Posts Tagged ‘friends’

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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It seems to be a regular announcement. I’m hearing it more and more. A friend. A friend of a friend. Someone’s family member. A loved one. A loved one over-dosing on heroin or some other familiar drug.

It’s sad. You will read in the obituary, “Died suddenly” or “An unexpected death”. A young girl. A young man. No one wants to admit that their child or family member has lost their lives to addiction or to a foreign chemical. Well, it’s not so foreign any more. It’s becoming an epidemic. I will soon update my past blog on ‘Drug Statistics’ very soon.

Not because I want to. Because I have to. We need to become more aware of what we are doing to ourselves and we need to start taking it a little more serious.

Many of us in my community lost a friend to drug abuse, she left behind two children.  It kills me. I hate hearing it.  It breaks my heart in so many ways.  Children going on without their mom.  Without guidance.  We can not be replaced.  We were put here for a reason, for a purpose.

Losing our lives to a chemical due to our own lack of self control was not what God intended.  We need to become more aware of why we resort to chemicals; destructive chemicals.  Why this generation feels the need to self medicate.  Why we ‘think’ we need medication for our anxiety and for our other thought processing issues. Seriously, we are living in a pill popping society and a self medicating world.  There are more mental symptoms than there has ever been.  But that is a whole other blog.

A few weeks ago, between my friends and people I know, I heard of 5 people in one week found dead or that were unable to be resuscitated.  They are dropping like flies.  I mean, it’s unbelievable.  Especially when it’s someone you know and someone you had thought highly of and that had so much potential.

Now they have shots such as NARCAN (naloxone), which are used to revive people, well, it reverses the effects of opiate and opioid depression.  Another words, when someone is overdosing, it will remove the high and wake them back up; in most cases.  And they, the pharmacies, are making more and more versions of these ‘Overdose Remedies’.  You would think this would be great right?  They’re saving lives!!!  Not so much.  They are just putting out a fire that is destined to restart.

Now addicts almost have a reason to overdose.  They think that they will be fine.  Often, if an addict is living at home, a  family member will have a ‘shot’ at hand, kind of like an EpiPen, ready for that quick wake up.

So where is the lesson being learned here?  “Oh, Johnny has a problem and we’ll be ready when it happens.  There’s nothing we can do, he’ll never change.”  That is called enabling.  That is exactly what we should not be doing.  Addicts need help.  Plain and simple.  Every chance we get to hold an addict accountable is life saving.

We have a voice.  We have the ability to hold people accountable.  We have the power to say no, the power to not enable people and to just sit there and watch them get devoured by their lack of self control, destroying themselves with chemicals.  They don’t have self control?  Be their self control.  Don’t just watch them decay.  Help them.  Find out how to get them help.  There are so many detoxes and rehabilitation centers all around us.  They don’t want to go?  They don’t want help?   Research treatment centers.  Talk to someone who has been through the destruction and has made it through.  Have someone who has been through the ringer talk with them.  Do what ever it takes. Pray without ceasing! You pray for them every day.  Pray for a way out.  Ask God to intervene in their lives.

This needs to stop.  Lets lead by example and step up to this wave of self extermination.

Become Free… Become the Difference.

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We all know sliding down a slide is easy. All we have to do is lay there and enjoy the ride.

Sledding, Skiing down a hill. Riding on a roller coaster. Jumping out of an airplane; I haven’t tried that yet and I probably never will, takes no effort. I mean, it takes guts, a lot of guts! But the fall is just gravity pulling you down to your destination. There is no effort in falling. And most of the time it’s fun going down. Usually anything that takes no or little effort is fun.

And it is fun using and getting high. It’s fun feeling good and laughing about absolutely useless things when our minds are altered. However, as high as we think we are, we are slowly going down. We think we are having a good time but we are getting pulled down every time we use. Pulled down to a destination of depression. A destination of addiction. A destination unknown.

Using drugs may be a one time event. It may be a phase you’re going through. It may be the life changing catastrophe you and your family were not expecting. Some of us try it and move on. Some of us get hooked. Some of us overdose and never come back from it.

Are you looking to see what happens? Just want to ‘test the waters’ and see which way your life goes? See if you can have ‘some fun’ for a little while and return back with no consequences? It’s an extremely dangerous road. Talk about playing with fire. It may seem fun but it is a downward spiral to death.

So why all this common sense talk? Well, everyone knows all this. Everyone knows that drugs are fun. That drugs are potentially dangerous. We all know going down takes little to no effort.

When we are living in addiction, we put so much effort into scheming and getting our fix we don’t even realize it. The amount of time and thought that goes into planning and pleasing our hunger for our fix is crazy. It’s a constant, vicious cycle no one would ever dream of being involved in. But it does happen. Very often too.

Coming out of addiction takes a lot of effort, but not as much as you would think. If we used HALF of the effort we used in our addictive state; hustling, scheming, stealing… that “what ever it takes” attitude, we would come to a productive conclusion very quickly. The question is do you want to. Whether or not you want to, you know you have to. Especially when you’re messing around with drugs that can kill you.

Climbing a ladder takes effort. Going up stairs takes effort. Mountain climbing takes effort. Going up, against gravity, takes work. It takes strength, power and perseverance. Perseverance as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is the ‘continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition’.

Is persevering easy? Not really. Is climbing easy? Is fighting pressure, peer pressure, gravity and the weight of opposition easy? Ever put 50 lbs. on your back and try to climb a ladder? You may be able to do it but my point is every step you take will be an important one. Every step up will be a persevering step.

Going down is simple and easy. Coming back up takes perseverance and strength. It takes time. Thinking. Involvement. Surround yourself with meetings, people and places that will help make your climb a little easier. Persevere. It takes CONTINUED EFFORT and may be DIFFICULT but you can get through it. Doing it with people that have a common bond of growing in their recovery will make you stronger!

Rise up against the flow. Get away from your so called ‘friends’ that are using. If your friends are lost too, find some friends who are found! Find strong friends that will hold you accountable and will be there for you when times get tough. Friends that will talk with you and not judge you. A true friend will give you constructive advice and will be a good example. Grow in Wisdom and start making the right decisions today!

Persevere. Become the Difference!