Tuesday, January 29, 2013

FINDING REAL HOPE




Finding Real Hope

While working to keep up my religious professions and church attendance, I struggled unsuccessfully to permanently stop using pornography which, in my case, promoted the use of alcohol and other drugs. In addition to alcohol, the drugs I used were cocaine and heroin, and I dabbled in methamphetamine on occasion. Finally, as is so often the case with those who use illegal drugs, I was arrested for my drug use and as an alternative to a prison sentence I was sent, fortunately, to a no-nonsense drug rehabilitation program. In this program I was monitored by urinalysis to make sure I was staying away from drugs, and I participated in group and individual counseling several times per week as required by the program. After about six weeks in the program, I was called into my counselor’s office, a gentleman by the name of Bobby O. 

            Face to face, he sat right across from me and said, “David, you profess to be a Christian, right?” 

            “Yeah,” I replied. 

            He then asked, “Would you please tell me about your Jesus; tell me about your God?” 

            So I went on to tell him everything I knew about Jesus and God. This amounted to a two, maybe three-minute historical accounting of what I had learned growing up in my church and Sunday School, the best I could remember it. 

            After a few minutes of patient listening, Bobby raised his hand to interrupt me and said, “Stop!” Then, looking me straight in the eye, he said, “David, I suggest that you find a new Jesus and a new God.” 

            Feeling confused and quite offended, I asked him why.

            And then, softly but very much to the point and once again looking me dead in the eye, Bobby said, “Well David, what you claim to know now hasn’t done you much good, has it?” 

            Shocked and speechless, I was unable to respond to Bobby in any way that seemed to make sense. The words he said to me made me feel as if I was left without a body, like I was the hole in a donut, like my whole life had just been swept off the table and crashed to the floor in pieces. I had no defense. The truth Bobby O spoke to me was so utterly true that I could not attack it or even get mad at it or him for saying it. What he said made my religious pride and arrogance evaporate into the nothing it had always been. With my ball of religious yarn unraveled, it was painfully obvious that the impersonal religious instruction I had grown up with had actually blocked me from knowing The True God. And this is where my personal miracle began.

            The anguish of that moment, and seeing my folly of misguided beliefs, opened my heart and my mind to know The Source of Power which had given me life — The Source of Power that had protected me patiently as I squandered my life — The Power that was now offering me the possibility of a life worth living. Seeking God starts with admitting how little we know about God.

As absurd as it may sound, I believe that my addictions — the most core being my addiction to sex — are the second best thing that has ever happened to me. Somehow, while suffering the indignities that came from my addictions, a humble pliability took hold inside me. I was defeated inside and out. I’d had enough. I became desperate enough so that I was willing to try something new. I was ready to call on and trust something, Someone bigger than me.
 
from When Lost Men Come Home - not for men only
 copyright 2012, David Zailer
 

BECOMING AWARE

We became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Good friend, don’t forget all I’ve taught you, take heart my commands. They’ll help you live a long, long time, a long life lived full and well. Proverbs 3:1-2 The Message

“A fault which humbles a man is of more use to him than a good action which puffs him up.”
- Thomas Wilson


Becoming Aware

One of the payoffs of our recovery effort is seeing how our previous Twelve Step work pays dividends. Our recovery work becomes our second best friend, (our best friend is God and His grace), when we persist with it. Referring back to the personal inventory that we did in Step Four and the journaling that we did after we admitted our wrongs in Step Five will give us a good bit of insight as to how the defects in our character manifest themselves. Our previous work gives us a platform from which we can see our emotional and mental landscape from a broader point of view. Our character defects will appear in bold print when we are ready to see them and do something about them. Recognizing our shortcomings shows that we are seeing ourselves in a more honest and sincere way. Identifying our flawed thinking, misguided believing and self–centered acting is vital for the future of our recovery and our lives. This is an incredibly important part of our recovery effort.

Here are some questions that can help us get a better view of how our character defects can be hidden away in the plain sight of our everyday lives.

