The free Parent Education Community Event will take place at CrossPoint Community Church beginning at 6:30pm on Tuesday, February 20th located at 700 Westgreen Blvd., Katy, Texas 77450.
CONSTABLE WAYNE K. THOMPSON STATE SENATOR JOAN HUFFMAN, DISTRICT 17 CHILDPROOF AMERICA, KELLY LITVAK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 16, 2018 STATE AND LOCAL LEADERS ADDRESS THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS AND PROMOTE A FREE COMMUNITY-WIDE EDUCATION PRESENTATION TO PARENTS, CHURCH LEADERS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
Katy, Texas, February 16, 2018 – Human trafficking has turned into the most prolific criminal enterprise in the world, now on par, and projected to pass gunrunning and drug trade. Even today, with a rapid ascension in cases, a denial persists in suburban society that this horrific crime has infected America, leaving our children vulnerable. The United States offers the richest market for both minors to be trafficked and a paying customer base to support this activity. Organized crime has awoken to the opportunity. Border to border, it is estimated that between 244,000 and 325,000 American children are now in the active population of sex trafficked minors in the United States. Driven by low risk, high profits and insatiable demand, sex trafficking has infected our communities and will not be easy to defeat. This public health issue is threatening a growing population of children due to lack of knowledge regarding the strategies groomers and traffickers use to lure unsuspecting victims within our schools, churches, neighborhoods and social media.
The Press Conference will be take place at Fort Bend County Constable’s Office, Precinct 3, on February 16th at 10:00am. The address is 22333 Grand Corner Drive, Suite 103 (Corner of Grand Parkway and Fort Bend Westpark Tollway), Katy, Texas 77494.
The free Parent Education Community Event will take place at CrossPoint Community Church beginning at 6:30pm on Tuesday, February 20th located at 700 Westgreen Blvd., Katy, Texas 77450.
Registration requested through – www.Eventbrite.com. Search Childproof America. Presenters: John Clark and Jennifer Hohman. Contacts: Wayne K. Thompson – firstname.lastname@example.org Kelly Litvak – Kelly@ChildproofAmerica.org www.childproofamerica.org
His name means: “Peaceable”
His work: The son of King David and Bathsheba, Solomon was the third king of Israel. His character: Known until this day as the wisest man who ever lived. His sorrow: Although he was an extremely intelligent man, later in his life he became disobedient to God and sacrificed everything on the altar of sexual excess. His inability to lead his own children led to the kingdom’s division and ultimate fall. His triumph: Solomon built the kingdom of Israel to its greatest level in material wealth and land. Key Scriptures: 1 Kings 2-5
A Look at the Man
It’s one of the most incredible moments in all of Scripture. The Lord of Israel, the Creator of the universe, makes an offer to a mortal man—Solomon, the son of David and the newly anointed king of Israel. Like the archetypal genie in the bottle, God asks Solomon to make a wish. But Solomon’s historic opportunity becomes his greatest tragedy.
This may be the saddest story in the Bible.
It’s the account of a man who literally had everything. The only thing more difficult to comprehend than his great mind, his enormous wealth, and his enormous power were the prospects of what he could have done with these things. Solomon had the incredible capability to change his world.
But in spite of doing many good things during his lifetime, he actually squandered this potential. Of course he built a name for himself. Go ahead and ask anyone to finish this sentence: “That guy over there has the wisdom of _________.”
What happened to Solomon? The reason for his pathetic failure is actually quite clear. He broke this commandment: “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:4-5).
Solomon should have known better. In fact, he did know better. As his father, David, was dying, Solomon heard these words. “Observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.”
But somehow Solomon believed he could be the exception to the rule, the one man who could break God’s law without suffering the consequences. But God was not going to ignore all the idols and altars he had set up to please his foreign wives, accustomed as they were to worshiping various idols. Because of his infidelity, the kingdom of Israel split apart after his death, with Judah and its capital, Jerusalem, in the south and Israel and its capital, Samaria, in the north.
It was too late for Solomon to discover that a man before God’s throne is judged by what is in his heart. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2 KJV).
Instead of leaving a world-changing legacy, Solomon left us with a graphic lesson in eternal fruitlessness—with no excuses.
Reflect On: 1 Kings 8:56–61; 11:9–13 Praise God: For his constancy. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Offer Thanks: That God’s words are consistent with his character. Confess: Any wavering in your devotion to God. Ask God: To help you maintain a course that will daily bring you closer to him.
Today’s reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler.
