Monday, November 23, 2015

Operation Integrity 2015 Year End Update


Operation Integrity 2015 Year End Update                            

 

With deep appreciation for your prayerful and financial support, I present our 2015 year-end update. Always true to the Operation Integrity mission, I (with many passionate OI participants) spent 2015 diligently 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, Mariners Recovery Ministry at Mariners Church, all in California, while mentoring Christ-centered recovery efforts in Texas, Colorado, Oregon, North Carolina and Nebraska, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky.  
  • We continue mentoring private recovery meetings across the U.S. and beyond – with new groups starting at a seminary in the UK, and two home fellowships in Australia. Our literature bringing understanding where there had been confusion and anger. And we continue mentoring private recovery groups for pastors and clergy that were launched in 2014.
  • 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 spent the first half of 2015 speaking locally and nationally but cancelled travel for the second half of 2015 to heal after a sports mishap. Travel plans for 2016 are developing and will be announced.
  • We continue helping Pastors and Clergy in Ohio, North Carolina, Oklahoma, California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Texas and Canada, The United Kingdom, Greece, Australia, Croatia and Uganda. We have also expanded our clergy/professional assistance program to include counselors and therapists continue their personal growth and recovery amidst the overwhelming demands of their jobs.
  • 3600+ people read Operation Integrity Weekly.

 

Real People Results

 

This year, Stan (not his real name) came to Operation Integrity facing his personal troubles associated with his workaholism, which promoted use of pornography and massage parlors, addictions in and of themselves and all induced by overwhelming and mismanaged stress. He was 50 years old and had been working compulsively since his 30’s. He was hard working to a fault, a respected church attender, and he loved his wife and family; but he was out of control.

 

By working the OI Transformation Program and attending Operation Integrity meetings regularly, Stan has been able to bring his work life into healthy parameters. This has enabled him to attend a local marriage-counselling program with his wife to heal their relationship. He has been free from pornography and sinful destructive sexual behavior for 7 months. Most importantly, his attitude has changed. He has become a leader in experiencing God’s grace to the fullest and enthusiastically sharing it with others. The program that helped Stan was possible because of THE ROGER M. FUND, a scholarship fund dedicated to helping people who cannot afford the cost associated with their Operation Integrity program. Stan’s life changed because someone like you donated to Operation Integrity.

 

 

 

Heading Into 2016

 

Here is a short list of current challenges and opportunities for 2016.

  • Refunding The Roger M Fund (the need here is immediate and great!)
  • Meet current employee obligations (payroll).
  • Fund additional printing of literature for Prison Chaplain support efforts (supplying OI literature to inmates through chaplains)
  • General overhead including shipping and postage costs, vehicle and travel expenses, communications, social networking and online costs, and non-reimbursable travel.
  • Client services which includes short-term care of individuals such as temporary housing (sober-living), and even sometimes help with food and clothing, as well as employer relations and family support and counseling. 
  • Print and ship literature in support of developing recovery groups overseas.
     
     
    How You Can Be A Part
     
    Operation Integrity must raise $38,500.00 to finish 2015 on target, giving us a healthy start for 2016. I ask that you financially support our efforts. (All donations to Operation Integrity are tax deductible.)
     
    I thank you personally in advance for your contributions. Most of all I thank you for your ongoing support through prayer.
     
    There are two 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
     
    1-949-842-1012
     
    Follow Operation Integrity on Facebook, & Twitter @opintegrity

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

THE DECISION - from OUR JOURNEY HOME
















The Decision


“If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow Me. If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for Me, you will find it. What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? What would you give to get back your soul?”
Matthew 16:24-26


“To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything.”
-Bernadette Devlin





We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.


It has been said that everyone will have their Waterloo. In addiction we have found ours, too. We can no longer deceive ourselves, or anyone else for that matter. Our addictions have been profound. We know it, and other people know it. Because of this, we just don’t have the energy to go on the way we’ve been going. Physically, mentally, and spiritually we’re done. It’s all over. It’s the end. It seems that we’re as good as dead. But here, when we’re at the end of ourselves, there is a calling for us. God, the giver of life, is calling for us to accept the loss of our own lives in order to accept the life that He has to give us.


