Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Author's Story from When Lost Men Come Home - not for men only

The Author’s Story from
When Lost Men Come Home - not for men only


For years, I remembered little from my childhood, but I began to remember more and more as I grew in my early recovery. I remembered how my mother battled severe depression and mental illness, a battle she eventually lost to suicide. My father was a well-respected organist at church but also he had a secret stash of pornography which, as a young boy, I looked at whenever I could get away with it. My older sister suffered from eating disorders, and I was often in trouble with the neighbors or at school. When I was eight, a family friend from church took an interest in me. He took me fishing, to baseball games, and he began molesting me. Consistent with my family’s pattern of secrets and shame, I never told anyone. I’m not sure which hurt me worse, being molested or thinking of how my father was cheating on my mom through his use of pornography.

By age nine I was exhibiting behavioral problems at school and church. The molestation continued and I continued to keep it secret. I was flunking school, barred from some after school activities, and often too disruptive for many Sunday School teachers. Finally, I was examined by a child psychologist and diagnosed mentally retarded. The doctors prescribed tranquilizers to control my behavior and I was placed in a school for mentally disadvantaged children.  My name became “retard.” 

            The people at the church my family attended said that God loved all the little children — yellow, brown, black and white. Had He forgotten about me? Was I some strange color, different from everyone else? I felt like people just wanted me to go away. Increasingly, I became defensive and competitive, determined to prove my own value. I prayed and pleaded for God to remember me — to help me. I remember sitting on my bed, in my adolescent years, reading The Living Bible and praying that somehow, someway God would give me a life that was useful and worthwhile. Silence.

            In my early 20s, I was still attending church, but I had lost hope of ever having a life worth living. I began to drink. It started quite innocently; my first beer was with friends as we shared a pizza. I hated the beer taste but loved the warm feeling, the self-confidence and the sense of freedom the alcohol gave me. It was an answer of sorts. Within two weeks of that first beer, I was drinking everyday — heavily. Years went by, and I began to work weekends in a strip joint where I discovered cocaine, insane promiscuity and, along with the girlfriend I had at the time, I began to work in print and video pornography. Over the next five years, several of my friends were murdered and I saw numerous lives destroyed. I assumed that my life would be short, I feared for my own survival, but I was still unable to find a power that would change the way I felt about life.

            In 1989, I moved to the West Coast vowing to start a new life. I started a business, made it successful, and began to religiously attend church once again. I smiled and pretended that life was great. But I was still utterly miserable. I never escaped thoughts of self-hatred and the feeling that everyone would be better off if I just went away. After a few years of abstaining from drugs and alcohol by sheer willpower alone, I periodically began to drink again and soon the drugs followed. Where I had previously been a daily cocaine user of generally small amounts, I now became a binge user of much larger amounts, adding crystal meth and heroin to the list of drugs used. I rationalized my drug use, saying I wasn’t doing it every day. I convinced myself that I was entitled to have a little fun now and then.

            In 1999, I went on what was to be my last drug binge. I had planned a little weekend getaway but I ended up traveling around Southern CA for three weeks, smoking $500.00 worth of crack cocaine every day, never eating or sleeping. During this trip, I overdosed three times, and three times I was arrested on felony drug charges. I would quickly bail myself out of jail after each arrest, and head back out on the road for some more of the same. I was not going to go home until I had some fun. I thought of it as recreation.

            A few days later, when sitting in a seedy hotel, I called a friend named Bob, who I knew from church. Bob was a recovering alcoholic and drug addict who attended Alcoholics Anonymous and was very active at church. For the last few months I had been confiding to him about my drug use and my sense of hopelessness. I trusted him because it was obvious to me that, from his own experience, Bob knew the internal anguish I felt. And he was the only person I knew who seemed to really like being around me. During our phone conversation, Bob convinced me to stop drinking and doping for just that day and get some rest. And then later that night he drove for hours to pick me up and bring me home. 

            Once home, I got some very bad news. The State of California wanted me to go to prison for my drug crimes. It appeared that I had finally succeeded in destroying my life, even though I never meant to. However, following my attorney’s recommendation I entered a drug and alcohol treatment program that combined counseling and the Twelve Steps as outlined by Alcoholics Anonymous. This program educated me about the reality of my addictions and confronted me regarding the destructive self-obsession behind most everything I thought and did. My drug life had been hell on earth, but this felt worse.

