Monday, July 30, 2012

It's An Inside Job

We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don't make anything happen. Every word I've spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making.” John 6:63The Message

“This life therefore, is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise.We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it: the process is not yet finished but it is going on.This is not the end but it is the road; all does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified. -Martin Luther

It’s An Inside Job

When we talk about recovery, what we are really talking about is a deepening of a person’s integrity. In Webster’s dictionary, integrity is defined as a completeness, a unity, soundness, personal honesty and independence. For the purposes of recovery, let us think of integrity as a healthy condition of the soul. Integrity is sanity. A condition of sanity that incorporates completeness, unity, soundness, personal honesty and independence in that we are not dependent on any person or thing in a way that’s destructive for us.

Ultimately, addiction and integrity cannot exist together, although they do exist to some degree in the reality of each of our lives. Where addiction takes root in the small cracks and crevices of our hearts and minds, and then splinters us even more, recovery heals this split, bringing integrity and sanity back to our lives. Recovery is an interpersonal coming back together; a re-integrating of our heart and our mind together, as one.

To illustrate this let us tell you about a friend of ours named Mike. Mike restores old pickup trucks for a hobby. What he does with these old trucks is an example of what we do in our recovery. First, Mike starts by considering the overall condition of the truck, evaluating the best he can as to what needs to be done to make the truck new again. Then, with help from others, he begins the process of dismantling the truck, cataloguing each part as he goes. Every piece is closely inspected by Mike and his restoration partners. Broken or damaged pieces are either discarded for new pieces, or they are repaired as necessary. Because Mike has learned that he can’t do it alone, he’s had to learn where to go to get the help he needs when he needs it. Sometimes it’s a welder, sometimes a painter or a mechanic or an upholster. Whatever help he needs, he asks for it.

Now, there comes a time where the process begins to reverse itself. Mike, with help from his friends, begins to put the parts back together again. Each part and piece are reconnected together according to the original builder’s design. When the work is done, an incredible process has been undertaken, more than any one man could ever do on his own. The old has been made new again. All of the originally designed pieces have been renewed and re-integrated back into proper alignment with one another. The process was restoring an old truck but the end result is a new old truck. For you see, no matter how good a job that Mike and his friends have done, it could never be more than the original designer had intended. Furthermore, without the original designer’s intent, Mike and his friends, and all of their combined efforts, could never make what the truck has become in its restoration.

Here is where Mike’s hobby can guide us. We are solely responsible for doing our recovery work. It is our job to reach out and ask for help. No one can do for us what only we can do for ourselves. Just like Mike with the truck, we have to learn where to go to get the help that we need when we need it. This is where our “higher powers” come into play.We all have “higher powers” in our lives. Employers, parents, family, doctors, governments, law enforcement, each has power to control and influence our behaviors. These are external powers that can effectively influence what we do and how we do it. In the recovering community there are 12 step programs, medical and mental health professionals, plus there are sponsors and recovery mentors who have experienced their own restoration of sanity. Each of these can help us in the “heavy lifting” of our personal restoration. And while this help is essential, it will not be enough. It should be noted that even the best of helpers can only do so much for us. They themselves will still lack some degree of integrity. They are only human after all.

So, this is what it looks like. We, with help, do our recovery work, but it is God, working through people, that restores sanity and integrity to us. In recovery, we can say that today we are better integrated than we were yesterday or the day before. And, the greatest indication that integrity is growing in us is that we develop an increasing inclination to admit where and how we lack integrity. We can never make this kind of growth on our own. It only comes from The One who made us. Similarly, what Mike and his friends do is great but even with all the work they’ve done in the restoration process they did not make the truck. That was done before they ever came along. There was an original Master Planner and Builder who made the truck to begin with. Really, all that Mike and his friends have done is to bring the truck back to what it was originally made to be.

