Three Taverns Church

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Be The Loving Memory People Never Forget

As I was leaving my chiropractor’s office yesterday the doctor asked me, “So, you’re feeling better?”

“Oh yeah,” I said, “When I came home last night my two youngest kids ran to the door to meet me. We wrestled around on the ground for a few minutes…we had an awesome time.”

Then I paused for maybe half a heartbeat and, starting to tear up, I said, “Not to get all emotional in your office, but I didn’t realize until just now that it’s been almost six weeks since they’ve run to the door to see me. Ever since I got that herniated disc I haven’t been able to play with them, and they kind of just quit being interested in me when I came home. But now Dad is back (no pun intended) and I could see how excited they were to play with me again!”

Oftentimes when things go wrong in our lives, it’s a long, slow decline into pain and suffering. Moments of shock and trauma are thankfully rare; it’s much more common to wake up one day having forgotten how good things used to be. In my story above I had forgotten that my kids and I used to wrestle and laugh together, and I’d only been injured six weeks! I have friends and family who have been hurting a much longer time. Their slide into suffering was so slow that these days they don’t even realize how much they are hurting; they’ve forgotten what “normal” feels like.

How many of us know someone living in an abusive relationship who thinks it’s “normal” to be emotionally or physically abused? How many of us know someone slaving away for an awful boss because he assumes, “That’s the way it is,” or know a homeless woman who thinks she’ll be on the streets forever, for the exact same reason? How many of us know a family member who’s given up the struggle against age and physical illness because the pain has been present for so long?

Do you want to help people remember what “normal” really means, to recognize life when they see it?

Be the loving memory people never forget.

If you know someone in an abusive relationship, be the love that will open her eyes to just how wonderful human companionship is supposed to be!

If you know someone in a job he hates (or someone dying for any job), be the love that helps him re-discover his hopes and dreams, and the purpose he was put here for!

If you know someone in the final stages of life who has given up, be the love that reminds her of all the good things in life, and the hope she can have in the future.

Be the love that becomes someone’s most treasured memory, something they will never forget.

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Question 15: Am I reading recovery literature?

Everyone can benefit from reading ‘recovery literature’. I led a growth group at my church a few months ago, and the focus of the group was the book “A Hunger for Healing” by J. Keith Miller. As far as I know I was the only person in the group who was also a member of a recovery program, but all of us grew personally as a result of reading the book.

When you are in the Addiction Cycle the stories and testimonies of those you read about in books like “A Hunger for Healing” will help you process your own feelings. You will see that many other people have faced exactly the same kind of pain and difficulty you are experiencing, and they were able to pull through. You will read stories of people who went through hell and stayed sober; these are very encouraging tales. You will also learn real-world tools you can use to solve life’s daily problems.

There are two reasons I love this Question:

  1. Every problem and emotional challenge faced by modern man is addressed in recovery literature. People have a tendency to think they are the only ones that deal with a certain problem or particular sin; recovery books will shatter that myth for you. You will see that you are not alone and  that there is a solution for you
  2. Everyone has at least one addiction in their lives. For non-recovery types this statement may sound shocking or offensive, but I believe reading a recovery book will open your eyes. (I plan on writing a series discussing ‘unacknowledged addictions’ in the near future)

Today’s Challenge: Borrow or buy a copy of J. Keith Miller’s book “A Hunger for Healing”. Even if you are not a candidate for a recovery program this book has powerful stories and tools that will change your life.

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Question 13: Have I scheduled an appointment with my counselor?

If you are in a recovery program it is a given that you will meet regularly with a counselor. It is actually a bit tragic that people do not reach out to counselors before a major problem develops in their lives. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I had been brave enough to meet with someone years ago…but that is the subject of another blog series.

The frequency with which you meet with your counselor will vary based on the acuity of your condition and the status of your budget. Meeting with a counselor once a month is a good rule-of-thumb under normal circumstances.

However, if you have entered the Addiction Cycle you need to meet with your counselor as soon as possible, even if your last meeting was last week. When you enter the Cycle it is easy to get isolated or fixated only on your mentor. Of course you need to call your mentor when you are in the Addiction Cycle, but he/she is not a paid professional and will not be able to help you sort out the root issues at work in the Cycle. I also believe that setting a future appointment with a specialist can give you the hope and motivation you need to hang on just a few more hours or days.

Returning to the story I have cited twice already in this series: I was a mess after seeing the nude woman across the street from my office. That day and the two days following were the worst three days of the last 365. I made a lot of phone calls during those three days to my mentor and trust me: Those calls played a critical part in rescuing me from the Addiction Cycle. But during that first day I also made a call to my counselor; I knew there were deeper issues at work beyond a little nudity that I needed to talk about: My perfectionism, my desperate need for acceptance, and the intense loneliness I feel; topics that my mentor is not qualified to help me sort through. I need to deal with these issues while in the Cycle to put things in perspective and to foster long-term recovery. If I had not reached out to my counselor during those difficult days my root problems would have overwhelmed me and I would have acted out.

Today’s challenge: If you have a problem with an addictive or compulsive behavior you need to meet with a counselor on a regular basis. If you do not already have one, find one today. The next time you are in the Addiction Cycle remember to ask yourself Question 13: “Have I scheduled an appointment with my counselor?”