2 Things That Will Get You Drunk

I’ve had the privilege of working with tons of recovering addicts over the past 5 years. Lots of them are doing well today, some of them are still trying to figure it out, and many of them never made it past the first few months.

Why? Well, there are lots of contributing factors, but in my experience there are a couple glaringly obvious things that will get you drunk faster than you can say Cooter Brown.

Check them out…

1. Relationships

There’s an unwritten rule of recovery that says you’re NOT allowed to be in relationships within the first year. I swear, if people would just follow this one rule, the relapse rate would be cut in half in a matter of months. But most addicts refuse to follow this. They are stubborn and don’t like to be told what to do. Real big surprise, huh?

The reason why this is stressed so strongly in most treatment facilities and certainly in the HIA Mentoring Homes, is because addicts early on are just not ready emotionally to be in a relationship. For the first time in years, they are just beginning to feel their own feelings, which means they are in NO position to take on someone else’s.

On top of that, relationships takes energy. Energy we early addicts don’t have. For the first year of our recovery, our full energy should be focused on working OUR program and growing our connection spiritually.

As hard as this is for some of you to hear, early sobriety should be a very self-centered program. There will come a time to focus on others, a time to make amends and start working on finding healthy relationships. But the first year of your sobriety is not that time. This is the time to just focus on you.

Keep your eyes on the prizes, your hands off other people, and you’ve got a good chance at this…

2. Pride

Pride = Relapse

every. single. time.

If you have a big dose of pride, you probably have a very small amount of surrender. I would even go as far as saying the opposite of recovery is not relapse, but pride. Because true recovery starts and ends with humility. Every basic tenant of recovery requires a large dose of humility to accomplish. If you lack humility, then you have no shot.

Pride will keep you from going to sober living.

Pride will keep you from going to meetings.

Pride will keep you from sharing in meetings.

Pride will tell you it’s ok to have a girlfriend or boyfriend.

Pride will tell you that no higher power can ever change you.

Pride will convince you that you don’t need a sponsor.

Pride will whisper in your ear that no one ever needs to know your secrets.

Pride will tell you that however many days you have accumulated, you’ve done it on your own.

Pride is a killer.

If you want to stay clean, start by staying humble.

There is one relationship you can have in early sobriety and it will also help you take care of that pride issue. That relationship is with God. What I hope you find in that relationship is a friend that will stick by your side forever. Someone who will listen to you, love you, and fight for you while you try to change your life.

I use this prayer every morning to help remind me that I need God and that I am not him.

God, I offer myself to Thee. To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always! Amen

In summary, stay away from relationships and stay close to God. You do those 2 things, good chance that bottle never hits your lips.

It Got My Son (Part 2)

Guest Post: Pam Lang

Read Part 1 here…

So what do you do?

I tried denial and found it to be awesome. I joke about having lived in six states, but the best of them all is the state of denial. For many of the years Lance struggled with addiction, we lived three states away. We would visit regularly, but really knew little about his day-to-day life, the pressure he lived under, the pace he kept. However…there were signs.

When his marriage began to fall apart, we blamed it on them being too young when they married.

When he began seeing his children less and less, we blamed it on it just being too painful.

When my brother, his boss, would complain to us about his work performance, we would blame it on an overzealous boss.

When my mother-in-law questioned us about missing pills after Lance would visit her out of the blue, we would blame it on her memory.

When our daughter called crying after childbirth because Lance was in their bathroom and now her pain medication was gone, I finally confronted him. He apologized, he said he was really struggling and just needed to sleep and I accepted his story… I loved denial.

I remember on one New Year’s Eve, Lance was leaving our daughter’s house to “go out.” I was recovering from a fall that left me with a cracked skull and debilitating headaches. I had fallen a second time as a result of the headaches and fractured my shoulder and my husband’s stepfather had just died. I was cognizant enough to realize this night, of all nights of the year, is a recipe for bad choices, so I tried guilt. I remember telling him I cannot physically take anymore, please do not do anything stupid, to which he responded, “I never do anything stupid, I always make good decisions.” And I blindly, ignorantly bought it.

