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NOT MY JOB
The names in this story have been changed out of respect for their privacy. Julie W told her family's story in a magazine article.
[My daughter], Allison, came home for the weekend. She opened the door, didn't speak, and dropped her duffel bag. Smudges of mascara circled her eyes. I whispered a "God-please-no" prayer.
"Come tell me about your classes." I patted the sofa. She muttered,
"Gotta take a shower."
As she clomped upstairs, I analyzed the recent changes in her: complaints of not having any money, rarely answers the phone, weight loss, pinpoint pupils, and a "who gives a rip" [facade]. I searched her purse and found a leopard-colored pipe and the unmistakable sweet odor of pot. My heart fluttered wildly like a bird stuck inside my chest.
She plodded down the stairs, hair in a towel, wearing the same wrinkled clothes. Be still and talk in a sweet voice, I told myself. You must convince her to stop. "We need to talk, honey."
"Not now. I'm tired."
"I found your pipe."
She stared at me with death-row eyes. "Chill, it's not that big of a deal."
The tightness in the den suffocated me. I needed air. "Want to walk?" I asked brightly. "Like we used to?"
I knew I could talk some sense into her. "Honey, please. You've gotta stop." I grabbed her hand.
"Mom!" She jerked away.
"We have a strong family history. You don't want to..."
I never got to finish the sentence. Allison stormed out of the room and within minutes was headed back to college. I knew what I had to do--abandon everything in my life and start to worry/fix/control full-time.
I began spending most days by the phone. I evaluated Allison's reactions, gestures, and comments. Thoughts circled my mind like buzzards: What if she never stops? What if I never see her again? What if she overdoses? Or goes to jail?
I lured Allison into therapy by promising we'd go to an Italian restaurant before visits. Her first appointment day arrived. She played with her spaghetti, and I couldn't eat. "So, what do you plan to say to the counselor?" I asked.
"How should I know?"
When they called her name at the office, I hurried in to make sure the counselor understood. Allison refused to sign for me to have any information. I considered eavesdropping, but too many people were around. An hour later, she walked past me as I paid.
"What'd you talk about?"
Our therapy/lunch charade continued that way for a few weeks. Then Allison's sister informed me she was still using. She denied it, refused to see the counselor, dropped out of college, and stopped answering my calls.
I was convinced if I forgot about Allison, even for a second, or enjoyed anything, something bad might happen. Several months later, after another night of little sleep, I glanced in the mirror. I could have passed for the addict: dark circles under hopeless eyes.
I called my friend Linda. Her son, also an addict, had been sentenced to state prison. "You can't imagine all that's going on here," I said.
"Come over for coffee," she urged.
I wanted to stand guard at home but knew she'd listen and understand.
"Hey, girlfriend." Linda hugged me. I didn't touch my coffee as I blurted the saga. Linda didn't sweet-talk. "You need help."
"You haven't heard the whole story," I argued. "I'm fine--my daughter, she needs help."
"You're addicted to worry and control," Linda said. "I've been where you are." She stretched out on the sofa. "The only one you can control is yourself."
The possibility that she might be right terrified me. "It took me years to realize that I'm not in charge. God is," Linda admitted. "By worrying, you're telling God he can't handle things. Go to Al-Anon with me." I'd heard of Al-Anon but didn't see how it applied to me. But I agreed because I was in awe of Linda.
I didn't open my mouth during the meeting. Every word spoken sounded like my own thoughts:
"I worried myself sick about my alcoholic husband."
"My peace comes only when I let go and let God."
Then the speaker said, "To change, you'll have to leave behind some familiar lifelong habits." But how? This is who I am--what I do. "An alcoholic can't drink, and those of us in this room can't allow an ounce of worry. For us, it's every bit as dangerous and addictive. Worry robs our serenity."
I didn't think change was possible. Not for me. But I knew one thing for sure--I was destroying my life. That night at home I got real. "Help me, God. I can't do this without you." I began to ask God for help each morning. I whispered, "Not my job," as worry, fear, or control tried to needle back in.
Two years after that first Al-Anon meeting, Allison and I met for an impromptu lunch. She'd gone back to the same therapist. On her own.
"You can't imagine how easy it is to study when you're not high," she laughed.
"Nope, I guess not." I blinked back happy tears.
"When you didn't fix my problems, it scared me. A few times I had to dig change out of the seat of my car for gas money. Some days," she paused, "I didn't have food." My throat felt warm with pride. She'd done it on her own. "I'm making A's. And look," she handed me her checkbook. "I have money again."
Recovery defies logic. It means doing the opposite of what feels natural. When I took care of myself and my addictions, Allison did the same.
