2013, Issue 4 - July/August
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EDITOR'S VIEW
Investing in Recovery Does Make a Difference

Have you ever wondered whether the time you invest attending meetings, working the 12 steps, connecting with a sponsor, reading recovery materials, praying and surrendering makes a difference? Newly reported research reveals that there are very real measurable improvements to making all of this effort.

 

On May 21, 2013, The Partnership at Drugfree.org reported that “people in recovery experience striking improvements over time.” A survey of 3,228 persons was conducted over two months was striking in its results. “We found recovery has tangible benefits. Investing in recovery makes sense and benefits everyone. It’s time to end discriminatory barriers and ensure access to a full range of health care and other services for people in and seeking recovery” asserts Pat Taylor, Executive Director of Faces & Voices, the group that conducted the survey.
 

The results included a 10-fold decrease in involvement with the criminal justice system and use of emergency services and a 50 percent increase in participation in family activities and in paying taxes. “People in recovery are much more likely to vote, obtain health insurance, hold a steady job, further their education or start their own business. They are much less likely to be involved in domestic violence or have untreated emotional or mental health problems, compared with when they were actively addicted.”
 

“The survey found as recovery progresses, people’s lives improved in every area. For example, they increasingly take care of their health, eat better, exercise more, and go to the dentist. Rates of employment, participation in family activities, returning to school or training and paying taxes all gradually increase as a person spends more time in recovery. These improvements continue over time as recovery in maintained” the authors of the study concluded.
 

Those who work a recovery program know that improvement occurs over time as the life is surrendered to God. While research reveals that that there are physical, emotional and sociological benefits to recovery, we also know that there are spiritual benefits. A surrendered life is a connected life. This month, we focus on Step 9. Its message could be this: A life in which amends have been made is a guilt-free life. May this be your experience as we journey together to the fullness of life that God has for us.


David Sedlacek, PhD, LCSW, CFLE
Professor of Family Ministry and Discipleship
Andrews University
sedlacek@andrews.edu



FOCUS ON THE RECOVERY PROCESS
12 STEPS to Recovery —  STEP #9 
Do I have a Log in My Eye? 

We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory in Step 4. We subjected ourselves to a drastic self-appraisal. Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past. We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves. If we haven’t the will to do this, we ask until it comes. Remember it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory. 

When we did step 4 we may have played the blame game and listed people that we have resentments toward as the root of our repeated relapses into what we are trying to overcome. We do a proper 5th Step with a person living a life practicing these biblical principles outlined in the 12 steps and has been doing it consistently for a while. We then see as God and our sponsor guides us, the role we have played in each of these folk’s lives and why perhaps the relationship is rocky to say the least.

We want to make amends not an apology. We may have been apologizing in our practicing dysfunction many times however, digressed time and again. The person we want to make amends to probably by now has little or no faith in apologies or promises concerning the behavior.

Let’s look at some definitions:

a•pol•o•gize (intr.v. a•pol•o•gized, a•pol•o•giz•ing, a•pol•o•giz•es)
  1. To make excuse for or regretful acknowledgment of a fault or offense. 
  2. To make a formal defense or justification in speech or writing. 
a•mend (v. a•mend•ed, a•mend•ing, a•mends)
  1. To change for the better; improve: amended the earlier proposal so as to make it more comprehensive.
  2. To remove the faults or errors in; correct. 
  3. To alter (a legislative measure, for example) formally by adding, deleting, or rephrasing.
  4. To enrich (soil), especially by mixing in organic matter or sand.
Simple but not easy! 

When making the amends, we find many times that the person we have harmed is more than willing to accept the amends happily -- and a healing process begins not only in the relationship, but in each individual. This is not always the case, however. Sometimes the injured party is not willing to forgive and forget. Regardless, spiritual progress for those in recovery depends upon doing their part right and making direct amends. 

This step does carry a condition—except when to do so would injure them or others. If the act of making amends will open old wounds or create new harm, then making direct amends should be avoided. The benefit of making amends to the recovering person does not outweigh the need to do no more harm.

The most important things to remember to exercise this step are Willingness, Prayer, a Sponsor’s input and especially the Golden Rule (MK 12:30-31).