            These early months in the program were preparing me for the greatest day of my life. That greatest day started with my attorney calling me in the morning to let me know things were not going well for me in the legal issues and that I should begin putting my affairs in order to serve my time in prison. Then that same afternoon, my counselor at the treatment program asked me to tell him about my personal belief in God. In response to his question, I recited to him by heart everything I knew about God from growing up in church and Sunday School. He listened for quite a while as I droned on and on, but then, with obvious frustration, he told me that he didn’t want to hear any more. Surprised, I asked him why, and then he proceeded to tell me that I needed to find a real God and I needed to find a real Jesus. As you can imagine this offended me greatly and when I asked him why, he continued by saying, “Well, David, it is pretty obvious that the God and the Jesus that you think you have now hasn’t done you much good. Has it?” When what he said finally sunk in to me, I sat stunned in silence facing the reality that whatever religious professions I had claimed had left me morally and spiritually bankrupt — void of the necessary power to live life successfully. I was more empty than empty.

            Later that evening I was to meet my friend Bob, the one who picked me up and brought me home. He and I were going to discuss what needed to be done before I went to prison. It was dark and cold as I stood in an empty parking lot, alone and waiting for Bob to arrive. Looking up at the stars, I pondered the failure of my life and I began to pray. This was my life — I was $100,000 in debt, my family would not speak to me, my friends and business associates would barely tolerate me, I had overdosed on several occasions, and come close to being killed a few times. I was in a drug rehab and worst of all, all I really wanted at that very moment in time was more cocaine.

            Standing there alone, I looked up at the stars and said, “Oh God!  I am a drug addict and I don’t even know who You are. I need help and I have nowhere else to turn. I am willing to call You by any name You want me to, but if You don’t help me I am going to die.” 

            At that moment, and for the first time in my life, I found a degree of personal honesty, the beginning of humility, and I accepted myself for who and what I was — a child in need. At that point, suddenly, everything in life seemed unimportant except for one thing — God. Either He would help me, or I was as good as dead. God was no longer just a “religious” belief; God was a life or death issue for me.

            Standing there in the cold alone with nothing but my desperate prayer, I heard what seemed like a voice say, “Alright David, now I can go to work.” Startled, I whirled all around looking for who had spoken to me. I looked behind the bushes next to the building to my left, and I looked under the cars which were to the right. I even looked inside the dumpster that was a few yards away. I looked all over that parking lot and there was no one there. It felt like I was going crazy, but I also sensed something big had just happened. Whatever had just happened, I knew my prayer had been heard and answered. I felt deep within me that things could be different for me in the future, that a new experience of life had begun. I had a sense that the battle for my life had been joined with power adequate to change what needed to be changed — me! For the first time I could remember, I knew I didn’t have to be alone, and best of all, I had a real desire to live. By admitting that I was the problem, God gave me a solution. The solution was Him. That night in an instant, I became unconcerned about prison, unconcerned about what had happened to me in childhood; I was excited about life and I became ready to do all I could to fully experience the life God would make possible for me.

            Ultimately, the court system had mercy on me, giving me the opportunity of long-term rehabilitation and probation. Motivated by a spiritual power deep within me, I continue to seek my Savior and He continues to do the work He promised to do — changing me from the inside out, guiding me and teaching me to surrender my will to His. As a result of His power, I have discovered wonderful gifts such as mercy, courage, love for myself and others, and hope. These gifts have enabled me to do things I have never dreamed of doing. I was baptized while attending my church’s men’s retreat, where I learned that for two years prior to my arrest a group of men had been praying for me. In God’s world, I was loved even before I thought it was possible for me to be loved at all.

            I am still receiving new and wonderful gifts today. My favorite one is gratitude for life — both past and present. My childhood misfortune and my addictions to alcohol, drugs and sex have become an important, and sometimes still difficult, part of what I believe to be a well scripted plan for my life. With the simple surrender of my will and life, which I don’t always do, I continue to discover God in a loving and personal way. He is always willing to reveal Himself to me and to you as well. I now see that the story of my life has really very little to do with me. It has everything to do with God, and everything to do with you. For you see, it is my passion to tell others about the One who gives mercy and grace to addicted sinners like me. Because, if He gives mercy and grace to someone like me, then He will most certainly give it to anyone who sincerely asks for it. Any tragedy I have suffered and all comfort I receive is for the purpose of sharing with those who suffer so they can find comfort too. I have more blessing than I need.


Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 TNIV
from When Lost Men Come Home - not for men only
copyright 2012, David Zailer

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Operation Integrity 2012 Year End Update                        
With joy and thanksgiving, I give you the Operation Integrity year-end update. 2012 brought significant growth to our work helping people recover from addiction, leading to radical life transformation — all made  possible by your prayers and financial support.
·        Operation Integrity fellowships are helping men, women and families, escape destructive behaviors and isolation moving toward honest and transparent relationships — Coast Hills Church, Lifelines at The Crossing Church, Capistrano Beach Church and Center City Church host OI groups

·        We are mentoring private recovery meetings across the country, our literature bringing understanding where there had been confusion and anger

·        Our books, Our Journey Home and When Lost Men Come Home, not for men only are making a difference

·        We are providing affordable recovery programs through our 45 Day Intensive & 90 Day Transformation programs; and collaborating with counselors, therapists, churches, and substance abuse treatment centers

·        I have been speaking locally and around the U.S. — leading Operation Integrity gatherings and conferences in Charleston West Virginia and Springfield Missouri, with more scheduled for this year and 2013

 ·        Operation Integrity was in Leadership Magazine, Envision Magazine, Christianity Today, Covenant Eyes, Power for Living, and the Healing for The Soul Herald  

·        We are helping Pastors and Clergy in Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, California, Michigan, Texas and Canada 

·        Operation Integrity became a founding member in Katharos, sharing resources and experience with similar ministries 

·        Operation Integrity Weekly goes out to more than 3500 people each week

Real Life Results
This afternoon I meet with a 30-something year-old husband and father. He is a wonderful young man but struggled with addiction to pornography since adolescence — keeping his struggle secret — he was hijacked alone inside out and out. Operation Integrity was the turning point, giving him the help he needed, bringing him education, community, counseling and mentoring, and family support. Today he is porn free, his relationship with his wife is healing, and he is living in Christ empowered freedom, and seeing this freedom spread throughout his life. He is just one example of how Operation Integrity is changing lives.

 Leaning into the work God is laying out for Operation Integrity, I ask that you financially support Operation Integrity. (Your financial support to Operation Integrity is tax deductible.) I thank you personally for your financial contributions, but most of all I thank you for your ongoing support through prayer.

 There are two convenient ways you can financially support Operation Integrity.

 1. Visit us at to make a donation.

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

 Yours in Christ and recovery,

David Zailer
Executive Director
Operation Integrity - Helping people recover from addiction, leading to radical life transformation.

Follow Operation Integrity on Facebook, & Twitter @opintegrity

Thursday, November 15, 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.
- David Zailer

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Solution

A Solution

The vision of Operation Integrity is to help people recover from addiction, leading to radical life transformation. We accomplish this by educating people about addiction, helping people become part of a community that supports recovery and growth, encouraging spiritual growth through a personal Twelve Step program along with counseling and/or therapy, and Spiritual Formation leading to an ever-deepening relationship with God. We propose that the following five components be part of a person’s life — minimum of three to five years.

·       Meet personally with a qualified therapist or counselor as often as possible and as guided by the counselor. Involve one’s family in therapy as suggested by counselor.

·       Be involved in a Christ-centered Twelve Step Recovery Group. This includes attending meetings like Operation Integrity and other addiction specific support fellowships.

·       Be involved in Twelve Step process at a personal level. This includes getting a sponsor and following their guidance, thoughtfully and devotionally reading recovery material like When Lost Men Come Home and other related literature.

·       Encourage family involvement through Counseling, Al-Anon, Co-Dependents Anonymous, or similar Twelve Step support fellowship for spouses and loved ones.

·       Address underlying triggers. Underlying causes may be an excessive need for affirmation, family of origin issues, childhood abuse or abandonment, unhealed grief, deep feelings of inferiority or superiority, an unhealthy view of God which may even exist in those who have religious training and church experience. Other causes may include other addictions like overeating, alcohol and other drugs, gambling, unhealthy relationships, religious activity and others. 

It has been the Operation Integrity experience, that people who follow these suggestions with diligence and sincerity have a successful recovery experience.

from When Lost Men Come Home - not for men only
copyright 2012, David Zailer

Taking the Next Step

Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let's not let it slip through our fingers. We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let's walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
Hebrews 4:14-16 The Message

“Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets.” -Paul Tournier

Taking the Next Step

With whom are we going to get real? To whom will we get honest and make our admissions? Some general guidelines will help us find the right kind of person, who in turn, will help us make the most of our Step Five experience. It is important for us to understand first and foremost that there is no one particular person who can completely accept us, and all that we are, in total love. Giving total and complete love is Jesus’ job. No one can do that for us but Him. The purpose of getting real and honest with another person is so that we can experience redemption and restoration at a social level, with other human beings.

