Monday, December 16, 2013

FACING THE FACTS - from OUR JOURNEY HOME

Facing the Facts

“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
I Peter 5:6-7

“For just so long as we were convinced that we could live exclusively by our own individual strength and intelligence, for just that long was a working faith in a Higher Power impossible. This was true even when we believed God existed. We could actually have earnest religious beliefs which remained barren because we were still trying to play God ourselves. As long as we placed self-reliance first, a genuine reliance upon a Higher Power was out of the question. That basic ingredient of all humility, a desire to seek and do God’s will was missing.”
- Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

For most of us, our first encounter with real humility was when we admitted that we had an addiction that was more powerful than we were. We have grown in humility as we have worked through our Step Four personal inventory. This kind of recovery work makes it possible for us to humbly ‘own’ the truth about ourselves. When we see and accept the real facts about our choices and our lives, we will be less inclined to rationalize our improper actions, minimize our difficulties or ignore the pain that other people have suffered because of our character defects. Knowing the real facts about ourselves helps us to see our own limitations and to accept the blunt truth of our needs and shortcomings. We are not all-powerful. We don’t control ourselves all of the time, and we do not control other people any of the time. Humility helps us to accept these facts, giving us eyes through which we’ll see God change who we are, the way we think, the way we handle our emotions and the way we live our lives.

The growth and maturity we experience is one of the gifts of humility that God will give to us as we responsibly admit and correct our character defects. It looks like this. When we notice a character defect expressed through our thoughts and actions, we make the choice to reverse our thinking and our actions. When we do so, our character defects will begin to lose some of their power. Every time we say ‘no’ to them, the grip they’ve habitually had on us loosens. Nothing is so helpful to curing addictions and healing character defects as to stop doing the addiction and admit the character defects that have been a part of our addictive thinking. An amazing empowerment from God comes with obedience.

As we progress in our recovery, our priorities and concerns will get reorganized. With a measure much greater than our obedience, we will be given the humility to desire obedience more than blessing, character more than comfort—all so that we may help and not hinder the work of God. The greatest blessing for any of us is to live free from our addiction and be fully aligned with the will of a loving God. Even before we ask, God is giving us all that we have ever needed. He is always one step ahead of us!
An excerpt from OUR JOURNEY HOME, Copyright 2011, David Zailer

TRUE FORGIVENESS - from When Lost Men Come Home

TRUE FORGIVENESS

True forgiveness can only be given and received; it cannot be earned or demanded. True forgiveness does not condone, excuse or minimize wrongdoing. True forgiveness looks directly at the wrong and wrongdoer, knowing full well the impact of the wrongdoer’s actions, recognizes them for who and what they are, and offers the offender the mercy and grace of a restored, but changed relationship. Both giving and receiving forgiveness is an act of humility. People who really forgive look upon others, even the most disturbing, and see them as someone whom God loves and cares for. People who forgive honor God by honoring all people with esteem, respect and love, no matter how undeserving they may be.

This does not mean that all our relationships with others will be as they were before. In all likelihood, our relationships with others, while hopefully reconciled, will be changed forever due to boundaries, which other people will require as we move back into relationship with them. We may never again experience the freedom with them we had before. We may never enjoy certain relationships as we have enjoyed them in the past. We may never again have the unmitigated trust of our families. Others, for understandable reasons, will set boundaries on us. It is important we recognize these limits are a direct result of the pain and hurt we have caused. We are responsible
for our pain and for making things right wherever we can. We should accept these limitations respectfully. We respect the lives of others in the same way we hope to be respected in the future.

It is not until we love a person in all his ugliness that we can make him beautiful, or ourselves either.


Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat pg 42

At times, I struggled to forgive those who had hurt me, so I prayed for them. I found praying for them helped me to move beyond the resentments that blocked my growth and recovery. I prayed God would give them hope for their life, help for their difficulties, grace for their struggles, and courage to live abundantly. I prayed for them in the same way I prayed for myself. As I prayed for others in this way, I realized that any entitlement I felt about others forgiving me made any forgiveness I receive meaningless. Entitlement reduces forgiveness to foul, codependent, shallow and graceless appeasement. And I am sure you will agree with me that this is not what we want. Feeling appeased will not help us recover. We need to recover from our addiction, and helping others heal from the damage we caused is our responsibility — regardless of any damage, others may have done to us. Period!

 

Now you can have sincere love for each other as brothers and sisters because you were cleansed from your sins when you accepted the truth of the Good News. So see to it that you really do love each other intensely with all your hearts.


I Peter 1:22 MSG



Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.


Philippians 2:3 MSG



And just as others may place boundaries for us, we may need to establish boundaries for others. When others have done inexcusable things to us, we need to recognize these things for the inexcusable things they are. We should discuss them with our sponsor and our counselor. Their guidance will give us needed insight to make important decisions about what kind of relationships we want and what kind of boundaries need to be in place so our relationships will be safe and sane and healthy going forward.


