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Mon Jul 30, 2018 08:53

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
G. K. Chesterton

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
Let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything that is in them!
Then the trees of the forest will sing,
They will sing for joy before the LORD,
1 Chronicles 16:31-33 NIV

Gratitude works for me. I never realized how important gratitude was until I was a couple of years in recovery. At first I didn’t have a name for the awareness and joy that I was experiencing, but it was gratitude. I used to take the word gratitude for granted. When someone would speak of gratitude I would just let it slip through my mind and pass it off as just another word for thanks. Today I realize that gratitude is a spiritual force that enables me to continue in my direction of recovery even though the road is at times is not easy. Being grateful for all that God has done for and with me, is what keeps me from turning back to my old life style. I am a grateful recovering alcoholic and drug addict because there was an avenue of escape that opened to me through the reading of the Word. I am grateful for having an understanding church and church family. I am grateful for the programs of AA and NA. I am grateful for those who like myself walked this path and shinned the light back so that I could see my way. I am grateful for a family that did not put up with my nonsense, and when I came to my senses, love me like nothing had ever happened. I am grateful for those who allow me to send them this small page as part of my own daily time of devotion to God. But most of all I am grateful for a loving God that forgave me, and allows me to start new everyday. “Give thanks unto the LORD; for His mercy endureth for ever” (1 Chronicles 16:34 KJV). God’s mercy will outlast anything and everything. That is reason to be very grateful. God truly has done for me what I could not do for myself………………..JRE

“The forgiveness of others is the vestibule of Heaven, and Jesus knew it, and has led us to the door. You must forgive everyone who has ever hurt you if you want to be forgiven yourself; that is the long and short of it. You have to get rid of all resentment and condemnation of others, and, not least, of self-condemnation and remorse. You have to forgive others, and having discontinued your own mistakes, you have to accept the forgiveness of God for them too, or you cannot make any progress. You have to forgive yourself, but you cannot forgive yourself sincerely until you have forgiven others first. Having forgiven others, you must be prepared to forgive yourself too, for to refuse to forgive oneself is only spiritual pride.” EMMET FOX

// posted by jerryralph @ 10:06 AM

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

When the pain exceeds the pleasure

Thought for the day: “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”
Charles Mingus

“As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds. And there was a woman in the crowd who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. She had spent everything she had on doctors and still could find no cure. She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.” (Luke 8:42-44 NLT)

My sponsor has a saying, “When the pain exceeds the pleasure, we change.” As I read the account of the woman who snuck up behind Jesus and touched Him, I realize that she had experienced enough pain in life that it had exceeded the pleasure of everyday living. She reached a point where even if everyone else thought she was wrong, she was going to change. As I think of this brave woman who was in pain, I ponder the words of my sponsor and reflect on my own program of recovery. Just like the woman whose pain had exceeded the normal enjoyment of life, for years the pain of my lifestyle centered on drugs and alcohol had far exceeded the pleasure. After surviving a three or four day continuous run on meth, and then the leveling off with extreme amounts of alcohol for a day or two, I experienced pain. Just waking up to the normal start of a new day had so much pain that it was unbearable. Some of the last days of my active addicted life were spent in a place that was totally serene but I never experienced it. I lived in a little trailer complete with modern furnishings, surrounded by acres of timber. Most people that I had known in the city would have given a hind tooth for such an existence. And yet I was miserable and felt pain from even the quietness of the morning. There was something wrong with that picture and I knew it. I was sick, very sick, and desperate for the pain to go away. I remember it was twenty-one years ago, that I became sick and tired of being sick and tired, and reached out for the fringe of His rob. Just like the woman I instantly became healed, and the road of life opened up before me. The pain and misery of life fell by the wayside as I walked with the Lord and had pleasure again in just living. I got to feeling so good after ten months that I thought I could use just a little dope again, not a lot, just a little. What happened was seventeen months of pure living hell. I became much sicker than I had ever previously thought. As I entered into recovery again, and Jesus passed by, I once again reached out and touched the fringe of His robe. This time I don’t want to let go. I will always have the free will to use drugs again, but I question if my free will, will be strong enough to come back to recovery one more time. As long as I continue to hold on to Him, and turn my will over to His care, I am strong. On September 12th this year I will celebrate 20 years of sobriety, I don’t want to go back to the way it was. God is doing for me what I could not do for myself……………..wolf

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