Originally posted at: http://intentionalwarriors.com/2016/05/15/digging-up-what-i-threw-away/
When i read the most recent post by Ethan Renoe the other day, Porn and the Doughnut Man, i got thinking about a really embarrassing event which involves picking through the trash, that happened when i was in the throes of my compulsive sexual behavior.
In Ethan’s post, he talks about offering free doughnuts to a man who is picking through the garbage looking for something to eat. The man turns down the offer of freshly baked doughnuts and continues rummaging through the trash.
Ethan muses about the symbolism and meaning of that exchange, and how it relates to the offer of the Gospel. How many times, Ethan wonders, has he been just like that man picking through the trash, turning down something good that is offered freely in favor of rubbish.
The picture Ethan paints immediately reminded me of a slightly different scenario from my life that involves porn and a trash can — or more specifically — a dumpster.
Back when i was regularly acting out in my addiction, i would buy porn videos. i would buy one at a time, and i would dispose of each one immediately after watching it. i was nervous that if i held on to the videos and built a stash i would get caught, so i always found a trash can or a dumpster and threw the videos out.
The visit to the trash can at the end of my acting out was just as much a part of the ritual of my addiction as the build up to the purchase was. There was a twisted poetry about it. At the end of the episode of pleasing my addiction, my physical action finally matched what the whole experience had been from the start: wasteful.
There was this one time that it had a new low, and the metaphor was all too real.
i watched a porn video and threw it in a dumpster in the alley behind my apartment. Feeling disgusted, i walked away from that experience with various promises on my lips: That’s the last time; This is over; i can’t sink any lower, so this has to be where it all turns around; i am dead to this; now that i have gotten this out of my system, i won’t need porn anymore, and on and on.
The guilt and shame and self-reproach were thick for the rest of that day and the next. But the day after that, i was remembering parts of that video that i had really liked; parts of the video that were “so good” i wanted to see them one more time before really quitting porn for good.
And so, i climbed into that dumpster and clawed around for the video until i found it.
i found it. Fortunately, there was not that much trash in the dumpster, so i managed to only get slightly dirty.
It would have been more fitting, perhaps, if the dumpster had been full of banana peels, coffee grounds, half-eaten fast food, dirty diapers, and all manner of nasty refuse. Nevertheless, the reality of what i had done was significant. i had been so desperate for porn that i had climbed into a large metal container of garbage to get it.
i don’t even think i debated with myself whether to do it. i just did it. There was no internal back-and-forth conversation of:
i’m going in there.
What? You’re crazy.
Before i knew it, i was in there with the trash.
i remember coming out of the dumpster and immediately what came to mind were the lyrics from Addicted by The Juliana Hatfield Three, which starts out with these lines:
i think i’m addicted / gotta have it everyday.
i think i’m addicted / i’m digging up what i threw away.
There it was; someone had written a rock song about me. The lyrics mocked me. The self-hatred kicked in all over again, this time with even more venom.
i know what it’s like to choose the garbage of porn — and the porn of the garbage —over life, freedom and sanity. What i didn’t know then, but i do now, is that what i was really looking for in that dumpster years ago wasn’t porn at all.
i was actually looking for life. But there was nobody in my life who would help me figure it out.
If Ethan Renoe had walked past with a box of doughnuts while i was fumbling through that dumpster years ago, i would have done the same thing that the guy in Ethan’s story did: refused the offer and turned back to the trash.
Truth be told, everyday some version of that scenario plays itself out, regardless of the fact that haven’t looked at porn for a long time. There is an offer of goodness and life for free that gets presented to me, and there is some form of trash that beckons me.
It’s crucial that i leave the trash in the dumpster and stop digging up what i threw away.
Matthew 5:37 – “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
All of us want to be successful in life. We want a career that is fulfilling and that creates a sustainable lifestyle. We want relationships and family connections that are warm and intimate. We want to give back in service to the world in some way. Yet so often, we find ourselves stuck, in getting from where we are, to where we want to be.
If you have found yourself stuck instead of successful in some area of life, it is likely that there is some sort of a problem in your being free to make the choices you need to make. That is, you may not be executing the right boundaries to help you move forward. When you set healthy boundaries in the right way, really good things can happen. Here are three tips to help you move from stuck to successful:
1. Determine what you want, vs. what others want from you.
This is a critical boundary to set. Often, we think of what others expect before we know what we really want in life. Yet the Bible tells us to make choices all the time, for example who we worship: “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (see Joshua 24:15). So get a piece of paper and write what you want to happen: a career goal, a relationship problem solved, a financial dream or a health goal. It does matter what people think, and we do impact others. Take those into consideration. But start with your own goal and desire and work from there.