The decision to surrender ourselves to God’s care is far more personal and practical than religious. We surrender our will and life to God because if we continue to live as we have, our addictions will destroy us. We’ve simply come to understand that God is a life-or-death decision for all of us. And today, each of us decides whether we are willing to trust God or continue our journey alone. Failing to trust leaves us spiritually alone and unprotected against our own progressing addictions. This is a potentially fatal mistake for anyone who has an addiction.


When we decide to trust God, we are not making a religious decision, although many religions encourage us to do this as well. You see, it’s not religion that we need. If religion was the answer for our addictions, those of us who came from religious backgrounds would never have had the addictions that we’ve had. What we really need is intimacy with God. Intimacy with God is far more personal than religious. It is an intimacy that transcends all that we are as human beings. Intimacy with God puts God inside of us. It makes us bigger than what we could ever be on our own. We call it a surrender because we can’t be exactly sure how this intimacy with God will affect us. But while we may not know exactly how God and His goodness will play out in our lives, we do know that it will be far better than staying in our addictions.


Ultimately, all of us will stand before God with their future literally in their own hands, making their life decision for themselves in their own personal way. Some recovering addicts, when they made their decision to trust their life to God, experienced immediate and profound gratitude with dramatic emotional outbursts. Others experienced only a quiet sense of relief that their life would change. Whatever the experience is for us as individuals, each of us must understand that it is far better to make the decision to surrender and trust than continue on the way we were going. We know that we must have God’s help and we have decided to ask for it.


As we make the decision to surrender our lives to God, let’s pray in ways that are personal and intimate. Let’s pray like this:


Dear God,
Only You are God and I am not. You are the Maker and Fulfiller of life. As for me, I know that I originate from You, that I exist because of You. Today, I make the decision to give myself to You, the best I know how. You own me, as far as I am concerned. I am Yours. I give You my old life and I ask for You to give me Your life. You can do with me anything You want to do. Now there are times when I get deceived and I become distracted from You. When I do, I feel that You are far away and I am hurt, from the inside out, when I sin. But, according to Your Word and Your promises, I know that You are always with me. Only You can save me from my addictions and my sins, renewing me in the center of my soul, my will. You protect me, You save me, You transform me. I thank You for the changes in me that You have promised. I want to be more of Yours. I seek You, and by Your grace I am finding and knowing You. It is my desire to know You more intimately and to more effectively live out the life You have for me. Amen







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BECOMING AWARE - from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, NOT FOR MEN ONLY








Becoming Aware
 
One suggestion I found helpful was to refer back to my personal inventory and review the journaling I produced after I admitted the exact nature of my wrongs to another man. When doing this, my journaling showed me how my beliefs resulted in patterns of actions and reactions. The more I understood these patterns, the more my character defects appeared in bold print. These questions helped me:
 
 
  • Have I had difficulty admitting to others my need for help?                                Pride
     
  • Have I been in debt or preferred my desires over someone else’s?                                      Greed
     
  • Have I gotten mad because someone else was more privileged than me?                              Envy
     
  • Have I lived out my life in a fearful way?                                Trusting more in myself than God
     
  • Have I compared my insides with the outward appearance of others?             Self-objectification
     
  • Have I looked at outside appearances, ignoring the feelings of others?     Lust & Objectification
     
  • Have I felt compelled to please others more than God?                                     Approval seeking
     
  • Have I been frustrated when others have not lived as I wanted them to?               Codependency
     
  • Have I feared to be alone?                                                          Emotional dependence on others
  • Have I or my family suffered from my work schedule?                                  Being a workaholic
  • Have I felt the need to keep certain facts about myself secret?                                    Dishonesty
  •  
  • Have I had habits of unhealthy eating?                                          
    Personal self-abuse
     
  • Have I procrastinated doing things I know should be done?                             Laziness
     
  • Have I believed my life would change without me changing?                          Fanciful Thinking
     
    Facing our character flaws in this manner shows we are seeing ourselves in a more honest way. Appreciate the deeper level of personal self-honesty you are capable of. You are heading in a good direction!