It’s been suggested that we choose someone of the same gender. This is not a hard and fast rule but, especially where sexual issues or addictions are involved, we will probably feel more at ease with someone of the same gender. Pastors and members of the clergy usually work quite well, but not always. Competent counselors, therapists or the appropriate mental health professionals should be considered. They can usually be very helpful in matters related to recovery from addiction. We want to find someone we trust, someone who is able keep all that we have to tell them in complete confidence. Above all, we want to find someone who exemplifies the love and acceptance of Jesus. The person we choose to speak with needs to be confident in our ability to recover based on the power of God’s love. They need to believe that Jesus’ love can help all people, especially those of us who are working to recover from our addictions. In many ways, our listener becomes our advocate at a personal and social level much like Jesus is our advocate with God. A person who has suffered from and is recovering from an addiction is often a very good choice. Most of all, we need to find someone who is capable of looking past whatever self-deception that is still holding us back. And, at the same time, our listener needs to see us for who we really are, like God sees us. It is important that they not ignore the remaining personal dishonesty that we still have. We need them to be understanding and patient with us at the same time, too.

Once we have found someone who we feel comfortable with, we need to tell that person the reason why we feel the need to have a serious discussion. Respectfully, we’ll ask him or her for their time. We need to tell that person that we are working to recover from an addiction and that we need help from others to do so. We should explain that it may take more than one appointment. These conversations cannot be rushed if they are to be effective. It is important that we express our desire to have a growing faith in God and trusting relationships with other people. It is also important that we explain that we are committing ourselves to be as honest in our conversations as we can be.

We need to tell our listener about what have habitually thought about ourselves, other people and God. Speaking to another person about our deepest reality means that we do not discuss the faults and mistakes of other people. Right now, at this point in time, problems and faults of others are not our concern. Focusing on the problems that other people have created for us will only deepen our resentment and anger. Let’s stick with the facts about ourselves.

Often, our greatest motivation will be the pain that our addictions have brought into our lives. Reaching out for all the goodness that God has, let us make the most of this opportunity, and this day, so that we can recover from our addictions and, best of all, experience all of the goodness that God gives.

from Our Journey Home
copyright 2011, David Zailer

Friday, November 9, 2012

Operation Integrity Prayer

Operation Integrity Prayer 

I pray that I will learn to desire obedience more than blessing or comfort and to know that the greatest blessing in life is to live obedient to your will.  May I learn to better give up my will and find my complete and total satisfaction in your will. My self-centeredness destroys me but seeking you and doing your will brings life to me.  Realizing this, I have decided that my mind, my heart and my will, will be directed to you. I will find my purpose and identity in knowing you more personally & living more powerfully according to your Spirit.       
from page 27 of When Lost Men Come Home - not for men only
An excerpt from When Lost Men Come Home - not for men only
copyright 2012, David Zailer

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Inner Reality

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Let's take a good look at the way we're living and reorder our lives under God. Lamentations 3:40 The Message

"If we want to know God personally, the place to start is with the truth and reality about ourselves." - Anonymous

Inner Reality

Being real about our emotions is one of the healthiest commitments we can make. When we deny our feelings, we deny the reality of our innermost lives; we reject a fundamental aspect of our own humanity. We reduce ourselves. We become objects in our own eyes. We lose the very dignity that we most desire.

Nicole was a wonderful young woman whose life had become paralyzed because she could not honestly address her feelings. Along with the rest of her family, Nicole suffered because of her father’s domineering abusiveness, an abusiveness that he called religious leadership. As a little girl, Nicole often felt hurt because her mother and father ignored her attempts to gain their affection. Her parents, mostly her father, were so absorbed in their own lives that they didn’t care for Nicole in the way that a little girl of her age needed to be nurtured. Because of this, Nicole grew up feeling unwanted. No matter how hard she tried, she was never able to connect with her father in a way that made her feel loved by him. He had a problem himself. He could not connect with his own feelings let alone connect with the feelings of his little girl. Nicole feared that she would never get her father’s love. By adolescence, Nicole was angry. By college, she had a deep resentment toward her mother, her brothers and sisters, church, God, and, most of all, herself. Blind to her own feelings, Nicole continued to love her father and, with a desperate heart, she held out hope that someday he would love her, too.

The greatest tragedy of Nicole’s story is how she began to self destruct in her own addictions even while she maintained all the appearances of a successful businesswoman. Because she was unable to recognize and admit how she really felt on the inside, it was impossible for her to get the help she needed. Nicole fell into a pattern of dangerous addictions and ultimately she died at the age of 34 from complications related to alcoholism and anorexia. Nicole died believing that she was at fault and that her mother, brothers, sisters and God had all conspired together in order to keep her father’s love from her. She never recognized the fear and abandonment that she felt. Nor did she admit the justifiable anger she felt for her father. The last words she heard him say to her were words of criticism because of her drinking and her emaciated appearance. But still, even with her deep wounds, she idolized him till she died. She never could see that he was the one who was wrong. Nor could she admit that she was mad at him for the way he treated her. Nicole’s life and death prove that unacknowledged fear, anger and resentment can be fatal.

