Archive for the ‘Strength’ Category

This guy, Jonah Hadley, Big Pastor J, headed off to Wells Maine to start a church. Keep his travels in prayer, pray to keep his family safe and pray for the lost to be found up in Maine.
6 years ago I was lost. I was a bottom feeding self induced drug addict paving my own prison pathway to destruction and death.
I was in the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center trying to find out why and how I got to such a rock bottom in my life after a 10 year addiction to opiates and other drugs. Well that sentence explains the rock bottom. I needed help and I needed it fast.
One night at the Salvation Army, during a meeting that we were required to attend, in walks Jonah, this big dude, full head of hair, bible on his side and a determined stare. Here we go right?
He started to speak and all of a sudden my ears opened up. Now I wasn’t new to this Christian thing, I’ve been one most of my life, just never walked my talk.
Jonah started spitting truth. Right from his heart. No beating around the bush, no watery phrases or advice of the world; he gave a short testimony and went on to talk about how you can basically become free from this so called ‘disease’ of addiction. There are about 100 guys in this room, and hearing Jonah speak like he was talking directly to me or someone one on one in front of so many roughed up men, was impressive.
God used Jonah to get to me, as well as so many, God also used the program, its counselors and as a matter of fact, other addicts as well.
Jonah would come in once a month to the rehab and keep offering this freedom. He kept offering the Word of God and freedom through Christ and how simple it was.
Me and a bunch of others would eventually attend service, meetings at Calvary, which is now Great Rock Church. There we met other addicts, other people with issues just like us. A real down to earth community of believers.
I always thanked Jonah for his sincerity and his honesty although he always told me “it isn’t me brother, it’s the Lord”… I said I know man, but you chose to allow Him to work through you, and for that I thank you brother.
I can proudly say Jonah is a true friend. Always there to listen and definitely there to tell you how it is! He’s all about Truth, accountability and telling it how it should be but from the heart and most of all from the Word of God.
Thank you for being there for me brother. Thank you for hearing me when I was down and hearing me when I am up. Thank you for your strength and your faith that is displayed for myself and others to live and learn by. A true leader, made through discipleship from other strong leaders as well.
We’ll be visiting you soon up in Maine brother and will enjoy many more years together in His Light.

We’ll be keeping your path and your family in prayer. I know God has big things coming for those who keep the faith!!
My pastor, my friend, my brother. Godspeed.
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26

Selfie

Let me take a Selfie.

We all take them, well most of us. And if we don’t get the right one, we keep taking one until we like it. The right angle, the right shadowing and the right shot, it has to be perfect. And to put the cherry on top we go on Instagram and get the perfect filter to make our already perfect Selfie even better.

We Snapchat, we post our little Selfie creation on Facebook, on Twitter, all over social media, “Look at me!” It glorifies us.
And as if that’s not enough, if we don’t get the right amount of ‘Likes’ on our selfie we take it down. “That wasn’t good enough, OBVIOUSLY,,, so let me take another Selfie.”

Why are we constantly feeding our image? Why are we continually trying to fulfill this feeling of inadequacy? I see young kids on Instagram showing their photos of scars and bloody marks from self-cutting. I see skinny, malnourished teens posting pictures of their self loathing bodies and saying how depressed they are and how no one is there for them. I see people posting dramatic memes and posting the most ridiculous rumors raving about others.

Self-medicating is an epidemic. Overdoses on Heroin, Cocaine, speed-balling and other mind altering substances are on the rise. Depression and anxiety statistics just continue to climb every single year. Disability for anxiety and depression are more prevalent. People are giving up and relying on chemicals to cope.

We are an enabling society. Constant remedies needed as fast as possible. Why?

Because it’s all about me. Yes, you. Me and you. We get offended easy, we get emotional quickly, we get bothered, we get upset, we don’t know how to handle pressure or cope with loss, we can’t believe that just happened, we can’t understand this and won’t put up with that.
“Did you hear what she said? Did you see what he did?”, gossip central. Anything to take the focus off of us when it comes to blame, so quick too, but not very quick to take fault.
But it’s all about me. Everything depends on how I feel, when I want to feel it and when I say it’s OK to feel that way. The world evolves around ME. I even pray for me.