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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

THE POISON OF RESENTMENT - from OUR JOURNEY HOME
















We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14, 15, NIV

Don’t carry a grudge. While you’re carrying the grudge, the other guy’s out dancing. - Buddy Hackett



The Poison of Resentment

It is very important that we keep our focus, remembering that we are working our own recovery program and not someone else’s. Our faults are our responsibility and the faults of others are not our concern. Our recovery necessitates that we recognize that while others have accidentally and even sometimes intentionally harmed us, any resentments that we entertain against them will handicap us spiritually and emotionally. Resentment poisons our hearts. Then it circulates into every part of our lives. It’s like taking poison and expecting someone else to get sick and die.

When we hold a grudge against someone else, we are actually bringing misery back onto ourselves. Resentment creates a kind of attitudinal foul odor that keeps others from getting close to us. Resentment can be intoxicating, and then we get hijacked by unhappiness which further alienates us from others. But, honestly recognizing the hurt others have done to us and giving those offenders our undeserved forgiveness will help to cleanse us from the stagnating resentment that will destroy us. Allowing others the freedom to be wrong helps us to see life, most notably our own life, more clearly. We will be better able to objectively acknowledge and embrace our shortcomings as well as our strengths. Thinking and living this way is a relational kind of humility that frees us to receive God’s strength coming to us through the holes that our weaknesses create, which then results in an increased freedom to love other people without barriers. As we learn to care for others, both the good and the bad, we learn to better care for ourselves with increasing aptitude and insight as a child of God. Forgiving others and being forgiven go hand in hand. We can’t have one without the other.






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THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE - from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, NOT FOR MEN ONLY








THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE

During this time of my recovery I began to experience a deep untangling of the pressure and stress I had felt inside me. I was learning new and healthier ways to cope without taking drugs, drinking alcohol, or being sexual in ways that made me feel bad about myself. I was trading in my troubling and self-destructive emotions for the simple gift of gratitude, often without even knowing I was doing it.


Gratitude posts a loving guard at the door of our lives, insuring that bitterness and resentment and anger will no longer dominate us as they have in the past. Gratitude helps us to be thankful for life as it is not how we wish it, expect it or even need it to be.
If you will throw away your detestable idols and go astray no more, and if you swear by my name alone, and begin to live good lives and uphold justice, then you will be a blessing to the
nations of the world, and all people will come and praise my name.
Jeremiah 4:1 MSG

As gratitude inside of us increased over time, it became more apparent that we had to continue taking effective actions to avoid a relapse back into active addiction. We needed to be ever alert, because sexual addictions interact with, set off and build upon other addictions. The dual diagnosis of addictions is becoming more and more common in rehab centers and Twelve Step fellowships. So with this in mind, we stay closely connected to other recovering people who have more experience than we do. We look to our sponsors, our mentors and our counselors for help and guidance. They help keep us moving away from our addictions, or unknowingly picking up new addictions along the way. Common co-addictions can be food and compulsive eating disorders, destructive spending, gambling, alcohol and other drug addictions and even prescription medications. Religion and religiosity can be addictive, and we can become so obsessed with certain people that we become addicted to trying to control them or their life. Fact is, not recognizing any destructive behavioral pattern can potentially trigger sexual addiction. This is because, at their core, addictions are simply a destructive relationship with a mind or mood altering substance or experience that expresses
itself in destructive behavior. Virtually anything that is mood or mind altering and destructive can potentially be addictive.


If you think you may have a problem with a substance, even the use of prescription or ‘legitimate’ drugs, it is essential that you stop and get help today. If you are drinking destructively, seek professional help and call Alcoholics Anonymous at once. And the same holds true for any addictive behavior. You and your loved ones will suffer more if you don’t ask for the appropriate help today.
Today and every day we stand at a crossroad. But, we are not alone. When we are ready to ask for help, a fellowship will be with us. Even better, THE SOURCE of all power has already joined the battle for our lives, helping us live a new way and become new people, to be free.


Your God is present among you, a strong warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs. The accumulated sorrows of your exile will dissipate. I, your God, will get rid of them for you. You’ve carried those burdens long enough.
Zephaniah 3:17, 18 MSG













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Thursday, August 13, 2015

THE SOURCE OF OUR STRENGTH - from OUR JOURNEY HOME








We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.



