I am working as a LADC (Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor) at a chemical dependency treatment center in Minnesota. Each day, I lead a three-hour group therapy session with clients in early recovery. Of course, I am not revealing any confidential information, but I want to put the spotlight on one of the more interesting and sometimes effective defense mechanisms that can keep people at arms length and sabotage recovery.
I call this the “Tears Of The Clown Syndrome”. If a person is participating in a group and they are fearful or insecure about sharing issues that are sensitive to them and are filled with emotion, then in their minds, they need a way to hide. They fear being exposed emotionally to the group. The person may be protecting pain or trauma that was pivotal to their personality development and how they view the world today.
Lately, I have seen this phenomenon displayed in group sessions and it has been holding people back. So here’s what it looks like: A person presents a happy, joking face, like everything in their lives is just great and there are no problems or worries or fears. Everything is great! When asked a serious question, for example about emotions or past pain, they immediately fall into the role of the clown and deflect the question with a comical diversion. The person is fearful that if they reveal their true selves with all of their insecurities, fears, vulnerabilities, sadness, anger, hatred, confusion, betrayal from others, disappointments, hurt and pain from past traumas or a feeling of being lost in the world. Secrets abound.
Many people are hanging onto, protecting and have vowed to never tell anyone about their secrets. There is an old saying which states, “People are only as sick as their secrets.” Many human beings are being poisoned by their own tightly held secrets and often times they are not aware of their own self-deception.
Back to the Tears of the Clown. When people do not want to reveal their true self, they lie about who they really are and what their real emotions are. They do this to put up a defensive wall against anyone who might get too close. This produces isolation and fear and loneliness, but somehow they believe that this sacrifice is worth it, to keep people at a distance.
The Clown is full of pain, going back years, but it is their pain and they hold onto it like a baby in their arms. It is like trying to swim with a heavy anchor around your neck.
It takes slow and delicate communication with the person, along with love and trust to build a positive relationship. Small steps toward sharing secrets and past pain and traumas can, in time, lead to relief, healing and peace of mind for someone showing signs of the Tears Of The Clown Syndrome.
About The Author
This is a love letter from God to you.
You are my child and I love you!
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1) I know when you sit down and when you rise up. (Psalm 139:2)
I am familiar with all of your ways. (Psalm 139:3)
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Mathew 10:29-31)
For you were made in my image. (Genesis 1:27)
In me you live and move and have your being. (Acts 17:28)
For you are my offspring. (Acts 17:28)
I knew you before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
I chose you when I planned creation. (Ephesians 1:11-12)
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)
And brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6)
I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me.
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. (John 4:16)
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. (John 3:1)
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. (1 John 3:1)
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. (Mathew 7:11)
For I am the perfect Father. (Mathew 5:48)
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. (James 1:17)
For I am your provider and I meet all of your needs. (Mathew 6:31-33)
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Because I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)
My thoughts towards you are countless as the sand on the seashore. (Psalm 139:17-18)
And I rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
I will never stop doing good to you. (Jeremiah 32:40)
For you are my treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5)
I desire to establish with you all my heart and all my soul.
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. (Jeremiah 33:3)
If you seek me with all of your heart, you will find me.
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
For it is I who gave you those desires. (Phillipians2:13)
I am able to do for you more than you can possibly imagine. (Ephessians 3:20)
For I am your greatest encourager. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
When you are broken hearted, I am close to you. (Psalm 34:18)
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. (Isaiah 40:11)
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. (Revelation 21:3-4)
And I will take away all of the pain you have suffered on this earth. (Revelation 21:3-4)
I am your father and I love you even as I love my son Jesus. (John17:23)
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. (John 17:26)
He is the exact representation of my being. (Hebrews 1:3)
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you.
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. (John 4:10)
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love.
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. (1 John 2:230
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again.
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. (Luke 15:7)
I have always been Father and will always be Father.
My question is…..will you be my child? (John1:12-130
I am waiting for you. (Luke 15:11-32)
About The Author
Twenty years ago, I began work on finishing my first book, “Saved By The Prince Of Peace — Dungeon To Sky“.
I also created a web site, dungeontosky.com On the web site, I wrote 101 blogs (including this one) on the subject of addiction and recovery. These blogs are my original, intense and heartfelt writings that communicate my experience, strength and hope while living through 28 years of addiction and a year of living homeless outside on the streets of Denver, Colorado.
