…

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Does a cloudy, stormy picture like this make us miserable or are we already miserable and this triggers it? I think storms are awesome and beautiful myself…

I’m no doctor. But I can tell you, that through perseverance, dedication and remaining grateful for what I have simply makes me happy. I actually love life and everything it has to offer.

I’ve heard quotes like this one, “The seeds of depression will never take root in a Grateful heart!” How true is this? I sit back often and reflect where I was, where I could be and where I am. Yes, I have days where I am stressed out but it’s temporary. I feel anger, sadness and loads of pressure with the daily struggles of life but I constantly tell myself that I have a God who is greater than any problem I will ever have.

Usually when I’m driving to work first thing in the morning, I daze off a little and remember where my life used to be. I put myself where I was, depressed, tormented and enslaved by addiction then quickly I snap back to reality. I usually say to myself “Thank you Lord for your Grace and where I am today” or “What a sick way to live”… those are my two replies usually.

Then I thank Him for saving me and I reflect on what I am grateful for. I go over every little thing I have and am so thankful because I know that if I were still living in addiction, I would be so miserable and depressed; barely living, just floating around like a zombie, hustling and haunting anyone with money and seeking enablers.

I see people who claim and hold on to bi-polar, anxiety and other excusable issues. I see people who are so stressed out. I see people who are constantly complaining and are just absolutely miserable. I don’t know if it’s because they haven’t experienced what it’s like to lose everything. And I mean everything.
I don’t know if it’s because they haven’t fully surrendered their old nature and allowed a change to take place. I don’t know if they are just so stubborn that being humble, teachable and grateful are nonexistent in their daily vernacular, that they are words they probably do not understand.

I used to be on the quick acting Ativan, Xanax and many other long term anti-depressants as well. I actually still have panic attacks but they are getting so much better. Yes, the hyperventilating, “where did THAT come from”, no warning, “I’m gonna piss myself” panic attacks. They suck. I actually went to a respiratory doctor, had x-rays done and he said, “Everything’s fine, it’s all in your head Mike.” “Oh, great, that’s just wonderful, thanks Doc.” I said to him as I was leaving the hospital with a confused look on my face. Now what am I supposed to do? I think I may have even laughed at myself the whole ride home!

“So not also do I have an addiction problem, I now have a mental issue!? Great.” That’s what I was dealing with. Totally freaking out over everything. This was a time before I got help. Before I tried. Before I put any effort into anything. I was still lost. I didn’t even know how to persevere, I couldn’t, I was so weak. My choices were wrong and my addiction belittled my sense of who I was.

Well, 3 years coming up with one very short relapse after 10 months, after a surgery I was not even close to being prepared for. Glad it happened though. I am stronger from it. I knew what to do, who to talk to and where to go, thanks to time in rehab and thanks to the people who offered time and served as lighthouses in my life, God I am so thankful for them.

It took time, clean, no drugs at all, not even Tylenol or Advil. It took time to persevere and gain a strength that I have never had before. A strength that keeps getting stronger as each day goes by. I persevered by remaining teachable. That I am and will always be a work in progress. That I will always have the ability to learn and grow. That I do have the capability to be humble and close my mouth when I am supposed to. To thank God for a paycheck, for family, for friends. That listening to others speak and understanding that it is not all about me. That accepting others for who they are and where they are in life, without judgment, puts my life into perspective. That I do have something to offer. That I am strong enough to overcome obstacles and achieve my goals. That I do indeed have the power to say no, but not only say no, but to tell someone that they do not have to live this way, and offer advice, plant a seed, and move forward.

Thank you Lord for this gift. As I continue to be humble, remain teachable and stay grateful for what you have given and continue to give me, I am looking forward to a happy life with You and every blessing You are going to offer. The biggest blessing is hoping I touched someone’s life in one way or another.

Become Free! Become the Difference!

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My mom, the one I probably hurt the most during my destructive journey.

Mom’s love their kids wholeheartedly and almost with a Godly love, an unconditional love. No matter what happens you know your mom will be there and love you no matter what. It’s such a comfort knowing that too.