Do I have difficulty asking for help? Pride
Am I in debt or do I prefer my desires over another’s desires? Greed
Am I upset because someone is more capable or privileged than me? Envy
Am I afraid? Fear
Who am I mad at? Resentment
What am I mad about? Entitlement
What is my first thought when I encounter an attractive person? Lustfulness
Do I feel the need to please someone other than God? Approval seeking
Do I get frustrated when others don’t act as I want? Controlling others
Do I fear being alone? Dependency on others
Am I uncomfortable around others? Isolation
Do I feel nervous for no particular reason? Insecurity
Do I prefer to be at work when I should be elsewhere? Being a workaholic
Do I feel the need to keep certain facts about myself secret? Dishonesty
Am I eating in an unhealthy manner? Gluttony
Am I upset when things I want are available to others and not me? Entitlement
Do I procrastinate? Laziness
Do I believe my life will change without me changing? Fanciful Thinking

It is quite easy to feel recovered, to get complacent and to forget the insidious nature of our addictions. We must never forget that there’s still some very important work that needs to be done. There are more questions to be asked. Monitoring ourselves and recognizing our character defects provides us with a very caring and loving insight for our own lives. How have our character defects impacted the lives of others? Did our selfish and prideful actions turn out well for us or for anyone else? Do we now display kindness and goodness? Why not?

Honestly recognizing real world outcomes will provide us with improved personal judgment for our present and future actions. Forgetting these important lessons learned is catastrophic for anyone who is attempting to recover from an addiction.
from Our Journey Home - copyright 2011, David Zailer
http://www.amazon.com/Our-Journey-Home-Inspirations-Christian/dp/0615521312/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359484302&sr=1-4&keywords=david+zailer

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Solution - The Vision of Operation Integrity

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 Our Journey Home - Insights and Inspirations for Christian Twelve Step Recovery
copyright 2012, David Zailer
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=David+Zailer

THE CRUSH OF SHAME

The Crush of Shame
 
Sexual addiction will abandon you every time, always making you face the burden of shame and loss alone.
            Here’s how shame works: Shame brings misguided rules and regulations, a world of hiding and lies and make-believe with ruthless consequences for failure. Shame is an existence of personal condemnation. Shame makes us wonder if God regrets creating us. Shame makes us feel as if everyone else would be happier if we just went away. In shame we become our greatest judge, and addiction becomes our personalized form of self-execution. Shame erodes our bodies, our physical, emotional and spiritual health, making us feel mentally, emotionally and spiritually sick. Shame causes us to prefer to be alone, and this causes us to feel isolated and lonely most all the time. It’s like shame moves in, contaminating us from the inside out. We try to make peace with ourselves but can’t. Shame blocks our best efforts to heal and we stay stuck in self-loathing. In no uncertain terms we are, as it is written in the Psalms, “sick at heart” (Psalm 6:2 NLT).
            Our loved ones made repeated attempts to call us back with their love. But we ran. They were willing to make up the distance between us. But we ran further in shame. We promised them sincerely we would “straighten up.” But sadly, after they repeatedly offered us love and understanding, which we so often rewarded with habitual deceit, our families and friends would begin to lose hope. Feeling abandoned and hurt, we would agree with them, feeling as though we were infectious somehow. It would feel like no one lived in our world and resentment would drive us further from our loved ones. Sometimes our friends and families had to make the decision to cut all ties with us for the sake of their own emotional survival. Who could blame them?
             I wondered where God was. Why didn’t He solve my problems? Why didn’t He straighten me up? Why wouldn’t He straighten me up? In my denial and shame, I had become an enemy to myself, and, unknowingly, at war with God and others as well. I was alone, desperate and dying and did not even consciously realize it. Many others have experienced this very same thing. Sometimes you’ll know it, sometimes you won’t. 
 
My disgrace is before me all day long, and my face is covered with shame at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me, because of the enemy,
who is bent on revenge.
Psalm 44:15, 16 NIV

copyright 2012, David Zailer
Click link to purchase When Lost Men Come Home






Hopelessness Ruled

Having lost the ability to stop my addictive behaviors permanently on my own, the only life I knew was a life of hopelessness. I had tried everything I knew to try and nothing had worked for me. I hated my behaviors and most of all I hated myself. Destruction grew inside me, and consequence grew around me, spilling over into the lives of others. Though I wanted to with all my heart, I could not stop the accelerating madness that characterized my life. At times I thought I had proven to myself that everything was going to be okay. But I was only deceiving myself, suffering one of the key hallmarks of addiction: denial, which is another way of saying, “I don’t even know I’m lying.” Also, denial of addiction is where we use seemingly rational and

           
copyright 2012, David Zailer
Click link to purchase When Lost Men Come Home

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

YOU ARE INVITED! SAVE THE DATE!!

You are invited!    Save the date!

