Archive for the ‘Trials’ Tag

My Life   Leave a comment

My Eyes – A window to the soul
Sometimes reveal things you shouldn’t know
My Lips – Utter “I’m just fine”
But I’d tell you more if you’d take the time.
My Face – so flat, no life within
Just can’t feel this pain again.
My Smile – It shines so bright,
Behind it’s where I try to hide.
My Arms – Deformed with scars and lines,
All the words I could not find.
My Heart – How many times can it break?
How much more can I take?
My Ears – Hear a kind word;
Start to believe I‘m still loved.
My Soul – Revived finds a speck of hope;
Pressing forward, believe I can cope.
My Life – Once lost and broken, no hope within
Getting stronger; this fight I can win!

Posted February 28, 2014 by Hope in Recovery in Mental Illness, Recovery, Trials

Tagged with , , ,

Carpé Diem 2012   2 comments

A brief thought for the New Year

Carpé Diem – Remember Yesterday, Hope for Tomorrow, Live Today!

We always talk about New Years being a chance for new beginnings, a chance to start over, to do things differently than we have in the past. However, sometimes, the first thing that we have to do is do NOTHING! As we prepare to leave 2011 and enter 2012, I encourage you to join me in a time of reflecting on the the past year. Yes, that includes acknowledging and possibly facing some old pain, but it is also a time to remember the joy and the victories that we have had. In looking back that focus is not to beat ourselves up over our mistakes, but to remember them so as to not repeat them. Most of all I hope looking back is an opportunity to look back and see how far that you have come in your life and recovery. How much more like the person that you WANT to be you are and less like the person that you were. No matter if it is GREAT strides or only a few baby steps, Celebrate EVERY success.

Having “remembered yesterday” we turn our focus to “Hope for tomorrow.” Let me begin by saying I am NOT a proponent of “New Year’s Resolutions”. “Why not?”, you might ask. TO explain lets look at the typical “Resolution Experience”. First things first- the resolution itself; it is usually some expectation that is in realistic an impractical for us to consider trying. They are also often very vague. Examples include: “loose weight”. “Be a better person”, “Stop smoking”, etc. Next, when the New Year rolls around and we set out to start working towards keeping these resolutions we quickly become discouraged as realize how vague and unrealistic these resolutions really are. As a result, we simply give up and quit trying completely. Having done so, we suddenly start hearing all those negative messages replaying in our minds, “I knew that you could not do it”, “You will never amount to anything”, “You are such a failure”, “It’s no wonder no one wants to be with you.” Anyway, I think you get the idea. We end up overcome with guilt, shame and ultimately depression. Not my idea of a good way to start of a new beginning. Let me offer an alternative way of preparing for the year ahead. Goals are a necessity. We have to have something that we are working towards. When you travel you do not leave home without a destination to which you are going. Life/Recovery is the same way; we must have some goals that we are working towards. In this season, or any other as a matter of fact, we need to set clear, specific and attainable long term goals and then corresponding shorter term goals that act as steps to achieving the larger ones.

Let me try to illustrate with a brief personal example. As some of you ay or may not know, I have a dream of taking “Hope in Recovery” in to the community. My ultimate desire is to “someday” become a “motivational speaker” traveling doing workshops and seminars encouraging/empowering consumers of mental health services and providing support and resources to the people that serve them. So that is my “LOOOOOOONG Term Goal.” Is it attainable? Who knows. I hope so. In order to EVER get there are a number of other things that I need to do in the mean time, my shorter term goals. Even some of them have sub-goals as well. One of the important pieces that I feel must be in place to achieve my ultimate dream is that I have to complete the process and get my License to practice as a Professional Counselor. Thus short term goal. However, to do that I must take and pass a licensure exam and then complete internship hours; more sub-goals.

In setting shot term and sub-goals, the MUST be very clear, specific and set a time frame for completion. Deadlines are not for beating ourselves up over if we do not succeed; they serve as motivation to be actively pursuing that goals that we have set for ourselves.

Let me share one very brief example of setting deadlines: In one of his most recognized speeches, then President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961 called for the United States to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. On July 20, 1969, just 8 years and 2 months later NASA’s Apollo 11 mission would land with the first humans on the moon.