And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. I John 5:14,15, NLT



A great turning point in our lives came when we sought for humility as something we really wanted, rather than as something we must have. It marked the time when we could commence to see the full implication of Step Seven. - Alcoholics Anonymous, page 75, AA 12 & 12








The Source of Our Strength



We have, albeit unintentionally, created the problems that we have in our character. Now we are asking God, with as much humility as possible, to resolve the problems that stand in the way of us experiencing all that God has for us. Before, we had spent much of our lives and energy attempting to overcome what we could never overcome in our own power. But today, as we surrender our lives to God and humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings, we discover a strength that is unlike anything that we have ever encountered before.


Only in God, and through the help of others, will we receive the strength and the endurance to continuously let go of our character defects and our addictions.

Nothing in our recovery work is magical or unreal. We will forever be human and prone to all of our human inadequacies. As much as we may wish it to be different, not all of our character defects will be removed from us. The work that God is doing in our hearts and minds will be part of His overall purposes. So, we will help ourselves the most when we accept the consequences that we have created for ourselves without complaint so that we can enjoy the benefit of lessons learned once and for all.

There will be times when we try to get rid of our character defects and fail, sometimes repeatedly. We will inevitably find ourselves in situations where we have to choose between trusting God amidst our repeated attempts of trying and failing, and the certain penalty of failing to try, which is in and of itself a failure to trust God. What we choose to do with failure is perhaps the most profound indicator of who we are and who we will become. Failure with effort can be a frustrating setback. The setbacks and disappointments create the sad feeling inside of us that we may never overcome our problems. This is where we will need help from our friends in recovery and from God himself. We will have our setbacks. We will try and fail sometimes. But, let us stay honest and let us stay motivated because our own fatal failure is giving up. Failure to try is suicide. It is here, in our failures and setbacks, that we learn to keep turning to God, time after time, and in so doing we learn to experience Him to be our Source, our Strength and our Joy.













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EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS - from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, NOT FOR MEN ONLY








EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS


While doing my Step Four personal inventory work, I started to see how the difficult emotions I experienced could be powerful triggers for my addictions. As emotions are triggers, character defects are the building blocks of addiction, and self-centeredness is the cement which holds the addicted nature together within me. So, finding the freedom to recover and live in a way that was healthy long-term was impossible without removing these addicted structural components from me.
I know today how my character defects started innocently when I was a child. They were my means of survival. I learned to manipulate to get my needs met. I lied to protect myself. I hid my emotions to avoid embarrassment and shame. I rationalized to escape ugly truths which were too much for me to handle. My character defects were really nothing more than broken and ineffective tools I used for coping and control. They were my methods of minimizing pain, and diffusing perceived threats. They were my strategy to care for myself when I believed that no one else would. At times I feared what life would be like for me without my character defects. When I felt that a character defect — like my lying — was necessary to survive, I would mourn the thought of having it removed from me. Fortunately, my sponsor and counselor and recovery partners helped me see how fearing the loss of one of my coping mechanisms was understandable, but it was also critically important for me to grieve these personal losses without complaint so I could move on down the path of my recovery.

I knew I had made the decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God daily and, as I did this, the self-centered cement holding my addictions together began to slowly erode. There was little I could do to avoid the difficult emotions I felt. They came and went like the wind. All I could do was recognize them and speak honestly about them to a trusted recovery partner or spiritual guide. And while I could make the decision cognitively to get rid of the addicted building blocks of my character defects, my best efforts seemed to actually reinforce them. So, like everything else in my life, I turned them over to God, asking Him to remove them in a way that fit His plan for my life. Then I began doing whatever I could to live without them in the future.


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Thursday, August 6, 2015

MAKING IT REAL - from OUR JOURNEY HOME









We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.



