By His Grace

Posts Tagged ‘recovery

So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in Him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit”. Romans 15:13 (NLT)

The were two things I was sure of in this world— One was that I knew I would use drugs and alcohol that day and the other was the inner turmoil that came with it. This inner self-torture was so horrific that I thought the only way to get rid of it was to get high and numb it out. I thought to myself, “ If I could just stay high all the time I would be fine.” I didn’t think there was any way out of my life of addiction. Well, except for jail or death. I know I didn’t want to go to jail. I couldn’t get high in jail and that would drive me crazy. But the other was death. I welcomed it. Anything to get me out of my misery. I lost all hope for myself. I was hopeless and empty.

There is hope for the addict. That hope is in Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and through the power of God the Father, He was raised from the dead. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross enables us to have a pathway to the Almighty God. It is through God’s power an addict will get clean and stay clean. God is a God of hope. All hope rests in Him. I thought I was a lost cause. I truly believed that I would never be able to change. I had the desire to stop, but did I have the desire to stay stopped? Many times I thought I did, but I failed over and over again. The only way to “stay stopped” is through the power and strength of our Lord and Savior.hope-1 God loves you and me. He loves us more than our parents love us. He loves us more than our spouses and children love us. God sees our pain. He counts our tears. He knows the number of hairs we have on our head. He knows us! He knows us better than we know ourselves. He wants us to reach out to Him. As addicts, we lose everything. But when there is nothing left, there is the God of hope.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me know there is hope in You. I can’t do this without You. You are my only hope. Please show me, teach me, rescue me and free me from addiction. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

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prayer

Are you in a situation or dealing with the consequences from a bad choice you made? Do you feel overwhelmed with worry and your day to day life is filled with anxiety? Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:34,

“So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.” (AMP)

It’s one thing to be worried about a circumstance that you have no way of changing. You’re at your wits end about something and you know you have no power to change your circumstances so you just have to roll with it and trust God to help you through it. But what about having to deal with negative consequences due to a bad decision you made?

Many people will tell you, “Well, you did this to yourself. You only have yourself to blame.” While that being true, it certainly only adds guilt on top of dread and worry. Of course we have to take responsibility for any bad choices we make, especially when dealing with an addiction. The healing process for an addict who wants to become clean and sober starts with acknowledgement that there is a problem but also taking responsibility for all the bad decisions and actions that were made in the midst of active addiction. Admitting responsibility is also vital to the healing process of guilt and condemnation.

So how do we trust God even though we know there are inevitable consequences in our near future?

  • We must repent and genuinely ask forgiveness for those sins. God doesn’t raise His hands in the air with frustration and say, “I can’t believe she did this again. Well this time I’m not forgiving her.” He will forgive us over and over again. We must believe that God has forgiven us before we can move on.
  • We must praise God in the midst of trials. Even though we may not “feel” like doing this, the Bible tells us we are to do it. By praising Him through a difficult circumstance, it will bring a feeling of peace.
  • We must thank God for all our circumstances. You’re probably asking, “How can I thank Him for something that is so awful in my life?”. First of all remember that God will bring good out of any situation (Romans 8:28).

rainbow roseGod will make all things good to those who love Him. He is able to turn any situation around for good. These forms of good can be anything from strengthening you and making you more resilient from that particular sin. He may put someone in your path that is going through a similar situation and you will be a great testimony of showing them how to go through it. It will show others your strength and faithfulness to God no matter what is going on in your life.

As a father loves his child, so does the Heavenly Father love you! Although God may be allowing you to go through a negative situation, He still loves you and His love for you will never change. God won’t love you any more than what He loves you right now and it is an uncomprehendable, amazing love He give us. He knows your pain and sees your tears (II Kings 20:5). Our heavenly Father even keeps track of our sorrows and tears,

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

I myself, am going through a trial right now. Unfortunately it is because of a poor decision I made back in August and I am suffering the consequences of that decision still but more so now. I have struggled tremendously, mentally and emotionally, because of what I did. Phil 413Satan has been trying to get to me while I am feeling down.  But I’m saying close to Christ. (Phil 4:13). Satan, you are not going to win anymore!