So whether it is in your career, education, family and especially in your recovery start thinking about what your long term goals are and what steps, shot term/ sub-goals are you going to need to reach them. That brings me to what I believe is probably the most essential of this process, “Live Today” We can make no progress towards ANY goal doing nothing. As the old statement goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” Similarly, goals, no matter how great or noble, are not worth the paper that they are written on if they are not actively being pursued. It is time to get off the couch, believing and expecting the everything in the world to just “work out’ will we sit and wait. As the famous quote states, “…time waits for no man.”

This is where my tag line comes in: “One breath, One step, One day at a time” Each and every second, minute hour day, is an opportunity to move forward addressing and struggle and obstacle as it comes or to continue to as we have in the past, accepting it all and continuing to be that same person that we always have know ourselves to be. “Live Today” is not just about battling the struggles. Seeing as the present of today is the Past of tomorrow, make sure that despite your striving and work towards your goals, you take to to enjoy the good things that are in your life. Here again borrowing from an old tired cliché, “Stop and smell the roses.” Be honestly grateful for what you have and express it to those around you.

Today is your day!                                 2012 is your year of victory!

If you will only believe… ALL things are possible.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Carpe Diem – Remember Yesterday, Hope for Tomorrow, Live Today!

Posted December 30, 2011 by Hope in Recovery in Change, Hope, Recovery, Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

“Neither do I condemn thee”   Leave a comment

Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives.

And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down and taught them.

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said unto Him, “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

Now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned but what sayest thou?”

This they said testing Him, that they might have cause to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not.

So when they continued asking Him, He lifted Himself up and said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

And they who heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the eldest even unto the last, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus had lifted Himself up and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?”

She said, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more.” John 8:1-11

Whether it be the voices of guilt, shame and regret that seem at times torment our every thought, or the accusations and judgments of those around us, we must stand confidently knowing there is only one true and just judge and He has forgiven us of ALL transgressions. So be strong in the Lord and hold your head high, stop letting the regret, guilt and shame of past mistakes and sins steal the joy and peace that are waiting for you in the here and now. When we come into faith of Jesus as our Savior, He washes the slate clean in His eyes; He removes our sins from as far as the East is from the West.

“Though you sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Psalm 103:12

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. Isaiah 1:18

I urge then friends to look at yourself from this day forward as one marred with the scars of your your past rather, when you remember that pain, say a short prayer of thanks, because now they are medals declaring the Love, Mercy and Grace that He has given to you. Then turn and look forward, and refuse to go back to being “that person”, doing “those things”, because that is NOT who you are anymore.


Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Every step forward is one further away from who we were and closer to who He has made us to be! – Keep Going!! 

One breath, One step, One Day at a time,

Gary

Unexpected Gifts   1 comment

Have you every been given a unexpected gift? A gift that you get at a time that there is no special day or time associated with it, no birthday, no holiday. no anniversary, etc. For many that either personally battle with the challenges of addiction and mental illness or have a loved whom does, that is exactly what they get almost every day. Unfortunately is not in a good way. Addiction is a “gift that keeps on giving.” What kinds of gifts does it “bless” the affected with?

  • Physical Illness
  • Emotional Pain
  • Poor Self-Esteem
  • Legal Problems
  • Estranged Relationships
  • Financial Problem
  • Guilt / Shame
  • Hopelessness

Unfortunately, there is no “Day after Christmas” in the real world. There is a strict “no refund, no exchange” policy in reference to these “gifts. Once they have been received, the best that we can do is take them as they come, and attempt to cope with them as best we can. <Kinda like the ugly sweater that Aunt June gave you. You think it is absolutely hideous, but with a smile you put it on and wear it for the day. Then when she goes home you put it in the pile for your next rip to Goodwill.>

Unfortunately as we all know those that battle addiction, do not typically respond to these gifts in a “healthy” or “positive” manner. Many times they are taken as a good “excuse” to continue the negative and destructive behaviors.

This is so typical, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) says this about Substance Abuse (Addiction):

When an individual persists in use of alcohol or other drugs despite problems related to use of the substance, substance dependence may be diagnosed.

This is one pattern of behavior that is needed for a person to be “diagnosed” with a substance abuse disorder.

In my opinion, this is the typical view that has been taken of these “Gifts of Addiction”, the negative and destructive. I want to challenge our paradigm and look at them from a little more positive perspective. Then I want us to look at the greater gifts and rewards that are found on “the other side”, in a life of recovery.

Friedrich Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist, once said,

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

A couple of similar quotes reinforce this idea.