We need not ever excuse inexcusable acts that people may do, but we do need to forgive people because forgiveness is essential for life. This is essential for both offender and victim to have a healthier and happier life ahead. For our part, we must be careful not to ask God or others for "forgiveness" when we are really asking to be excused for our wrongdoing. Wrongdoing is not an accident. Accidents can be excused, but selfish people who do selfish things need forgiveness. Sincerely asking for forgiveness is an act of repentance. And repentance does not debate, it does not bargain, and it never rationalizes or makes excuses. When confronted about our wrongdoing, we never dispute the facts. We let the charges and criticisms be what they are. Asking for forgiveness

Occasionally, the anger and resentment I felt for this person come back. But today I diligently work to let go of any remaining resentment I feel. While I have no real relationship with this person, today my attitude toward him, myself, and my family history has radically improved. I am much more honest about how things were for me growing up. I no longer make excuses for my family or for myself. Things simply were the way they were and they are the way they are. My hope is that someday things may change between this person and myself, that we can have a healthy family relationship. I also hope this person will one day see that my life and values are worth appreciating. However, moving forward and trusting God’s plan for my life, I remind myself that this person’s attitude toward me is none of my business. It is between him and God. I can hope for forgiveness but I am never entitled to it.
 

This is an excerpt from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, not for men only  ~ Copyright David Zailer, 2011


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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I was that desperate.

One day I woke up to realize my illusions - and delusions - were killing me. I gave them up, surrendered them. I think the Scriptural reference is "died to myself." But it had nothing to do with personal or moral virtue or excellence. I chose to allow my illusioned delusioned self to die, so that something else, whatever that might be, could live. I was that desperate.
D. Zailer

Monday, December 9, 2013

Operation Integrity 2013 Year End Update


Operation Integrity 2013 Year End Update                            
 

With deep gladness, I present to you the Operation Integrity year-end update for 2013. This past year brought significant growth, much of which was unplanned opportunities. True to our mission, we spent 2013 passionately working to help people recover from addiction, leading to radical life transformation.

·        Operation Integrity fellowships continue helping men, women and families, escape the destructive behaviors and isolation of addiction, moving toward honest and transparent relationships — Coast Hills Church, Lifelines at The Crossing Church, Capistrano Beach Church, all in California, along with Center City Church in Springfield MO and Tree of Life Church in Fairmont West Virginia host OI fellowships. And we mentor other fellowships in Irvine and Los Angeles, California, Atlanta Georgia, Abilene Texas, Tuscaloosa Alabama, and Sacramento California.

·        We continue mentoring private recovery meetings across the U.S. and beyond, our literature bringing understanding where there had been confusion and anger. And this past year we have assisted in the launch of 3 new private recovery groups for pastors and clergy.

·        Our books, Our Journey Home and When Lost Men Come Home, not for men only are making a difference in the lives of addicted men and women, and their families.

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

·        I have been speaking locally and around the U.S. — leading Operation Integrity gatherings and conferences in Fairmont West Virginia and southern California, with more scheduled for 2014.

·        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, Wisconsin, Colorado, Texas and Canada, The United Kingdom, Greece, Australia, Croatia and Uganda. We have also adjusted our clergy assistance program to benefit counselors and therapists continue their personal growth and recovery amidst the overwhelming demands of their jobs.

·        Operation Integrity continues in Katharos Integrity Alliance, sharing resources and experience with similar ministries from around the U.S.

·        Operation Integrity Weekly is emailed to more than 3700 people each week.

 
Real People Results
 
Twice weekly I meet with a 42 year-old husband to be. This wonderful young man has been a leader in service at his church and in his profession, but struggled with addiction to alcohol, marijuana and pornography since adolescence. Keeping his struggle secret — he lived hijacked and alone for 25 years, his addiction threatening his future marriage, his career, and his relationship with the church he called home. Operation Integrity is giving him the help he needed, bringing him education, community, counseling, mentoring, and support. Today he is alcohol, drug, and porn free, his relationship with his fiancĂ©e and church is healing, his Christ-empowered freedom spreading throughout his life. His recovery is a living example to his church and others how a personal — not to be confused with religious — relationship with Christ is foundational, and that effective real world education, community, and counseling are indispensable in bringing deep healing to addicted people. This is just one example of how Operation Integrity is changing lives, there are hundreds more.

 Heading Into 2014

Already our plans have grown for 2014. Here is a short list of recent new opportunities — this list is sure to grow.

·       We will consult for a feature length Christ-centered film on how pornography plays a role in human trafficking and sexual slavery.

·       We have booked two full presentations with large churches in southern California where Operation Integrity will provide informational and inspirational communication on the reality of addiction in the lives of Christians and how we can help each other heal. We have already booked travel plans for early 2014 that need immediate funding.

·       Operation Integrity will host the annual Katharos Integrity Alliance Summit. Ministry leaders from around the U.S. will travel here to enjoy our weather, scenery and the leadership OI offers to other ministries.
 
How You Can Be A Part
 
We started our fund raising efforts early this year because of the unexpected expansion in our work, but we still need to raise $29,000.00 to finish 2013 on target, and give us a healthy start for 2014. I ask that you financially support our efforts. (Your donation to Operation Integrity is tax deductible.) I thank you personally in advance for your contributions, and 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 www.operationintegrity.org to make a donation.
2. Mail your check to Operation Integrity,
                                   24040 Camino del Avion #A115
                                   Monarch Beach CA 92629

Yours in Christ and recovery,

 
David Zailer
Executive Director
info@operationintegrity.org
1-800-762-0430

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