Category: Addictions

Are you trusting God, or are you testing Him? (Something to ponder before lighting that next cigarette…)

Long before I got sober, I used to make choices that I knew in my heart were not good choices. I would convince myself of this: “God will protect me, He won’t let any harm come to me.” I told myself I was trusting Him. Does this sort of thing sound familiar to anyone? I was pretty lost back then, so it is amazing for me to look back and remember that I “sort of” sought God while I was walking in darkness. I knew nothing about trusting God back then. I was not even sure if He was real (SO grateful that I now know without a doubt that He IS!).

Someone I have known for over 20 years who has become a like a sister – well, she is a sister in Christ who reminded me of how I used to be. She struggles with smoking cigarettes. Her mother died from it as well as alcoholism. Although she knows what a harmful vice it really is, her addiction is too great right now and she just is not ready to quit. I pray for her. I pray that God will remove the craving and desire for it just as He removed the craving and desire of alcohol from me. I pray the same for all my friends who keep lighting up those nasty cigarettes. I am sorry, but they are NASTY. I used to smoke, so I know. I ruined good work clothes and the inside of my vehicle in my younger days with stupid cigarettes – cigarettes that have killed many people. And we will not even get into the smell…there is just nothing good that comes from those things.

I was also thinking and praying about people in recovery meetings who recover from alcohol abuse, but then trade or cannot let go of other harmful vices such as cigarettes. I have wanted to write something about this for a very long time, but it has not been easy to do. I was not sure how to do it without sounding judgmental, but I am going to be bold and write this anyway. I want my friends to be healthy. I want them to be closer to God. I want them to reach for Him before reaching for anything or anyone else. So I am not here to judge. I am just here to get someone to really think things through before lighting the next cigarette or reaching for the next harmful vice whatever it may be.

My “sister” has the attitude that her smoking is OK. In so many words she mentioned that if God did not want her to smoke, that He would not have allowed cigarettes to exist. So since they belong to Him, it is all right. That was hard for me to hear. That was me several years ago!! I am grateful that God has opened my eyes and heart to know better.

So if you are anything like I was, trying to convince yourself that you are trusting God when you really are not, remember the story about how Satan tempted Jesus after He had spent forty days and nights in the wilderness. Satan is a liar, and it is pretty interesting that he decided to quote Scripture when he wanted Jesus to prove that He is the Son of God by throwing Himself down a cliff. However, he only quoted part of it to try to trick Jesus. Isn’t that funny? Like the devil could really trick Jesus. It is really a good lesson for us to remember — Satan knows Scripture, so make sure you know it too or you will be deceived!!

Anyway, after Satan tempted Jesus to prove that He is the Son of God, he had said to Him, “For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” (Matthew 4:6)

How did Jesus respond to him? Of course, He used Scripture! He said, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:7)

So I need to ask again: Are you trusting God? Or are you testing Him??!!

If you are struggling like I used to, I hope you will think about this. You can choose to be free from harmful vices. I pray you will. Only God can give you the power to quit. Put your vice down and let God do something amazing in your life. You will not regret it.

Don’t let Satan have his way any longer with you. Only God’s way is LIFE!

Blessings.

“They are better off without me.” If these words mean anything to you, I hope you’ll read this…

I know in my heart that I am not the only one who battles dark thoughts such as this. Some who are close to me may be surprised to find that I was fighting this thought very recently. I was fighting hard. For a bit there, I felt like I was losing. I think until I decided to write about this just now that only my pastor and one or two others in my life that I trust were aware that I was hearing and starting to believe those words again. It brought me back to my old dark days of depression and isolation – the horrible days when I tried so hard to drink my way through tormenting thoughts of suicide. The difference this time though, is that I did not keep it to myself. I did not withdraw from people and isolate, although it does get tempting at times. I did not relapse and try to drink it away again. Instead, I reached out to God and I reached out to my pastor and trusted Christian friends for help and I am grateful for this amazing and lifesaving change that God has made in me over the last five years.