2. Say no to the “good” and yes to the “right.”
Most of us don’t have major issues saying no to really toxic influences like drugs or crime. We aren’t supposed to do those things in the first place! But it is trickier to say yes to those things that aren’t inherently bad, but take time and energy from what you want. We can’t do everything, so we have to say no to good things to get to the right things. For example, you may need to decline your involvement on a committee because you can’t get to your own goals. Or you may need to tell a friend you can’t talk on the phone as frequently as you would like, because you don’t have the time. These aren’t fun decisions. But they free you up to work on that goal or relationship.
3. Have difficult conversations with people who are operating against you.
There are, unfortunately, people who can be controlling, negative, judgmental or hurtful with you. This is such a power drain, how can you move from stuckness to success when you have their influence deflating your passion? Good boundaries mean having a loving but direct talk with some key people, in which you say, in effect, “I care about you and us, but your behavior makes it difficult for me to be around you. I would like to see some changes in our relationship, otherwise I will need to make some distance, which I don’t want.”
Jesus taught us to let our yes be yes, and our no be no (see Matthew 5:37). Growth research, high performance research, and our own experience show that His words are true and that they work. Here’s to your own movement from stuckness to success!
This devotional is drawn from Boundaries for Leaders, by Dr. John Townsend.
Dot is the wife of an alcoholic. When she and her husband met and married, she knew that he drank, but she didn’t know how much, because he kept much of this behavior hidden. As their marriage progressed, she became more aware of his drinking, and she started to find empty pill bottles in the trash — prescription opioids that didn’t belong to her or her husband.
Dot loves her husband and has no interest in leaving him, so she’s done what anyone who loves her partner would do — she’s tried to manage the problem by controlling his drinking and pill abuse and prevent him from driving while intoxicated. Sadly, life for Dot has become less about her needs and more about “managing the situation.”
Despite Dot’s best efforts, her husband recently got arrested for driving while impaired. His attorney encouraged him to get treatment. At the same time, Dot decided to see a therapist for advice on how to help her husband. The therapist heard Dot’s story and immediately said, “Wow, you’re a classic co-addict. You’re an enabler and a caretaker, and you need to go to CoDA (Codependent’s Anonymous) to deal with your problem.”
Guess what? Dot never went back to therapy, and she never went to a CoDA meeting. Instead, she feels hurt, angry, ashamed, and confused about why the therapist blamed her for her husband’s addiction. So instead of seeking support that could help her walk through a difficult time, she has retreated to her marriage, and she now speaks only to her husband about her feelings. Of course, as an addict who is (understandably) keen to maintain the status quo, he is of little help.
Moving Beyond the Codependency Label
Prodependence is a term I have created for use in a forthcoming (2018) book, co-written with Dr. Stefanie Carnes, to help loved ones of addicts. I use this term to describe healthy interdependence in the modern world. Essentially, prodependence occurs when attachment relationships are mutually beneficial — with one person’s strengths filling in the weak points of the other, and vice versa — and this mutual support occurs automatically and without question.
The term prodependence is, rather obviously, a play on an older term with which most readers will probably be familiar — codependence. Codependence occurs when one person tries to control the actions of another, in the guise of helping. so that he or she can feel better about himself or herself and the relationship with that other person.
The codependency concept came into vogue in the mid-1980s, mostly with the publication of three specific books: Janet Woititz’s Adult Children of Alcoholics(1983)1; Robin Norwood’s Women Who Love Too Much (1985)2; and Melody Beattie‘s Codependent No More (1986)3. Based on these works, the 12-step fellowship Codependents Anonymous was born, with its first meeting taking place on October 22, 1986.4
One of the best explanations of the early codependency movement, especially in relation to addictions, appears in the foreword of the 2003 edition of Pia Mellody’s book, Facing Codependence. There, Andrea Wells Miller and J. Keith Miller write:
“It was actually the families of alcoholics and other chemically dependent people who brought [codependency] to the attention of therapists in treatment centers. These family members all seemed to be plagued with intensified feelings of shame, fear, anger, and pain in their relationships with the alcoholic or addict who was the focal point of their family. … One irrational aspect was that most of the family members had a deluded hope that if they could only be perfect in their ‘relating to’ and “helping” the alcoholic, he or she would become sober — and they, the family members, would be free of their awful shame, pain, fear, and anger.”5
This statement recognizes and summarizes the feelings that many loved ones of addicts experience. They mistakenly think, “If I can just control the other person’s addiction in some way, everything will turn out the way I’d like.” That belief is the crux of codependence in its purest form.