Today is Mother’s Day and it was nice to be able to drop off some flowers to my mom and spend a little time with her. Things were not always this grand though. I caused some damage during my addiction and to be where I am today is simply a blessing. But there was a time when I didn’t speak to my mom for almost two years. Nothing she had done, just simply guilt and shame for what I had done.

I was a junky at the time and being a low class junky I did stupid selfish things. I stole, I lied and I manipulated. I should have ended up in jail for what I did, let alone hell for what I did. Walking around with no faith and no hope brought complete shame to me for my actions. I didn’t have the guts to call my mom up for two years. Disgusting.

I contacted her the day before I went into rehab. Why? Because I knew I needed change and that this change would help with our relationship. I knew that things would be better, not perfect, but better and I knew that I had some work to do, even to this day, building up trust.

But I knew, even to this day, that during those two years of not contacting my mom, she still loved me the way she always does. That agape love. The love you can not break. Did I take advantage of that? Yup. I hurt her bad. I hurt her and lied right to her face even when she knew the answer and she still loved me.

This is how God loves us. Unconditionally. We mess up, we hurt others, we destroy bridges but God always loves us no matter what. When we ask God to forgive us, He cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness, He forgives us as far as the east is from the west, He removes our transgressions! He is faithful and just to do so.

This is why asking for forgiveness is so important and confessing our exact wrongs to the people we hurt is so healing and powerful.

Going up to the person we hurt and simply saying “I was wrong, I hope one day you can forgive me…” may be tough but it takes the load off our backs. It’s giving a little of the pain away and allowing room for forgiveness. I am still, to this day, asking people for forgiveness for my past. It’s something we must do to improve ourselves and to move forward. It shows that we are not always first, that we can be humbled, be grateful and remain teachable.

My mom didn’t deserve one thing, not one repercussion, not one lie during my addiction. She forgave me. Her love persevered through a tough time. Because of the love she has shown for me, because of the love God has shown and continues to show for me, because of His wonderful Grace and His Mercy, because I have been given so many second chances, and simply because I know for a fact that I do not deserve any of it… I try to give back and love as best as I can.

This life of Recovery, the amount of gratitude I have, the chance to give back, the unsurpassing love and Grace that I have experienced from friends and family I have hurt, people that didn’t know me and offered their time to help me, complete strangers who offered advice, counselors, program directors, other addicts…

Thanks mom for your love and your strength. I love you. Because of you, I know how to love and I know how to be strong.

Become Free, Become the Difference!

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This is a picture I drew while in rehab. I drew it with a BIC pen.

When I first got into rehab, I was confused and lost. I was dope sick. My mind was racing, I couldn’t sleep and all I could think about was myself and how I was going to get through this.

I’d say the first month was all about myself. I was literally losing my mind. I was shaking and my stomach had a mind of its own. Dope sick is the worst. My whole mind, body and spirit was aching. I wanted to leave but the little conscience I had left told me to stay and wait it out.

That month was a testing of many mental trials. It was all about me. Because of the way I was feeling, I was extremely selfish in my thinking and only wanted everything to benefit me. All I wanted was comfort of any kind and I didn’t get it. Well at least at that point, I thought I wasn’t getting it. I thought it was absolute torture. No one cared, no one loved me and no one wanted to help.

After that selfish first month of living without my poison running through my body, I realized that I WAS getting help and being comforted. I started becoming grateful for the place I was at. I was being fed. I had a bed to sleep in. I was getting counseling, I was being taught principles and I was being transformed into a clean human being again. Waking up was getting easier, sleep was getting better and my attitude was being adjusted. There was a slow metamorphosis happening, from selfish to benevolent.

I started doing things I used to like to do, on my free time, even to this day. One of them is drawing. Just whipping a pencil back and forth is fun. Something usually appears on the paper. I can draw fast and make a quick sketch or I can take my time and whip up a detailed drawing. Either way, I now have the ability to put my problems, my anxiety and my selfishness aside.

It’s the same with helping others. I talk with many people who are struggling with drug addiction and other habitual quirks. I stand strong in my recovery, knowing that I have a purpose and that it is not all about me. I have my life back and I thank God every day for the chance to go out and live a productive lifestyle.