I have decided to write a second book that includes all of the blogs I published on my web site.
The title of the second book is the same as this blog, “101 Ways To Leave Your Addiction“. I believe that addicts searching for recovery from addiction will relate and respond to my story and the hope that it holds for any addict.
We addicts face the most aggressive, devious and deadly disease on the planet. About one in ten people suffer from some form of addiction. There are hundreds of different types of addiction, for example, alcohol, other drugs, food, sex, power, money, gambling, obsessive compulsive addictions like hoarding, excessive exercise and many more. Chemical addiction is particularly devastating because it destroys a person mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It destroys all relationships.
The addict becomes overwhelmed by this simultaneous attack and death is often the result. There is definitely hope. An end to the suffering is absolutely possible. I know, I lived the life of a terrified addict for 28 years and although it almost killed me, I found a solution. The solution to addiction, and this includes addiction to any chemical, can only be found outside of ourselves. Addicts do not have the solution to their addiction within them. As the Big Book of alcoholics Anonymous indicates, “We must find a power greater than ourselves”. Each of us has the freedom to choose our own conception of a power greater than ourselves.
When I reached my final and 13th treatment center at Hazelden Foundation in Minnesota, the group of addicts and the counselors served as my temporary Higher Power, until I could make my way back to Jesus Christ. I had separated myself from Jesus by my sin and all of the things I did while chemicals dominated my life. Jesus never left me, but I could not communicate with him because of my lifestyle and my failure to ask Him for help. Jesus is always available to help us, no matter where we are or what we have done, but we must ask for His help, then He will be with us.
The turning point in my life was when I made my final surrender. As I mention several times in my other blogs, at the end of my addictive journey and the nightmare that it brought me, each night, I was sleeping in an electrical utility closet in an alley behind my favorite bar. My disease of addiction had progressed so far that I had lost 40 pounds and developed pancreatitis.
I was devastated emotionally, mentally and spiritually. My mind was dominated by fear and anger and rage. I was barely living and I felt like a caged animal. I felt like I was on the outside looking in on the world. I did not feel a part of the world and I had hate in the heart. Prior to developing the disease of addiction, I was a very kind, warm-hearted, loving soul who loved people and enjoyed being of service to others. The disease of addiction destroyed who I really was and turned me into an outcast, burning with loneliness and fear and hating the world.
So what happened that changed my life? Jesus happened. I woke up one morning stiff from sleeping in the closet, I was physically very sick and fear was all around me, suffocating the breath out of my lungs. I felt cold death breathing down the back of my neck. There were people dying around me from addiction and random street violence. I knew in my heart and my soul that I was close to death and that I needed to ask for help.
My final surrender was simple, powerful and effective. I got up out of the closet, and closed that door for the last time, and said the most powerful prayer I have ever said, “JESUS PLEASE HELP ME!”
Because of Jesus’s love for me, I have been sober for 22 years.
My story is a story of hope and comfort and encouragement to any addict either sober and not yet sober. If I can get sober, then anyone can get sober. Jesus became my solution and He has never let me down. Jesus loved me when I could not love myself. When I was in the process of destroying myself, he still loved me and He waited for me to come to Him for help. I can tell you that Jesus saved my life and all I had to do was say, “Jesus please help me”. There is hope for you and there is hope for me. My mother’s faith also saved my life. She said to me many times, “Bob, someday you will recover“. When I was living in the alley, I could hear her voice saying, “Bob, someday you will recover“. My mother’s faith helped to save my life.
Today, I have been blessed with my wife Rochelle, and we have been married for 18 years. We have a beautiful home in a quiet neighborhood, we have two grandchildren, Mickey who is 9 years old and Natalia Rose who is 7 years old, and two West Highland Terrier dogs who like to chase squirrels in the back yard. My relationships with my family members have been restored and they respect me for the life we Jesus has helped us build from the ashes of addiction. They recognize and respect the miracle that Jesus has given us. I am involved in service work. I do public speaking at local high schools, treatment centers and AA meetings. My writing and my web site are also ways for me to reach out to addicts with love, hope and encouragement. I believe God’s plan was for me to go through the pain of addiction, so that I can help others to recover from addiction. My life therefore has not been a waste. If I can can help save just a handful of addicts, then my life has been worthwhile and my suffering has purpose.