This morning with my church family, I had the wonderful opportunity to share another testimony of God’s greatness in my life and it triggered my heart to share it here too. I have spent the last five months trying my best to be strong and courageous, trusting and leaning on God as I walked what felt like the longest and darkest valley of my journey into the unknown with Him. It did not come easy for me at all. I had some very good days, but many bad ones and shed many tears through it. It took five months for doctors to be able to tell me whether or not I have cancer. I have had amazing people of faith, much stronger than me, claiming in Jesus’ name that I am healed and that there would be no cancer. I received and I claimed it. However, because I am a weak human being, the long wait for the medical report to confirm it became quite challenging for me. The enemy knows my weaknesses very well and when I am not careful and allow him and his lies to distract me, he attacks and I get knocked down hard. I had to wait for consultations that kept getting cancelled. I had a painful procedure in December that did not go well and the attempt for a biopsy failed. So, more waiting — more of the unknown and more distractions. I started losing my focus on Jesus and started listening to the deceiver and believing his lies that I am a bad person and I deserve what’s happening to me. I started believing his lies that everyone would be better off if I were not around anymore. I was not doing anything good for anyone, I was too busy feeling sick and defeated.  I felt shame for what I was going through because I believed that it was caused by my past choices when I was living a godless life all those years before God had reached down and revealed His power to me. The enemy seemed to be winning this battle of my mind. But thankfully, I can share today, that he has lost once again. He’ll always lose with God holding me by His right hand. He will always lose, as long as I never give up.

I am so grateful that no matter how many times I get knocked down, God gives me incredible strength to keep getting back up and to keep pressing on. I am so grateful that I never give up on Him. Not that I don’t think about it once in a while, especially when I become exhausted, but I really do know better by now. Going back to the way I used to live is not an option. Not if I want to live…REALLY live.

People who are isolating and battling tormenting thoughts on their own are in danger. Isolation is the devil’s trap so he can be free to go in for the kill, but first he likes to take his time and torture for as long as he possibly can. I know. I was there. And I believe this because he almost killed me there. Isolation brings darkness, loneliness, hopelessness…basically, it brings death. A slow and painful one. I pray that if you are in this situation that you will do something about it. Stop trying to fight it alone. Let go of pride. If you haven’t called out to God yet, just do it. He’s listening! Reach out to a pastor. Reach out to others, but make sure those you reach out to are godly people. Surrounding myself by a team of godly people was not easy at the beginning, but I have a safe place to be each week where I can open up and cry and ask for help if I need to. They don’t judge and they do not make me feel ashamed. They just love me with the love that God pours through their hearts. Love I have never known before. They aren’t just a team of godly people, they are my family. Everything I have shared here is what I have done myself and is why I am still here to write about it. I was not sure what all to write about today, but I felt my heartstrings being pulled to write something. Too many are suffering alone right now. Too many have already given up on hope and too many are about to. It does not have to be. Hope in Jesus saves lives. He saved mine, in so many ways.

I have seen many miracles in the lives of others and in my own. I have prayed for miracles. I keep praying for them. But lately, I started thinking that maybe I should do more than just pray for a miracle. Maybe I should start praying that I would BE a miracle for someone else. How awesome would that be? This gives my life amazing purpose. Each of us has a special purpose for being here so let’s not give up on finding out what that purpose is. I believe it will save your life. And how amazing will it be when you find that you can be a part of God’s plan in helping other lives to be saved? What if your life and testimony helps someone else to choose Jesus — the only Way to eternal life? Is that not worth living for? I certainly think it is. Imagine if each of us touched just one heart. I get overwhelmed at the thought of what God can do with that. That’s what keeps me going in this dark and fallen world. And when I get tripped up and fall hard, which happens more than I care to admit, God helps me to get up and to keep on keeping on for Him. I am so grateful.

My heart goes out to those suffering things I suffered for too many years. If you are one, I am praying for you, that God would intervene and do for you what He has done for me and so many others. I pray you will open your heart to Him like never before. I know He will meet you right where you are. And you need to stop believing the lies and believe this…no one will ever be better off without you! It is the truth. It is not my truth, it is God’s truth!