Just the other day I was having a bad day and I literally cried for 3 days. During those 3 days, instead of working myself into a panic attack, I prayed fervently and read my Bible. I was determined to find peace and joy. By the end of the 3rd day, I found the peace I was seeking and acceptance of the fact that God is going to be there and walk me through this. He told me there is an end to it and it won’t go on forever. He also told me, “Sometimes Michele I have to allow a devastating event to happen in your life in order to get through that thick skull of yours.” Lesson learned my Father! So I went to work on the 4th day and I had a customer tell me I look different. She proceeded to ask me if I had a new boyfriend or something because I had a “glow” about me. No I don’t have a new boyfriend. But I can tell you what was making me have that glow….it is Jesus Christ living in me and also because I just went through a 3 day cleansing of the soul which gave me renewed strength and peace.

I think it is easier to get through trials and tribulations if we look at them with a different perspective.  For example, what if the trials in our life are actually blessings of mercy and grace in disguise?(there is a lovely song, “Blessings” written by Laura Story that talks about this). Sometimes God will calm the storm, but if He doesn’t He will comfort your soul as you go through the storm. I think II Corinthians 12:9 says it best,

“Be He said to me, My grace is enough for you {sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully}; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in your weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ may rest upon me.”

breathtaking_sunsets

If I don’t have any other testimony, I have this…”I’m still here”.

This past year has brought many struggles, much confusion but also revelation.  Much of the bad stuff was of my own doing, making poor choices and getting myself in trouble.

Once again God saved me from myself.  God’s love for me blows my mind really.

You know the verse that says, “pray for your enemies”?  I tried this with my boss.  Granted, my boss really isn’t my enemy but sometimes the way he treats me it feels like he is.  He can be pretty brutal with his words.  And I can have a pretty bad attitude when it comes to someone verbally attacking me,  or rather I “perceive” it as an attack.  I was becoming pretty miserable and hating going to work every day.  I DREADED it when I saw my boss’s car when I pulled up so I would sit in my car for a few minutes before every shift and ask God to help me get through my shift without getting upset, or storming out, or getting a bad attitude, and I would ask God to keep me tough and help me get through it biting my tongue, help me, help me………..

And then one day I got a smack upside the head!!   The Holy Spirit said flat out, “Michele, you are praying the wrong prayer”.  You should be praying for your boss. So I listened and started praying for my boss.  I prayed with sincerity and that’s when things started to change.  He wasn’t as rude and nasty to me like he usually was.  He wasn’t constantly down my back about stuff.  It changed!!  or was it me who changed?

All I can say is the Lord is an amazing and wonderful God.  He takes my breathe away.  In everything I do I want to bring glory to Him.   Through my prayers, through my mistakes, through my job, and through my daily life I praise Him.

I want to share with you an experience I had that involves how God empowers us and guides us in our daily life.

Recently, I was promoted to the assistant manager position at my job.  I have only worked there for 2 months and by being quickly promoted, it had me both excited and scared.  My confidence level needs much improvement though.  In fact, I almost didn’t accept the position because I was really psyching myself out.  I was allowing Satan way too much time in my thoughts and almost worked myself into a panic attack.  I was questioning whether God really gave me this job or was it my own will taking over.  Satan had me questioning everything and I was obsessing over it.  I was stressed to say the least.

Most of you know my past and the bad choices I have made in my life.  My struggle with addiction and years of verbal abuse all play a part in how I feel about myself and my abilities.

Yesterday was my first day running the store by myself.  I had a staff of 7 and it was important for me to not only keep everything running smoothly but I also had the strain of having to cut people early due to high labor costs earlier in the week.  We have a couple employees who are “high maintenance”.  You have to constantly watch them and stay on them to do their job.  This alone is very stressful.

As soon as I walked in, there were problems.  Running this store is like a machine.  If all the parts aren’t working properly, it quickly falls apart and it can be difficult to recover.  So if one of the employees is lacking, it affects the whole thing.  Five minutes after I walked in I said softly out loud, “God you have to help me.”

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:31

No matter what problem was put in front of me and needed my attention and/or leadership, I remained calm and focused.  I handled things without getting upset or freaking myself out.  I was able to solve any problems that came up and from what I could tell, customers appeared happy with the service.  The day wasn’t perfect and we did have a few customers who got upset but I was able to resolve any issues and make them happy before they left.

God gets all the credit!

This had nothing to do with me.  God was with me totally and it was all Him.  Our lives can get so busy that we don’t always realize just how much God does for us on a daily basis.  We don’t see just how much God is in control and faithfully loves us and guides us 24 hours at a time.

I encourage all of you to take a few moments today and reflect on how God works in your daily life.  Ask Him to reveal the “little things” that we so often miss.  And remember that by humbling ourselves to Him, He empowers us to do things that we normally couldn’t do if left up to our own will.