Identifying, recognizing and admitting how we feel is a commitment to intimate truth. If we want to be healed we must first be known. Being known starts with knowing how we feel about ourselves, our lives, other people and God. We are responsible for knowing how we feel. If we don’t know how we feel, we will carry our pain and fears with us, into the future. Denying fear actually makes us full of fear. Fear, like anger, resentment and all other painful emotions, swell up inside of us when they go unaddressed, setting us up in a sort of psychic paralysis from which we cannot save ourselves. We get stuck, we are alone. This kind of isolation is perhaps the worst of human suffering and nothing will free us from our emotional isolation unless we get real about how we feel. We have to have help.

Failing to admit what we feel and failing to get the help we need is what killed Nicole. So, to ensure that we don’t suffer the same fate that Nicole suffered, we get real as we work our Step Four. The purpose of Step Four is to help us recognize specific thoughts and feelings that we have that are not effectively working for us. If we are going to make effective changes, we have to know what needs to be changed. Human as we are, we are going to feel fear from time to time. We are going to get mad and we will become resentful sometimes, too. Having these feelings is not a problem. Denying them and avoiding them is. So, in order to get healthier we must get real like never before. We must exercise courage in Step Four. Just because we feel fear doesn’t mean we can’t act with courage. In fact, courage never exists in the absence of fear. It’s more like courage and fear are two sides of the same coin of emotion. To find courage, we must first acknowledge our fear. Then, we take our fear and we turn it over. We admit it and we give it up to God just like we gave our addictions to Him. When we turn over our fear to God and become ready to take action, He will empower us to act with courage even when we still feel afraid. The courage that God gives helps us to know the reality of our inner life in a powerfully intimate way. With the courage that God gives we can take the most personal areas of our lives and give ourselves away in empathy to others. In this way we can touch the very souls of those who are closest to us, passing along the courageous life that we are discovering, helping others to discover it, too. Doing this makes our lives all worthwhile.

As you read through and answer the following questions, take a few minutes and pray that God will help you to understand how to make the pain of your past a blessing to others in the future.

Look Inside

• What have you done in the past that most troubles you today?
• Name and write about the person or persons that make you feel angry, hurt or afraid when you think about them.
• Can you identify how some of your anger at yourself or others has promoted your addictive behavior? How?
• What do you fear most?
• How do you feel about those who are stronger than you?
• How do you feel about those in authority over you?
• Are you mad at any members of your family? Why?
• What have others done that has caused you harm?
• How do you punish yourself today for mistakes you made in the past?
• What habits do you have that are destructive to your body?
• What habits do you have that are destructive to your relationships?
• What habits do you have that are destructive to your finances?

from Our Journey Home
copyright 2011, David Zailer

The Problem - from When Lost Men Come Home - not for men only

The Problem

 Addiction is a medical and clinical term referring to physiological and psychological dependencies that exhibit themselves in destructive behavioral patterns. In layman’s terms, addiction is a destructive relationship with any mood or mind altering substance or experience. It is a complex human phenomenon that is manifested in physical, psychological, sociological and spiritual ways. It has been called the most human of all diseases or conditions, and no one is immune.

            Sexual addiction is one of the most misunderstood of all addictions. Simply stated, sexual addiction is the loss of control over destructive sexual behavior or relationship.Perhaps the most helpful definition is a practical one: sexual behavior that has a negative effect on one’s life. A “sex addict” is someone who utilizes their sexual experience(s) to alter their mood or state of mind in a way that is destructive to them and their relationships. Most often thought of as inappropriate sexual behavior, sexual addiction can also be present in those who have no apparent inappropriate behavior. Even married monogamous people can be addicted sexually if they depend on “appropriate” sex to maintain their sense of well-being. Sexuality is an essential part of human life. But, when a person uses sexuality as if it were a drug to medicate their mood, the healthy spectrum of the sexual experience is eroded and it becomes destructive, and addictive. In fact, sexual addiction is not really about sex at all, it is about intimacy. Sexual addiction is a common result when sexuality is substituted for healthy intimacy.


To be alive is to be addicted, and to be alive and addicted is to stand in need of grace.
Gerald G. May MD, Addiction & Grace
An excerpt from When Lost Men Come Home - not for men only
copyright 2012, David Zailer