What is 12-Step Recovery?

 

12-steps-recovery.newlife

As a seminary graduate and pastor, I was skeptical about much of psychology and recovery programs. I did learn a little more when I watched My Name is Bill W.–the story of the man who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous–but not much. I suspected that group meetings were touchy-feely, superficial gripe sessions that allowed addicts to blame everyone else in their lives for their problems. My greatest reservation stemmed from the commitment to speak of the generic ‘higher power’ instead of acknowledging Jesus Christ as the true life-changing power.

My views changed immediately and dramatically when a new job required a visit to a substance abuse rehab center. I found myself sitting in a group therapy session with men and women from their late teens to 60′s. They came from upper class homes, middle class working families, and the streets. I was amazed that they treated each other as true peers. Their pointed questions and frank confessions scared me, but I recognized that this is what real conversion looks like’people struggling with real guilt having no other hope than experiencing genuine rescue through faith in Jesus Christ. In short, they were living in true Christian community.

12-step recovery is biblical:

In my personal Bible study, I have found the principles that supported the steps. I finally became convinced that the steps were biblical when I recognized that Paul made his confession in 1 Timothy 1:15 as the result of completing the work of the 4th step: ‘Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.’ In verses 8-11, Paul outlines the basis for a searching moral inventory: the 10 Commandments. He then confesses, ‘I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man’.’ In verse 15, Paul then explains why he can complete his moral inventory without fear: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’of whom I am the worst.’ Later, I recognized the prodigal son experienced the admission expressed in the first step when he came to his senses. The 5th step is completely in keeping with James’ instruction in his letter: ‘Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.’ The 12 Steps help addicts face their sin and apply the remedy of the Gospel.

12-step recovery is progressive:

Working the steps requires following a process that moves the addict from a life of isolation to healthy relationships with others. In working the first 3 steps, you recognize the futility of your efforts to overcome your addiction by your own efforts and acknowledge your total dependence upon the Lord for help. In steps 4 through 6, you face the reality of your own brokenness due to sin and declare your readiness to have God transform you through the Gospel. In steps 7, 8, and 9, you work to repair the relationships that have been broken as a result of your addiction. In the final 3 steps, you work to advance the work already by growing in your knowledge of God and sharing what you’ve experienced with other addicts

12-step recovery is not self-help:

Anyone who hopes to end addiction must work the steps personally, but cannot work the steps without help from others. Groups urge members to find a sponsor/mentor who has already worked the steps or a partner who can work them at the same time in order to provide accountability for working the steps. Demonstrating a willingness to be in relationship through the steps is one of the most important foundations for completing the work. You are choosing to end the hiding and isolation. You must begin by deepening your relationship with God first. If I don’t really trust Jesus, then I won’t be able to trust His people. In the group meeting, you invite the other members to walk with you through the valley of the shadow of death. Knowing the God Who has walked that valley first is essential.

12-step recovery is an adventure:

The function of a 12-step group is not a precise science, as group veterans will attest. There are healthy and unhealthy groups. A healthy group fosters wholeness as the members progress through the steps. An unhealthy group permits members to repeat the same confessions they have made previously. Healthy groups can have unproductive meetings and unhealthy groups can have productive meetings.

The single greatest factor influencing a group’s health and effectiveness is the commitment of each member to work the steps. Members must help each other face the external and internal triggers that make up their patterns of addiction. Each person experiences moments of strength and of weakness’moments when it seems much easier to return to the life of denial and blame-shifting than to keep growing by answering that difficult question that has just been posed.

Following the well-trod path outlined by the 12 Steps will help you to escape the pattern of self-defeating behavior that has dominated your life and prevented you from experiencing wholeness through faith in Christ.

If you have a struggle with alcohol or drugs, we can help. Please see contact New Life Ministries at 800-639-5433.
If you’re struggle is with sexual integrity, please see Every Man’s Battle.

Overcoming Addiction Builds Character

Steve Arterburn

Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 1 Peter 5:8 HCSB

If you’d like a perfect formula for character destruction, here it is: Become addicted to something that destroys your health or your sanity. If (God forbid) you allow yourself to become addicted, you’re steering straight for a tidal wave of negative consequences, and fast.