Okay. I got a promotion at one of my jobs.  I am really happy about it.  I WANT a leadership role.  My title is Shift Leader.  I like my new manager at the store….and she likes me.  She’s been with the company for many years and she has turned 5 other stores around to be profitable.   She’s tough, but real.   I am straight up with her…..I am being myself.  My REAL self.  No BS.  No lies.  Just me.

I don’t reveal my past.  My screw ups with drugs and alcohol are NOT ME!!!  How do I finally know that?  By Christ.  By God’s Word.  I am NOT MY CHOICES!  I am a child of God who has made bad choices in life.  I face the fact that I have limited my future because of these choices.  I once had an extremely promising career in the corporate world.  I had no degree.  I proved myself.  But I screwed up.  I fell apart after a breakup of my engagement to a man.  I started doing heavy drugs.  It took me ten years to finally find a way out.

That way out is Jesus Christ.

I have used drugs and alcohol for over 20 years, but I was functional…..until the hard dope came along.  Once you start the pipes and needles…..it ALL changes my friends.

Unless you’re a recovering addict or alcoholic, you may not understand what I’m saying and the way I’m saying it.  If you get it, God Bless You!  God has opened yours eyes to something you haven’t experienced.  He has given you the gift of empathy and genuine insight.

The job and doctor thing….

It’s not always wise to tell your past.  If you are a “raw” addict and have no clue to how the real “sober” world works, let me give you some advice.

You get sober.  You stop your destructive ways.  The meetings you go to tell you to be honest.  Brutally honest.  But its not always wise to tell your employer or even your doctor that you are in recovery.  Let me explain….

You can hinder your growth as a person in recovery.  You get labeled.  You may not get hired and you may not get the true medical treatment you need.  This may sound like I’m telling you to lie.  What I’m telling you is to be TRUE TO YOURSELF. If you want to be sober, then you say what you need to keep your life sober.  We are good at lying.  Fellow addicts….be true to yourself.

If you feel in your heart that you need to expose this part of yourself…..in that you need to hear yourself tell it “out loud’…..THEN DO IT.   This is the first step in getting better…..hearing yourself say out loud can be be very, very healing.  And it gives you courage and strength to face “the world of people that don’t use.”

But once we get sober, the REAL US, comes out.  It can be scary.  But I have found that addicts are VERY special people.  They have a heart and drive that regular people don’t have.  Yes we screw up more.

But when we are on track, we can usually out shine just about anybody.

I feel good about the promotion.  I have to be committed.  That concerns me abit.  I’m not the greatest at being consistent.  I use to be….before the stupid heavy drugs.  I don’t trust myself.  I always disappoint myself.

I can do this.

Why do I keep doubting myself?

Maybe from my track record.

Maybe I’m listening to Satan whispering in my ear.

“Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world”.

How did Jesus do it?  Jesus was criticized and insulted but never returned insult for insult.  The witness of Jesus tells us to return evil with good.  Be slow to anger.  Turn the other cheek.

“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” (Proverbs 12:16)

Where do we draw the line of being insulted by another person and turning the other cheek?  When do we stand up for ourselves?  How many times can we really just turn the other cheek before saying something in our defense?

There is a person in my life that always seems to “get a jab at me” every time we have a conversation.  This is a person that I have hurt from my past actions.  This person has also hurt me.  I have truly forgiven them.  I really have.  I have asked forgiveness for my sharpness and overreaction.  I’m ready to let it go.  I AM capable of forgiveness.  I believe God has blessed me with incredible patience and the ability to forgive.  In my past, I had an ex-boyfriend who grabbed me by my hair, put a gun to my head & shoved me down into an execution type stature.  I even forgave him (and got a permanent restraining order). 

So even though I have hurt this person in my life and it may be justifiable reactions to my past behavior, they still throw an insult at me in a passive aggressive way even though I have changed my life and don’t behave in that manner anymore.  It doesn’t matter how well I am doing.  It doesn’t matter how far I’ve come, I still get that “dig” at least once every time we are around each other.  I get so upset!  I get very defensive.  I get tired of having to stick up for myself.  Yes, I insulted this person last night.  My past was being thrown in my face and in a vulgar manner.  I kept my cool at first, and then I started yelling and verbally did not behave as a Christian nor as a lady.  I asked God to forgive me.  Even though what I said back to them was all true, I did say it in a manner unbecoming.