My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
I John 4:11, 12, The Message



"A critical component of recovery is recognizing and admitting personal responsibility in relationships."
- Anonymous



Making It Real



We waste our recovery efforts when we forget our failures. Forgetting our failures can lead us into the most self-centered and insidious of all sins, self-righteousness. With a short memory and a little complacency, we become piously religious, self-satisfied and woefully unaware of the difficult world that we’ve created for ourselves and others. This is why one of the most critical components of recovery is to recognize and admit our personal responsibility in our relationships. And, this is why it is so important for us to acknowledge the people that have been harmed by our selfish attitudes and actions. We must, for our own sakes and for theirs, see how they’ve been affected by us. The opportunity and possibility to recover from our addictions compels us to ask for forgiveness, to help those negatively impacted by our lives and -- when it’s available -- accept reconciliation from them while forgiving others, so that we can all grow in freedom.



Let us set aside any remaining selfish or prideful motivations that we are aware of. Starting with our recovering fellowship, let us begin to make personal investments in others, working to expand and heal the world around us. Let us take this momentum of love to our families, to our communities, to our work places and to our churches. We want more today than to just have our lives and our circumstances improved. We want to see other people healed and their lives and circumstances improved, too. We are taking on a new ways of thinking, new personalities, becoming more concerned with loving others and honoring them as people who’ve been created by God to know Him and His love.



Name some people who would benefit from a healthier expression of your love.













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BALANCE AND RESPONSIBILITY - from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, NOT FOR MEN ONLY









BALANCE AND RESPONSIBILITY

One challenge we face in long-term recovery is to balance our needs for love, personal security, and social position. As addicted self-centered people, our beliefs and values regarding our personal needs have probably been distorted. We have often ignored our needs or denied them. And other times we expected others to meet our needs because we were too lazy or self-centered to be responsible for ourselves. We thought we knew what we needed, and we expected someone else to do for us what only we could truly do for ourselves. Or, on the other hand, we would think no one would be there to help us, so we wouldn’t honestly communicate our needs and feelings, which further compounded the isolation and helplessness we felt. Either way, the self-preoccupation we felt increased, hardening even more the self-centeredness that caused our problems. Self-centeredness is the root cause of all our character defects and sins. It can be called self-idolatry, and it is deadly to a sexual addict — and everyone else as well for that matter. But however, as we remain diligent in our recovery work, this is changing. Our self-centeredness begins to die off and fall away when we reach out to God and others honestly and openly. And in doing so we learn not to make such quick assumptions regarding what is best for us or for others either. Our first thought can often get us into trouble, so it is important that we make good second thoughts — praying and consulting with others in order to make the best decisions possible, which results in the best actions in just about any situation. Just because our head sits on our shoulders does not mean it is our friend.

Since most of us are born with an abundance of natural desires, it isn’t strange that we often let these far exceed their intended purpose. When they drive us blindly, or we willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfactions or pleasures that are
possible or due us, that is the point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that God wishes for us here on earth. That is the measure of our character defects or if you wish, of our sins.
Alcoholics Anonymous, 12 Steps and 12 Traditions pg 65

Misguided feelings of personal inferiority or superiority, grandiose and unrealistic beliefs, selfish intentions, selfish motives and selfish priorities are all symptoms of a deeper problem. If we believe that our demands must be met or if we believe it’s somehow bad to feel pain or have difficulty, or if we believe that others need to make us happy, we are exposing ourselves as the selfish center of our lives. Recovery in Christ will give you ever-increasing opportunities to make good choices leading to an abundant life. But! There is always one absolutely wrong choice! And that is to make yourself the center of your own world. God has never shared His role with anyone, and He won’t share it with any of us. Our character defects and sins thrive when we try to rule our own lives or anyone else’s.
Our character flaws ooze out of us like a foul odor when we remain stuck, living life our way. On the other hand, as we focus our mind and our heart on God, we become more willing to let go of our character defects, our addictions and the habitual sinfulness that has held us back in our lives. It is important to note that even when we express our trust in God in the smallest ways, it shows we are growing in willingness. This growth in willingness is a growth in faith, and no matter how small our willingness and faith is, it pleases God. Willingness is our part in our growth. We plant it like a seed — no one can do this for us, we do it for ourselves — our recovery fellowship and partners will help us nurture and grow our seedlings of positive change. Our brothers and sisters in recovery who help us tend our new garden of change — and we theirs — are in effect a huge down pouring of God’s caring rain. Seedlings of willingness and faith respond dramatically as we make these small and crucial choices.
"Faith as small as a mustard seed."
Matthew 17:20

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