Ours is a society that glamorizes the use of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, pornography, and other addictive substances. Why? The answer can be summed up in one word: money. Simply put, addictive substances are big money makers, so suppliers (of both legal and illegal substances) work overtime to make certain that people like you sample their products. The suppliers need a steady stream of new customers, so they engage in a no-holds-barred struggle to find new users’or more accurately, new abusers.

The dictionary defines addiction as ‘the compulsive need for a habit-forming substance; the condition of being habitually and compulsively occupied with something.’ That definition is accurate, but incomplete. For Christians, addiction has an additional meaning: it means compulsively worshipping something other than God.

Unless you’re living on a deserted island, you know people who are full-blown addicts’probably lots of people. If you, or someone you love, is suffering from the blight of addiction, remember this: Help is available. Plenty of people have experienced addiction and lived to tell about it . . . so don’t give up hope.

And if you’re one of those fortunate people who hasn’t started experimenting with addictive substances, congratulations! You have just spared yourself a lifetime of headaches and heartaches. We are meant to be addicted to God, but we develop secondary addictions that temporarily appear to fix our problem. Edward M. Berckman

Addiction is the most powerful psychic enemy of humanity’s desire for God. Gerald May

Character builder
Remember that ultimately you and you alone are responsible for controlling your appetites. Others may warn you, help you, or encourage you, but in the end, the habits that rule your life are the very same habits that you yourself have formed. Thankfully, since you formed these habits, you can also break them’ if you decide to do so.

Sowing and Reaping: Accountability

Excerpted from Life Recovery Bible by Steve Arterburn and Dave Stoop

While in recovery, we learn to accept responsibility for our actions, even when we are powerless over our addiction. We come to realize that all our actions yield consequences. Some of us may have deceived our self into thinking we can escape the consequence of the bad choices we have made. But with time, it becomes clear that God has made accountability a necessary element of healthy living.

‘You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.’ Galatians 6:7-8

The law of sowing and reaping can also work to our benefit. God spoke through the prophet Hosea, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’ Hosea 10:12

God says we always reap what we have sown. Even after we have been forgiven, we must deal with the consequences of our actions. It may take time to finish harvesting the negative consequences of our past sins, but this need not discourage us. Making a list of those we have harmed is one step toward planting good seeds. In time we will see a good crop begin to grow.

Check out God’s word in Hosea 10:1-12 and Zechariah 9.

Join us at our next Lose It For Life Weekend.
For information regarding help for drug or alcohol dependency see New Life Ministries Lakeview Health Systems.

Growing Deeper with Your Accountability Partner

Bob Parkins

If you have ever watched a documentary on wild animals, you probably know the two primary defenses these animals employ to protect themselves from predators. The animals that form herds or communities are constantly protected by their numbers. When attacked by prey, these animals flee danger together. It is those that don’t remain with the herd that are usually killed, typically the young, old, or weak.

1 Peter 5:8 describes our enemy [the devil] as a ‘roaring lion, who walks around, seeking someone to devour.’ This passage is not just an effective word-picture of the realities of daily temptation, but an important warning to flee and stick together.

Sticking together is absolutely an essential part of addiction recovery. James 5:16 tells us that in order to be healed, we need to be transparent with one another through confession. God created us to be in community and relationship with not just him, but one another.

Notice in Genesis 2, after God created Man, he created Woman because ‘it is not good that man be alone.’ God did not design us to be completely isolated from other people. Even though Adam was in intimate communion with God, he still was not complete until God gave him a partner.

Those who struggle with addictive behaviors especially tend to have difficulty forming and maintaining accountable relationships. They resist accountability because it is contrary to the way they have become comfortable living; they live as rugged individualists, or Lone Rangers. Most addicts don’t want to be held accountable. They don’t want anyone to look over their shoulder and want to be the boss of their own recovery program.

But those who do not remain accountable to others in their recovery simply don’t recover. This is not, however, just an issue of control; addicts are also hiding. Allowing another person access to look over your shoulder can leave one feeling somewhat naked or exposed. After hiding behind their masks for so long they have convinced themselves that no one will truly accept them the way they are – they are afraid of intimacy.

Accountability relationships should be supportive and encouraging relationships, although many do not fully utilize the support available to them. It is not uncommon for men to tell me they relapsed, and while they thought of calling their accountability partner for support, they didn’t. Sometimes they were afraid they would bother him, felt ashamed, or simply didn’t want to stop.