Where is the purpose? Where has the perseverance gone? Why are we mutilating ourselves, hurting and self exterminating ourselves? Where is the honor and respect for each other? Where has all the gratitude gone? Why are we so ungrateful for what we do have and so concentrated on what we don’t have? Why are we constantly complaining, bickering, one upping each other, competing in a realm that doesn’t even exist? Why? Wait for it…

Are you ready? Because IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! I bet that hurt a little. It’s true. You are nothing. And the quicker you realize this, the quicker you will understand and be OK with it. Let me explain.

You were created, with a purpose, for a purpose and for a reason. Your main purpose is to glorify your creator. As a book glorifies an author, as a painting glorifies an artist, so are you to glorify your creator. Have you ever made something, anything, in art class, at home, at work, anything? Who does it glorify? You! You made it! Name one thing around you right now that doesn’t have a purpose or that didn’t at one time have a purpose. You can’t. It’s impossible. Because everything has a purpose, everything was made, and so weren’t you.

Now, with that being said, lets see what we are called to do with our purpose. And before I list our callings from the most popular, number one selling book on the planet, that everyone seems to ignore, I will make a quick remark for my findings. There is one Truth and one air we breath. The air we do not choose, we must accept it, we have to, if we don’t, we die. The Truth on the other hand we must choose to accept. We all know it’s there, some of us are unwilling to accept it. Without it, like air, we also will die. Pertaining to God, Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. He either is or He isn’t, but that’s up to you.

Here is what we are called to do. We are called to Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, with all our mind, with all of our soul and with all our strength. We are called to Love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We are called to be Holy. We are called to be strong and to be courageous. We are called to persevere. We are called to live by Faith. We are called to help one another, to lift each other up, to make disciples of each other. We are called to praise our creator and to give thanks to Him. We are called to live with this purpose and with the gifts that are given to us.

See, it’s not about me and you. It’s about God. It’s about glorifying Him. That’s our only purpose. We are but a mist on this planet and our time is ever so short. Don’t waste it bringing others down and tearing people apart. Don’t waste it walking around lost and hating yourself. Our pride and our selfishness must go. We must surrender daily.

It’s not about me Lord, it’s about you. Help me to live for you as I was created to do. Help me live a purposeful life as you created me to do. Help me to not just separate myself from my problems, but to separate myself unto you. In all my achievements, in all my accomplishments, in all my gratefulness, in all my strength I give you the glory.

Become Free. Become the Difference.

Bibliography: Holy Bible

Helping Hand Christian Stock Images

This is a great example of what we can do for others. The action it takes to make things happen. Our words only mean so much. Without our walk aligning with our mouths, it is just talk.

Here is a familiar story or for some not so familiar at all. Either way, a great read and a great example of relative love in action.

An addict fell in a hole and couldn’t get out. A businessman went by. The addict called out for help. The businessman threw him some money and told him to buy a ladder. But the addict could not find a ladder in this hole he was in.
A doctor walked by. The addict said, “Help, I can’t get out.” The doctor gave him some drugs and said, “Take this, it will relieve the pain.” The addict said thanks, but when the pills ran out, he was still in the hole.
A renowned psychiatrist rode by and heard the addicts cries for help. He stopped and said, “How did you get in there? Were you born there? Did your parents put you there? Tell me about yourself, it will alleviate your sense of loneliness.” So the addict talked with him for an hour, then the psychiatrist had to leave, but he said he’d be back next week. The addict thanked him, but was still in his hole.
A priest came by and heard the addict calling for help. The priest gave him a bible and said, “I’ll pray for you.” The priest got down on his knees and prayed for the addict, then left. The addict was grateful and he read the whole bible, but he was still stuck in that hole.
A recovering addict happened to be passing by. The addict cried out, “Help me, I’m stuck in this hole!” Right away, the recovering addict jumped in the hole with him. The addict said, “What are you doing?? Now we’re BOTH stuck here!”
But the recovering addict said, “It’s okay, I’ve been here before, I know the way out.”
-Anonymous

The relative history and that related bond can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Reaching out to someone who you know is struggling with something that you have struggled with in the past. Being able to get on their level exactly where they are, knowing that all you have is truth to give to them because you have been there. And offering it in a loving manner, giving advice with a way out. Leading by example.

