Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’


http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jun/13/a-letter-to-my-ex-husband-who-preferred-pornography-to-me

Porn ruined you. Ruined us. When people asked, shocked, how I could leave such a funny, clever man, father of my children – “a good earner” as my mother put it – what could I say? I said it was me. My fault. I’d changed. Only it wasn’t me. It was your love of porn that slowly diminished my love and respect for you and destroyed my self-confidence. I couldn’t tell them and I’ve never said it straight to you but you must know, you must remember those conversations. The rows.

I’m not a prude. I’ve done burlesque. I love images of sexy, strong women. My house – once ours – is full of kitsch Lynch prints, 1950s bombshells and Art Deco nudes. And I love sex. Even children and the exhausting slog of being a working mother didn’t diminish my drive – though I had to bury it, pretend it didn’t matter.

We were about six months in when I found your stash and I picked it up smiling – “Boys will be boys” – expecting Penthouse Pets, Readers’ Wives etc but found women so mutilated by beach-ball, supersize-me, fake breasts that their eyes registered pain where their pouts pretended otherwise.

I felt it was mutilation. I wept. You shrugged off my arguments – “They get paid. It’s their choice” – and dismissed my arguments about exploitation as unchecked radical feminism.

So why did I stay? In the rest of our life you were funny, leftwing, Mr PC, cultured, creative; and we could talk forever about politics, 70s sitcoms, obscure 80s bands … Anyway, like the frog in the slowly heating water I didn’t realise or I’d have jumped out.

And, I told myself, sex isn’t everything, is it? Not when everything else is so right. I thought maybe, in time, we would learn together, maybe you will connect the emotion with the action. I tried to explain how it could be, but could only conclude that your lack of desire for sex with me was my fault.

When computers came, you got better at hiding it. You could no longer have an orgasm with me and blamed me and childbirth but I now know you had a case of the Prisoner’s Hand. Then your hints began. Could I wear more makeup? What about those white-tipped nails? Had I ever thought about breast implants? I hadn’t. Wouldn’t. You preferred my hair blond. What about latex? Role play? Dirty talk? You liked the ideas of threesomes and could see by my face that I didn’t and then you wore my underwear and there were appliances and … It worked for you. It works for others. Some of my friends love all that. I tried. I didn’t.

There were words for what we did but it was never making love. And without the extreme visuals, the DVDs playing in the background – you looking at them rather than me – you could never find satisfaction. So there could never be compromise. It made me feel that I was less than.There was never intimacy in what we did and in the end I stopped wanting sex. Not that you wanted it with me anyway.

I just grew angry with you. Resentful of the “lie down” you would need when I knew what you were doing while I helped with homework and loaded the washing machine. So I threw my energies into gardening and our children thinking that that part of my life was over and dead. And the boys at university who had loved me and enjoyed my body were a distant memory, and maybe I had imagined it all, how beautiful and emotional just plain, naked sex could be.

Then someone said something about me being a desirable woman. Me? Without blond hair and fake tan? Brunette me dressed in a tea dress and old Converse? And that was it.

What came next was not easy. Tears, guilt, divorce, kids shuttled between two homes, the shockwaves to extended family and friends. I’m in a relationship now. The sex is emotional and intimate and I am enough.

You are still alone. People think it’s because you haven’t moved on. That you’re still in love with me. But I think it’s because relationships require effort and consideration of other’s needs, and the women you spend most time with ask for nothing. You are actually happier in your relationship with porn.

Anonymous


I have no interest in giving you an account of my adventures, only the wondrously powerful and transformingly present words and deeds of Christ in me that triggered a believing response among the outsiders. – Romans 15:18 (The Message)

I have been uncomfortable with trying to tell my story. I honestly still have pride and selfishness as character flaws that haven’t gone away. I know these exist in me and therefore add to my hesitancy to tell my story. Basically, I don’t trust my own motivations for telling my story. I don’t want to make it about me. I want it to be like the Bob Marley work of my youth: a “Redemption Song.”

I took this to my counselor and my sponsor to get some guidance on this. My sponsor as I believe I have previously stated has cautioned me about not being willing to share my story. That by not doing so, I am not allowing God to use it for His glory. So I am not sure what to do here. They gave me good advice and straightened out my warped thinking. So here goes.

First, I should tell my story if I need to tell it to get more out of me. Will it benefit me in my own recovery to tell my story in the situation I am in. Is there a purpose for me to share it to aid in where I am in working the steps. Like I did in step five when I shared it with a friend who isn’t in recovery, as an act of admission of my wrong doings. I should consider the situation and see if there is a need for me to share based upon my own recovery.