I once asked a group of men how they feel when they receive a call for support from their accountability partner. They told me they actually feel important when they are asked for help. It not only helps the person calling, but strengthens the partner as well. They feel valued, and more tightly bonded together as ‘brothers in arms.’ The Bible describes this as ‘iron sharpening iron’(Prov. 27:17).

For those who have difficulty calling their accountability partner when they are feeling tempted, I encourage you to call sooner. There comes a point when you already have decided to act out, and if a call for support is going to be made, it is essential to call way before reaching this point. One of the best ways to train yourself to call your accountability partner for help is to practice. Call your accountability partner when you have a victory. It is much easier to reach out when you feel victorious, rather than shamed. When you call before you are in trouble, it strengthens your confidence, relationship, and may help you prevail over or avoid temptation altogether. You are putting your fears to the test when you call your accountability partner and challenging those old beliefs that you will not be accepted as imperfect. How do you feel when your accountability partner calls you for help? If you feel at all valued, encouraged, strengthened, bonded or closer to him, chances are this is how he feels getting a call from you.

Together with your accountability partner, you are much more likely to succeed in your recovery (Ecc. 4:9-10; Prov. 17:17). For animals in the wild, fleeing danger together is a matter of life or death, and so it is also with us.

Need help finding an accountability partner? See Every Man\’s Battle.
For Drug and Alcohol help, see New Life’s Recovery Place.

The Value of an Intervention

Patricia Canepa

I spoke in my last article about the big heart of the person with an addiction, be it food, alcohol or something else. Typically the person with an addiction is one who has a temperament that tends to be more sensitive than another person’s. I don’t mean that if you are not an addict or alcoholic that you are not as sensitive as they are, but rather that this is one of the contributing factors to their disease process. They are sensitive people and there is some pain that they are trying to compensate for by the use of their addiction. It is by understanding this that we can help them heal from their illness.

Sometimes just the above knowledge that there may be an emotional component to the healing process is enough to get some into treatment. In this instance individual therapy is a good place to start, along with support groups. And of course a Lose it for Life seminar is a super boost. For those of you dealing with an alcoholic in your midst though that may not be enough. If a drug or alcohol addiction is present, we recommend New Life Rehab.

It is also by understanding the Big Heart of the addicted person, that the interventionist approaches the person. The interventionist is a person hired by the concerned people around the addict who want to see the destructive behavior stopped. He or she coaches the loved ones on how to approach the addicted one, and is present during the ‘confrontation process,’ gently guiding them through the process of explaining to the loved one why they want him or her to get the help they need. Due to the sensitivity of this event it is necessary to have a professional interventionist, as it is almost impossible for the loved ones to do it themselves. This approach is most commonly seen in the chemical dependency environment.

We need these people who are struggling with addictions of various sorts in our community. They have so much to contribute, and are often bright, but would be so much more free to offer what they have to us, if they were free from the bondage they are under.

Interdependence: Joined at the Heart

Jeff McVay

A few weeks ago, we had a celebration in America. People across the country prepared their grills for barbecue. Pools were cleaned. Firefighters prepared for the fireworks shows (both professional and the amateur) in case anything went wrong. And most importantly, folks unfurled their flags and joined in parades to celebrate the Independence Day of the United States of America.

Of course most countries have a day in which they celebrate the moment that they proclaimed independence from another nation or people and determined to make their own way in the world in the manner that they saw fit.

In the United States, independence is more than just a day that is celebrated. It is a way of life. We are taught to be ‘self made’ people. Some classic phrases that describe this thought are: ‘pull yourself up by your own boot straps,’ ‘if it is to be, it’s up to me,’ and (my favorite) ‘I did it my way.’

In the US, independence is not just about a people group breaking away from another country in order to make a new way of life; it is now about each individual person breaking away from all other people in order to do life their way. Most of us think that we have the right to live the way we want and not have anyone else ‘tell us what to do.’ This concept of individualistic independence has done some good for our society; however, it has also led to great isolation, loneliness and fear as we try to determine our existence without the help of anyone. This loneliness and fear also leads us into many avenues of false intimacy (such as pornography) in an attempt to make us feel better about being alone without really having to deal with the possibility of abandonment by another person.

The reason the loneliness becomes so great is because we are made for real relationships. We were not meant to be alone.

