Archive for May, 2017


The empty chair in the middle of our circle awaits the return of those members who are currently suffering the consequences of their addiction

Part of the script the facilitator reads for each of our 12 step meetings discusses the empty chair in the center of the circle we set up in the middle of the room.  I am sure many of us have been in groups, Bible studies, discussions and meetings that are in a circle. Our circle in our groups is different. We put a chair in the middle. As a reminder.

Its a reminder to me. To where I was just a few months ago. Or more accurately where I wasn’t. I wasn’t in recovery. I wasn’t in a place where I gave God my life and my will. I wasn’t rigorously honest. I wasn’t in community or anywhere else but deep in shame. I was seeking to fill my abandonment and need for fulfillment in any way I could find. Just not in the one way that could stand a chance of meeting my needs.

The empty chair awaits the return of those in prison. I could have been that person. I don’t know how I wasn’t. The times I lied, stole, sought out fulfillment illegally. The near misses. The multiple times I could have been that member.

The empty chair awaits the return of those who are still in search of their rock bottom. I came to these meetings after thinking I was at my rock bottom. Only I wasn’t willing to be completely honest. I hadn’t gotten to that place of desperation where I was willing to turn all of my life and will over to God. Where I knew that death was the only other option. So I was the one. I was still searching for my bottom.

I didn’t know that there were people (specifically my brother and his wife) who were praying for me to be exposed. They knew I wasn’t being honest. They knew I hadn’t bottomed out. My brother is in recovery. He knows what bottom is. He knew I hadn’t gotten there yet. So he continued to do what he knew would work. He prayed for God to expose my lies and my secrets. And that is what happened.

The empty chair is there to remind all present the loss of those whose disease drove them to take their own lives. I could have been that person. And honestly I know that is what awaits me outside of recovery. Whether it is through the overt act of taking my own life or that I separate myself from God, my wife, my kids, and community. Separation and isolation for me leads to death.

Being on the other side of the circle, not being the empty chair, is much different than I thought. I don’t think I know more than people outside of recovery. I don’t think I am a Pharisee and they are a tax collector or thief or adulterer. I just know they are still seeking their bottom. I have found mine. I pray for the people I know that aren’t in recovery that are struggling with all forms of addiction and brokenness and compulsions. I pray they find their bottom. And that when they do, they find what I found. Grace and mercy.


Enough with Intimacy Already! I am really getting weary of practicing intimacy. I suck at it. However, I keep getting more opportunities to practice.

 


Another lesson learned from Ron Swanson!

ron-swanson-phone

And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire.  And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Matthew 18:8-9


https://fathersheart749.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/a-word-for-the-discouraged/

by Humble servant

The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me],
I shall not want.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.
He refreshes and restores my soul (life);
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the [sunless] [a]valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You have anointed and refreshed my head with [b]oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord. Psalm 23

Discouragement is a natural part of the Christian journey.  Young Christians when they are growing in their faith and experience discouragement for the first time often feel overwhelmed and often want to ask the question “has God left me”.

One thing  we come to understand as we grow in our relationship with God is exactly where discouragement comes from.  It comes from the mouth and the heart of the enemy.  Discouragement is actually built upon the lies of the enemy because it speaks of something that is not true.

One thing we know from God’s word as we study His word and meditate upon His word is that His promises are true and that He is faithful to accomplish His will and His plans.  He has created all of us with a plan and destiny and as we simply walk with Him on a daily basis He will fulfill His plans and His purposes in our lives.

But often times in our humanity we are led by our emotions and we allow our feelings to drive how we see the world around us.  The enemy will always try to overwhelm us with discouragement and fear as we grow deeper in our relationship with God.  The last thing he wants is someone walking in deep intimacy with Jesus Christ.  But what he fails to understand is that every time he attacks the Lord uses it to strengthen us and refine us.

The key is not withdrawing when we feel discouraged, but engaging and drawing near to the Lord.  The Lord desires to strengthen us and carry us through every trial and challenge we will face in our lives.  Many times in our pride we try to overcome things in our own strength and as a result we end up feeling overwhelmed and beat up.  But the Lord has designed it this way so that we would let go of our own strength and power and simply learn to rely fully upon Him.

His grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  Today if you are discouraged know that you are not alone.  Know that the Lord walks with you and that you simply need to ask Him for strength and for wisdom.  He will fulfill every plan and purpose He has created you for.  Simply stand upon His word and trust Him one step at a time.

Heavenly Father I come to you and ask you to move on the hearts of all those who are discouraged this day.  Father I ask that you would encourage them and strengthen them in you.  Father I pray you would give them eyes to see and ears to hear.  That they would come to understand the process of growth with you and understand that the challenges they face now are the preparation for the destiny you have for them tomorrow.  I pray Father you would lead them one step at a time and that you would surround them with your peace and your presence.  In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.


Here is how 12 step meetings start, specifically Castimonia Christ centered ones. We introduce ourselves using first names and we identify ourselves by our addictions. Here is where I digress. This is how I introduce myself: My name is K_____, I am a follower of Christ and well this is where it gets difficult. Many people in my group introduce themselves as sex addicts or struggling with sexual purity. And I did the same for a while. I struggled with how to label myself. Until I realized something. I am not a sex addict. Ok, before you think I am in denial, hear me out.

I am not better or less of a damaged, fallen sinner. I just have a different view of where I am. Believe me, I didn’t get here on my own. I struggled with this for months. I labeled myself a sex addict, a relationship addict, an addict, damaged, struggling with sexual purity, fighting for sexual purity. I got very confused and just wasn’t sure. So I stopped. I asked my counselor for advice and guidance.

Here is how he put it to me. He asked me what I sought throughout my years of acting out. Was I seeking sexual gratification or pornography to medicate whatever I was struggling with at the time? The answer was no. I sought to fill those empty spaces in many different ways, not just one.

For me that took many different forms. From seeking affirmation, to long term relationships, to constant escape through reading, and through compulsive behavior through running up to and including marathons.  I can name off multiple ways I sought to escape and numb any pain or emotion. Intimacy avoidance is how I describe my path prior to recovery. I think that is accurate. I think I used many different destructive behaviors to hide from intimacy is how I would classify myself.

I tend to now just identify myself as being in recovery. I have a story. It is different from anyone else’s story. It is much the same as everyone else’s story as well. I am fighting for sexual purity, struggling with addiction, trying to refrain from compulsive behavior and remain in recovery. I just don’t think I can call myself a sex addict. My story isn’t about the pursuit of a sexual high through pornography, masturbation, or sexual experiences.

My story is about trying to stay away from the emotions that hurt. Through whatever means necessary. My story is about seeking out ways to lessen the sting of abandonment, of medicating my anxiety from not being in control. My story is about a lack of trust. I learned from an early age that I couldn’t trust my parents. That my mother would lie to me and others to control a situation. That I couldn’t trust anyone, especially God, with the truth of my flaws and sins. I could turn my life over to God, my salvation, but not my will. Not my daily life.

That is the crux of my story. I didn’t believe I could trust anyone. I knew I couldn’t. How could God be any different? I saw first hand in the fundamentalist environment I grew up in that sin and flaws were not acceptable not only to God but to others as well. So I dove deep. I dove deep into hiding and secrecy. I fled an intimate relationship with God and with others.

My name is K______, I am a believer in Christ, and I am in recovery.


Our host church, The Fellowship will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 29th so we are canceling the Castimonia Monday night meeting at this church. The meeting will resume the following Monday night at its regular time and location.

For an alternate meeting, please visit the West Houston location at Lifepath Church.

Monday Nights
Time: 7:00PM – 8:30PM
Location: Lifepath Church – Room 108
17703 W Little York Rd
Houston, TX 77084
281.855.0222

stop

If you are not familiar with this tool to stop intrusive thoughts, please refer to Thought Stoppage from Thirty Days to Hope & Freedom from Sexual Addiction by Milton S. Magness, D. Min.  We encourage you to read this book and other recovery books by Magness.

Thirty Days to Hope & Freedom from Sexual Addiction

https://www.hopeandfreedom.com/hope-and-freedom-sex-addiction-recovery-store#!/Thirty-Days-to-Hope-&-Freedom-from-Sexual-Addiction/p/67445556/category=19719366