Second, I should tell my story if the other person will benefit from hearing it. Recently, I had this opportunity come up when speaking with someone new in one of our recovery meetings. I saw that he was struggling in starting to work through the steps and in maintaining any long periods of sobriety. So I prayed about it and really felt the need to share my own difficulties in entering recovery and staying here. I was able to share my experience, strength and hope with him. I was able to talk to him about the need for counseling, accountability, recovery meetings, checking in with other guys, and having a sponsor in my own recovery. I told him to take what you like and leave the rest. And he did.

Finally, my story has to be relevant. In other words, I don’t need to share it just to hear myself talk, to bring attention to myself for no purpose. There has to be a reason and a purpose to share it. In step nine while making amends, I have shared my story with a couple of people who had the right to know my story. It was relevant to me making amends with them. So I did. It was uncomfortable and difficult and definitely relevant. I didn’t share my story to make excuses for my actions and the damage I caused them. I shared my story because my story was relevant in the context of making amends.

Three guidelines to sharing my story:

  1. Do I need to tell it to get more out of me
  2. Will the other person benefit from hearing it
  3. Is it relevant

I can live with those. Otherwise, as my sponsor told me before, anything else is probably wasting my story, my “redemption” story.


https://applyingmybeliefs.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/prayer-and-recovery/
by applyingmybeliefs

Most spiritual programs of recovery admonish us to pray.  Some pray to “higher powers”, some to God, as they know Him, and others to Christ who is the one true God.  It seems that non-Christian recovery programs implicitly agree with the Christian perspective that prayer changes things.  So they pray to their higher power and the real God hears and answers their prayers in accordance with His will and purposes.

God almost begs us to pray when He tells us this in His word:

Jas 5:16(b) – The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

While James 5:16 is a great recovery verse, it actually is not the best verse on prayer and recovery in scripture.  This is:

Mt 26:41 – Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.  (Also recorded in Mk 14:38)

This is Jesus instructing His disciples on prayer as He Himself is going through the agony of knowing He is about to be crucified.  This instruction was not just for Peter, James and John; it was also for us and is every bit as important today as it was in the moment back then.  As Jesus speaks this He is quoting from the prayer Psalm that He gave David close to 900 years beforehand:

Ps 51:12 – Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

If you recall, Psalm 51 was penned after David was confronted by Nathan over his sexual indiscretion with Bathsheba, another man’s wife, and his subsequent murder to try to cover up the sin.  David was tempted, and his flesh was weak.

In Christian recovery we often talk about putting on the armor of God, as listed in Ephesians 6.  What we sometimes forget is what Paul said right before and right after.  Before he says our enemies are not flesh and blood, immediately after listing the armor he says to pray.

So when Jesus is instructing us to watch out and pray because our flesh is weak, He is speaking of personal spiritual warfare; our inner unsanctified person and our temptation versus the Spirit of God inside us.

All of this suggests that one of our greatest tools in recovery is that of earnest prayer, the kind of prayer mention in James 5:16.  It also implies that those who don’t pray might struggle more than those who do.  Interestingly there is research that suggests that this is true (Carter 1998, The Effects of Spiritual Practices on Recovery From Substance Abuse)

What is your experience of prayer in your recovery?  Have you decided to be like David, called by God, “A man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)”, and pray over your own weaknesses?

 


Colossians 3:12-14 –“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

I (Dr. Cloud) was leading a seminar, and I asked the audience of married couples to stop for a moment and think of their spouse. I told them to think of all of the wonderful things that they love about their spouse and to concentrate on how awesome that person is and how much they love him or her. “Think of the wonderful qualities that you admire and that attracted you to that person. Let those feelings fill you,” I told them.

Then, after they were feeling all giddy and in love again, I asked each person to turn to their spouse who was idealizing them at that moment and to repeat after me, “Honey, I am a sinner. I will fail you, and I will hurt you.”

You could feel the sense of discombobulation in the room. In one moment, they were shaken from the ideal to the real. Some began to laugh as they got it. Some felt even closer to each other. Some looked up confused as if they did not know what to do with my invitation.

But that is reality. The person you love the most and have committed your life to is an imperfect being. This person is guaranteed to hurt you and fail you in many ways, some serious and some not. You can expect the failures to come. As the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” We can expect failure from even the best people in our lives.

So the question becomes, “What then?” What do you do when your spouse fails you in some way or is less than you wish for him to be? What happens when she has a weakness or a failure? How about an inability to do something? What about an unresolved childhood hurt that he brings to the relationship?

Other than denial, there are only a couple of options. You can beat him up for his imperfections, or you can love him out of them. The Bible says, “Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Nothing in a relationship has to permanently destroy that relationship if forgiveness is in the picture. No failure is larger than grace. No hurt exists that love cannot heal. But, for all of these miracles to take place, there must be compassion and tenderheartedness.

