Reconciled is a meeting place between man and his Creator. Learning to live in the blessedness of love and the forgiveness that only the harmonious Grace of God could provide. Reconciled is designed to lead individuals through a spiritual pathway that will produce holistic results. If you or someone you know have been dealing with addiction or an affliction that has caused life to become overwhelming, this book is for you. It will help you discover that peace, that spiritual connection that holds the recovery needed to smile again. Yes, this will help you establish the change in life that will produce spiritual recovery, promote health and wellness...#IGotWell
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#I Got Well
By David L. Nalls
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2016 David L. Nalls
All rights reserved.
Admitting that one is powerless over the effects of substances that are mind- and mood-altering is the start that all who have suffered from the disease of addiction or alcoholism must face. It will take honesty and the belief that it will not hurt you to admit to yourself that you are not as strong as you think you are. You also have to believe that what you are doing is not only for your benefit but also for your life. Turning from the way you have become used to doing things, like in a relationship that proves to be toxic, and killing the feelings of desire for it has to be the push that causes you to walk away. You have to believe first that it is bad to stay, then the results of that belief will now be visible. This opens the door to the next phase, yet it is all connected.
Faith is the substance of this confession, this admitted weakness and the hope you can recover. You cannot see the recovery in its physical form right away, but the vision of your future should be at the heart of your confession. You should have a specific direction that you intend to travel to. Your quest to reclaim your life and spirituality is definitely a must in the process of this transformation.
The first step in this process is to change the way you think and what you think about. This is not easy, but it can be done if you want to change your life. When you are in the process of recovery, it takes dedication on your part, and in the same fashion, so will allowing yourself to be open to the truth of spirituality. When it comes to the god of your understanding, there are some questions that you need to ask yourself about him in the same way you ask or seek to find out information about a person whom you are interested in.
The God of your understanding should be a God that you can count on to help you and deliver you in times of uncertainty and fear. He should desire a relationship with you and give you his all to be part of your life, and He should want you unconditionally. There should be something about him that attracts you, and you need to be able to trust in him no matter what. The god that I found to believe in is Jesus and his Father, who is now my Father and my God. I trust and believe in God totally because I know where my life was before I found out who He is.
I have sat in meetings and listened to people talk about their sponsors and how they called on them when they became weak in the midnight hour. One day, I was listening to a woman talk about how she had a night when she went through the most powerful thing that life could toss at her — the death of a close family member. She said she called her sponsor and all the people that she had in her phone, but no one answered. She said she had a really tough night. I remember thinking, That is where your higher power comes in, right? Well, she finally paced and walked around her house until she wore herself out and fell asleep. That was an example of her doing a lot of work to ease a lot of pain.
Now the higher power that I have comforts me any hour, any time, in any place and will never leave me without a line of communication. Just simply knowing that I have someone at all times waiting for me to look for him is priceless.
In The Message (Bible), Matthew 11:28-30 states, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Seems like a lot to believe in, right? Well, when using drugs, it takes a lot to believe it will make your life better always, but not seeing it that way at that time is something that is not in our sight at the moment. It just kind of shows up when we are in jail or confronted by a bridge we've set on fire.
Looking at that scripture more closely, ask yourself this, "Am I tired? Am I really worn out? Am I really burnt out on religion?" (Religion is classified in many respects as having a lot of rituals and moral codes that must be followed to be right.)
What does this have to do with acceptance? I have to accept the fact that I am tired in order to seek a place of rest. I have to accept that I am in a burnt-out position and that strength must come from somewhere. And I am tired of people addressing my behavior (with a bunch of rules and regulations) and not recognizing me as a person. Once I have accepted these things as something I am tired of going through as a way of life, I can start seeking out something that will improve how I feel about life.
Many former addicts have come to the same conclusion and have allowed the relationship that God seeks to be the relationship that matters. This is primarily because He changes the way you think, and that changes the way you live. Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around — give it to God, and watch Him change the outcome of the normal results that you have been getting. Break the cycle of your thought pattern and allow yourself to experience life in a manner that you are not simply existing.