God’s love is amazing. I am so grateful for all He is to me. I am ALIVE!! I hope you or someone you know will be encouraged by my openness today. It’s never easy, but it is always more than worth it. Oh, and I almost forgot…that unsuccessful procedure to remove only a part of the abnormal cells was a blessing that led to a minor surgery that removed ALL of the abnormal cells for biopsy. I got word the other day…NO CANCER. I am healed! Praise the Lord! Ah, God is SO not finished with me yet. And friend, I don’t believe He is finished with you either. I hope you will join me on this amazing pathway to heaven. And if you do, FASTEN YOUR SEATBELT. It is going to be the ride of your life… just sayin’.

Thanks for listening to my heart…God bless.

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I am a Recovering Alcoholic — Maybe I do want the chance to talk about it…

My women’s Bible study group just finished the book of Proverbs. Since I’ve been on my sobriety journey with God for 4 years, 6 months, 19 days, and…sorry, I’ll stop there. I can’t help it. It’s just that I am beyond grateful for my life. Every day of sobriety means so much to me. Every day I am sober is a miracle from God since I had been drinking my life away for over 20 years and did not have the power to stop on my own.

Anyway, I am so amazed at how I’m noticing more and more the Scripture that speaks about the importance of being sober. It has never stood out so much to me until recently. I didn’t count the verses, but there were plenty that stood out in Proverbs alone. When we were touching on Chapter 20, the leader for that evening assumed it would be awkward or difficult for me to discuss the first verse so she was about to just pass over it. I have to say I was a little disappointed because earlier in the day I had done some studying on it and actually wanted to talk about it from my own experience. Thankfully, my pastor who knows me and my story very well didn’t let the moment pass me by. She wanted to hear what I had to say about that verse, so I am really grateful that I was given a chance to share. You know, it’s such a wonderful thing — the work that God is doing in me. I’ve gone from not wanting to talk about it, to maybe I should talk about it, to hey I think I REALLY NEED AND WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT! Wow, only God…

So here’s Proverbs 20:1 from God’s Word Translation — “Wine makes people mock, liquor makes them noisy, and everyone under the influence is unwise.”  It seems that many think that one of the worse problems in our society today is the abuse of alcohol. I believe the abuse of alcohol is a symptom of a much greater problem. I’m speaking from my own experience. My greater problem was severe depression and tormenting thoughts of suicide. When I didn’t know God at all and didn’t know He was real, alcohol was my only way to get some relief. It was my medicine to relieve the pain. It was the poison that I was using to kill myself. But thank You Lord that today I don’t need it! I have absolutely no desire to drink, and the severe depression and suicidal thoughts are gone. I no longer need alcohol or anything else to numb myself out or to run away from reality. Years of doing that got me deeper and deeper into the pit of hell. That’s what alcohol and drugs do to us, I can see it clearly now. It’s pure evil. It separates us from God. It’s temporary peace that we receive from the devil. It’s the only way he can bring us peace. But I thank Jesus Christ, my Prince of Peace that I no longer reach for anything that only brings a quick and temporary fix. Instead, I reach for my Lord for His everlasting Peace. Every single time. It’s difficult to do, but I allow myself to feel my feelings and pain. By doing that, God not only helped me to overcome my addiction and depression, He has healed my hurting soul from the deep wounds that I had covered up all these years. My journey isn’t easy. I still deal with hurts and pain. I go through a lot of challenges that I now know are opportunities to grow closer to God. One of the greatest things I have learned to do is not to keep it to myself and bury it. No more isolating. I don’t want to ever go back to that dark place, so I’m learning to keep showing up no matter what, and to open my mouth more and talk about the hard stuff. I allow myself to cry if I have to. I’m grateful for the love that surrounds me in my church and in Celebrate Recovery that allows me to do this.

So I just want to close and say to those who can’t really relate to people like me, please don’t assume that all alcohol and drug addicts don’t want to talk about it. Yes, you’ll come across many who won’t be willing to open up, but give us a chance anyway. You never know. You may be surprised at what you hear from those of us who ARE willing. You may even be blessed by it.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this post. Thanks for listening to my heart. God is amazing. He’s the God of miracles and breakthroughs and I can’t wait to keep writing and speaking more about His awesomeness in my life.