Maybe it is time for us to sign a new declaration; not one of independence but one of Inter-dependence. You may be asking yourself, ‘What is the difference?’ Well, interdependence is the radical notion that we really do need other people in order to survive in this world even after we ‘grow up’ and move out on our own. In fact, I am not sure that total independence even truly exists. Human beings perish without others. Even in subtle ways, we depend on one another. In the words of the writer Thomas Moore, ‘no man is an island’. This does not mean that you cannot do anything yourself or that there is no way to tell ‘Where I end and You begin,’ but that we must find the balance between allowing others to connect with us and help us, and what is the work that we have to do to help ourselves and others.

This is especially so when it comes to the addictive struggles that people may have. Addictions tend to isolate us from anyone who might find out what it is we struggle with. In fact Patrick Carnes says that the core beliefs of a person struggling with an addiction are ’1) I am basically a bad, unworthy person, therefore 2) no one will love me as I am. 3) My needs are never going to be met if I have to depend upon others and 4) whatever the addiction is: it is my greatest need.’

All of these beliefs foster an atmosphere of isolation. If I am a bad person and no one will love me, then I must face the world alone and I cannot rely on anyone to help. In that isolation I begin to look for something that will always relieve my pain. An addiction becomes that one thing that will always but temporarily relieve the pain. The addiction, however, becomes a source of embarrassment which leads to a greater need to isolate and repeat the cycle. Those that love us the most (family, spouses, children and friends) are usually the ones that we push away the most and who feel the greatest effects of both the addiction and the isolation that it creates.

How can a ‘Declaration of Interdependence’ help someone in this situation? It is only in coming out of isolation and being willing to let someone else speak into your life that anyone can begin a road to recovery. Remember that from the very beginning God declared, ‘It is not good for man (or woman) to be alone.’ We need one another. In beginning the recovery process we cannot do it on our own. We need to be interdependent on others who have the same desire to change behavior so that heart change or faulty core belief change can happen. This is probably the reason that the first 5 steps in a 12 step program deal with opening ourselves up to God and to other people as the beginning of behavior change.

Think of it this way. Pretend that there are absolutely no mirrors or reflective surfaces in the world at all. How would you know what you look like? There would be no way for you to know unless someone else could tell you. The isolation brought on by addiction and the faulty core beliefs that encourage them take away our abilities to see our own reflection.

The purpose of interdependence is to allow someone else to tell us what we look like. God tells us that we are loved enough to die for. Other people can talk about the good things that they see in us that we have forgotten or never seen due to addictive isolation. When we grasp how much we are loved and have a greater sense of who we are and whose we are then and only then is recovery a road that is opened up to us. This road joins us to the heart of God who calls us His sons and daughters, and to the heart of others who walk with us on this road all the way home. Maybe today can be the beginning of your own celebration. The day that you signed your ‘Declaration of Interdependence’!

For help with alcohol or drug addiction, please see the New Life Recovery Place.
For help with sexual integrity, please see Every Man\’s Battle.

The Big Heart of the Addicted Person

Patricia Canepa

One thing that people either do not realize or may forget is that the person suffering with an addiction is a person with what I call a big heart. I have many years experience in working with persons with addictions. One time in the course of my work I encountered an adolescent who needed to have her parents participate in her recovery program. My team of coworkers, at the time, were people who were both in recovery themselves. They said there was no way I would be able to get that adolescent’s mother in and one of the reasons they cited, was that she was also an alcoholic. I decided to try anyway and the parent agreed to come in to talk with me personally. After I explained to her the importance of her participation for her daughter’s recovery, she agreed to participate (though I am sure it was not easy for her to do so). My Coworkers were both astonished that she had agreed to come. That was when I explained to them that I had never yet met an alcoholic that didn’t have a big heart.

Your STRENGTH Is also Your WEAKNESS!

Just what do I mean by a Big Heart? What I mean is someone who is sensitive and caring. Or compassionate. Their sensitivity may often be greater than many other individuals by comparison. In fact it is often their sensitivity that causes them to feel pain at a greater degree than another person over a similar event. This can lead them to desire to escape the pain they may be experiencing by the use of alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, sex, and the list goes on.