Under the influence of drugs and alcohol, we become weakened in our ability to resist certain things. We find that our normal standards are lowered, and we find ourselves in one unfortunate circumstance after another. The confession of a weakness to a substance is not an admission of a state of being; it is an acceptance of an existing fact when a certain substance is consumed. This is an understanding that all who have suffered under the effects of a substance have come to accept.
When it comes to your thoughts, you must control them in a positive way. You must not allow them to run in the direction of "remembering the good times" to an extent of feeling anxiety so overwhelming that you get stuck on the thoughts of those good feelings that have been experienced and the consequences of use become minimized. In doing this, you will experience some resistance from your own mind because you have been thinking a certain way for a very long time. This is normal in the process of admitting, having to deal with the memories of feelings.CHAPTER 2
Controlling Your Thoughts
Taking back control of your thoughts is a lot of personal work that cannot be taken lightly. This is where prayer and meditation come in to help you in the process of recovery. I am not about to tell you that being religious is the core essential in gaining your mind back; it is developing a relationship with the higher power that you have come to believe in and sought to understand.
To gain control of your thoughts, there has to be a desire and a direction that you intend to go.
With thoughts that don't lead to the end result or include a deviation from the desired plan, beware of them. What I am saying is this: if you have made plans to go pay your bills and you have mapped out a route that leads away from wet people and places and the thought comes that says, "You are strong enough to take the shorter route" or "It's cool, you can handle seeing an old friend (using)," challenge the thought with the truth of the possible outcomes. This is playing the tape all the way through. At this point, you call on your "higher power" and ask for the strength to resist the desire to fall into action with the temptation and continue on your normal route. Because the thought comes to mind, does not mean you have to speak on it or act it out; dismiss it and move past it.
What you think about becomes what you will be about (David Nalls).
Dismissing and moving past a thought is something that takes practice; it takes time to learn how to do it successfully. Sure, the thought is something that needs your participation in order to grow. You have to entertain the thought and give it attention for it to play out a scene.
The thought to use will come to mind, and so will the urge to produce an action in your body, but you don't have to bring them out. We tend to want results without the work, because that is what we have become used to as people that suffer with SUD. The first place where weakness needs to be acknowledged is in the mind — that is, after you admit that you are weak under the influence of the substance that has caused you to seek recovery.
Taking back control of your thoughts will be a battle. There will be war in your head that you cannot afford to lose. This is where meditating or simply thinking about the promises that you've learned are yours becomes the focus of your thoughts.
In that process of change, your whole person has to be worked on. I want you to know that the process of change takes time, and as a person with a former drug addiction, I know how bad we are stuck on the "I want it now" stage of living. But what we don't take in consideration is, when people expect to be better now, we have no problem telling them "It will take time" or "Things don't work that way." Once you move through the process of patience, you will want to know what is acceptable to think about and what exactly you should be thinking about.
To get to the point of understanding what is acceptable to your higher power and what is not comes from developing a serious relationship with the higher power of your understanding. So in this case, I am going to start using God to not be confused with where this message of liberty comes from. Spending more time with the god of your understanding will increase your chances of recovery, if you truly want it. You cannot be afraid of what others may think or say, just like you did not care about what people were saying when you were using. Stepping out with confidence mixed with expectations is the hope that you should be receiving from your god.
God will not have you thinking that you are always going to be sick, and that is not what your mind should be fixed on. You should not constantly think that nothing is ever going to get better or change. Being sick wants you to stay focused on the existence of that sickness, keeping you prisoner of the sickness by way of your mind. How you think of yourself will produce the actions you take in caring for yourself. I mean, if you want to grow, you feed yourself with things that will increase you, and if you want to die, you feed yourself what will kill you. What are the things that you think about? Focusing on positive things creates a movement in a positive direction, and it is the same with negative thoughts — they will cause you to move in a negative direction.