Jesus brings us hope, surrender and love to open the door to a new life. I pray that you find this door and walk through it to the blessed life that you deserve. Jesus loves you.
Peace and Love to you.
About The Author
Any successful love must begin with a decision.
In fact, there are a series of decisions that determine a happy marriage or an unhappy divorce:
Do we stay together or not?
Will we communicate or not?
Will we choose to be selfish or unselfish?
Will we be of service to our mate or not?
Will we strive to live our best present or tear down our future?
Will we make a decision to love or to hate?
Will we give of our time and affection or will we choose to go our own way, thinking of nothing but our individual selves?
Will I make sacrifices for other people or will I hoard the jewels of my heart, my time and my love all to myself and live in fear and isolation?
When our relationship is at a crossroads, do I have the courage to choose the right path, or do I become a coward and choose the path of least resistance?
When I am feeling attacked, angry, agitated, disrespected or insulted, do I verbally abuse the other person, or do I patiently listen to the person and try to understand their perspective?
Do I think of other people before myself?
Do I choose to forgive or do I hang on to my resentments like pieces of treasured gold?
Do I work to invite God into my life or do I remain spiritually lazy?
Do I reserve time to spend with God in prayer, meditation and reading the Bible, or do I condemn myself to isolation and separation from God?
Once we make the courageous decision to love, life becomes so much easier because now we have direction, a compass in a turbulent sea.
God will always support a decision to love, and He will help you to stay on your best path.
There is one other critical and essential decision that we must make if our relationship is to flourish.
That decision is the decision to forgive.
If both people are to be happy and grow individually and as a couple, the pain of past mistakes and hurtful actions must be let go.
More relationships are destroyed by festering resentments than anything else.
Once we make the decision to forgive, the whole relationship changes like water added to a thirsty flower. What once looked impossible becomes possible.
A relationship that looked dead, can come alive again. Miracles can happen if we just take the first step of forgiveness and love.
We are never alone. Jesus is the Great Healer and He will honor our attempts to create reconciliaton, love, forgiveness and positive energy with the one we love.
Every day, we create our lives by the choices we make.
May you choose well.
Peace to you!
About The Author
Is relapse a part of recovery?
The answer is no, relapse is NOT a part of recovery! Relapse is part of the disease of addiction, not recovery. There is a great danger and a very subtle set up, in thinking that relapse is part of recovery.
This erroneous thinking can take the lives of addicts. If I come into the recovery groups and I am told that, “relapse is part of recovery”, then the message is that relapsing is O.K. and it’s just part of the process of recovery. How many relapses before someone dies?
Addicts are either “living in the disease” or they are “living in the solution”. Working a 12 step program and having a relationship with your God is working the solution. Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob, co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, talk about a “spiritual experience” sufficient to recover from alcoholism.
Eighteen years ago, I wrote an angry hate letter to the disease of addiction:
“You raped me of all my morals and values, and reduced me to a pile of dirty rags — a beggar and a homeless drunk. You cut me deep inside and stole my soul, leaving only an empty shell of a person riddled with pain, fear, desperation, hopelessness, anger, rage, and a crushed spirit. I became numb. You were like a ravenous bloodthirsty parasite sucking the life out of me, enjoying my slow torture. Twenty-eight years of this living hell was the price I paid to dance with you.
Even after suffering incomprehensible demoralization, I turned against myself and joined your chemical soldiers in the battle to win my destruction. You killed my friend Mike in high school, and a month ago, my friend Jessie.
- I lost my marriage.
- I lost my career.
- I became homeless.
- I had five near-death experiences.
- I lost my dreams.
- I lost all the important relationships with family and friends.
- I lost my dog.
- I lost my drive and ambition.
- I lost my self-confidence and my self-respect.
- I lost my connection to God.
- I violated my values and became a thief and a predator.
- I was arrested 15 times, spent ten months in jail, and was in 13 treatment centers.
- I lost the love inside my soul, and was filled with anger, rage, fear, desperation, terror and hopelessness.
- I lost my faith and my trust in people and in myself.