During my stay at rehab, I got a chance to work at the front desk. It was kind of like my own little office. I answered the phones, completed new beneficiary intakes and basically was an assistant to all of the counselors and housemen. As the days went on, I saw people, lost, dope sick people, coming in and going through the same thing I went through. They were on a mission to benefit themselves. Some didn’t last long but the ones that made it to a few months began to change too. They got happiness and some of the void, which was filled with hopelessness, filled with hope and determination.

Many of the guys who had a few months of clean time began helping the newcomers. They shared their struggles along with the in’s and out’s of the program. Now that I think about it, I had a few guys help me out my first month. They guided me along and kept me afloat. It’s an awesome thing to be led and encouraged when you need it.

As I grow and as I watch others grow, I have come to an understanding of what a renewal of the mind is all about. Understanding that putting ourselves second, or even third, well, last for that matter, enables us to move forward, grow and help others. Staying Humble, remaining Teachable and being Grateful is the only way we are going to become who we are supposed to be. Putting effort in these three things keeps us at a level open for opportunity and blessings. Put God first, others second, your’SELF’ last and watch Him make a difference every where you go!

“Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.'” Matthew 18:1-5

What IS the Greatest commandment?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30

Become Free. Become the Difference!

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Looking out the window of my flight made me realize how minute my problems were and made me grateful to be able to do the things I can do. There are so many things to be grateful for being in Recovery. Not being ENABLED but being ABLE!

I had a chance to visit my brother and his family out in Nebraska this month. I was able to work and pay for the plane tickets. I was able to stay there for a week and spend quality time with my niece and 5 nephews! My brother and I went out to the shooting range, we cooked a 10 pound rib eye over an open fire, watched movies and played video games with his kids. I am very grateful for being able to do all these things with a clear mind and being able to be a good example of what an uncle is and how an uncle should act.

The other day I had a chance to talk to a man who was asking for money in front of a Starbucks. He was homeless and reeked of alcohol. His mission was to get as much money as he needed for whatever his intentions were. I pulled him aside and told him I was going to give him 20 bucks if he would hear me out first…

I was able to tell him that I was once where he was. That I used to be a drug addict and that I know what it’s like to struggle and be a bottom feeder. I was able to tell him that he doesn’t have to live like this. That it’s never too late to turn his life around; to get help and surround himself with productive people. I was able to tell him that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. That because of Him, I am able to persevere in His Grace and live a better life. I was able to receive a handshake and a hug from this stranger. I was also able to understand him and not judge him because I was once where he is standing.

I was able to go to my mother’s home for Christmas Eve. I was able to pick up my grandmother and give her a ride to my mother’s and actually show up on time! I was able to spend time with my other brother and his family there and to enjoy great food. I was grateful to be able to give gifts to everyone and grateful not having to show up empty handed because I had to feed an addiction.

I was able to spend time with my dad on Christmas. I was able to make a picture collage of his kids and grandkids all in one frame and able to accept a thank you when he saw it and grateful he enjoyed it. I was able to go see a movie and get some Chinese food with him and have a good time.

These days, I am able to do just about anything. I’m able to have relationships which were once broken. I’m able to help others in need. I’m able to discuss my past and use it to set a good example. I’m able to save money and use it wisely. I’m able to put gas in my truck, to go food shopping and to pay bills. I’m able to live a productive life, a responsible life; a new life from my addictive and destructive past.

Most of all, I am able, and grateful, to be able to trust myself in everything I do and to thank God daily to be under His Grace, to be able to have this freedom. My past is disgusting. It makes me sick when I think of my old lifestyle. The things I used to do, the people I used to hurt, in order to satisfy my addictive obsession and desires.

Being able to do all these things this year strengthens me and makes me extremely grateful for where I am. I am so grateful for a God who forgives and blesses in abundance to someone who does not deserve it, and as small and as little the things I do have, they all feel huge, powerful and meaningful.

I am able to write this, hoping it will help someone to see that when we live life according to the Word of God, we change, we become different people, we yearn to separate ourselves from a life without Him. We need to realize that our addictive nature is not our destined path, that we have it in us to become free from addiction, from ourselves, from our physical and mental anguish, that our mind and soul can rest in the hands of our Savior!

I hope you have a great Christmas with your family and friends. Celebrate and give thanks every day! 😀

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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!