Labels

Showing posts with label Relapse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Relapse. Show all posts

Monday, December 18, 2023

Relapse – The Ghost of Christmas Past is Coming For You! - Purity 1224


 Relapse – The Ghost of Christmas Past is Coming For You! - Purity 1224

Purity 1224 12/18/2023 Purity 1224 Podcast

Purity 1224 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of an “angelic” cloud-filled blue sky over my “favorite tree” which is just off “Freedom Road” comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene while out walking with my canine friend, Harley, near my countryside home, Saturday afternoon.   When it’s daylight, you can’t say I’m “walking the dog” because Harley and I have developed a tenuous relationship of trust and I allow him to go “off leash”. This relationship of trust has been violated at times as Harley will sometimes go where he is not supposed to, disappear into the woods, or roll around in something smelly causing me to chastise him and myself for giving him “too much freedom”.   But it’s been a while, not too long ago though, since he has violated my trust and yesterday I pondered whether or not he has been set free of his bad habit of rolling in filth.   With Harley, I can forgive him for wandering a little bit, or even for running off out of sight for awhile (he thankfully has always come back), but when he dive bombs into something gross, I get upset and he gets a shower!

Anyway, it’s Monday and while I am happy to announce that Harley didn’t go back to his bad habit this weekend, I humbly have to admit I can’t say that for myself.   While I have freedom over alcohol, drugs, and sex addiction, my current war campaign has been with food addiction and although I have made tremendous strides in fighting the good fight of repentance, awareness, and accountability to come to a place where I have dropped 40 pounds and am in the best physical shape I have ever been in ALL my life, yesterday I inexplicably dive bombed into some holiday sweet treats with reckless abandon resulting in some shame and a realization that sin really is a beast that is crouching at the door just waiting to come in and wreak havoc with my health goals and with the confidence I had that I have grown beyond some things.  

To be clear here, when I say “sin” – I mean “missing the mark” of being the person I want to be – the person I believe that God created me to be – the person who is level-headed and exercises wisdom, righteousness, and self-control.  If anyone looking at my recent weight loss fears that I may be “trying to be perfect”, you can rest easy knowing that I “food relapsed” yesterday and am constantly reminded that I am NOT anywhere near perfect, in any way shape or form, and have learned most of what I know through diligent study  in the school of hard knocks and through many repetitions of trials and errors.  I make the same mistake twice, and then some, but as I have learned how to achieve and maintain my freedom over many areas where I was once in bondage, I have become much better from learning from my mistakes, but I am STILL a work in progress and am still learning and growing. 

I hate the adage that “Relapse is part of recovery”, because it REALLY doesn’t have to be – just don’t do that again, okay,  - I know easier said than done but, trust me, your life will be SO MUCH EASIER IF YOU DON:T, so don’t entertain those thoughts to “give in just this once” or “to just get it over with” when the flesh, the world, or the enemy try to tempt you to go back to what you are free from. 

That’s fine, coming from me right? But let’s keep it real, My slip up in eating my share of  stocking stuffer chocolates, Christmas cookies, Rice Crispy treats, and egg nogg yesterday was hardly the end of the world.  According to Google, it takes three hours for your body to process sugar so the damage has been done and I will wise up and fly straight going forward.  However, even though it is a manageable disaster, I should do what we all should do when a relapse happens: examine it and determine how to avoid it in the future.   

As a Colts fan, my favorite quarterback has to be Peyton Manning. Although my team didn’t appreciate him enough and sent him off to Denver to win another a Super Bowl before hanging up his cleats, I will always admire Manning for his talent, skill, love of the game, and his work ethic.  In college, Manning’s nickname was “Caveman” because he spent hours upon hours looking at game film to study what happened when he took the field. Through his study Manning learned tendencies and patterns of gameplay, and when he saw his opponents line up in certain ways, he had a good idea of what was going to happen and became successful because he responded in kind.   

So, like Manning, in my journey of recovery and obtaining freedom in new areas, I have learned to go to the “game film” to learn what “works” and what doesn’t and when I mess up, I try to see what developed to cause the disaster of relapse.  

So with yesterday’s episode of binge eating, I can see that my failure began the night before as I awoke at night to use the bathroom, was “half awake” and decided to have a couple of “Atkins” keto candy treats before going back to bed.  The next morning I reported them in my food log and let my “food addiction” sponsor know about the slip and that I had gone over on my food plan the night before by 270 calories and 2 carbs.  Not the end of the world, right? Right.  

BUT that giving into eating candy was like the former alcoholic who decided to test his fortitude and just have a couple of beers, because he is free and because having a beer isn’t a sin, drunkenness is.   If you can do that, that’s wonderful, but generally if you are in recovery, you really shouldn’t do that because it has you small “success” tends to set you up for a big failure. 

It’s like lighting a match, and blowing it out, but the ember of your addiction has been activated and things have a way of “spontaneously combusting into a four-alarm fire.”  

So in a semi-daze, I had a couple of pieces of candy and that got my flesh thinking about doing that again!