There is much to learn about this and all the Biblical principles of recovery. Learn how to get involved at www.AdventistRecovery.org

 

Contributed by Frank Sanchez
Southern Union Conference ARMin Coordinator
gailileo1@yahoo.com

 

Testimony 
Dethroned by Sin: My Nebuchadnezzar Experience (Part 1)

Suddenly, I was looking out over a lush and beautiful plain. Scattered across the vast greenery were innumerable glass rooms, each containing about 15 to 20 people. I was then gently ushered into one of them. We were awaiting our turn in going before the throne of God for judgment. I asked the angel who was attending to our group, “Am I going to pass the judgment and enter heaven’s gates?” Without equivocacy, the angel answered, “No.” My heart sank in utter despair. Here I was awaiting the final judgment. Absolutely no time was left; this was it. After a brief pause, the celestial being spoke again, saying, “But, I am not the final say – Jesus is.”

This was the dream I had the night before I made inappropriate advances on a medical patient of mine that resulted in termination from my position, a lengthy suspension of my professional licenses, a criminal charge of sexual battery, jail time, and a divorce from the woman to whom I had committed my life. I believe this dream was an explicit warning that I did not heed, like many other warnings I had had in prior years. Needless to say, this was a wakeup call for me. As I was reeling from this self-inflicted blow and trying to wade through the wreckage I had caused, a friend pointed out to me a bit of hard truth, saying, “This is a small price to pay for salvation.” At first, I thought, “Are you kidding me? Small price? I got my Master’s degree from a very prestigious university. That doesn’t mean squat anymore. I lost my job as a nurse practitioner and pediatric mental health specialist. I lost my licenses to practice. I have to serve time in jail. I now have a criminal record. I am getting a divorce. My son now has to experience a broken home. Small price?” But, the more I began to study God’s word, forge a deeper relationship with Him than I ever had before, and understand Jesus’ unfathomable love for sinners and infinite desire to save, I now agree: This is indeed a small price to pay for my salvation.           

 

Jesse Hoffmeyer
 


FEATURED ARTICLE

Secure Attachment Necessary to Achieve Intimacy

Human beings seem to be encoded from birth to crave and require intimate personal relationships in order to thrive.  A most basic desire of all human beings is to be heard, known and understood, and feel safe enough to invite a trusted loved one “into-me-see”.  We long to experience comfort and connection intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically when we are frightened or lonely or sad.

Recently Angie shared with me her longing desire to get better acquainted with a young man she met at church.  She admitted being obsessed with him but was very fearful that in relating to him she might appear inadequate because she is so nervous about what to say to him.  She fears he will find her a bore, so she has avoided the very person she is anxious to get to know. This young woman had never learned to build a relationship by testing character through vulnerable conversation to create trust.  Growing up in a family where her parents were addicted to drugs, and early exposure to pornography led Angie to become sexually active by the time she was only 12.  The only way she had previously related to males was physically.  After a long string of failed relationships leaving her filled with shame, she is determined to learn how to create healthy relationships with men.

When children are neglected emotionally, they often interpret and conclude that there is something innately defective about them, and it creates a sense of unhealthy shame.  Without a secure attachment it becomes much too risky to ask for attention and help from caregivers and others later in life.  

Abuse creates severe emotional wounds until the victim concludes that it is safer not to have needs at all and pulls into a self-protective shell.  With no one to turn to, the abused child learns to rely on self for comfort by auto-regulation leading to self-soothing activities for constant distraction spending hours in front of a television, on the internet, gaming, shopping, using substances like drugs and alcohol, or the unhealthy use of sex, food or money to escape the pain of reality.  

Distorted thinking patterns develop when the child learns it is safer to keep these shameful, yet soothing behaviors secret, never telling the truth of his or her emotional pain and loneliness.  If we think “no one will discover what I’m doing”, “I’m not hurting anyone, not even myself”, “I can change my behaviors on my own”, it should be a red-flag that we are living in isolation.  This double life causes the addict to believe their own dishonest messages of justifying, minimizing, and intellectualizing and the consequence becomes living in the personal torment of rage, exhaustion, spiritual bankruptcy and loneliness.  

