Archive for December 2010

Post a Week in 2011   1 comment

I’m setting a goal to Post at least once per week in 2011!

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, and I’m starting now.

I know it won’t be easy, but I am going to give it a try. Hopefully, it will be inspiring, and encourageing to you continue on your journey.

I hope you’ll help encourage me with your comments, likes, ratings and feedback along the way.

Thanks for reading,

Road to Recovery / Gary

Posted December 31, 2010 by Hope in Recovery in Uncategorized

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Seek My Face!   1 comment

As I woke up this morning, this scripture was on my mind. I felt it important to step outside of my usual style and spend some time discussing this passage and its application to our lives as a whole and to our recovery.

12Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:12-14

First of all I am taking some liberty in my interpretation, as I know that this original passage was written to the Hebrew people during the time of the dedication of the first Temple in Jerusalem. However, as 1 Corinthians 3:16 states, “…you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you”.

The passage begins with the Lord saying to Solomon that He has heard the prayers and worship of Solomon and his people and He has chosen the Temple of Solomon as place to call His home, and a place of sacrifice.

We are drawn to Him; He has called to each of us seeking that we would hear and answer allowing Him to be a part of out lives.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Revelations 3:20

The instant that we hear His call and open the door of our heart and not only accept as Savior but as Lord, then we dedicate our Temple to Him and to his service. Most of us who are on this journey have spent our entire life serving one lord or another, cocaine, alcohol, dysfunctional relationships, etc., But when we accept Him into our life those things are sacrificed unto him and He gives us all that we need to serve Him and Him alone. He has head our prayers of dedication and He has CHOSEN you and I to be His home and a place of sacrifice.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  Romans 12:1

It does not matter what I have done or who I have been in my past, he cleanses and forgives me from my past, setting me free to serve Him. This thought just came to me and is quite exciting…

Every day, every hour, every minute, every breath that I live clean and sober, my simple act of sacrificing myself and separating myself from those things is an act of worship unto Him.

My friends lift up your hearts and your hands for even as you read these humble words you honor and worship the on who has saved and rescued you from your past.

So does that mean that now I am “Saved” and actively seeking to serve the Lord my life will be easier? The short answer is “NO”. However, for many of you it will be somewhat easier than your past has been. I know that many of you have had it VERY rough due to your past circumstances and often those circumstances were the result of our own choices and behaviors.

We will still have trials and temptations; similarly, some will be out of our control, however, most will be the result of our own behavior and choices.

We WILL be faced with difficulties, but the good news comes as we continue with the passage.

What do you think the reason for our trials and struggles is? I would have to admit that at times it is to remind us of our own weakness, to humble us. We start working our program, living our life and get comfortable, “going through the motions” of life, and loose focus on our spiritual journey, our dependence on Him. Therefore, He provides a reminder of that very weakness that is within. Does that mean I am going to have  a relapse? No not at all, it is just something that happens to draw my attention and focus off of myself and my own efforts and humbles me so that I cry out and seek His face.

“…humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways…”

Did you notice He says “seek My face”? It does not say “seek  My hand”. I am as guilty as anyone; when things get hard and I am at the end of my rope, having done all that I can do in my own strength, THEN I call out to God. But what is my cry? “God HELP, get me out of this mess!” I seek his Hand.  When we are down and out, we need to turn and seek His face. We worship Him, remembering Who He is and thanking Him for the Love with which He has so richly blessed us.  Then we repent and confess our own pride and sin, once again dedicating our hearts and lives TOTALLY to Him, THEN,I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Then He will hear, forgive us and cleanse our sins and begin the work of healing. Sometimes, he chooses to do this miraculously, in an instant, but often it is a process and journey and that is exactly why we are here. We are all on this journey and we do all that we can to encourage one another as we continue our healing and drawing closer to Him.

So my friends, where ever you are, I urge you examine your heart and life and as we enter into this new year let us…

“Humble ourselves and pray and seek His face.”