Many people offer many different solutions and pathways for addicts. People who have not been through what the addict has gone through. People who ‘think’ they have gone through what you have been through and think they know the answer and think that they have something to offer. They push it. They constantly advise and admonish with their mouths and the only action of their speech is a reaction, getting angry when you do not agree with their belief system. They constantly bring up your past and use it against you regardless of your victories. Trying to correct something that isn’t even there to correct. Looking for a quick fix, a way to figure you out in a split second.

If I am a plumber, do I have any place in giving an electrician advice? Does a non-addict have any place giving an addict advice? Can someone who has never done an opiate tell a heroin user how to get better? They may have good advice but it will not hit home like it will from someone who has been there and gone through the pains of addiction and the loss of self worth. Most of all coming through and breaking the chains of addiction. Setting a firm foundation in God and using Him as the Answer.

Time goes by and you are out of that hole. Say you believe. Say you have come such a long way from your past and people still don’t believe you. People still need to find a way to tear you down. Instead of praising God for your clean time and how you have come back from the dead, they argue over petty ideas and dispute over personal beliefs. Fighting over foolishness. Claiming your dignity and splattering your worth.

This will happen. This has happened, but I got news for you, you are on your own path. You have a story to tell. You have no one to prove a thing to. You have been chosen by God himself to lead and admonish others through love…

“And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15

To love and help others. To lead not as the ones who lead with their mouths but to lead as the ones who live by their example. Make your message your lifestyle. Go out and make disciples. Give what has been given unto you.

Give the second chance. It has been given unto you. Stay humble and never forget where you came from.

Reach out and lend a helping hand. Do it the same way it was done to you.

Become the Difference.

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Hey!!! How are you?

I’m just making my way through town today and thought I would come by and say hello.

How is everything? I miss you.

Don’t you miss me? I was there for you every step of the way. Through heartache and loss. I was there for you when you needed me. I comforted you every day. Gave you a place to hide, a place to erase the guilt and the pain.

I offered you a way out every time.

You fought for me. You stole for me. You lied for me. You did whatever you could to satisfy me. I was on your mind every second and every minute of every day. You even dumped your girlfriend for me. You ignored all your friends for me. You divorced your spouse for me. You sold your belongings for me. You put all your priorities and responsibilities aside for me.

You made up every excuse in the book to cover for me. Remember?

You got rid of everything for me. I was your number one! You told me you couldn’t live without me. You told me you needed me, that you would never leave me. You told me you loved me!

I was all you needed and you know it.

Remember that time you went to jail for me? I know I couldn’t be there with you but I just wanted you to know that I can take you back there again. What? You were helping your best friend and they put you behind bars?! Who do they think they are?
Listen… me and you go way back, I would do anything for you! I would even kill for you.

I would even kill you if you wanted me to.

I took over your mind, your body and your soul. You owe me more time. All I want is a few more runs, just me and you, like the good ‘ol days man! Come on. Lets go out tonight and get lit up. One more time bro. Me and you. What do you say?

How dare you turn your back on me! You liar!
Tell me why then did you do all these things for me?! Why did you put me first and your friends and family last?

I was there for you all the time.

Yes, it cost you everything but hey! Nothing is free my friend. You were pretty happy when we first met! We got introduced to each other from your old pal there, you know the one, who isn’t around anymore because he was too weak to be one of us. I had to get rid of him. Listen man, he didn’t have what it took. I only had him around to get to you.

I would do anything for you.

This may sound harsh but I don’t keep the weak around, only the strong. Like you. You’re strong. So strong that you are living your life without ME?. You think you’re happy with that “God” you constantly talk about. You think you’re fine with your new friends, walking around with a ‘Purpose’. That’s BULLSHIT and you KNOW IT!!! Addiction is just a term used by the weak, it’s just an excuse!
Get over here now! Just because you ended up getting sick and suicidal doesn’t mean I had anything to do with it. All those physical and mental withdrawals were on YOU! You lost your faith and your hope? That’s not my fault. You should have tried harder for me, my job is just to make you feel better about yourself.