Citation: Condensed from our sister publication Today's Christian,© 2008 Christianity Today International Julie W., "Not My Job," Today's Christian (July/August 2008)
Everyone needs a hero. For the mother who told this story it was her friend, Linda. Then she turned to God as her ultimate hero. We all could do with someone to help us work through our troubles. We need a victorious warrior to fight our battles. No one knows that better than God himself.
From Mark Haines' Sermon "Our Mighty God"
A one dollar bill met a twenty dollar bill and said, "Hey, where’ve you been? I haven’t seen you around here much." The twenty answered (as the dollar bill listened enviously), "I’ve been hanging out at the casinos, went out on a cruise and did the rounds of the ship, back to the United States for a while, went to a couple of baseball games, to the mall, that kind of stuff. How about you?" The one dollar bill said, "You know, same old stuff, church, church, church."
Mark Buchanan writes;
“Fasting churns the stuff up from the depths. Is there anger in me? I can usually control that with a burger and fries Am I resentful, irritated, overly ambition, fearful? I can smoother that with pizza. Am I depressed or embittered, suffering from a sense of life’s unfairness? I can artificially perk myself up with a Mars bar.”
WE do that at times – use food to deal with life…
Bruce Wilkinson, author of Prayer of Jabez, said:
Sexual immorality is a threshold sin. On one side of the threshold is immorality and on the other is purity. On one side are guilt, lying, deceit, addiction, and shame, an on the other side are freedom, honesty, transparency, liberty, and a clear conscience. Believers who are in bondage to immorality find that unless they exper...
THE FALSE FOUNDATIONS IN THE KINSEY REPORT
Almost 50 years ago, Alfred Kinsey, a quiet Midwestern Zoology professor, published the 1st of 2 volumes that would shake American culture to its foundations. His 1948 book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male - like its 1953 sequel, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female - claimed to report the findings of a massive survey of American sexual behavior.
And what findings they were! In dry, scientific language, Kinsey declared that many traditionally forbidden sexual activities were commonplace: About 1/2 of all married men and one in 4 married women had had extramarital sex; 69% of men had been with prostitutes; 10 % of men had been homosexual for at 3 years; 40 to 50% of boys raised on farms had had sexual contact with animals.
What’s more, Kinsey claimed many of these practices could be beneficial. Premarital sex helped women "adjust" to marriage. Boys may develop "affectional relations" with their animal sexual partners.
The public - then sexually conservative by today’s standards - might not have accepted such information from just anyone. But Kinsey was a scientist and, impressed by the wonders of modern technology, Americans had grown to respect science deeply. And because Kinsey’s was a scientific study, says historian John D’Emilio of the University of N. Carolina at Greensboro, "The press had permission to write about the subject in a way it wouldn’t have before."
American culture shifted under the impact. The old sexual rules, supposedly hypocritical, began weakening. "If you discover that the desires you’ve been repressing are being acted out by millions," says historian Paul Robinson of Stanford University, "you are less inclined to repress them." Newsweek characterized that effect as "If it’s OK with Kinsey, it’s OK with me."
Today, in good measure because of Alfred Kinsey, we live in a different world. But were the things he said true?
In December 1995, nearly 50 years after Kinsey’s 1st report, the Indiana institute that Kinsey founded to carry on his work acknowledged that certain data had been misrepresented. Kinsey had written that 9 observers - some technically trained" - had found that children as young as 5 months were capable of multiple orgasm and, when "uninhibited," were "aggressive in seeking" sex. The truth, the Kinsey Institute now said, was that those data were supplied by a single observer - a pedophile who claimed to have sex with 317 boys....
In fact, many of Kinsey’ findings were based on flawed methods. And some are outright false. Nevertheless, prominent scholars who know this continue to promote Kinsey’s work....
When Kinsey took a sexual history, he was far more likely to "find" sexual activity than were his own colleagues - reporting 2 to 3 times as much premarital intercourse and 4 times as much homosexuality as they did. Says historian James Reed of Rutgers University, "Kinsey was a man who very much wanted to find sexual activity."
Even more troubling was Kinsey’s collection of child pornography. According to a 1981 letter from Kinsey colleague Paul Gebhard to researcher Judith Reisman, Kinsey obtained photos and film of children engaged in sexual acts from adults who had had sex with them. Kinsey never notified law enforcement of the existence of any of these pedophiles.
Kinsey claimed to be a neutral scientist who had no agenda. He wrote in his 1st volume that he aimed for "scientific fact completely divorced from questions of moral value and social custom." His claim was false. "Kinsey had views, and they’re in his books," says sociologist John Gagnon, a former president of the International Academy of Sex Research, who joined the institute after its founder’s death in 1956. Kinsey believed that sex was a simple, biological reaction to stimuli with no moral, spiritual or psychological dimension. Only "inhibitions" imposed by society, he claimed prevented everyone from enjoying equally a variety of "outlets."