What was surprising to me, as I have chronicled in the first paragraph, was that those in recovery themselves, did not realize that the “Big Heart” was a part of the picture of the alcoholic person. My coworkers did not seem to recognize that they themselves had big caring hearts. Or that this was the case with those with addictions. I believe it is of value to understand this in treating the addictive process and assisting those who desire healing to do so. This piece of information can also be helpful in assisting those who need treatment to find it more easily. I will talk more about this in my next article.

For help with drug or alcohol addiction, see the New Life Recovery Place.
For food addiction, please see the New Life Weekend.

Rejection in Recovery: Handling an Earthquake to the Heart

Pastor Ed Grant

The rain-slick highway was more dangerous than it appeared in the headlights, especially through the blurry eyes of someone who had indulged in a few too many drinks. But Bob knew the way home, and he had driven it countless times before without any problems. He had called his wife, Denise, to say that he was on his way home and assured her that he was fine to drive. However, once outside the tavern, he stood for a full half hour telling a friend about a recent fishing trip. Denise worried: it was only a ten minute trip from the tavern and her husband had yet to come through the front door.

She decided to drive there to see if something had happened to him. Bob knew she would be angry for a time – as she always was. He’d stop drinking for a while, attend a few AA meetings, and Denise faithfully came along side him to cheer him on. As Bob approached a curve in the road his front tires lost all traction. He began to slide across the double yellow line just as a car came around the curve the other way. In his headlights he saw the terrified face of a woman: it was Denise. To avoid a collision she went off the road and hit a telephone pole, demolishing her car and breaking her leg in two places. Surgery was necessary to repair the damage: steel rods, pins, and screws – equipment better suited for a metal shop – now held her leg in place until it would heal.

It was now three months since the accident. Bob attended AA meetings faithfully and hadn’t had a drink since the accident. He was excited about his sobriety and grateful to God for sparing his wife’s life. He was also terribly sorry for the pain he had caused his wife. But, truth be told, Bob was growing increasingly frustrated with Denise. She was cold, somewhat distant, suffering both from physical and emotional pain. He longed to have his cheerleader wife back in his corner again and was both sad and miffed that she didn’t celebrate or even seem to notice all the changes that were taking place in his life.

But Denise could not cheer him on. She had a wounded heart and a broken leg – and he was the cause of both.

Bob was feeling rejected by his wife, one of the most painful emotions we can experience. Those in recovery feel it even more acutely because they have stopped medicating their pain with drugs, alcohol, or pornographic fantasy. They are fragile and self absorbed, typically more aware of their own pain than of the pain they have inflicted on others. They want to move on with their lives, wanting everyone around them to notice what they’ve accomplished, to cheer them on and to trust them again. The trouble is, the cheerleader’s leg is still broken.

Emotional Pitfalls on the Road to Recovery

1. Unrealistic expectations
Those in recovery need to remember the years of pain, deceit, broken promises, and hardships created by their addiction have had a greater negative impact upon their loved ones than they can possibly know. Their loved ones require selfless support throughout the healing process. We can’t ‘fix’ our loved ones or undo what we have done, but through sincere and patient love we can help create the climate in which God can bring healing.

2. Riding the ‘emotional Ferris wheel’ with loved ones
Those in recovery often give their wounded loved ones the power to dictate their feelings. If the loved one is hopeful, they feel hopeful; if he is having a bad day, they don’t feel they have the right to be happy. While riding the emotional Ferris wheel is normal for our wounded loved ones, it is unhealthy to take a ride with them. It is a nasty trap that keeps us from recognizing and celebrating what God is doing in us, making it difficult for us to leave shame in the past and to fight the temptation to return to the addiction.

Finding refreshment for the Journey

The road to recovery is too demanding to walk alone. Sponsors, mentors, pastors, and support group members are prepared to offer the encouragement that loved ones are not able to give at the moment. This requires time, energy and a willingness to allow others to minister to us.

Finally, time spent with God in prayer, meditation and the reading of His holy Word are indispensable assets for recovery. St. Paul reminded the congregation in Rome of this, ‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves’May the God of peace fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ (Romans 15:4&5, 13).

For help with alcohol or drugs, please see the New Life Recovery Place.
For help with sexual integrity, please see Every Man\’s Battle.

Disconnection from God Feeds Addiction

Henry Cloud

People get addicted to things for a variety of reasons. The overarching reason is that we are human ‘ separated from God and his life ‘ and as a result we find ourselves out of control in a lot of ways. Yet, first let’s summarize some of the specific forces that drive an addition.

