Out of Bounds

Recovery requires boundaries. Unfortunately we often think of boundaries as limiting factors. They’re the rules and regs we have to live by in order to maintain sobriety. But this is an entirely narrow view of boundaries.

Instead, I encourage you to think of boundaries as the guardrails you surround yourself with to protect your soul. These include what you look at, listen to, ingest, smell, where you go, and who you interact with. You are the primary protector of your soul. God gave you rule over that part of His kingdom. He owns it, but we are stewards of it.

When we relax our boundaries and engage pseudo porn, lustful looking, “harmless” flirting (quotes indicate denial) or drink a little too much we are dabbling with disaster. When we listen to podcasts or shows that pollute our thinking, go places or say or do things that violate our consciences we are fueling fallout. Its only a matter of time. Maybe you can relate in that when I relax a little boundary, it turns into relaxing bigger boundaries. And when I bump against them to see if they’ll really hold me, I’m actually seeing how far I can get. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

Alternatively, when I live well within intentionally designed boundaries, I allow my soul to flourish. It’s life giving. It creates a lifestyle of abundance rather than a mentality of scarcity. The most important people get the best parts of me, rather than a dulled out version of me.

The sad truth though, is that when I live with poor boundaries I’m really being a poor steward of the soul God has given me. Rather than cultivating, sanctifying and treasuring it as a reflection of His glory, I’m covering it with grit, grime and pollution.

Recovery boundaries aren’t limiters. They’re life givers.

Thankya Lawd

A quick devotional thought for the day:

Years ago, we helped my wife’s grandmother move. She had to have been in her 80’s at that point. As we shuffled things around she would point, direct, and supervise the process of culling through her things. Finally it was time to leave and we walked her down the sidewalk to the car.  As we escorted her through the door and off the porch, we had to navigate a few steps. Quietly, but aloud, after every step Nana would say, “Thankya Lawd”  That’s Texan for Thank You, Lord…in case you were wondering.

In the years since, Nana has passed away, but Shelley and I have lovingly use her little phrase when talking about things we’re thankful for. It’s a tribute to her in a sense, as well as a useful habit for us. Practicing thankfulness is so important. Especially in the little things. It is easy to forget that our Big God is interested in the little things of our lives.

Nana was thankful for making it down a step. When was the last time you thanked God for not falling going down a step? Me? Probably never.  I have a habit of overlooking the little things that God is present with me in. In my addiction, I couldn’t see where God was present in anything, partly because he seemed absent from the big things. But that is a wrong perspective.

To overlook God’s presence in the little things because He seems absent in the big things is faulty thinking.

I urge you to practice thankfulness in the little things over the next couple days. Do something specifically to cultivate gratitude. Take the first minute of every waking hour to be thankful for something. Have you been sexually sober while reading this (man, I hope so!)? Thank God. Did you make it down a step or two this morning? Thank God. Did you make it to work without hitting a pedestrian? Barely, but me too! Thank the Lord.

Here’s the Thankful List I’m starting this morning. What’s yours?

  1. I got to walk my oldest son to school.
  2. My middle son wanted me to hug him.
  3. Shelley didn’t leave me.
  4. Norman, our baby, was happy while I was feeding him.
  5. I have a car that works.
  6. I get to help people for a living.
  7. Sweet tea.
  8. Moontower tacos (a taco shop across from my office).
  9. I have a jacket in the Denver cold.
  10. I went down 6 steps without falling.

 

 

 

‘Ka-CHOO’

Martin Fierro

Because a Little Bug went Ka-Choo is a silly focus of a book where Dr. Seuss details the ongoing impact of one seemingly small act, a sneeze, which leads to a large disastrous result. At each step of the intensifying destructive storm, the bug follows along in horror of what has resulted from the onset of his behavior. The end of the story concludes with unsettling chaos within the city, which is not any where near being controlled. The last picture of the bug who sneezed is a display of, ‘oh my, look what I did, I am ashamed of myself.’

When a man truly works through his crisis of truth where he has to confront his sexual addiction, he starts to recognize the impact of his seemingly little action on his life environment (family, friends, co-workers, church etc’). There will be raw moments of discouragement, frustration, embarrassment, shame, guilt. In such, it is virtually impossible to escape the snare of depression.

Recovery and depressed moods do frequently go hand in hand. Once in sobriety, uncovered wounds must be dealt with to truly ‘move on’ from the snare of the addiction. Reconciliation with others and personal healing is an initial focus of recovery/sobriety from sexually addictive behavior. But when the momentum for this recovery/sobriety is not in the optimum desired fashion, or rapid speed, men can become depressed and experience a sense of hopelessness. A ‘why bother’ attitude can settle in as well.

In that, working sobriety is a two-edged sword. The one side is the reclaiming of the healthy life God desires for you and the relationship you are in (or going to be in). The other side of the sword is the pain of facing the feelings and thoughts that got you to this point in life (the seemingly little sneeze idea). The actions towards reconciliation with yourself, your relationships with others and with God will naturally cast a light on your soul where you will have to face the true despair of your actions.

Through the ongoing recovery and reflection of life many men will begin to see the very small acts of life that began the ripple effect leading to the complete snare of addiction. This is why it is so important to have a support group and a professional therapist to assist you through these times. If it is attempted alone, the chances for being stuck in those moments (even without realizing it) are extremely high.

Again, it is a benefit when a man turns away from sexual vices pursuing daily sobriety because it does him well to recognize the triggers that led to the disastrous result. Much of that is the turning back the pages of life, facing painful experiences and feelings while recognizing the results from one situation to another.

For some to recognize the impact of the ‘Ka-Choo’ moments in their life can bring on great despair and grief. In the recovery process depression can set in as you turn back the pages of your life to face and come to peace with wounds (humiliation, incompetence, insignificance, and powerlessness) that occurred in your life.

Maybe you are recognizing that the depressed moods you have been struggling with have caused some difficulty in your life: trouble sleeping, changes in your eating habits, significant weight change, difficulty with concentration, feelings of hopelessness, or thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself. These are significant symptoms and signs that you should seek professional mental health support.

Depressed moods can be extremely powerful and debilitating and should not be taken lightly. To find professional support to manage and work through the depressed moods you are suffering from call 1-800 NEW LIFE. As with the recovery process from your sexual vices, depression is something you should never go through alone. Seek help and talk with others confirming your experience. And most importantly don’t underestimate the ripple effects of depressed moods through your recovery process. It may seem like a simple episode but if the depressed moods affect your daily routine and functioning, seek professional help.

See Every Man’s Battle for support.