To give you a wider context, I also had planned to indulge in some stocking stuffer candy when Christmas came.  I have prepared for Christmas and had my kids candy divided and bagged and when I did that, I put a share aside for myself.  So I was going to allow myself to eat the candy, in the name of Christmas cheer in a few days anyway, but honestly, I was pondering whether or not I should and had been entertaining the idea of giving “my candy” to someone else. 

Also yesterday, I finished my Christmas shopping, and out of a sense of guilt and wanting to give my adult children a “good Christmas” in my absence, I bought them some food for a holiday feast which included cookies, rice crispy treats, and egg nogg.  Yeah those last three items, I relapsed on weren’t supposed to be for me.   

Anyway, yesterday after shopping, I realized I had to wrap presents and decided to “get in the holiday spirit” by putting on some Christmas music, putting on a muted football game while I wrapped, just like in the “old days”. 

Of course, in the old days, I probably would have been drinking mass quantities of beer, and eating mass quantities of tailgating food to boot, but even though those are logical impossibilities now, chowing down my “Christmas candy” early was apparently an option.   While I knew I shouldn’t at all or should at least wait until Christmas to indulge, the enemy or my own pondering decided to “just get it over with” and so I gave into temptation and didn’t just have some, I ate all my chocolates, and helped myself to some of the cookies, eggnog, and rice crispy treats that I had bought for the kids! And I took a few pieces of their stocking candy too! And I made it a “meatball night” too.

Meatballs, of course, are not restricted on my food plan, but I bother counting them like I normally do because after this sugar relapse there really was no point in knowing how bad it was – or how much I was over on calories or carbs – because I was way over! There was no way I couldn’t be – because of the sheer volume of candy alone. 

If you struggle with food addiction and are counting the costs of your food, and are attempting to do keto,  you can have one or maybe 2 pieces of candy in a day – but that’s it.  I was over on carbs in less than a minute. 

So I got “nostalgic” and mindless and gave into the common relapse call to “just get it over with” but will learn from this mistake. 

So beware Relapse – The Ghost of Christmas Past is coming for you, too!  So learn from my mistake by:

1.    Not sentimentalizing and using “Christmas” as an excuse for reckless abandon. Stay true to your goals for “sobriety” and face the facts that even a “little bit” may be too much for your addiction. Elimination, not moderation may be the key you need to use to stay free.

2.    Not giving into guilt and overspending to give people a “good Christmas” – the day comes and goes and usually our last minute efforts miss the mark of satisfying people anyway and are usually silly. 

3.    Not bringing in substances into your homes that you struggle with – Access – don’t give yourself easy access to the things that will tempt you and cause you to fall.  

4.    Don’t give into the “just get it over with” mentality – Relapse is not inevitable, but we have to be smart by limiting access, taking the way of escape, and by calling for help – phone a friend or cry out to Jesus in prayer- when we are thinking about giving in.  

When we fall, we have to learn from our mistakes, go to God and seek His help.  Confess, confess, confess, and renounce the lies that you believed that made you relapse, and announce the truth that sets you free.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Church Discipline.

Matthew 16:19 (ESV)
19  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Today’s verse falls under the seventh point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church Discipline

7. Christ has given the keys of the kingdom to the church.

Today’s verse reminds us that we have the keys to the kingdom and what we bind on earth stays bound and what we loose stays loose.  I’m short on time so I will liken this to the gospel – we can set people free by sharing it, so share it.  But the knowledge can also cause sinners to rebel and stay locked in their sins. So speak the truth in love and use your authority for good, to set the captives free.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we are sharing from “God is in the Manger- Reflections on Advent and Christmas” – By Dietrich Bonhoeffer.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

God is in the Manger – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

ADVENT WEEK THREE -  REDEMPTION

DAY SIX

Overcoming Fear

Human beings are dehumanized by fear.… But they should not be afraid. We should not be afraid! That is the difference between human beings and the rest of creation, that in all hopelessness, uncertainty, and guilt, they know a hope, and this hope is: Thy will be done. Yes. Thy will be done.… We call the name of the One before whom the evil in us cringes, before whom fear and anxiety must themselves be afraid, before whom they shake and take flight; the name of the One who alone conquered fear, captured it and led it away in a victory parade, nailed it to the cross and banished it to nothingness; the name of the One who is the victory cry of the humanity that is redeemed from the fear of death—Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified and lives. He alone is the Lord of fear; it knows him as its Lord and yields to him alone. Therefore, look to him in your fear. Think about him, place him before your eyes, and call him. Pray to him and believe that he is now with you and helps you. The fear will yield and fade, and you will become free through faith in the strong and living Savior Jesus Christ (Matt. 8:23–27).

Only when we have felt the terror of the matter, can we recognize the incomparable kindness. God comes into the very midst of evil and death, and judges the evil in us and in the world. And by judging us, God cleanses and sanctifies us, comes to us with grace and love.… God wants to always be with us, wherever we may be—in our sin, suffering, and death. We are no longer alone; God is with us.

“The Coming of Jesus in Our Midst”

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”

Matthew 8:23–27[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, ed. Jana Riess, trans. O. C. Dean Jr., First edition. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 44–45.