“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:10)

I’m not going to blame my behavior as “just being human”.  I REALLY want to be able to control my tongue, no matter how terrible I’m being treated.  Will I ever perfect this area in my life?  I sure hope so.  I will just have to keep trying or maybe I just need to choose better friends & end this particular one.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5

My thoughts are all over the place today.  I’m very frustrated by it and it gets me concerned when I’m like this.  Concerned for what?  I don’t know.  To make a bad choice, or maybe I know anxiety or a panic attack could be right around the corner.  Is it the devil messing with me?  How do I know?  I pray for discernment. 

Discernment means understanding or an insight.  Before I can decipher my thoughts, I have to be aware of what I’m thinking about.   I try to do what Joyce Meyer tells us in her book, “Battlefield of the Mind” to,

“think about what we are thinking about.”

I’m exhausted just thinking about what I’m thinking about.  Has someone ever said to you, “you think too much.”  Don’t you just want to smack’em?  I’m kidding of course…kinda.Smile 

I believe God blessed me with a thinking brain.  I also just need to turn my mind off sometimes.  I will watch something on tv that’s silly and doesn’t serve a purpose except to make you laugh.  I like the sitcoms from Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond and King of Queens.   Those usually do the trick and give my mind a much needed rest.  Watching TV is all well and fine but I still need to keep my thoughts straightened out and not go to bed with a mind of confusion. 

Even if I read some Scripture before falling asleep, I swear the devil attacks me in my dreams!   I have very vivid dreams and I can remember them.  I wake up feeling heavy, like something terrible just happened.  I feel like have sinned!  I talk to God right away and get the connection between Him and I started before my feet his the ground.  I even ask for forgiveness for what I was doing in the dream, just in case.  It’s important for me to have no seperation from God and if my mind believes a stupid dream can do that well then……I’m asking God for forgiveness in Jesus’ name……don’t know it’s something I should do but……what can it hurt?  I’m doing what we say C.Y.A., in other words I’m covering all the bases.

I read an article by Father Dan Burke about discernment.  He says,

The unmanaged musings of an injured soul can easily lead us away from the peace that Christ has for us and into further sin or destructive behavior.

Father Burke is telling us we have to maintain our heart and keep it in right standing with Christ.  If left unmanaged or neglected, it is much easier to sin.  Although the devil can’t read our thoughts, he has been watching us for our whole lives so he can learn what makes us “tick”.  The enemy knows our strengths and weaknesses just as our Lord and Savior does.  That is why it is so important we study God’s Word and know it for ourselves.   We’ve all heard the saying, “knowledge is power”,but knowledge is strength too.

I think there is a certain level of faith involved in discerning our thoughts.  I believe sometimes we just don’t know!  And that’s okay.  It’s not always easy for me to discern my thoughts.  My way of thinking can be very messed up because of my past, but God is a healing God.  He has healed my mind as well as my soul.   Just reading the Bible has brought me so much healing in my mind and thoughts.  I shouldn’t say “just”.  It is very apparent in my life that reading the Bible has had a major impact on me and my thought life.  In fact, my thinking is more clearer now than it ever has been my entire life!  That may sound good, but I get confused and think too many things at once.  I want to know the “why” of things.  In being like this it makes me open up God’s Word and search it out.   Search it out and find out what’s going on in my mind and how I can get rid of this inner turmoil.  I want peace, not racing thoughts that give me unrest and anxiety. 

God is a peaceful God so any thoughts that are giving me anxiety or unrest are most likely not from Him.  So I pray and believe my loving Lord and Savior will help me discern my thoughts and keep me strong and intact.  Satan will use my thoughts of reasoning and wanting to know the “why” of everything against me and keep me away from the will of God.  For me, all I can say is I will have to stay very close to my Lord when my thoughts are like this and keep my nose in the Scriptures.  The thoughts will then start to slow down and I’ll find rest in my thinking.

In closing, this article has been difficult for me to write because my thoughts were all over the place and it has taken me a week to finish it.  I am asking my friends and fellow readers, to enlighten me if the post sounded rambling and I would love some wisdom about discernment of thoughts from  you!  I cherish all of you as I know God works through people!


A little about me........my name is Michele and I am a born-again Christian. I was saved as a teenager and graduated from a Christian high school. I am a mother of one son who is the world to me. Despite my upbringing, later in life I fell into a life of self destruction which led me down many dark paths. I am a recovering addict and alcoholic and I have a great passion for Christ and His amazing power to heal even the worst cases. I am living proof of the miracle of God's power to change your life and way of thinking. Nothing is impossible with God.

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