And so it is with our lives. We are an original. A one of a kind that is described in the Bible as being “created in the image of God.” Believing that we can be restored to sanity means to live out our lives in a spiritual way. In times past, we lived like we were physical beings trying to become spiritual, or religious as some would say. In reality, we are spiritual beings first and we are living out our lives in physical ways. Being spiritual obviously does not make us perfect as proven through our ever-present good intentions that so often end up in ways we did not intend. In the balance of this spiritual and physical life that we live, we are ultimately responsible for our own work of recovery and at the same time we can only be restored to sanity by the work of an ultimate “Higher Power” that we call God.
At the end of the day, sanity is an integrated life that is lived according to an authentic faith in God. This authentic faith is born inside of us as we are, in our spirit that is touched by God’s Spirit. It’s simple really. We do what we can and God does the rest. As we are willing to work and trust, which is faith in action, God gives us the Spirit of Life who brings life to our efforts and sanity to our lives. After all, it was God who formed us.
Our Journey home - Insights and Inspirations for Christian Twelve Step Recovery
By David Zailer
Copyright 2011, Homecoming Books

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Moving From Dis-Integration to Integration

We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our life had become unmanageable.

My bones are brittle as dry sticks because of my sin. I'm swamped by my bad behavior, collapsed under gunnysacks of guilt. The cuts in my flesh stink and grow maggots because I've lived so badly. And now I'm flat on my face feeling sorry for myself morning to night. All my insides are on fire, my body is a wreck. I'm on my last legs; I've had it - my life is a vomit of groans. Psalms 38:3-8 The Message

“What helps at this point is to see your consequences as your teachers. You have been sent a lesson to learn. If you don’t learn the lesson this time, it will manifest itself again, and probably in a more painful form the next time. -Patrick Carnes, Ph.D.

Moving From Dis-Integration to Integration

As we battled alone against the progressive nature of our addictions, we experienced a general disintegration of our lives. Our lives get worse, never better. Many of us have expressed how we’ve felt that we were getting sicker and sicker every day that we battled our addictions alone. No matter how valiant and determined we were, and still are, the war has continued to rage. And, much to our chagrin and embarrassment, we have been losing the battle.

In Scripture, which is the historical backbone for everything that we believe as Christians, there are examples of people who suffered because they lived selfish lives and the result was a life that became destructive for them. For example, the Psalmist David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, gives us an example of someone who, even though he had previously experienced deep intimacy with God, found his life disintegrated because of his selfish way of life.

In Psalm 38 that we reviewed above, David’s words speak to us regarding the physical consequences, the guilt and the resulting shame and self pity that come from living life in a destructive way. We don’t know exactly what it was that was causing David’s distress and that’s really not so important right now. What is important is to realize that we, along with David and everyone else, will experience inevitable consequences as a result of the way we live our lives. The consequences of a destructive life, as much as we would like to deny it, manifest themselves in failing health and an overall loss of life, especially in our relationships.

David found that it was time to ask for help. He did this by admitting that he was powerless over his problems and that he was not qualified to manage his life. A little later in the same chapter from the Psalms, David continues to say in verses 21 & 22, “Don't dump me, GOD; my God, don't stand me up. Hurry and help me; I want some wide-open space in my life!”

The lesson for David, as it needs to be for all of us, is that we will bring calamity upon ourselves when we run our life independent of God and contrary to what we know is right. Also, David helps us to see that when our lives are shattered as a result of our own mistakes, it is never too late to ask God for help and mercy.

As Christians, we know that God created us. But, God did not create our addictions. Our addictions are a result of the way we have lived our lives. This is not to say that we are totally at fault for becoming addicted because none of us ever meant to become addicted to anything. Sometimes addictions can be a genetic misfortune that when coupled with the first taste of an overwhelming temptation take hold of a person with a life consuming power. While we are not totally at fault for having an addiction, we are wholly responsible for our addiction and for reaching out and making the most of the help that is available to us. Neither God nor anyone else is responsible for our addiction or for our recovery. None of us will ever recover if we expect some one else to do it for us. Complaining and pointing fingers will never help us recover from our addiction or in anything else. To recover, we have to be willing to surrender our life and no one can surrender our lives but us.
For most of us, surrendering our addiction and asking for help has been the most difficult thing we have ever done. No matter how hard it was, we had to. We really didn’t have any other good choices left. If we wouldn’t admit that we needed help we could not move from the disintegrating life of addiction into the integrating life of recovery.