"It is not so difficult," Kinsey wrote in his 2nd report, "to explain why a human animal does a particular thing sexually. It is more difficult to explain why each and every individual is not involved in every type of sexual activity." In his declared opinion, there was no moral difference between one sexual outlet and any other.
It is not surprising, then, that the Kinsey Reports contain graphic description of young children under prolonged sexual stimulation by a pedophile including the children’s screams and struggles to get away. Yet Kinsey concluded that the children "derive definite pleasure from the situation."
The survey respondents on whom Kinsey based his conclusions were grossly unrepresentative of the general population. About 75% of his male respondents volunteered to take part, for instance. Using Kinsey’s data, psychologist Lewis M. Terman of Stanford University reported that such volunteers are anywhere from 2 to 4 times more active sexually than nonvolunteers.
Kinsey’s sample also included prison inmates. Pomeroy wrote that by 1946, the team had taken sexual histories from 1400 convicted sex offenders. Kinsey never revealed how many he included in his total sample of 5300 males; he did acknowledge that his 1st volume included "several thousand" male prostitutes.
THE FALSE FOUNDATIONS IN THE KINSEY REPORT by Rachel Wildavsky in R.Digest 4/97 p. 59 ff.
Pornography Addiction has a deadly progression says Tom Buford a converted porn addict, “Our thanks to Morality In Media for the use of the following information from Healing Sexual and Pornography Addictions by Dr. Victor Cline.”
1. FIRST STEP - ADDICTION - "The first change that happened was an addiction-effect. The porn-consumers got hooked. Once involved in pornographic materials, they kept coming back for more and still more... The pornography provided very exciting and powerful imagery which they frequently recalled to mind and elaborated on in their fantasies."
a. "Once addicted, they could not throw off their dependence on the material by themselves, despite many negative consequences such as divorce, loss of family, and problems with the law (such as sexual assault, harassment or abuse of fellow employees)."
b. "... many of my most intelligent male patients appeared to be most vulnerable—perhaps because they had a greater capacity to fantasize, which heightened the intensity of the experience and made them more susceptible to being conditioned into an addiction."
c. "... It is difficult for non-addicts to comprehend the totally driven nature of a sex addict. When the "wave" hits them, nothing can stand in the way of getting what they want, whether that be pornography accompanied by masturbation, sex from a prostitute, molesting a child, or raping a woman. These men are consumed by their appetite, regardless of the cost or consequences. Their addiction virtually rules their lives."
2. SECOND STEP – ESCALATION- "The second phase was an escalation-effect. With the passage of time, the addicted person required rougher, more explicit, more deviant... sexual material to get their "highs" and "sexual turn-ons." It was reminiscent of individuals afflicted with drug addictions. Over time there is nearly always an increasing need for more of the stimulant to get the same initial effect."
a. "... Their addiction and escalation were mainly due to the powerful sexual imagery in their minds, implanted there by the exposure to pornography."
3. THIRD PHASE – DESENSITIZATION - "The third phase was desensitization. Material (in books, magazines, or films/videos) which was originally perceived as shocking, taboo-breaking, illegal, repulsive, or immoral, in time came to be seen as acceptable and commonplace. The sexual activity depicted in the pornography (no matter how anti-social or deviant) became legitimized. There was an increasing sense that "everybody does it" and this gave them permission to also do it, even though the activity was possibly illegal and contrary to their previous moral beliefs and personal standards."
4. FOURTH PHASE - ACTING OUT SEXUALLY - "The fourth phase was an increasing tendency to act out sexually the behaviors viewed in the pornography, including compulsive promiscuity, exhibitionism, group sex, voyeurism, frequenting massage parlors, having sex with minor children, rape, and inflicting pain on themselves or a partner during sex. This behavior frequently grew into a sexual addiction which they found themselves locked into and unable to change or reverse—no matter what the negative consequences were in their life."
Why Mike Guglielmucci Lied to the World
The Australian musician who wrote "Healer" needed his own healing from a porn addiction. His tragic story should challenge us to embrace purity.
I play the song "Healer" all the time in my car. I can't get the tune out of my head. You probably know the words:
I believe You're my healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus You're all I need.
Thousands of churches have been singing the popular worship chorus since Australian youth pastor Michael Guglielmucci wrote it in 2007. The Aussie worship band Hillsong United has made it a global anthem, and it's especially popular among people battling illness. But the song took on a darker meaning in August when Guglielmucci admitted it was part of an elaborate hoax he created. When we sing "Healer' from now on, let's remember that Jesus wasn't lying when He promised to heal our broken soul.
