Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Tribute to Mark

I have a friend who, since meeting him, I've adopted as my older brother. His name is Mark W. Miner. He is one of the most inspiring people I know. 

He doesn't know this, but I used to sort of think he was a celebrity. Someone had shared a bit of his story with me prior to meeting him and after hearing it I just knew he was amazing. 

So amazing that I really wanted to meet him. 
Heck, I wanted to be him, or so I thought. 
Really what I wanted, was to have what he had. 

Freedom from the everyday bondage of addiction.
Knowledge of how to achieve such freedom.
... and
A personal relationship with our elder brother, Jesus Christ.

I remember the first time I met him. It was on a Sunday evening after an ARP fireside. I managed to muster up the courage to walk up to him and say hi, expecting in return a handshake accompanied by an inquisitive look that said both, 'do I know you?' and 'what do you want?'

I received neither.

Instead, I felt big burly arms wrap around me and with pure sincerity, he said: "Hi! How are you!?' Still to this day I wonder if he thought I was someone else, but I choose to take my experience at face value and believe he really was genuinely happy to see me.

The fact is, he exemplified the Savior that day, because he greeted me with pure love.

I'd like all of you to meet Mark, to feel of his goodness and be touched by the redemptive power of our Savior's Atonement by hearing his story. You can do so by watching his video. I'm warning you though, you'll likely need a tissue:

Mark also recently wrote a poem and, after reading it, I wanted to share it here, by permission:

Faith is a Breaking Dawn

On the edge of faith, the choice is mine.

Chilling winds of doubt gust and eddy about,
pushing me towards the wide-mouthed chasm of the past,
that devouring pit of bottomless regrets
which weigh me down and suck me into
the monstrous maw of broken-boned hopes;
and all around, the faint but piercing screams
of unkept promises and dying dreams still echoing,
unforgiving, accusingly calling my name.

But faith is a breaking dawn,
and each step forward, towards the Son,
erases that dark vortex of doubt from my mind,
stirs harmonies of hope and light in the now-gentle breeze,
and awakens the yellows and golds of joy within my heart.
The hymn of life pulses in my veins and sings in my soul,
a warming witness that love is real, and forgiveness,
a testimony that the choice I've made is life eternal.

~Mark W. Miner~

Thank you for being my friend; my brother, Mark. 
I'm a better person for knowing you.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Journal: The Truths That I Know

It’s me again.

I’m not doing very well today...

I poured out my heart to my Father as I stood in the shower.
I let the hot water soak up my tears and I shared my deepest fears with Him.

That I am...
...less than celestial material
...not clean enough 
...not righteous enough
...not mature enough

And then this song came on the  EFY playlist I had playing in the background:

I Am Enough 
Nicole Sheahan

As I heard the words, the tears began to flow even more freely. 
I heard Him. 
I heard Him speak to me through the song, that I am enough.

I am struggling right now, but I refuse to let my struggle silence the truths that I know.

I know that when I struggle this bad, something huge is coming. 
I don’t know what it is, but the adversary does, and he wants to keep me from it.
I know that I am under attack because of it.

I know that the Lord lets the wind blow on my branches to strengthen my roots.
He uses the wind, this struggle, for my good...
So long as I weather it, I will be stronger, wiser and ultimately closer to Him.

I know that weathering this storm does not translate to weathering it perfectly.
I am not perfect...
My Father doesn't expect me to be so.
He only expects me to remain faithful

I know that I am bigger than my body. 
Even though my body is triggering, and I feel completely burdened by it right now...
I am still bigger than it.

I know the tools of recovery. 
I have learned them, worked them, lived them.
I know they work. 
I have lapsed in these basic principles a bit, and that is one of the reasons I am struggling so much.

I know of my love for Him. 
I want to return to Him and dwell with Him more than anything. 
I want to feel His arms around me...
Feel His soft robes on my cheeks as I inhale the smell of their goodness. 

More than anything I want to hear Him speak the words: 
Well done, my good and faithful servant."

And therefore, 
I will not give up. 
Because in order for me to hear those words 
I must exemplify them.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Ties that Bind

As a man was passing the elephants at the circus, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg and a stake in the ground.

There were no chains or cages.

It was obvious that the elephants could, at any time, break away from their bonds, but for some reason they did not. He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.

“Well.” the trainer said, “When they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them down. At that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds, but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they stood.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we didn’t succeed at it once before?


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Journal: Dusting off the Keys

It feels like ages since I have blogged (because it has been), and as I lay here sick in my comfy clothes, I feel it time to dust off the keys and get back to writing. I have really felt the strain of separation from my online recovery community and I really miss connecting with those seeking recovery from all over the world.

So, as you know, we recently moved to Price, Utah. The transition was somewhat bumpy; meaning, actually getting here was riddled with obstacles, but we did eventually make it and we are nicely settled in now.

Everything is absolutely great. I really, truly couldn't ask for anything more. Our house is huge, and wonderful, and completely within our budget. Everyone has their own room, we have a giant kitchen, a dishwasher and a functioning ice-maker, which are all luxuries we didn't have in our old place.

Our house is also located on a quiet street, incredibly close to the city pool (which happens to be open all winter because they cover it with a bubble), and I can see my middle sons bus stop from my front porch. I feel all warm and fuzzy everyday as I watch him get off the bus and greet him at the porch.

Everything is perfect... yet still, I struggle.

The loneliness comes in waves. One day I feel great and then the next I feel completely separate. Gratefully, I have a pretty good routine down so no matter how I'm feeling, I'm still up, showered and contributing to my family and society.

And then there are the triggering thoughts. I haven't been so great at blocking them, or even getting up and moving when they enter my head. Sometimes I just sit in them; drown in them.

I knew I needed help, so last week I fumbled through making an appointment with my new bishop. Nice man. Knows nothing about addiction. And I'm still not sure what he thinks about me. I feel like I completely over-shared with him (even though logically, I really didn't) and I'm still suffering from a major vulnerability hangover from that meeting.

But, the one major good thing that came out of it is I feel like I have, once again, found my recovery footing. I have been deliberate in my battle to manage my thoughts since meeting with him (that's 9 days). And except for a 10 second lapse in judgement a couple of days ago, they have remained clean.

Now, that is not to say there haven't been many knocks at the door from thoughts that wished to enter, but besides the 10 second lapse, none have gained entrance.

So even through the somewhat minor struggles...
I am doing pretty good.
And I am doing pretty good, because God is good.

Tomorrow is a new day... and on that note, I'll end with an awesome meme I ran across today:

Amen to that!

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"