Road to Recovery Poll 12-27-20   Leave a comment

Posted December 27, 2010 by Hope in Recovery in Uncategorized

Notes from Along the Road – Teacher   1 comment

Narrow PathThis post I feel will be much more like what one would expect in reading a blog. It is more of post straight from my mind and heart and not as much a specifically written with a particular topic or purpose in mind other than to share a little bit of who I am and why it is that I do what I do, including writing this blog.

I know that I have shared this on numerous occasions with my class that I teach at that hospital. As I see it, in teaching, in writing, in speaking, in living, if I can do four simple things in the lives of those that I am given the honor and privilege to encounter and share with, then I truly feel like that I have succeeded.

Those four goals include:

Enlighten

Encourage

Inspire

Empower

Let me take a moment to explain each just a bit further.

  • Enlighten: To me, to enlighten is to share information with others so as to teach them something that they did not previously know, in order to allow them to improve the state of their lives.
  • Encourage: I recently described encouraging as offering a hand to another whom has slipped and fallen along their way and helping them to get back to their feet,
  • Inspire: Continuing from the previous thought, once the individual has gotten back on their feet; to inspire is to walk alongside and urge them on in their journey, rooting them on saying “you can do it”.Empower: Finally, to empower is to have others come to the realization of the strength and courage that resides within, so as to believe in themselves and their porential for success.
  • That actually brings me to a new word to add to this list: Instill. More specifically: Instill Hope. To give, to share or impart hope. Hope is the belief that something good will happen and  success is possible.

Ultimately, if I am able to do just one of these at a given time then I have done well. If I am blessed enough, to accomplish all of the above over a period time, then I believe, that it  is a part of my fulfilling my purpose, my calling, and  my destiny.

I guess when it boils down to it, there is one simple word that describes who I am, at least at this point in my life… TEACHER.

But I hope you can see that I have no desire to simply be and educator, I want my life to reach out and change the lives of others in a positive way and make them better for having known me. I want my legacy not to be the money that I made, things I had or even the awards that I might have  received, but the lives that I have touched and changed for the better.

That being said I believe that there is only one way this is truly achieved, even to the slightest extent. That is through my conscious understanding and acceptance that in all I do that it not I that does it alone, but have been given a gifts and talents from the Lord above and it is by His strength and guidance that I succeed, Though, I do not often share my faith overtly, I try to live my life as an example and a witness to the goodness and grace that He has so richly given. I know that I could never be the man or the Teacher that He was; however I can honestly say that Jesus or more correctly Yesua is my example, and model. I strive to reflect Him in my life as a whole and in my interactions and teachings. It is not coincidental that I use as many analogies and word pictures in my presentations and articles. However, it is not out of specific design, it is just how my mind works. It just so happens that as you read about how He taught, He did the same. Ultimately, my goal is to be taken out of the equation as much as possible and for me to merely be and instrument and vessel through which I allow Him to flow.

WELL… that I believe about covers it. I hope it helps you to understand a little better who I am what I am about. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback. I would really like to see this blog become more of a community sharing ideas, and not just a one man show. I learned a long time ago, that the ones who have struggled through  “the valley of the shadow of death” and survived, understand a lot more about what recovery really is than any amount of education or experience could ever offer.

Thanks for reading and I hope and pray that you find your path to be straight and your potholes to be filled.

Gary

Physics of the Quest   1 comment

A reader of this blog, and a very special friend, shared the following quote with me. It is so very rich and deep in its own right, that I won’t water it down with trying to add to it. It is from a the writer of the book and main character from the recently released Box Office hit “Eat Pray Love”. Her name is Elizabeth Gilbert. Please enjoy, and leave your thoughts and comments.