I could add many things to this list, but you get the idea — you killed me in every possible way except by taking my physical life, and you came close to that five times. This is what I call one hell of a blind date. Although I hate you with every cell in my body, I am impressed with your diligence and persistence to obtain your goal — to kill me. I look at you — the disease of addiction — as a highly intelligent, cunning, baffling, powerful, and vicious evil being which never rests and is always present, waiting for an opening to strike. I wish I could see your red devil eyes and your blood-dripping fangs, but you are invisible.
You are more powerful than I, but if I could, I would kill you. Slowly and deliciously over 28 years I would kill you, relishing your every cry. I hate you even more because you have hurt my friends, my mother, and others that I love. You just keep getting bigger and bigger, and the world is your playground. I never knew that I would be forced to have a relationship with you — the disease — for the rest of my life. I have stopped feeding you by no longer walking with your chemical soldiers. I have the power of God, my fellow recovering addicts, and Alcoholics Anonymous to keep you at bay. As long as I continue to do on a daily basis what I need to do to stay sober and to grow spiritually, you will never be able to resume your task of destroying me. As for your chemical soldiers, I respect and fear them, but they, too, can have no power over me as long as I choose not to use them. Good-bye, pot. Good-bye, alcohol. Good-bye, cocaine. I have found a new solution and His name is Jesus Christ.”
Eighteen years have passed since I was homeless and in the middle of my battle with addiction. In desperation and overwhelming fear, I reached out and said this simple and powerful prayer: “Jesus, Please Help Me”. I had made my final surrender and my new life was waiting for me. No other power than God could have saved me. By the grace of God, I have been given 18 years of sobriety and a beautiful new life!
“Every recovering addict is a miracle because we have, “recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body.” The book Alcoholics Anonymous tells us that, “The main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than his body.”
The disease of addiction has three major components: the mental obsession, the physical craving and the phenomenon of denial. Then add to this spiritual bankruptcy, intense emotional pain, devastating loneliness, fear and confusion, then you have a perfect storm for addiction and relapse.
Here is a powerful quote from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous: “The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.”
The book goes on to describe that every addict or alcoholic is faced with two choices: “One is to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could. And the other, to accept spiritual help.”
The book states that, “Here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences. To me these occurrences are phenomenon. They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them.”
Relapse is not part of recovery. Relapse is part of the disease of addiction. The reason why relapse is NOT O.K. is because addicts and alcoholics are dying every day from relapses. Let’s make it clear that relapses, although they do happen, are not part of recovery, relapses are the enemy, not our friend. Relapses live in our minds. Relapses are the number one tool of the disease to kill us. All addicts face one of the most powerful, evil and destructive diseases in the world. The disease of addiction is so powerful because it attacks us intensely in four ways. It overwhelms us by attacking us emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically simultaneously. This is why Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob point to a spiritual solution. No addict can be the solution to his or her own addiction. Addiction is much bigger than that. ” We had to find a power greater than ourselves”.
There are many ways to fight off relapses: Call your sponsor, pray and ask God for help, go to a meeting, pick up the phone and talk to a friend, read the recovery books, surround yourself with people in recovery who love you. One of our greatest enemies is isolation and fear. Alone we relapse, but together we find freedom and a new life. I always found that doing service work and helping another addict, allowed me to be free of using thoughts or depression, or stress in my head. When we are helping others, it is hard to get stuck in our own minds. I know that my mind can often become a bad neighborhood. Helping others is the key to freedom. Peace to you!
About The Author
When I was a young boy, I created in my mind Great Expectations for my life. I dreamed of being a conqueror, a captain of some vast business enterprise and a protector of the poor, the disadvantaged, and a supporter of all underdogs. I would be a rebel against “the establishment” and a fighter for good.
Nothing would stop me from confronting evil and speaking out against injustice. I would have the courage to tell the truth publicly, when no else dared. Worrying about what others would think of what I said and who I was as a person, would not be important to me, if fact, I would enjoy making liars uncomfortable.
My name would be famous for all of the right reasons. Making sacrifices for the good of others would be my stock in trade. My primary aim would be to touch the hearts of as many people as I could and give them Hope, Courage and Love.
When I graduated from college in 1981, I thought I could become anything that I set my mind to. Anything that I had passion for, I would excel at. If my heart was in the right place, that is, being of positive service to others, my goals would happen and I would make a difference in the world.