 Operation Integrity partner Jayson Graves, Director of HEALING for the Soul is sponsoring a reception for Operation Integrity and David Zailer, right here in our Orange County backyard.
The place is Coast Hills Community Church located at #5 Pursuit in Aliso Viejo California.
The date and time is Saturday, January 26th at 6:30 PM, following the Saturday evening worship and teaching service at Coast Hills Church.
Join me, and many other ministry participants, leaders and professionals.
 
This is not a fundraiser! It's just a time of sharing ministry enthusiasm and opportunity. 
 
See you then,
David Zailer

Monday, January 14, 2013

HOPELESSNESS RULED

Hopelessness Ruled

Having lost the ability to stop my addictive behaviors permanently on my own, the only life I knew was a life of hopelessness. I had tried everything I knew to try and nothing had worked for me. I hated my behaviors and most of all I hated myself. Destruction grew inside me, and consequence grew around me, spilling over into the lives of others. Though I wanted to with all my heart, I could not stop the accelerating madness that characterized my life. At times I thought I had proven to myself that everything was going to be okay. But I was only deceiving myself, suffering one of the key hallmarks of addiction: denial, which is another way of saying, “I don’t even know I’m lying.” Also, denial of addiction is where we use seemingly rational and logical arguments to defy the addicted reality of our lives. In this way I marched self-willed, self-deceived and self-centered, unknowingly, deeper into my addictions, hating myself increasingly every step of the way, hoping and praying that everything would be okay, but fearing it would not be. 

            In the fellowship we share our stories with each other, how very often we could successfully (temporarily successful) bridle and contain ourselves, only to see our addicted compulsions ooze into other areas of our lives. Perhaps someone who used escort services and massage parlors would stop visiting them for a while and begin to believe he had conquered his problem. “Success” had been achieved, or so he thought; he was feeling great. Everything seemed fine, but sooner than later, he found himself living and behaving addictively in other areas of his life: alcohol, drugs or prescription medications, food, spending, gambling, work, and even the obsession of controlling the lives of others. The list of addictions is virtually endless; ultimately the results are the same.  

            Most all of us in one way or another substituted or rotated our addictions. This proved we were still addicts with dark secrets, toxic shame, and a laundry list of growing interpersonal failures. Our best efforts by themselves had changed nothing except the flavors and colors of our destructive patterns. Subconsciously, our addictions had become a permanent part of our lives. We were masters of ignoring the addicted reality of our lives, blind to see how we protected the addiction and denial that was destroying us. In rare moments of insight and clarity, we’d grasp the insane thinking behind our rationalizations, our minimizations and our excuses. But a moment later, we’d forget the pain our addictions created for us and others, thinking that all was well, that we were in control, and that we could have our cake and eat it too.

            It seemed no matter how many times we hurt ourselves and others, we held on to the delusional belief that somehow, someway things would end differently the next time, opening the door to repeating the addictive cycle once more. Soon we were acting out again, always with the same result, a life of decay and personal demoralization. Insanity! Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

            Reality is that any addiction that goes unnoticed or is not acknowledged by the one who is addicted will most likely intensify in obsession, frequency and duration. Addictions most always progress, although the addicted person usually doesn’t realize it. Addictions simply outsmart people in this way. An immensely complex human phenomenon, addictions are fluid, odorless and colorless in all their forms. The pioneers of addiction recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous, assert that addictions are, “cunning, baffling and powerful.” And they are.

            Personally, I’ve found my own addictions to be very patient, hiding inside me and waiting to strike at the moment most destructive to me. Without fail, whenever I acted out in my addiction, my life and circumstances would begin to erode and my relationships would begin to suffer. Inside, I would feel as if everything good about me was being corrupted. There were times when I felt dead and spiritually I was. Quietly, inch by inch, I was being sucked dry of my dignity and my humanity. Evil wins every time when I pursue instant gratification and when it came to my sexual addictions, I was being robbed of and losing the most precious of God-given human dignities: my ability to make healthy and sane choices for myself. 

            In sharing with each other in the fellowship, we admit that we often felt victimized by those around us, but we really were just victimizing ourselves. Every day we fought harder and harder to hang on to the life we thought we wanted, and each day we lost a little more of our life, suffering injury every step of the way, always still fighting, and always still losing. We had been using our sexual behaviors as a way to escape from reality, but our escape had become our prison. When we experienced pain that seemed too much to handle, we resorted to our addictive acting out, and this increased our painful guilt and shame, which in turn created an increased likelihood of more destructive and severe acting out in the future. Caught up in this downward spiral, we were doing what the addiction demanded instead of what we truly wanted to do. Progressively, sexual addiction gave less and took more from us, even corrupting the personal values and priorities we professed. In one way or another, everything we said had become a lie. After a while no one believed us, but us. We were deceived, believing it impossible to stop even though we wanted to. At best, all we could honestly admit was that we wanted to want to stop. 