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

I have had to fight like hell and fighting like hell has made me what I am.John Arbuthnot Fisher

Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.Stephen R. Covey

So what am I trying to say? I would NEVER choose to rewind the clock of time relive any of the struggles of the past including their pain, loss anger, etc. However, as strange as this sounds, I would not go back and undo them if I could either. Despite, all of the negatives that resulted, these struggles come with their own “unexpected gifts”. They develop character. Each one of us is the person that we are because of our experiences good and bad not despite them. These same trials foster strength and courage. Having gone through and overcome these trials, we become stronger and stronger with each obstacle that we conquer. With each step that we take onward and upward, we are stronger and wiser when it comes time to face the next one. It is not easy and will take a lot of work and devotion, but in the end we realize that it was all worth it.

That brings me to the ultimate “unexpected gifts”, the gifts that we discover in a life of recovery. In my experience and communications with those that have known both sides of this coin, there is one gift that is far and above the most treasured, “PEACE”. We learn that life does NOT have to be full of chaos! As we grow and get wiser and stronger, we realize that we are capable of much more than we have ever given ourselves credit for in the past. We realize that we DO have something to share with the world that is around us and it is some thing positive, healthy and beautiful! Life AFTER addiction is just that LIFE! We finally start living and being able to enjoy the experiences of each day rather than simply “surviving”. Life after addiction is a life of daily “unexpected gifts”. That is if we will open our eyes and hearts to be watching for them.

So whether it is your past, your present or you future, I challenge you to open your eyes and your heart and be grateful for each of the “unexpected gifts that come into your life.

Thanks for letting me share one with you in these words!

One breath, one step, one day at a time,

Quick To Listen – Slow to Anger   5 comments

 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; James 1:19

 QUICK to LISTEN

Listen without delay and sensitively in all interactions.

         SLOW to SPEAK

          Take your time to speak, Think first.

                SLOWER to ANGER

                    When we listen thoroughly and reply thoughtfully,

                    we will quite naturally not be so easily angered.

Slow to Anger

(PLEASE Click the image or HERE for Fullsize image)

Posted October 20, 2011 by Hope in Recovery in Responsibility, Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , ,

He’s Got Your Back!   2 comments

This is quite a simple and I believe straight forward post, but none the less I hope it encourages and inspires you in reading as much as it as me in writing it!

No matter where we are in our lives: Good times, going through the motions and just existing or in the pit of loss and despair, the Lord God Almighty is there with us. “He has our back”. Well I guess that is not quite entirely true, He does not JUST have our back, He has our front, top, bottom, left, right, inside and out! He SURROUNDS us!

______________________________________________________________

We may be overcome with anxiety and fear or secure in peace and security.

           but He is there!

We may be dining at the finest restaurant or eating out of a trash can.

          but He is there!

We maybe fighting the demons within or singing with the angels.

         but He is there!

We may be warm and comfortable or restless and freezing,

        but He is there!

No matter where we are, the condition of our inside or the condition of our outside –

       He is there!

No matter of our emotional status or our state of mind,

      He is there!

______________________________________________________________

Psalm 23:4,6

Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,

Psalm 91:11-15

11For He shall give His angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways.
12They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample underfoot.

14″Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.
15He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

Psalm 139: 1-3,5,7-9

1You have searched me, LORD,
  and you know me.
2You know when I sit and when I rise;
  you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3You discern my going out and my lying down;
  you are familiar with all my ways.
5You hem me in behind and before,
  and you lay your hand upon me.
7Where can I go from your Spirit?
  Where can I flee from your presence?
8If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
  if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
  if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10even there your hand will guide me,
  your right hand will hold me fast.

Romans 8:35,38-39

35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hope and a Future   1 comment

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  JEREMIAH 29:11
It is NOT in our Heavenly Father’s plan for us to have to endure pain and suffering. He does NOT harm us. However, because we are human with a free will to choose and to do what we think is best for us at any given moment in time, and because we live among others with the same free will, we have experienced that same pain and suffering, BUT no matter our past pain and suffering or poor and destructive choices HE declares
“I have a plan for you, you have a purpose, it is for good and not for harm. I have seen you destiny and it full oh hope and I will meet EVERY need that you have along the way”
But how do we get there? Simply – Just like he called the first disciples when he said, “Come follow me.”
 “This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name:  ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:2-3
%d bloggers like this: