Archives For Recovery

I’ll never forget the night years ago when my younger brother, Andy, told me he was addicted to heroin. We sat in my parked car near the beach, the darkness shrouding his face as he told me the story.

“I need to tell you something, Kay. I know you’re going to take this hard. I started using heroin a few months ago and I can’t stop.” The world stood still for a few moments as I absorbed the news that my baby brother—the one whose arrival in our family eight years after I was born gave me the sibling I had longed for, the one I carried in my arms, the one I pretended was my personal walky-talky doll when he was 2, the one who used to snuggle in my arms and call me “Sissy”—was a heroin addict.

Through my tears I shouted questions at him: “Why did you start shooting up heroin? What’s the matter with you? Are you stupid? What did you think would happen? Did you think you could play with heroin and not become a drug addict?” I was shocked and angry and confused. Mostly I was frightened. Was I going to…

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By Nate Stewart, CR National Director – Mental Health

 But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Isaiah 43:1-2 (NIV)

I find a great deal of comfort in these two verses of Scripture. I am reminded of times as a child when I would look across a crowded room and see my father. I knew that at any moment if I needed him, he would be there for me—he would protect me. I knew that my father loved me and was there for me because I was his.

God is illustrating through these verses that, in the same way, my father was there for me, God is there for us. When trouble comes—and it will most definitely come—God is there. And because I put my faith in Jesus,…

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Truth Over Lies

By Celebrate Recovery

By Michael

When I look at the face of this 52-year-old man in the mirror, I finally understand why my fears look the same as they did in 1973 when I was in first grade. I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. I struggle with anxiety and its different manifestations. My name is Michael.

My early childhood was torn apart by alcohol, anger, and abuse. My father was a violent alcoholic. My mother was a nurturing codependent who loved him as long as she could. They divorced when I was 4. My world was already filled with fear. But it wasn’t from fear of physical threats or beatings. My fear began as soon as I felt I had something to hide. I had an older friend who was 7 or 8 at the time. He was teaching me things that were always our secrets. I was told not to tell anyone. He said people would be angry and punish me. Or even worse, they would be ashamed and send me away. From age 4 through 6 these days were common in my life. A child that age doesn’t see the lie or…

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Messy

By Celebrate Recovery

by Sabrena Stolze, SE Regional Director, Celebrate Recovery

I don’t like messy. I like neat, orderly, organized, and systematic.

No doubt the chaos and trauma that began in my childhood and continued into my teen and adult years, before recovery, greatly contributed to this part of my personality. But I also know this personality trait was woven into me by God for his purposes. The chaos and trauma created distortions of my God-given personality—distortions that cause me distress as I navigate a messy, unordered world. But God, through recovery, always gives me grace.

I continually struggle with the clash between grace and the distortions of my personality. I am thankful that grace showed up and that reminds me that God isn’t finished with me yet. Everything we do in Celebrate Recovery ® feels messy on some level. And I am grateful for that, because it presents opportunity after opportunity for God’s grace to shine even brighter!

I pray today that God’s grace shows itself mightily in you, and through you in spite of your distortions, whatever they are. Let’s continue to love, encourage, and build one another up through it all. Keep doing the good,…

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Just Enough Faith

By Celebrate Recovery

By Diane

My name is Diane, and I’m a grateful believer in Jesus who has victory over love and relationship addiction and codependency. I’m overcoming pride, judgmental thoughts, and grief.

I’m the oldest of four. My father was an alcoholic and my mom was a critical, judgmental codependent. Both parents brought their own baggage into the marriage, which flowed downhill to us kids. So, like many families, ours was dysfunctional.

As a result, I grew up believing love was conditional and I had to earn it and prove I was worthy of love. This led to feelings of unworthiness and insecurity, and to people-pleasing, perfectionism, codependency, and love and relationship addiction. I was not raised in church but accepted Christ as a teenager. I quickly turned back to the world. Soon after, I discovered I could get the attention, affirmation, and affection I needed from boys by using my body. I mistakenly equated sex with love.

I used sex, love, and relationships to feel valuable and loved. They were just a means to an end, a temporary fix to dull my emotional pain. These choices would initially produce good feelings of love, affection, and acceptance….

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How do you help people take their first steps into recovery?

Many people will fight it. They’ll put up a facade. They’ll pretend they have no problems.

But you and I know everyone needs recovery from something. All of us have been hurt. No one has it completely together.

In Luke 5, God gives us a great picture of what it looks like to help people get on a path to healing. (In fact, it’s such an important story that the writers of the Gospels include it in two other places, Matthew 9 and Mark 2.)

Jesus is inside a home teaching the Pharisees and religious leaders. Some men want to get a paralyzed friend to Jesus so he can heal the man. But thanks to the crowds surrounding the house, there is no way in. So these men climb onto the roof, open up a hole, and lower their friend through the roof to Jesus.

What Jesus does next is a great model of ministry for anyone involved in helping people recover from their hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

And you’ll see this pattern of ministry in all of Jesus’ interactions with people in the Gospels. They…

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Breaking the Chains of Hopelessness

The first time Rick publicly prayed at a weekend church service for people living with a mental illness, his words were simple. He asked God to bring comfort and strength to anyone living with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any other mental illness. He asked God to reassure them that their pain and suffering mattered to God and to their brothers and sisters, and to remind them that as a church family, we would do all we could to offer support to them and their families.

The response from the congregation was astonishing. As he stood on the patio following the services, dozens of men and women who were living with a mental illness, or who loved someone living with a mental illness, lined up to give him a hug and to thank him for bringing their struggle into the light. Many spoke through their tears about the deep gratitude they felt to hear mental illness mentioned from the pulpit in such a loving and positive way. “I’ve kept my illness a secret at church,” several said. “I didn’t know it was okay to talk about it.”

That simple,…

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You’ll go through lots of doors in your life. Some of them are incredibly important, like the door you’ll open to walk into your first home or the one that leads to your child’s classroom on the first day of kindergarten.

But you’ll walk through more important doors than those. Recently, I’ve been studying what the Bible teaches about doors. They are all over the place as metaphors for opportunities that God provides. You’ll face many kinds of doors of opportunity in your life—doors to happiness, to abundance, and to achievement.

The most important door of all, is the door to freedom. Before you can ever take steps toward where God wants you to go, you’ll have to exit the prisons in your life.

You may have never been incarcerated, but you don’t have to be behind bars to be in prison. The most significant prisons in life aren’t the physical ones. They’re the prisons in our minds.

Pretending to be someone you’re not traps you in a prison of other people’s expectations.

Unforgiveness traps you in a prison of bitter resentment.

Guilt traps you in your own failures.

But here’s the good news about those prisons and…

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Parent and Child

One of the most important things we can do for our children is to teach them that God loves them unconditionally.

It’s extremely important that we teach our kids that they are loved, not because they earned our love or are good enough to be loved, but that they’re loved because God put them into our families to be loved.

This is hard for many of us because we have had a hard time receiving God’s unconditional love ourselves. God wants us to spend some time with him, letting him love us, and in turn giving that unconditional love to our kids.

How can we show God’s unconditional love to our families? Here are two practical ways:

1. Forgive your kids as God forgives you.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ” (NCV).

I love that God forgives me, but I’m not always ready to give that same kind of forgiveness to other people. Parenting requires massive doses of forgiveness. You’re in a position all the time to forgive your kids for things that they do.

2. Never give up on your kids.

We’re told in 1 Corinthians 13:7a,…

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RebelAs a pastor, more than other people, I see the hurt and the heartbreak that happens in a family when a child makes rebellious and destructive decisions. And thankfully, there’s a story in the Bible that offers us a lot of insight.

What has often been called “the story of the prodigal son” is really a picture of how God shows his holiness, his goodness, and his kindness to his children — each son in this story was rebellious in his own way. Some of the insights we learn about parenting from this story might surprise you.

The story, found in Luke 15:11-32, unfolds in three stages.

Stage 1: Rebellion.

Beginning in verse 11, “Jesus said, `There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.'”

Stage one is rebellion. In every parent-child relationship, there’s going to be a struggle. It’s a struggle for control, a power struggle.

At birth, as a parent, you are…

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It’s not the conventional road to the pastorate.

“I wouldn’t wish story on anyone, but I wouldn’t change anything about it, either,” said Adam Wiggins, campus pastor of The Creek, a new campus of First Baptist Church of Orange Park, Fla., which is just outside of Jacksonville.

Wiggins’ path to the pulpit has been complicated, but it has ultimately landed him on staff with FBC Orange Park leading the church’s newest effort to minister to an unreached community in Middleburg.

But his most notable stops, and the ones that set him apart from so many other pastors, are the ones in prison.

As a young child, Wiggins learned a lot about alcohol and drugs from his father, who was addicted to both, yet still managed to hold down a job and provide for his family. Wiggins didn’t see enough negatives to dissuade him from drinking and using drugs at a young age, and the consequences of that lifestyle led to a few arrests and…

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Christmastime is, for the most part, an enjoyable season for most people. But for many of us, it’s a season of painful memories, depression, and loneliness. Sometimes we choose to isolate ourselves from others, and sometimes we face loneliness through no fault of our own.

Loneliness is so painful that people will try anything to relieve it. We medicate with drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, pornography, and other addictive behaviors. Loneliness can be especially dangerous to people in recovery.

So how do you deal with loneliness? How do you let go of it?

1. Utilize your time well

Make the best of a bad situation. Resist the temptation to do nothing. If life gives you a lemon, make lemonade. Make the most of what you’ve got. Loneliness tends to paralyze. Think of a creative way to take advantage of the situation.

While we should be careful not to medicate with busyness, it is important to be good stewards of the time we spend alone. We’re dangerous when we’re bored and we get discouraged when we aren’t using our time in a purposeful way.

2. Minimize the hurt

Don’t ignore it, but don’t rehearse it either. Deal with your hurt in…

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