That was my mind set when I finished college and embarked upon my journey into the real world. I was completely blind to the time bomb ticking away in my chest. The disease of addiction was now ready to pounce on my dreams and tear my life apart.
If a college friend or a family member had predicted that I would barely survive 28 years of tortuous addiction, 13 treatment centers and a year of living outside on the streets in helpless homelessness, I would not have believed them. After all, my life was full of promise and I had big plans for my life. Nothing was going to get in my way. I was going to become successful no matter what.
In the early years of my addiction to alcohol, marijuana and cocaine, I had tremendous denial of my addiction and this almost killed me. Back then, I had not yet accepted that I had a problem with addiction and I passionately denied that I had an additional mental illness called manic depression. In 1982, I told the psychiatrist that there was no way that I could have anything wrong with my brain because I achieved near perfect grades in high school and college and I was a member of the National Honor Society. He told me, “If you do not get treatment for your manic depression and your addiction, your life will be ruined.”
The proposed treatment was for me to take lithium carbonate, a common solution for manic depression. Because of my pride and rebellious nature, I decided not to take the lithium carbonate. The result was an explosive escalation of both my addiction and my manic depression. It is said that people with dual diagnosis (an addiction and a mental illness), have very low rates of recovery and many of them die if they do not get the help that they desperately need for both conditions.
The doctor was right. My life was ruined. I ended up going to 13 treatment centers with very little sobriety in between. During that period of time, I experienced many jails, homelessness, violence, overwhelming fear and rage and a loneliness that left me feeling helpless and empty inside. My spirit was crushed and I was like a wounded animal cornered by the monster called addiction and manic depression. I had become completely defeated and powerless and I did not know how to get out of it. I experienced terror every day.
In 1998, in Denver Colorado where I was homeless for one year, a miracle happened that saved my life. At the end of my addictive journey, I was sleeping in an electrical utility closet in an alley behind my favorite bar. I had developed pancreatitis and the pain was devastating. Emotionally, I was like a wild animal, full of fear and rage and confusion. I was ready to strike out at anyone who threatened me again. Spiritually, I was crushed and I felt less than human. I felt rage and hate in my spirit and I felt like a different person, lost and confused and hurt beyond repair. I did not know who I was anymore and I hated myself.
In the deepest recesses of my spirit, I know and I believe that Jesus loved me, and that He would forgive me and restore me to sanity. A voice inside of me said, “Bob, all you have to do is ask Jesus to help you and He will do it for you.” With nowhere else to turn and overwhelmed with emotion and a crushed spirit, I said this simple and powerful prayer,”Jesus please help me”. With the help of family and friends, I made the journey to Hazelden Foundation in Center City, Minnesota for chemical dependency treatment and to get help for my manic depression.
Agreeing to go to Hazelden was my first surrender. My agreeing to do nine months of treatment was my second surrender. I immediately began taking lithium carbonate for manic depression and I was on my way to a new life free of all chemicals and I was stabilized with lithium. When I graduated from Hazelden, I went to a halfway house for four months and got a job with a landscaping company. Slowly and sometimes painfully, I began to build a new life. Jesus held my hand the whole time. I am His child and He loves me. I became very grateful and focused on my recovery. By the Grace of God, I have been given the gift of 18 years of sobriety and my life has hope and promise and love in it. Sometimes, looking back at my hopes and dreams and aspirations of my college years, I can become very depressed knowing that my life never matched up to who I wanted to become. As the Beatles once said, “Money can’t buy me love.”
Jesus had other plans for me. If He had not humbled me with the disease of addiction, I would probably have developed into a corporate jerk with an ego big enough to hurt a lot of people. As it is, my life is much more simple and humble, but I have the love and respect of my wife, Rochelle, and my family. Rochelle and I enjoy our two grandchildren, Mickey and Natalia and we have started a new real estate business.
I remain grateful and I am active in helping other addicts. I do some public speaking at high schools and treatment centers and I share my story of addiction and recovery. Jesus encouraged me to write a book about my life of addiction and recovery. One time when I was traveling by car cross country, Jesus gave me a powerful and clear message to write my book and to get it done now. A year later, I was able to finish and publish my book.
The book is entitled, “Saved By The Prince Of Peace—Dungeon To Sky.” The web site is: dungeontosky.com
I pray for your happiness, your faith and the blessings you will receive from helping other addicts. If I can get sober, anyone can get sober!