What does that mean? I like how the Bible describes God’s compassion: “to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior” (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary). For God to have compassion on our brokenness or sin is certainly to stoop to an inferior. But we need the same attitude toward an equal spouse for two reasons:

First, you forgive what is inferior to the ideal standard. You humble yourself to identify with your loved one, who is experiencing life in a way that is less than you or even he would want. You give up all demands for your spouse to be something he isn’t at that moment.

Second, if your spouse is hurting or failing, you are not morally superior, but you are in the stronger position at that moment to be able to help. God never uses the stronger position to hurt, but always to help. As Paul puts it in Colossians 3:12-14, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

What a picture that is! “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” What if you “wore” these qualities every time your spouse failed or was hurting? I think we would see a lot more healed marriages.

But that is not the human way. The human way is to harden our hearts when we are hurt or offended.

I was talking to a friend the other day who had offended his wife in a relatively minor way. But to her it was not minor at all. As a result, she did not speak to him for several days. Finally he asked her when she might forgive him. “Will it be before next month? Before Christmas? Just let me know so I can get ready.” She finally broke and started laughing, and things were fine again. She saw how unnecessary her “hardness of heart” was to the offense.

Hardness of heart, much more than failure, is the true relationship killer. Jesus said in Matthew 19:8 that failure is not the cause of divorce, but hardness of heart is. This is why the Bible places such a high value on tenderheartedness.

Today’s content is drawn from Boundaries In Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Copyright 2014 by Zondervan; all rights reserved. Visit BoundariesBooks.com for more information.


https://altruistico.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/what-is-the-indwelling-of-the-holy-spirit/
by altruistico

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the action by which God takes up permanent residence in the body of a believer in Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, the Spirit would come and go from the saints, empowering them for service but not necessarily remaining with them (see Judges 15:14; 1 Chronicles 12:18; Psalm 51:11; Ezekiel 11:5). Jesus revealed to His disciples the new role the Spirit of Truth would play in their lives: “He lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). The apostle Paul wrote, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).

These verses are telling us that the believer in Jesus Christ has the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, living in him. When an individual accepts Christ as personal Savior, the Holy Spirit gives the believer the life of God, eternal life, which is really His very nature (Titus 3:5; 2 Peter 1:4), and then the Holy Spirit comes to live within him spiritually. The fact that the believer’s body is likened to a temple where the Holy Spirit lives helps us understand what the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is all about. The word temple is used to describe the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctum in the Old Testament tabernacle structure. There, God’s presence would appear in a cloud and meet the high priest, who came once a year into the Holy of Holies. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest brought the blood of a slain animal and sprinkled it on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. On this special day, God granted forgiveness to the priest and His people.

Today, there is no Jewish temple in Jerusalem, and the animal sacrifices have ceased. The believer in Christ has become the inner sanctum of God the Holy Spirit, having been sanctified and forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7). The believer in Christ becomes the habitation of the Holy Spirit of God. In fact, Scripture also says that the believer is indwelt spiritually by Christ (Colossians 1:27) and by God the Father (1 John 4:15)—the Trinity is involved.

As the Holy Spirit lives in the believer, He brings about some life-changing results:

1) The indwelling Spirit comes to a soul dead in sin and creates new life (Titus 3:5). This is the new birth Jesus spoke of in John 3:1–8.

2) The indwelling Spirit confirms to the believer that he belongs to the Lord and is an heir of God and fellow-heir with Christ (Romans 8:15–17).

3) The indwelling Spirit installs the new believer as a member of Christ’s universal church. This is the baptism of the Spirit, according to 1 Corinthians 12:13.

4) The indwelling Spirit gives spiritual gifts (God-given abilities for service) to the believer to edify the church and serve the Lord effectively for His glory (1 Corinthians 12:11).

5) The indwelling Spirit helps the believer understand and apply the Scripture to his daily life (1 Corinthians 2:12).

6) The indwelling Spirit enriches the believer’s prayer life and intercedes for him in prayer (Romans 8:26–27).

7) The indwelling Holy Spirit empowers the yielded believer to live for Christ to do His will (Galatians 5:16). The Spirit leads the believer in paths of righteousness (Romans 8:14).

8) The indwelling Spirit gives evidence of new life by producing the fruit of the Spirit in the believer’s life (Galatians 5:22–23).

9) The indwelling Spirit is grieved when the believer sins (Ephesians 4:30), and He convicts the believer to confess his sin to the Lord so that fellowship is restored (1 John 1:9).