Addiction can be described as a disease of escape and isolation that seems to soothe at least temporarily.  Sexual addiction has been called an “intimacy disorder” often confusing drama and intensity for intimacy.  Sex can be used as a tool to avoid intimacy and disconnect in a dysfunctional way, to cover up feelings of shame, instead of the expression of sincere love.

Addicts have no idea how to tend to their own true needs and are ill-equipped for the give and take required in intimate relationships.  With no internal sense of what it means to have legitimate emotional needs, we are unable to achieve our full potential and we languish and continue to act out our pain.

What steps can Angie take to begin to risk opening up to someone who is showing interest?  She has already begun by bringing the problem out of the dark by honestly admitting she craves and yet fears intimacy.  Disclosing to another human being one of her deepest, darkest and most shameful secrets begins to bring Angie out of isolation.  Committing to therapy, Angie will submit herself to the process of being challenged and educated.  It will be helpful to create a list of absolutes – character traits and behaviors she will not settle to live without in an intimate relationship, and a list of offensive qualities she would never accept.  Angie must practice vulnerability with trustworthy family and friends building her support system, learning to ask for help, and for what she craves emotionally.  Most importantly, Angie will invite her Higher Power, her therapist and circle of support to hold her accountable for her actions.   Whatever it takes to heal and learn to be available for intimate relationships can take time that will be well worth the effort.

Jan Grentz

Healing Journey of Recovery
(606) 682-5890


      

ARMin NEWS
ATLANTIC UNION

New York City, NY
Two new ARMin Journey to Wholeness meetings have started in New York as a result of the Health Summit ARMin training held in March 2013.  Below are the times and locations of the meetings.

Monday 7:00-8:30 pm at the Antioch SDA Church Route 104 Sodus, NY 14551

Thursday 7:00-8:30 pm at the Mount Carmel SDA Church 140 Furman St., Syracuse, NY 13205.

SOUTHERN UNION


Columbia , SC

Fifty people attended the afternoon ARMin seminar at the Columbia Midtown SDA Church on May 11, 2013. At the conclusion of the meeting, 10-15 people felt called to become involved in an ARMin support group at the church. Pastor Fry will spearhead this effort.




Venice, FL 

The Venice Seventh-day Adventist Church had a Spirit-filled ARMin event on May 18, 2013. Nearly 40 people attended the afternoon seminar not only from local Adventist churches but also from the Church of God and the Church of Christ. As the result attendees were eager to start 12-step groups in Venice, Sarasota and Port Richey.


    

DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE
Recovery is a process that includes many dimensions of our life. Perhaps a primary dimension is one’s health (e.g. managing illness or its symptoms, totally abstaining from those unhealthy compulsive behaviors and replacing them with healthier choices); secondly, one’s life purpose (e.g. engaging in activities such as a job, furthering one’s education, or establishing independence and resources to participate in society); and lastly, community (establishing healthy relationships and reliable networks which provide love and understanding through social, emotional support and spiritual support). 

These dimensions are an essential part of a successful process in the journey to recovery. However, fundamentally, hope is at the core of recovery. Hope that one can overcome the obstacles and difficulties faced, and the assurance that it is possible to have a better future. Hope can be an essential catalyst in recovery. 

But where do we find this hope? In ARMin we believe lasting hope is found only in Christ. When we experience His unfailing love and grace, and understand that He - the One who has paid the price for our freedom is still available to gently walk beside with us, hope is born! When we take hold of God’s promises daily, and embrace the truth that with Him all things are possible, hope is reborn daily!  This hope will strengthen our steps along he way as we move forward assured we can have an abundant life here, but more importantly, an eternal life with Him forever.

My prayer is that ARMin may be a conduit to help you embrace God’s promises. May you fill your mind with songs of His tender love for you and ever remember that He has plans that will bring you hope and a bright future (Jeremiah 29:11). 


Be blessed in your journey.


Katia Reinert, PhDc, CRNP, FCN
Adventistrecovery@nad.adventist.org
Health / ARMin Director
North American Division