Peace and blessings to you!
About The Author
Three words that live in the hearts of all of us: Forgiveness, Prayer, Worry and Money.
In Mathew 6: 6-15, Jesus teaches us:
“When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father who sees everything, will reward you.
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think that their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need before you ask him!
Pray like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon,
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
About forgiveness, Jesus explains in Mathew 6:14:
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
In my life, there are two family members that I have had difficulty forgiving. I have made some progress in forgiving them, but it seems like I am still hanging onto some resentments. I believe that I must give these resentments to Jesus, because they are more than I can handle by myself. Resentments eat their own container and they are poisonous, like toxic arrows that we have allowed to enter our heart. We must get rid of this poison, so that we can give our love to people who need our help.
Now about money. Jesus teaches us, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be…….. No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
For ten years, I was obsessed with money. Chasing money, making money, accumulating money. I made a lot of money, but I was miserable. My health steadily deteriorated. My blood pressure was sky high, I gained 35 pounds as I used food to sooth my pain. I was going against my own personal standards and morals. I was having trouble sleeping at night and I developed shakes in my hands and other body tremors.
After ten years on the job, one day, I walked into the office, walked over to my cubicle, picked up my stuffed animal and walked out the door, never to return. The company is happy to chew people up and then spit them out like a used piece of gum. It was a churn and burn company. Over a six month period, Jesus gave me little nudges to get out. I felt increasingly stressed and decided that I was going to take control of my life, and get out while my health was still intact. Do you remember this Bible verse; “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?” Money can be an evil thing and a distraction to our faith in Jesus.
Here are seven reasons not to worry:
Mathew 6:25 — The same God who created life in you can be trusted with the details of your life.
Mathew 6:26 — Worrying about the future hampers your efforts for today.
Mathew 6:27 — Worrying is more harmful then helpful.
Mathew 6:28-30 — God does not ignore those who depend on him.
Mathew 6:31-32 – Worrying shows a lack of faith in and understanding of God.
Mathew 6:33 – Worrying keeps us from real challenges God wants us to pursue.
Mathew 6:34 – Living one day at a time keeps us from being consumed with worry.
The moment that Jesus died on the cross to give us forgiveness for our sins, the long 30 foot curtain that separated the people from the Holy of Holies, was torn from the top of the curtain all the way down to the ground. At last, the wall that separated us from direct communication with God was taken away. The Old Testament covenant was brushed aside, and the new covenant was born. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. All we have to do is to ask Jesus to come into our hearts and to live inside of us. Jesus gave up his life to save us, to give us forgiveness, eternal life and a joy that surpasses all understanding.
Every sin that all of us have ever committed was nailed to that cross, so that we can have forgiveness for our sins and eternal life with God who loves us so much. Jesus defeated sin and death and He was resurrected by our Father. We owe everything to Jesus. All we have to do is to accept Jesus into our heart and we will be given new life.
Jesus is the answer to Forgiveness, Prayer, Worry and Money.
About The Author
The holidays are usually joyful and blessed times, but in every family, there can be intense tension from negative history, hurt and pain that never healed and even outright cruelty and rejection. What is the mechanism that makes forgiveness possible? It is love and putting the other person before ourselves. Selfishness and self-centeredness breed pettiness, anger and cruelty.
I have had to forgive many people in my life including family members and other people in my life. I definitely hurt a lot of people though my 28 years of addiction. It was my fault, and I am sorry for my sins. I was able to make amends to most of them. Some of them forgave me and some did not. Some of them pretended that they forgave me, but never did. All we can do is to extend our hand of friendship, love and forgiveness and if they reject us, then we move on to repairing other relationships. We do not chase after people who hoard their own resentments and anger to fuel their spirits. These negative and hateful people are toxic to us, and we should forgive them and move on.
I have been sober by the Grace of God for 18 years, and there are still relationships that remain damaged, because people refuse to drop the stick of judgement, resentment, fear and hate. Of course, resentment eats its own container, like a powerful acid burning through our stomach. None of it is good for us, and all of it leads to our own destruction. For addicts, we cannot afford to harbor hate, resentment and anger because ultimately they will destroy us, and lead us down the path to relapse. Relapse is death for us. Therefore, all of this is important life and death stuff, and we must respect it and take intelligent and sacrificial action. Many addicts and even some non-addicts feed off of anger and resentment like it is a life-giving elixir. Sometimes we hang onto our anger and our resentment like it is our baby, our child and we cling to it for dear life! Some people feel like they will become like the hole in the doughnut, if they give up and release their anger and resentment. They are prisoners.
In my life, I was like that. I used my intense anger, rage and resentments to drive my insanity, my hate and my addiction. I also used it to manipulate people. I did not want to give it up because hate, anger and resentment made me feel powerful. However, this acid destroyed my world and it came close to taking my life five times.
I believe that God was just waiting for me to humble myself, surrender and ask Him for help. Getting help from God is as easy as a simple prayer, and at the end of my addictive journey, my prayer was: “Jesus Please Help Me!” Two days later, I went from the streets of Denver, Colorado to Minnesota at Hazelden Foundation for chemical dependency treatment. My second surrender came when they strongly recommended that I complete nine months of treatment because my condition was so bad.
I said, “Yes, I am willing to do whatever it takes to be free of drugs and alcohol. I never want to go back to that living hell.” So I had to humble myself and make many sacrifices to get well and I had to trust God with my life! If I had chosen not to go to treatment and to surrender my life to Jesus, I would have died the ugly, lonely, painful death of an addict alone on the street. I would never have the life that God has given to me today.
God always had a plan for my life. When I got sober I began to help other addicts and I found that I have a passion and a talent for touching people’s hearts. After I was sober for 15 years, I wrote and published a book entitled, “Saved By The Prince Of Peace–Dungeon To Sky“. This book is an intense story of my addiction and recovery. I shared absolutely everything that I experienced over 28 years of addiction, including my one year of homelessness in Denver, Colorado. I experienced jails, hospitals, living outside, violence, terror, fear and a bone-aching loneliness as I approached certain death.
I described what it is like to be both an untreated addict and a manic depressive at the same time which made recovery near impossible. I ended up going to 13 treatment centers over 28 years. I was reckless, and filled with rage and emotional pain. I became a wild raving lunatic panhandling for money and shoplifting whenever I could. I was no stranger to county jails and detox units. I was the poster child for self-destruction. My final treatment center, Hazelden, finally coordinated treatment for both my manic depression and my addiction. This was the key that was missing all of those years, treatment for both conditions.
What would we rather have, a relationship that is wounded and fragmented and burning with resentment, or a relationship that is healed and repaired and glowing with love and forgiveness.
There are actions and choices and sacrifices that must be made to bring a relationship out of the smoldering ashes of the past, and into the promise of a loving future. The ugly head of selfishness and self-centeredness may continue to come to the surface and try to sabotage your loving efforts. It is a battle that you must win through love, sacrifice, patience and courage.
So what if I have to humble myself and admit my wrong-doing, my sins and how I hurt the other person. We must take the lead and be the better person. We must swallow our deadly pride and become more like a servant, just as Jesus humbled himself and became our servant here on Earth. Jesus is the ultimate good example and He led the way for us. The reward for us is that we can often create a new relationship that is free of all poison and which is based on love and respect. All of this takes time, but sometimes one honest, heart-felt conversation can turn the tide and turn a new page.
We cannot wait for the other person to make the first move. We need to be the leader who is willing to sacrifice his or her own pride and become emotionally real and vulnerable. We talk about our “side of the street” and focus on our shortcomings. We do not criticize or judge the other person because that will only lead to conflict and additional resentment or even an explosive encounter. We focus on our fears, our resentments, our disappointments, our insecurities and our faults. In the process of making ourselves vulnerable, we allow the other person to become emotionally real and forgiving, and then progress can be made. Repeat: We do not criticize or attack the other person, because we are coming from a perspective love, not selfishness and hate.
If our desire is to repair the relationship and to enjoy a new freedom and a new happiness with this person, then we have to give something up, we must make sacrifices. Do we love the person enough to put them first and ourselves second? Do we have the courage, strength and wisdom to become a servant? Remember this: the devil wants there to be hate, resentment and anger in the relationship, because that is the river that he controls. He will always fight against love and reconciliation. He is the destroyer, and sometimes he is at play in some of our relationships.