10) The indwelling Spirit seals the believer unto the day of redemption so that the believer’s arrival in the Lord’s presence is guaranteed after this life (Ephesians 1:13–14).

When you accept Christ as your Savior (Romans 10:9–13), the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your heart, bringing with Him an entirely new life of love, relationship, and service to the Lord.

 


Proverbs 9:8 –“Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.”

What is your normal reaction when conflict occurs in a new relationship? Are you comfortable addressing the issue? Or, do you stuff the issue out of fear or a desire to preserve the peace? Honesty is the best policy for two important reasons:

  1. Being honest helps resolve the hurt or the conflict.
  2. When you are honest, how the other person responds tells you whether a satisfactory relationship is possible.

If you are hurt in some way, bring it up. Don’t harbor bitter feelings. Or, if there is something that the other person has done that you do not like, or goes against your values, or is wrong, it must be discussed. If you don’t, then you are building a relationship based on a false sense of security and closeness. And it is possible that your feelings will be confused by hurt and fear. A lot is lost in not finding out who the other person is and where the relationship could really go, if one or both people are not facing hurt and conflict directly. In reality, a conflict-free relationship is probably a shallow relationship.

Second, you need to find out if the person you are with is capable of dealing with conflict and hurt directly. The Bible and all relationship research is very clear on this issue: people who can handle confrontation and feedback are the ones who can make relationships work. You must find out, sooner rather than later, if the person you are with is someone you can talk to. If you get serious with someone who cannot take feedback about hurt or conflict, then you are headed for a lifetime of aloneness, resentment, and perhaps even abuse.

Proverbs puts it well about a person who cannot take confrontation: “Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you” (Proverbs 9:8). “A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise” (Proverbs 15:12).

Whether you’re dating someone, starting a new friendship, or building a business alliance, you need to know if you are in a relationship with someone who is going to be defensive when you bring up hurt or conflict, or if you are with someone who is going to be able to listen, learn, and respond. If you do not deal with conflict early on, and the relationship gets serious, then you have bought yourself a world of trouble.

Honesty over hurt and conflict creates intimacy, and it also divides people into the wise and the foolish. But being honest is totally up to you. You cannot control what the other person does. However, you can decide what kind of person you are going to be. As a result, you will also be deciding what kind of person you are going to be with.

Today’s content is drawn from Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Copyright 2014 by Zondervan; all rights reserved. Visit BoundariesBooks.com for more information.


https://applyingmybeliefs.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/relapse-for-the-codependent/

by applyingmybeliefs

Relapse for an addict is relatively easy to understand.  It is a reversion to the old coping mechanisms such as drinking, drugging, or otherwise acting out.  This reversion is usually preceded by some form of negative mental state, painful emotions, or difficulty in a life situation.

Relapse for a codependent is the same.  They experience a hard time in life, a negative thought life or emotional pain, and they start to act out.  However their acting out looks somewhat different to an alcoholic or drug addict, because they revert back to behaviors that are sometimes difficult to spot.  They re-indulge in controlling others and neglecting their own needs for example.

For a codependent that lives with an addict, the relapse of their addict is highly likely to trigger a relapse.  Both partners are then caught in a spiral downward.  This is one reason that it is smart for addicts and codependents to both be part of a larger recovery group or program.

We have already said that it is hard for a person, let alone the codependent, to see when they are slipping back into their old ways.  How can a codependent identify when this might be happening?  Here is a list of “I” statements that are helpful in becoming aware of a slide that is in place; or one that is coming.

  • I’ve started saying bad things again about my partner behind their back.
  • I’ve stopped giving my partner the benefit of the doubt.
  • I’ve lost interest in doing the things I know make my partner happy.
  • I’ve stopped hugging my partner goodbye in the morning.
  • I’ve stopped using my recovery tools.
  • I’ve stopped feeling grateful for my partner.
  • I’ve gone back to indifference in my attitude to my partner.
  • I’ve become rude toward my partner.
  • I’ve reverted back to trying to control everything my partner does.
  • I’ve stopped taking care of myself.
  • I’ve started to break promises I made to my partner.

If a codependent finds themselves in agreement with say 3 or more of these statements an orange warning light ought to go off in their head, 7 or more ought to result in a trip back to the therapist.

This kind of list, if honestly worked through on a frequent basis, can help a codependent identify when something is going wrong.  The list is a tool, it is a “symptom identifier”, a way of discovering that something is happening inside that is not easily seen.  It uses affirmative answers to ask the question, “Am I being triggered toward a relapse by something?”

As a topic today, let’s talk about our own emotional relapses as codependents and answer the question, “What else can a codependent do to protect themselves from going back to their self-centered and relationship destructive ways?”