Unfortunately, the concept of codependence has morphed into a negative, pathological-sounding label, indiscriminately applied to almost any person who tries to help an addicted loved one. So instead of being encouraged to care for yourself as well as your addicted loved one, you are encouraged to care for yourself instead of your addicted loved one. Basically, there seems to be a consensus that you really can love and care for someone too much. That is not what the progenitors of the codependence concept intended. But it’s what we’ve got.
Today, if you are the spouse, parent, sibling, or friend of an addict, you’ve almost certainly had perfectly loving people tell you to step away from the relationship, to stop rescuing, to stop enabling, to “detach with love,” and to “stop being so codependent.” If you’ve experienced this, you’ve likely asked, “How can I possibly abandon a person I love, especially in his or her time of need?”
Still, plenty of people — family, friends, clergy, and even therapists — will try to convince you that caring about a person you’ve been close to for a very long time (perhaps his or her entire life, if you’re a parent or a sibling) is somehow irrational on your part, and counterproductive for both you and the challenged individual. Very probably, these well-meaning folks have suggested therapy, interventions, and participation in support groups like Al-Anon and CoDA as a way for you to fully and completely detach from what they think is a bad situation that’s taking you away from your own needs, goals, and personal fulfillment, while keeping your loved one mired in the problem.
As an addiction and mental-health treatment specialist who has worked for decades with addicts and their families, I admit that in the past I have espoused this outdated and potentially harmful opinion. This is the stance I was taught to take, both in school and in my continuing professional education. In training I was told, “If a loved one cannot emotionally detach from an active addict, that person will be dragged down into the murky depths of despair. Thus, loved ones must be coached to let go.” So when I saw spouses, family members, and friends refuse to distance themselves from an active addict, I told them they were enmeshed and codependent, and encouraged them to detach.
Unfortunately, this tactic ignores the ways in which human beings are wired for survival.
Human beings are meant to work together, not to go it alone. Think back to prehistoric times when people lived in tribes. If we went hunting, we went in a group; otherwise, we were as likely to be eaten as to eat. And hunting trips could take a very long time, so other members of our tribe stayed behind in the cave and tanned hides to keep the group warm, gathered nuts and berries to eat, collected sticks for fire, and maybe even did some rudimentary farming.
For thousands of years, this type of communal living was our standard for survival and our brains evolved in ways that encourage interpersonal bonding. Thus, we are evolutionarily wired to be dependent upon others. We enter the world reliant on others for shelter, nutrition, and emotional support, and these core requirements do not change as we grow older. What keeps us healthy as infants and children also keeps us healthy as adults.
Yet somehow, as we move into adulthood, our intrinsic need for emotional connection (i.e., love) gets discounted, despite the fact that people who spend their lives “apart from” rather than “a part of” do not function as well as those who feel emotionally connected. In fact, an immense amount of mental and physical health research shows that isolated/separated individuals suffer both emotionally and physically.6 Conversely, people who place a high value on developing and maintaining meaningful connections tend to be happier, more resilient, and more successful.7 They even tend to live longer.8 So, emotionally intimate connections are as essential as more obvious needs like food, water, clean air, and shelter. Without healthy dependency and connection, we may survive physically (for a while), but we won’t be as healthy or as happy as we could be.
Importantly, this deeply ingrained need for emotional connection does not abate simply because a person with whom we feel an intimate bond is challenged with an addiction or some other serious issue.
I think about it this way: If your spouse, child, sibling, or best friend was diagnosed with cancer and needed your help with doctor’s appointments, household chores, and maybe even his or her finances, would you walk away from that person? Most likely not. And nobody would blame you or label you or try to pathologize you for temporarily pushing your own needs to the side. But when you try to help an addict in a similar fashion, people will label you in all sorts of ways—and tell you to stop.
That is the wrong approach. Instead of being confrontational with spouses and others who love and care for addicts, we need to be invitational. We need to meet them where they are and teach them not to walk away, but to support in healthier, more prodependent ways. Rather than preaching detachment and distance over continued bonding and assistance, as so many therapists, self-help books, and 12-step groups do, we should celebrate the human need for and the pursuit of intimate connection, using that as a positive force for change.
Rather than labeling and pathologizing the supporters of challenged individuals when they refuse to abandon their caregiving roles, we should encourage them to continue their pursuit of love and emotional intimacy as best they can. At the same time, we can provide an outline for developing and maintaining healthy, prodependent boundaries — margins within which caregivers can love unconditionally, while not enabling or doing things their loved one could and should be doing for himself or herself. In so doing, we will create a fresh paradigm for useful and healthy support, an evolved prism through which caregivers can examine, evaluate, and improve their daily lives despite the oftentimes debilitating presence of an addiction.