I put my all in and I deserve your all!

You know what? Screw it, I kill on a daily basis. I am a murderer of the weak. I destroy lives. I am on a mission to take away loved ones from their friends and their families. I am THE manipulator. I am THE liar. I trained you, I gave you lessons on how to serve me and now you owe me your life. The only reason you are still alive is because of ME!!!

I’m sorry. I lost control there for a minute. Listen, forget all that, I’ll always be here for you whenever you need me. Remember, I’ll be waiting for you with unconditional torment and pain, I mean, unconditional love.

Love,

Your Poison.

P.S. The first one is on me 🙂

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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!

Black-Friday-Line

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let’s get all excited to meet up with family and friends most of us do not even want to see. Sad but true. If we were that excited to see our friends and family we see on Thanksgiving, we would probably see them more often right?

A time for harvest and celebration of gratefulness, giving thanks and overly warming others with comforting propaganda. A time to eat a ton of food that will most likely knock you out for an hour or two. If you’re of Irish or Italian descent, the gossip has already started in the kitchen.

It IS a great time to catch up and spend time with family and friends. Eat some great home cooking and just take a break from life for a few and relax. But the main reason for this holiday is in its title ‘Thanks’… ‘Giving Thanks’.

Welcome to America. Home of commercializing anything that makes money and ups ratings. ‘Black Friday’… Shop until your wallet’s empty. Camp out in front of a huge chain store as if you wanted to be first in line to be touched by the Pope. Trample over anyone and anything that’s in the way when the floodgates open to get that ‘once in a lifetime bargain’.

Anyway… back to giving thanks and being grateful. I thank God for work. I thank Him for being able to do the things I was not able to do. Simple things. Like remaining opiate free. Not so simple yet so simple. Things like not having to wake up in the fetal position, dope sick. Like not having diahrea flying out my back side due to withdrawals. I thank Him for the people in my life who are productive and beneficial to my success. Success as in a forward movement, not living in the past and overlooking where and what I was but where and what I am today, strong, confident and alive.

I’m thankful for the littlest things. Things I dare not say because most of you just won’t get it. I got a heater switch fixed in my work truck. It made my day! I thanked God. I’m STILL happy and thankful for it. I bought a new pair of boots; my smile is much bigger because of them.

I’m also able to do the best I can at work; to perform at my fullest. I’m thankful for the ability to show up to a job and complete it within a scheduled time frame. Thankful for the ability to keep moving forward to the next job, building integrity and trust with clientele.

Why so thankful? Why so thankful for the small things as well as the big things? Why do I resort to thanking God for everything I have? Well, who else am I going to thank?

There was a time where I was a slave. A slave to an addiction. I gave my life to it and I lost everything. Literally. Homeless. Lost. No faith. No hope. Complete emptiness. On a suicidal road to a second death. So when my life turned around, I gave birth to a whole new sense of living, a whole new sense of self-worth and a whole new method of understanding gratefulness; what being grateful really means.

See, I gave up. I surrendered. God pushed me toward this place called the Cross. Where I fell to my knees and fully surrendered MY ways, MY wants and MY needs. I asked Jesus to come into my life and make me new. And why it took so long to do so, I do not know. It’s free for crying out loud. I always knew it was. It didn’t cost a dime. Just took willingness to understand that my ways got me no where and that His ways are True and will guide me as I move forward. I always knew He was there and always knew He was willing to forgive me of my transgressions and wipe them out as far as the east is from the west. But this is my story. The path I chose.

I’m thankful to be alive to be able to be thankful. So why do I thank God? I thank God for His Son paying the ultimate penalty for my wrongs. That because of what Jesus went through for me, I am able to live, through Him. I am able to live and enjoy His Grace and His Mercy on a daily basis with thanks and gratefulness because of Him. This is why I thank God for every little thing that I have that goes good, that goes bad and that simply goes.

“Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am Strong”
Let the poor say, “I am Rich”
Because of what the Lord has done, for Us… Give Thanks.”

Become Free… Become the Difference!

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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!