Some people seem to have a particular genetic makeup that is prone to addiction toward a certain substance, such as food or alcohol.

Environmental forces may be at work. People who are injured by significant relationships or grow up in families where certain relational and life patterns are ‘caught’ and modeled may not develop the coping skills needed to deal with hurts and injuries. Some turn to an addiction to medicate their pain.

Some people’s emotional makeup and dynamics can predispose them toward an addiction. These dynamics include:

‘ An internal sense of relational isolation and alienation, resulting in loneliness and a hunger for love

‘ A sense of powerlessness in life, and being controlled by others, circumstances, and forces bigger than themselves

‘ Inability to gain mastery and an ability to cope with and thus develop a sense of personal power that is adequate to deal with other people and life

‘ Feelings of shame, guilt, ‘badness,’ or failure, or other ways of feeling bad about themselves

‘ Unresolved losses and failures and the inability to deal with them

‘ Unresolved trauma, hurt, abuse, and pain of all kinds

‘ Feelings of inferiority and inability to develop competencies in life

‘ Feelings of being dominated by others and not living up to their standards

‘ Difficult times in life, along with the ineffectiveness of coping mechanisms and skills

While all of these can be factors in the cause of addiction, they are all symptoms of another, deeper condition. It is the spiritual condition of being ‘alienated’ from God and his life as he created us to live it. When we are cut off from him and his life, the Bible says that we become subject to addiction.

Paul says in Ephesians 4:17-19:
‘So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them
due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.’

When we become ‘darkened in our understanding’ and ‘separated from the life of God’, then we find ourselves in a lost state, craving things that will never satisfy. We experience a ‘continual lust for more.’ This craving drives us to want just one more drink, one more experience, one more sexual encounter, one more pizza, one more purchase. The desire is ‘continual,’ which means that it does not go away with the experience of the behavior.

This is a downward, futile, destructive cycle because it causes us to become separated from God and his life, even among people who are ‘spiritual.’ A part of the soul is disconnected from God and his life, or from the resources and healing experiences that will meet the need in ways that are truly satisfying ‘ the things that can truly ‘make a way.’

If separation from God and his life is the cause, then reconciliation to God and his life is the answer. That is how God makes a way for anyone with an addiction. He truly can set slaves free.

For help with food addictions please see Lose it For Life.
For help with drug or alcohol addictions, please see the New Life Recovery Place.

Moving On

Whether you attended our first Every Man’s Battle Workshop in Chestertown, MD, or one of our more recent workshops, I would like to take a minute to extend a heart felt greeting to each of you, and to give you a word of encouragement. A five day seminar on sexual purity that you knew little about before coming can be a very scary thing. I think you guys are to be commended for your bravery and willingness to take a look at yourselves in that way. I hope the days since you ‘graduated’ from Every Man’s Battle  have been good ones, and that you are experiencing more and more of God’s love and grace.

Before I go any further, let me tell you a little about myself. I have been in recovery from drugs, alcohol and sex addiction for a little over nine years. I was involved in the use of pornography, as well as massage parlors and the occasional escort service. One day a friend invited me to Saddleback Church in Southern California, which I began attending on a regular basis, and which I loved. Saddleback had a program that met every Friday night called Celebrate Recovery. As I started attending Celebrate Recovery, the Lord started working in my life. Gradually, I gave up the drinking, drugs and sexual immorality.

One thing I know for sure is that I could not have done it without a support system, without being ministered to by people who were struggling with similar things. God, working through Celebrate Recovery, my support system, and my own personal quiet times of prayer and Bible Study, got me to a place of sexual purity. It wasn’t easy; it was, and continues to be a battle. Like we say, it’s Every Man’s Battle.

How about you? Do you have a support system? Do you have some friends to hold you accountable when you travel? Are you in the Word and talking to God on a daily basis? Perhaps are you a ‘lone ranger’ in recovery? If you feel that you can do this on your own, that you don’t need other people in your life, if you’re isolating and not connecting with some type of support group, then it’s no accident that you are reading this. God wants you to be in relationship with others, He’s wired you that way. If you are ”lone rangering” your recovery, I urge you to reach out to a support group, or find an accountability partner. If you need help call 1-800-NEW-LIFE, we can help connect you with a New Life Group

 

Tour Israel with Steve Arterburn and New Life Ministries