Our Journey home - Insights and Inspirations for Christian Twelve Step Recovery
By David Zailer

Copyright 2011, Homecoming Books

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Operation Integrity Summer Update 2012

Operation Integrity Update - Summer 2012                        

Greetings! And thanks for your ongoing support of Operation Integrity. Here is what is happening both in our local Southern California efforts, and our national outreach efforts.

· Our Southern California recovery and support fellowships continue being effective, to date helping over 1000 men and their families, including numerous Pastors and Clergy, lay church leaders, local political leaders, and every day people find the help they need to recover from their addictions.

· We are currently working with three pastors in southern California, three more across the US and Canada, one in Europe and one in Australia, all via telephone and/or Skype.

· Our educational and family support network is helping heal marriages and families by bringing insight, understanding and empathy where there had previously been confusion, anger and resentment.

· We are providing affordable recovery programs through our 45 Day Intensive & 90 Day Transformation programs, and providing scholarships for those who cannot afford the cost of their recovery programs and counseling.

· We are working with local firefighters who struggle with porn addiction, helping them to reach out to other firefighters who have the same struggles.

· We are partnering with local counselors, therapists, counseling centers and churches, bringing them the special capabilities that Operation Integrity offers.

· Travel plans are in place for our Director, David Zailer, to travel this fall to San Antonio, Colorado Springs, Oklahoma City, Fort Worth. Each of these trips is to assist local OI fellowships and/or to provide support to other Christ centered addiction recovery programs and sexual addiction recovery programs.

Our National Efforts Include

 · We had a wonderful event in Charleston West Virginia, where our Executive Director David Zailer offered education on the reality of addiction, and how Christ centered spirituality is an essential platform for healing. It was also a great time for a number of OI participants from the eastern US to meet and fellowship together.

· Operation Integrity was highlighted in Leadership Magazine and Envision Magazine for our work helping pastors, as we as in a nationwide documentary on sex addiction on Canada’s Vision TV, numerous in print interviews and podcasts with Covenant Eyes and Healing for the Soul.

· We are currently mentoring and coaching recovery and support groups in 7 cities in the US.

· We are helping Pastors and Clergy in Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, California, Michigan, Texas and Canada and we are enlarging the reach and success of our Recovery Program for Pastors.

· Operation Integrity Daily is delivering inspirational devotionals to more than 3500 people.

· Our book, Our Journey Home is speaking hope into many lives, and we have released a new edition of When Lost Men Come Home, which helps many men and women escape the darkness of sexual addiction.

· We have donated 1100 copies of Our Journey Home and 660 copies of When Lost Men Come Home to Christian recovery programs and ministries in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, Brazil and Mexico. We will donate more literature as funding becomes available.

God is leading an ambitious expansion of the Operation Integrity ministry. And, as I lean into the work God is laying out for us, I ask that you prayerfully and generously support the work God has laid out for us to do. There are immediate needs to fund scholarships for recovery programs and for printing costs. And we offer you two convenient ways you can partner with us.

 1. Visit us at to make a donation on the OI Homepage.

2. Mail your check to Operation Integrity, 24040 Camino del Avion #A115, Monarch Beach CA

92629. All contributions made to Operation Integrity are tax deductible.

Thank you for contributing to the work God is doing through Operation Integrity. And, I want to personally thank you for your ongoing support through prayer.

Yours in Christ and recovery,

David Zailer
Executive Director

Operation Integrity - Helping people recover from addiction, leading to radical life transformation.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Possessed by God

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry the message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?’ Romans 15:1, The Message

“The great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.”
- Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer

Possessed by God
Our new life should be considered a gift, but it is not without cost. It carries with it a responsibility that, if left unmet, proves that we do not really appreciate the opportunity we have been given. Since we have admitted how unmanageable our lives had become, we cannot honestly claim ownership of our lives anymore. Our addictions have owned us in the past, but in recovery our lives are given over to God. Our worthless and tattered lives have been bought through the death of God’s Son, Jesus. And, the opportunity we have for a new life has been assured through His resurrection. This is, in a nutshell, the very basis of our faith. And this is why God is free to care for us in whatever way He thinks is best.
As we become assured of God’s active redemption, we will increasingly receive the most life changing of all good gifts - the gift of gratitude. Gratitude nourishes all of our God-given desires. It makes every area of our life an act of worship and praise. Even our shortcomings give glory to God when we are grateful for them. With gratitude, we return to God a portion of the goodness that He continually gives to us. For we need to always remember that the gifts that He gives are not ours to own. They are not to be used for our benefit and prosperity. The gifts that God gives to us are only ours to hold, to appreciate and to pass along to others.
What started with Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, two alcoholics helping each other, has resulted in a movement that today helps millions of people recover from alcoholism and drug addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous has also spawned the Al-Anon movement, which helps millions of co-dependents and families of alcoholics worldwide. Additionally, AA has inspired the development of numerous other Twelve Step programs that help countless numbers of people recover from many different forms of addiction. Just like Bill Wilson and Dr. Smith, our lives can be multiplied many, many times over when we are willing to share them with others. Once again, this is because God’s power is without limit. If we are willing to do our recovery work faithfully, we will become a gift to the whole world one moment, one situation, one person at a time.
The greatest needs of our day will not be met by counselors, by doctors or by experts, politicians or professionals. The greatest needs of our day will be met by recovering people like us. We are grateful leaders in pain suffered and humble leaders in recovery gained. We are men and women who, having fought the fight for our own lives, now, more importantly, are willing to join the fight for the lives of others. The greatest need in our world today remains the same as it has always been: godly men and women who display a quality of character and life that ignites in others a desire to know God in a way that changes them.
And, on top of it all, each of us has a special role to play. God has given each of us, individually, a message to share and a story to tell. Yes, we are called to tell our story. We are called to tell how we had been blind and desperate and lost in our addictions. And we are called to tell about how God answered us when we, having gotten to our wits end, humbly asked Him for help.
Everyone needs to know that their secrets, struggles, problems, addictions and sins do not need to keep them from God. They need to hear that Jesus has solved all of these problems as far as God is concerned. Our job is to simply share the basic facts of our life and how God has given us our recovery experience. We don’t have to go into great detail or feel any pressure to perform, either. God is responsible for the results, not us. And, the people with whom we share are responsible for what they do with whatever we share with them. We just have to share, that’s all.
So, let us get up and reach out. Let us extend a hand to anyone and everyone who is dead and dying in their secrets, their struggles, their problems, their addictions and their sins. Let us say, “Come with us, we are going to God. We are going to life.”
Everyone needs what we have been given.
Our Journey home - Insights and Inspirations for Christian Twelve Step Recovery
By David Zailer
Copyright 2011, Homecoming Books

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Purpose is...

My purpose is to seek, discover and know Jesus Christ / God and the fullness of His character.   And, as I receive the benefits of knowing Him, I will encourage others to seek, discover and know Jesus Christ / God for themselves.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Prayer Changes Us

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your motive is wrong – you want only what will give you pleasure.
James 4:3, NLT

“Drawing near to God is, in fact, the beginning of union!”
- Madame Jeanne Guyon, Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ

Prayer Changes Us

Prayer is the most relevant thing we do.If we are to be free from our addictions, free from our compulsions and free from self tyranny, we will have to become people who pray consistently, without stopping. Prayer must become part of us much like eating or breathing, bathing and sleeping. The kind of prayer we need is a personal, open and ongoing interaction with God - the type of interaction that brings insight and understanding, helping us to resolve the catastrophes of our past and increase our hopefulness for the future. Ongoing prayer helps us know exactly who we are and what we should do at any moment in time. It builds integrity in us, making us well-balanced and whole. Prayer keeps us alert and ready to live well during any difficulty that may come our way.

Prayer helps us to work with God to build our future. It plays a huge role in determining what kind of people we will be and what kind of impact we will have on the world. It may be helpful to pray for others to change, but it is always more important to pray that we will change. Prayer changes us and as we are changed, the influence we have on our surroundings will change too. Prayer gives us new perspectives. It changes our priorities. Instead of praying for things we want or for things we need, we should pray that we will be increasingly motivated to bring ourselves closer to God.

If we pray for anything less than God Himself, we may go away disappointed, having learned just how idolatrous we still are. But when we pray seeking a closer walk with Him we will always find our deepest longings fulfilled, often before we know what our deepest longings really are.
Our Journey home - Insights and Inspirations for Christian Twelve Step Recovery
By David Zailer
Copyright 2011, Homecoming Books