But there is a simple and easy solution to that– pray to Jesus every day and just ask for His help! In fact, make sure to pray a lot before having a relationship encounter and then leave the results up to Jesus.
It is always worth it to humble ourselves, put our pride to the side, and heal the relationship with sacrificial love. Of course, God is the great healer, but remember that we are his messengers!
Never give up on a person, but there might be times and certain relationships where you just need to back away for a time, and just focus intently on your own life, your own goals, and your own family and let there be peace.
”I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Peace, Love and Blessings to you!
About The Author
Steve Jobs’ Last Words –
“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world.
In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success.
However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to.
At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death.
In the darkness, I look at the green lights from the life supporting machines and hear the humming mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of god of death drawing closer…
Now I know, when we have accumulated sufficient wealth to last our lifetime, we should pursue other matters that are unrelated to wealth…
Should be something that is more important:
Perhaps relationships, perhaps art, perhaps a dream from younger days …
Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me.
God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth.
The wealth I have won in my life I cannot bring with me.
What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love.
That’s the true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on.
Love can travel a thousand miles. Life has no limit. Go where you want to go. Reach the height you want to reach. It is all in your heart and in your hands.
What is the most expensive bed in the world? – “Sick bed” …
You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear the sickness for you.
Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost – “Life”.
When a person goes into the operating room, he will realize that there is one book that he has yet to finish reading – “Book of Healthy Life”.
Whichever stage in life we are at right now, with time, we will face the day when the curtain comes down.
Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends…
Treat yourself well. Cherish others.”
All of this reminds me of the Bible verse:
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
King James Version (KJV)
I pray that Steve Jobs will find peace and love.
He certainly helped and positively impacted millions of people while he was on this Earth.
We can all learn from him.
About The Author
Performance, eternity and love, how are they related? I used to believe that in order to receive love I must perform well in school, work, athletics and be popular socially. It started when I was a little boy. I was always focused on pleasing others – my parents, my teachers and my coaches. I can remember getting perfect grades in high school and rushing home to show my parents my accomplishment. I was constantly chasing approval so that I could receive love.
When I worked as a professional sales person, I worked exceptionally hard for ten years and I ruined my health. My blood pressure was near stroke level at 180/90, my hands had a distinct tremor and I was not sleeping at night. I was anxious and nervous and I was irritable. I gained 35 pounds. Remember this Bible verse: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul?” Matthew 10:37-39 When I was chasing money and success, I was distracted away from my relationship with Jesus and I became like a cork tossed in a restless sea, running scared and worshiping my own accomplishments.
The company I was working for loved me because I was intensely focused on making them money and making money for myself. The company did not care if I drove myself to an early grave because they would just replace me with another sucker. Jesus tells us that performance and good works are not needed to get His love. Jesus is not looking for our good performance or our good works. Performance and good works do not bring us to heaven. However, when we love Jesus and when we love others, we naturally will want to do good works and to help others.
Here is what the November 20th reading in the Jesus Calling book tells us: “I am pleased with you, My Child. Allow yourself to become fully aware of my pleasure shining on you. You don’t have to perform well in order to receive My Love. In fact, a performance focus will pull you away from me, toward some sort of Pharisaism. This can be a subtle form of idolatry; worshipping your own good works. It can also be a source of deep discouragement when your works don’t measure up to your expectations.
Shift your focus from your performance to My radiant Presence. The Light of My Love shines on you continually, regardless of your feelings or behavior. Your responsibility is to be receptive to this unconditional love. Thankfulness and trust are your primary receptors. Thank Me for everything; trust in Me at all times. These simple disciplines will keep you open to My loving presence.”
What about eternity? The Jesus Calling book has this to say about eternity: “Modern man has lost the perspective of eternity. To distract himself from the gaping jaws of death, he engages in ceaseless activity and amusement. The practice of being still in My Presence is almost a lost art, yet it is this very stillness that enables you to experience My eternal love. The ultimate protection against sinking during life’s storms is devoting time to develop your friendship with Me.”
So how do we get saved? The best selling book of all time, the Bible, is very clear about how we can be saved: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
The best thing for all of us to do is to focus on our relationship with Jesus and not obsess over performance and good works. To be clear, good works and acts of service to help others is great and we should do it, but let’s not use them as distractions that take us away from our personal relationship with Jesus. Peace and Blessings to you!