In the end, I’ve come to believe in something I call “The Physics of the Quest.” A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity. The rule of Quest Physics goes something like this: If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you. Elizabeth Gilbert

Holy Holy Holy!   Leave a comment

Posted December 24, 2010 by Hope in Recovery in Uncategorized

Strength – Dig your Roots Deep!   Leave a comment

I was recently assisting a friend with a broken water line. The area that was broken was less than a foot from his water meter, which sat precariously in the shadow of a large tree. As we were digging and clearing around the broken pipe, we discovered the intricate, yet powerful root system of the tree. There was particular branch of the root that caught our attention; it was approximately half an inch in diameter and had grown through the concrete wall surrounding the water meter. We were amazed to that to begin with, but we where even more in awe the more we investigated. The root had not just grown through the concrete; it had formed a perfect hole for itself in the concrete without breaking or cracking the concrete around it. It was this remarkable root that was ultimately determined to be the culprit for causing the leak.

 This experience got me thinking about life and recovery from so many different directions, but here is the most clear and simple summary

“If we develops roots which are strong and deep then when we are faced with the most difficult experiences, we will not only survive, but grow stronger and more confident and reassured in our selves.”

Roots can be used to symbolic refer to so many different things: Hope, values, faith, history, courage, beliefs, experiences, family, self-confidence and esteem, trust, etc.

To me, the first idea that comes to mind when discussing roots as an analogy for our lives is our values.  As stated in a previous post:

“Our values are the foundation of who we are; they are the basis for how we see the world around us, our beliefs on how things “should be.“

 What is the foundation of a tree? It is the root system. As goes the roots, so goes the rest of the tree. The same is true in reference to our values. If I have good strong values that I hang on to, then I am more confident in who I am, thus more confident and willing and able to make difficult, positive decisions for the direction of my life and recovery. However, sometimes even those with the deepest and strongest of roots get shaken under severe stress or when they experience some kind of trauma. What do we do then? Where do we turn? This, my friends, is exactly what I am talking about. We should turn to our roots, those base values that are the most important to us, faith, family, friends, etc. These will be similar for most of us, but must be defined by each of us individually. I know personally, even as I have listed them here, Faith and family are the two values and branches of my roots that are the most important, and when I am hurting or in need, that is where I dig in, that is what I “hang on to”.

For you, your roots may be friends, your “program”, a sponsor or a 12 step meeting which you attend. But you have to have something to “hang on to.”

 That is not to say that I can go through life with shallow roots and only grab hold of them when I am in trouble. If you pull to hard on a plant that does not have well established strong root system, what happens? You pull it up and it does not withstand the pressure. You can’t just grab hold when you see the storm coming; you must work at strengthening your roots when the sun is shining.

 So am I saying that as long as we work at keeping our roots deep and strong, we will never fail or fall? Absolutely not! We are all still human, and fallible. In fact, it is actually when we are faced with storms and challenges and we are unsuccessful despite our best efforts that we grow stronger and our roots grow stronger. I may not be the first to finish the race, but as long as I finish and don’t give up, then I am still a winner. Some the greatest lesson that trials teach us is patience and perseverance.  No matter what “the world” tells us, we do NOT have to finish every race in first place or be the thinnest, wel1-dressed or have the most friends. As long as we are working to be a better person today than we were yesterday, then we should be happy and content in that, even if it seems like a longs slow process. It is!

 I found the following quotes to fit rather appropriately:

“Storms make trees take deeper roots.”  Dolly Parton

 “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”  Arnold Schwarzenegger

 “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”                 Mary Anne Radmacher

We will make wrong choices and go down the wrong paths sometimes, but if we don’t give up and keep working, we will learn new skills and find our way back to where we started, thus developing courage to take risks and develop faith and confidence in our abilities to just survive, but overcome even difficult circumstances and experiences.

So whether your skies are sunny and cloudless or you are in the midst of a hurricane, hang on and cling to your roots. Turn your focus and energy to those things that are the MOST important you and see that you are stronger, braver and more confident in the end.

Dig Deep and Hang On!!

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