Be A Stand Up Dude

A Stand Up Dude accepts the risk, the work and the adventure to be the man that God created him to be.

Standing is hard. Faith is hard. Men do the hard things.

A Stand Up Dude does brave things. Let's be brave for this generation. Let's not make them wait for the next generation of men to stand.

If we dont stand for something, the next generation will stand for anything.

The world is watching. The world is waiting. Don't make them wait.

We're not calling you OUT - We’re calling you FORWARD.

The world needs you to be the man that you are created to be.

The early church didn't say, “look what the world is coming to.”

Instead they said, “look who has come into the world.

As Stand Up Dudes, we carry the light of God in our heart.

May it be a reality - when *“everything we do, be done in love,” the world will point to Jesus and say, “look who has come into the world.”  *1 Cor. 16:13-14
Tim

Victim or Victorious?

Let’s face It.. we’ve all been through tough times at some point In our lives. Some occur because of decisions we have made, some have been through decisions made for us, and some just happen. When difficult times happen to us, we have a choice to make. Do we live as a victim, or as a victor?

Let’s define the term “Victim Mentality”
While there is no formal psychological definition of a victim mentality, a useful working definition is as follows: If you have a victim mentality, you will see your entire life through a perspective that things constantly happen ‘to’ you. Victimization is thus a combination of seeing most things in life as negative, beyond your control, and as something you should be given sympathy for experiencing as you ‘deserve’ better. At its heart, a victim mentality is actually a way to avoid taking any responsibility for yourself or your life. By believing you have no power then you don’t have to take action.In other words, any bad thing in your life is the fault of other people. They’re the ones that are bad, wrong, or dumb, and you are good, right, and brilliant. Other people do bad or stupid things, and you suffer as a result.

A Crucial Distinction: Being a Victim vs. Victim Mentality
Before we go any further, let’s make a crucial distinction: there is such a thing as an innocent victim. Such a person suffers (exclusively) because of another person’s sin.

The Christian Bible has something to say about living as a victim or as a victor, We see this clearly in Scripture.For example, oppressing innocent victims is condemned by God throughout Scripture (e.g. Zech 7:9-10; Jas 2:6). Jesus himself is the victim par excellence of human wickedness (Is 53:6-7; Lk 23:15-16; Acts 3:14-15). And the New Testament affirms the unjust persecution that many Christians suffered (e.g. 1 Peter 2:19).

People can be innocent victims. We can suffer unjust evil at the hands of others. But we need to beware of moving from being an innocent victim to adopting a victim mentality. And in the case of other victims, we should affirm the reality of their suffering (and as we have the opportunity, address it). But we do them a grave disservice if we promote in them a victim mentality

Here are 6 Reasons why:

1. THE BIBLE DOESN’T ENCOURAGE A VICTIM MENTALITY

While the Bible does recognize the reality of innocent victims, it stops short of affirming a victim mentality.
We see this firstly in the life of Jesus. If anyone had a right to adopt a ‘victim mentality’ – blaming other people for their own unjust suffering – it was Jesus. And yet, according to Scripture, Jesus didn’t adopt any behavior consistent with a victim mentality. Instead, in response to his suffering, he had the mindset of a humble servant (Phil 2:7-8); he endured faithfully as he saw the joy that waited for him on the other side of his resurrection (Heb 12:2); and he actively trusted God throughout the ordeal (1 Peter 2:21-23), knowing there was a purpose behind his suffering (Mark 10:45). Furthermore, he lovingly suffered and bled for those who victimized him (1 Peter 2:21-24). Even in the midst of his suffering, he prayed for their forgiveness (Luke 23:34).


The foremost victim of human history never adopted the victim mentality. And the New Testament commands Christians to have this same attitude as Jesus.Even as we undergo persecution, we’re never encouraged to adopt anything resembling a victim mentality. Instead, we’re to act responsibly: doing good in the midst of persecution with the aim of helping our enemies come to know Christ (1 Peter 2:12); not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult (1 Peter 2:20-23); not hating our enemies but loving them (Matt 5:44). And instead of blanket negativity in the face of unjust suffering, we’re to rejoice even as we grieve (1 Peter 1:6, 4:16). Notice these are active commands: there is no passivity or giving up in the face of suffering – even unjust suffering.A victim mentality is not a biblical response to unjust suffering.

2. THE VICTIM MENTALITY DISTORTS OUR VIEW OF REALITY

The victim mentality distorts our view of reality. When we adopt a victim mentality, we tend to see things through a negative lens. We magnify the bad things that happen to us and attribute them exclusively to people and forces outside of our control. We lose our perspective on reality.