My husband and I both knew he was in a bad place. Why didn’t we do something? That will haunt me forever. We were so spineless. We did not want to believe this was our son and this had happened to us.

I feel so much compassion and empathy for parents who, like us, are struggling with adult children making these choices.

What do you do? What can you do? We should have been more confrontational, we should have intervened, we should have stepped in and gotten him help… yet we remained in denial until that same overzealous boss, my brother, stepped in and said, “This stops today.”

What we should have done, we left to someone else. I have apologized repeatedly to Lance for this, and will continue to for the rest of my life. We knew… we lived in denial. The Bible recounts the story of Deborah in Judges 4-5. When times were tough in Israel the Bible says, “Deborah, a mother in Israel arose.” I should have been Deborah, I should have arisen and met the problem head on, yet I chose to live day after day in denial.

Would it have worked if I had risen to the occasion? Only God knows if the timing would have been right. I believe there are times when a parent can do too much and they have to let the addict hit “rock bottom.” I believe God did that with Israel on numerous occasions until they decided to look to him in repentance.

I remember after my husband and I moved back to Oklahoma after five years in Tennessee where he was pastoring. There were many reasons Wendell and I decided to move back, but a large one was the downward spiral Lance was on, and the negative effect it was having on our grandchildren. We wanted to be close to the situation and Lance refused to let us.

I recall one painful phone call I made to him telling him that I had his kids at my house and asking him to come over. I told him it had been five weeks since any of us had seen him, to which he responded, “Will you just leave me alone? I’ll call you when I’m ready.” I remember telling my husband, “Okay, that’s it. I’m leaving him alone.”

But in all actuality, I didn’t leave him alone, because that statement brought me to the most desperate prayer I’ve ever prayed. I have to admit, I was angry at God a lot! I screamed at Him as I recounted my resume to Him. “God, I have believed you when you said train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. God, I had him in church, I tried to live it out home, I did all the right things…” and on and on.

Why, God, did it get my son?

I had to come to the place like Job in Job 13:15. The righteous, blameless Job was suffering unjustly and had every right to be angry with God, yet chose to say, “Even though you slay me, I will trust in you.” I had to come to the place where my faith took hold and I believed afresh what God’s Word said in Genesis 50:20 that what the enemy meant for evil, God would and could use for good. I began to pray, “God, whatever it takes…take me if it will turn my son around. I am willing to die if it will get his attention. God glorify Yourself, God we will give You all the recognition, honor, and praise if You will turn our son back to you. God, please allow him another opportunity to serve You, to be a godly man, to be a godly parent, to proclaim Your message of redemption and restoration.”

And Praise the Lord, God got our son!

Please don’t think I’m being a Pollyanna. I know many people who have similar life stories that end drastically differently, that end tragically.

My heart breaks for you.

I know His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His purposes are higher than our purposes. I know we now live in part but one day we shall fully know (I Corinthians 13:9). I know He loves us and His peace is a peace that passes our having to understand (Philippians 4:7). And I know He can take our messes and make a message for His Kingdom’s sake. I know He can restore the years the locust has eaten (Joel 2:25).

In our family, God is restoring the stolen years in our grandchildren’s lives; God is restoring the stolen years in our children’s relationship; God is restoring the stolen years in our relationship with Lance; and God is restoring the stolen years of a wasted testimony and He is doing it in such an enormous way. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20).

If you happen to miss part 1 of this blog click here to check it out.

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There’s no better feeling than that of “completion”.  That knock you off your feet rush of accomplishment that hits you when you completely, 100%, finish something you start! For this ADD, vision-casting, day dreamer, the feeling of finishing comes once every few years. This is probably why today means so much to me. Today marks the culmination of days and days of hard work, writers block, pain-staking research and hundreds of email exchanges between my editor, graphics team and me. (more…)

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