Accepting that a power that is greater than yourself can and will restore you to sanity should never be taken lightly. This has to be taken with the seriousness of cancer or AIDS. Having a relationship with a human being takes time, and in that time, you get to know the person.
Well, it is the same way with the God that you choose to understand. You have to spend time with them, trusting them and thinking about them like you will a man or woman who has taken your interest.
Having childlike thoughts for a person with an SUD or in active addiction is common because they are selfish in nature. Children tend to only think about themselves and what they want, and so does a person in active addiction. A child can only focus on one thing at a time, and so does a person in active addiction. A child has a problem accepting natural consequences, and so does a person in active addiction. Children do not see past themselves, nor does a person in active addiction. This list of things can go on and on, so I say again, "What are you thinking?"
I will end this chapter on a power verse to think about since we are looking for something to focus on in times of trouble. Philippians 4:8-9 says, "Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you have learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies" (MSG).CHAPTER 3
Making Right Choices
Words are a big part of making the right choices.
Spiritually speaking, words are containers of power. People are influenced by the words of other people all the time, and it has a direct effect on a person's sense of well-being. Having God to believe in and knowing He will never tell you "You ain't never gonna amount to nothing" or "You're just a junkie, you will always be an addict/ alcoholic!" is encouraging because of the words you choose to believe God will and won't say to you. You have to start speaking different words over your life; you should not be speaking words that are condemning or demeaning.
Make the choice to speak differently about yourself and acknowledge yourself in a way that does not describe you as a person stuck in a lifestyle of death but as a person who has an issue, a disease, and is now making different decision today to live a full and healthy life.
When a particular thought comes into your mind and it appears to be threatening or belittling you, you have the choice to either build on that thought or not. You have a choice to believe whether that thought is relevant to your current standing or not. You make the choice whether to act on that thought or not. Ultimately, you have the final say on whether you are going to act on it or simply disbelieve it, change it, and walk away. You do not have to entertain every thought that comes to mind. In my life experience, I have had many thoughts that I have not acted on, and since I have recovered from active addiction, I have had thoughts that I've chosen not to entertain, build on, or act out. Understand that the greatest part of your consequences is a direct result of what you have chosen to believe in and act out. Stopping to think gives you the power to choose differently.
Accepting responsibility of your actions is another choice one has to make. We can choose to pass the buck or stand to accept the consequences. Most people never learn from their mistakes because they never own up to them. When you don't accept the consequences as a direct result of your choice, you miss the opportunity to learn and grow past the mistake, so instead, you repeat it. Take the time to examine the choices that you have made and see if they are worth repeating.
This is the part of the book that challenges you to explore the depths of what you have come to believe or who you believe your god to be. Since the beginning of time as we know it, man has sought to connect with the Creator. This has always been important to people because it explains what they can't see, so they can accept that it has come. This also has to be a conscious choice without wavering on the decision to accept in order to see the results as they manifest themselves to us.
Choosing God as your higher power also comes with a consequence. There is something that you have to give up — your own ways. You have to be willing to give up your own way of doing things and believe that the way you are being shown is the right or, at least, a better way. We call out in prayer every day, but we just don't realize that it is what we are doing. Doing it purposely gives you hope and courage. In the process, you will begin to see that the restrictions you have put on yourself are actually the prison made by you and no one else.
Being free spiritually is not allowing past failures to keep you bound to the shame and guilt that will reign and rule in your life. "Letting go and letting God" is not just a statement to be thrown around but actually believed in and lived. When you let go of the things that keep you bound to the sickness, the habits, attitudes, schemes, and manipulative ways, you will begin to see things in a totally different light. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will begin to change.
The spiritual component of recovery is difficult to discuss because people have different views regarding spiritual beliefs. Being spiritual is about the walk you have with God, believing what He has said about you and less of what you know about who you were. It is the accepting of Jesus as Lord and allowing the changes needed to be identified and performed by Him through you.
Excerpted from Reconciled by David L. Nalls. Copyright © 2016 David L. Nalls. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
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