Christians around the world felt shocked and betrayed when the 29-year-old minister admitted he had faked cancer for two years in a strange ploy to hide his secret pornography addiction. The fiasco has become one of the biggest scandals to rock Australia's Christian community in years.
In a tearful apology aired on Australian television several weeks ago, Guglielmucci said he faked symptoms and wrote bogus e-mails from doctors. He sat in waiting rooms alone while his family assumed he was getting treatment. He appeared in church concerts with an oxygen tube in his nose, deceiving thousands of mostly teenage fans into believing he needed a physical healing.
This talented but tormented young man eventually trapped himself in his own deceptive web. Church leaders asked him to confess his lies to the police, since he used the story to raise funds. He was stripped of his ministerial credentials and is now receiving psychiatric help. Aussie church leaders, including pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Church in Sydney, had to make public statements to calm distraught churchgoers who feel betrayed and, in some cases, defrauded of their money.
I can't begin to imagine the pain that Guglielmucci's parents feel. (His father is an Assemblies of God pastor who read his son's apology to a stunned congregation outside Adelaide). I am sure trust has been severely damaged among members of Guglielmucci's family. But how do we respond when a leader fails us like this?
Thankfully, in Guglielmucci's case, he did not justify his behavior. His apology was read in churches all over Australia. He told a news reporter: "I'm so sorry not just for lying to my friends and family even about a sickness, but I'm sorry for a life of saying I was something when I'm not. From this day on I'm telling the truth."
Guglielmucci admitted that he began to weave his false story of illness in order to mask his addiction. Sometimes he felt so guilty after looking at porn that he couldn't go to work--so he called in sick. He dug himself deeper every day. His little lies grew to become a monstrous con job.
This man's pretend sickness was caused by a disease of the soul that plagues millions of people today, including many Christian men who wear masks to church to hide their shame. They haven't stuck tubes in their noses or broadcast their lies to teenage audiences like Guglielmucci did, but they are lying just the same to cover up their lust. They, too, need to come clean.
(Source: J. Lee Grady, Charisma.)
In his book “The Great Divorce,” C.S. Lewis gives an allegorical story about a ghost of a man consumed by lust. And in this story lust is depicted as a red lizard that sits on his shoulder and whispers seductively in his ear. When the man is bothered by this lizard on his shoulder, an angel volunteers to destroy it for him. But the man is conflicted because he wants to hold on to his lust but also wants the lizard gone. What he is afraid of is that the death of his lust will be the death of him. He offers all these excuses to the angel because he wants to keep the lizard (even though he doesn’t want it).
After much discussion the man finally lets the angel kill the lizard. The angel grabs the lizard, breaks its neck and hurls it to the ground. Now that the spell of lust is broken the man who once ghostly is wonderfully remade into a real and solid person. And what’s so cool is that instead of dying, the lizard is changed into a spectacular stallion. With great tears of joy and appreciation the man gets on the horse and rides off into the heavens.
What was Lewis trying to help us imagine? Lewis is drawing us to the bond between killing our lust and finding life. We who have given into lust so much that it feels like we are going to die without it to die, it feels as if we are going to die right along with it will find that instead of des...
A lady and her husband were playing the slots side by side. The lady’s husband had a heart attack. The lady pushed her husband out of the way, straddled both machines and continued gambling while the medics tried to revive him to no avail.
A. Todd Coget
[How God’s Children Change, Citation: Craig Barnes, author and pastor of National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.; from sermon "The Blessed Trinity" (5-30-99)]
When I was a child, my minister father brought home a 12-year-old boy named Roger, whose parents had died from a drug overdose.
There was no one to care for Roger, so my folks decided they’d just raise him as if he were one of their own sons.
At first it was quite difficult for Roger to adjust to his new home—an environment free of heroine-addicted adults!
Every day, several times a day, I heard my parents saying to Roger:
"No, no. That’s not how we behave in this family."
"No, no. You don’t have to scream or fight or hurt other people to get what you want."
"No, no, Roger, we expect you to show respect in this family."
And in time Roger began to change.
Now, did Roger have to make all those changes in order to become a part of the family?
No. He was made a part of the family simply by the grace of my father.
But did he then have to do a lot of hard work because he was in the family?
You bet he did.
It was tough for him to change, and he had to work at it.
But he was motivated by gratitude for the incredible love he had received.
Do you have a lot of hard work to do now that the Spirit has adopted you into God’s family?
Certainly. But not in order to become a son or a daughter of the heavenly Father.
No, you make those changes because you are a son or daughter.
And every time you start to revert back to the old addictions to sin, the Holy Spirit will say to you, "No, no. That’s not how we act in this family."