            In years prior to recognizing my own addicted condition, I had known others who suffered from very obvious addictions. Unable to relate to them because of my own denial, I would say things like, “Poor guy, too bad he never got his act together — better him than me.” Or, “Thank God I’m not like him. I can stop whenever I want to.” Or perhaps I had said, “I’m not like him, I’m only having a good time.” And of course, on numerous occasions I said, “I’m not hurting anyone.” These were my common thoughts of self-deception. And I believe many of us have shared these thoughts along with me.  I was a master of rationalizing, minimizing and excusing, stubbornly denying the possibility that I was caught in the power of something bigger than me. I was just like the sad people I so righteously pitied, but I couldn’t see it.

            At first glance it would have appeared that sexual addiction was my most dangerous problem, but it wasn’t. My most dangerous problems were the supporting denial and addiction to my own ego, my self-sufficiency and the belief that I was in control. Protecting my egocentric denial was the root problem that initiated, contributed to and maintained every addictive thought, desire and action I had. AA calls this “self-will run riot, natural instincts gone awry.” My life had become scripted by a warped sense of what I thought I needed and wanted, not about what was truly good for me. Furthermore, my commitment to control myself, my circumstances, and the lives of others in order to feel “okay” was killing me.

Our God-given instincts turn against us when we are dedicated to rule our own lives as if we were master of our own world. With an attitude like this, we lose sight of what we really need and want for our lives, blindly moving in a direction we don’t really want to go.

            I rationalized to myself because I couldn’t explain my actions. I made excuses to others because I had no real answers for their questions. Being always committed to appear “normal” to others, I would hide my cries for help so those around me would only see the counterfeit image I felt I had to portray. Then, unable to live with my own self-deception, I would begin to think about the relief my addictions could bring me and I would return to what had poisoned me time and time and time again. 

            “Hell on Earth” is where the men of our fellowship have lived. And in our fellowship, we admit that the demands of our self-centeredness were too much for us and, we believed, too much for anyone else, too. Becoming ever more frantic, we looked for greater and more extravagant ways to prove ourselves acceptable to the world around us, hoping that someday, somehow we could truly believe in ourselves. We were fools and didn’t know it! Does a fool ever know?
 
copyright 2012, David Zailer
Click link to purchase When Lost Men Come Home

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
http://www.amazon.com/Our-Journey-Home-Inspirations-Christian/dp/0615521312/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358193870&sr=1-3&keywords=our+journey+home

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


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.    Amen

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

HOW ADDICTION STARTS

How Addiction Starts

Addictions begin in subtle and seemingly benign patterns of behavior. And at first, no one is likely to notice. The compulsive behaviors related to sexual addiction are facilitated by internalized personal dynamics such as shame, embarrassment, loneliness, emotional isolation, mental exhaustion and a seemingly endless number of painful feelings anyone of us may experience. Virtually any pattern of emotional mismanagement and unhealthy behavior can initiate the growth of addiction, and by the time that most people suspect that they or a loved one is addicted in their sexuality, the addiction may be deeply rooted.

            In my case, I tried very hard to make “good” use of my addictive inclinations. They entertained me when I was bored, comforted me when I was hurting, and they distracted me away from painful childhood memories as well as my chronic failures as a young adult. I rationalized them sincerely as harmless little pleasures, and at first I didn’t suffer any destructive consequences. But deep within me I hated what I was doing. I worked desperately to stop my destructive behaviors, often slowing down or even stopping for a period of time. But all the while, addiction continued to grow inside of me quietly, silently gaining control.

            Sexual addictions come from the deepest place within us, a place we can’t reach on our own. In a very real way, our beliefs, our thinking, our feelings, our very selves are at the center of our addictions. With ineffective care and life management, anyone can become frustrated, resentful, fearful, dissocialized, and angry. We all at times feel abandoned, isolated, taken advantage of, having no sense of our true worth and value. It is within these dark and isolated places that sexual addiction finds ripe and fertile ground to take hold of us.

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