3. IT BLINDS US TO OUR OWN SIN AND OUR NEED FOR A SAVIOUR

A victim mentality magnifies the harm done to us and minimizes our own sinfulness. After all, we reason, our sin is nothing compared to what others have done to us. But except for circumstances where we are innocent victims (e.g. when robbed at gunpoint etc), we often have some responsibility for our situation. We often have some part to play in the way things have turned out (even if only partially). But a victim mentality tells a false narrative, explaining our situation so that blame lies exclusively with other people/circumstances. Or to put it theologically, we become blind to our own sin. To use my Hungarian upbringing as an example, it was only later I realized that—shock, horror—Hungarian history isn’t a simple case of Hungarians being innocent victims. Often, Hungarians did evil things to others too (e.g. antisemitism). But I was never taught that growing up, because of the victim mentality. Furthermore, when we’re blind to our own sin, we’re blind to our need for rescue from sin. We’re blind to our need for a Saviour. And that’s a spiritually dangerous situation to be in.

4. IT DISEMPOWERS US

One of the most harmful impacts of a victim mentality is what it does to people who hold it: it removes nearly all their initiative to improve their situation. They lose the ability to positively influence their circumstances, and better their lives. In other words, they are held hostage to their circumstances. As secular thinker and author Stephen Covey points out: Reactive people [i.e. people with a victim mentality] are affected by their…environment…When people treat them well, they feel well; when people don’t, they become defensive or protective. Reactive people build their emotional lives around the behavior of others, empowering the weaknesses of other people to control them.’ [2]

5. IT SUCKS THE JOY OUT OF LIFE.

Because we’re not thankful for our blessings.A victim mentality not only distorts and magnifies our difficulties, it also minimizes our blessings. If we only see our difficulties (and are frustrated by them), we won’t look around long enough to notice our blessings. But again, this isn’t biblical. As Christians, God has given us every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph 1:3), and so we can be thankful no matter our earthly circumstances (Col 2:6-7). We can rejoice even in our sufferings, knowing that suffering achieves for us our ultimate end – to be more like Christ (Rom 5:3-5). Yes, we grieve as we suffer. We might be wracked with pain as we endure injustice. We might work to end such injustice. But we do this with hope and with love – not with anger and hatred toward those who hurt us.

6. IT DAMAGES RELATIONSHIPS

If you’re in a relationship with a person having a victim mentality, chances are they won’t take responsibility for their actions in the relationship. If there’s ever tension, it will be your fault. If there’s conflict, you’re the one to blame, not them. They won’t be open to being challenged about their sin—why would they? They’re innocent, and you’re guilty. Such a relationship is fraught and full of tension. Adopting a victim mentality is bad for us. And encouraging other people to adopt a victim mentality is bad for them. In fact, to the degree that we encourage victims to adopt a victim mentality, we do them ill.

A Better Way: Entrust Your Life to God While Doing Good
There’s a better way to live life than constantly blaming others for your challenges. There’s a better way to live than demanding others fix your situation. The Bible shows us this better way. But the secular world is coming to understand this as well. Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl discovered—amid the horrors of Auschwitz, no less—that no matter what our circumstances, we are response-able. As image-bearers of a creative God, we have personal agency: the ability to take initiative, to choose our response, and to act wisely no matter what we face. [3]And, although taking responsibility often means owning our sinful behavior and its impact on others, we can do this if we look to a Saviour who rescues us from the consequences of our sin. Or, in the words of the apostle Peter, writing to Christians suffering persecution: let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Peter 4:19).

Now that’s a much better way to live. If you want to know more about what it means to be a Christian, go to our website at: www.asafeplaceonline.com/become-a-christian

This article adapted from : https://au.thegospelcoalition.org/article/beware-the-dangers-of-a-victim-mentality/

My Family is Driving me Crazy

Is your family driving you crazy? Do you struggle with establishing healthy limits in your relationships? Consider the blessing of healthy boundaries for your relationships. A boundary is a limit you set regarding what behavior you will tolerate from other people. Boundaries help define your identity and your integrity. When someone crosses your boundary, something inside of you will react. The reaction may be subtle or unmistakable. Either way, you will know something isn’t right. This may be especially true for your physical boundaries, such as when someone infringes on your personal space or touches you inappropriately. But there are many other kinds of boundary crossings.

Examples of boundary crossing

And the list goes on!

Setting and maintaining boundaries

Setting boundaries—and maintaining them—is often difficult for people, and it can be especially difficult with parents and other close family members. If you didn’t learn the art of setting boundaries growing up, it is highly likely that your relatives didn’t either. Your relatives may be pushy, manipulative, and controlling people, but they may also be nice people who interfere because they love you, are concerned about you, and have never learned appropriate boundaries themselves. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should allow inappropriate boundary crossing to continue.

Jesus said, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:4, NIV). In 1 John 4:20 we read, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” Scripture is very clear that God is primarily concerned about what is in our hearts because that is what prompts our words and our actions. Smiling and speaking kindly to someone, while inwardly seething with resentment, definitely does not please God, and the risk is that your resentment may erupt in angry words and damage your relationships. So let’s be clear that it is healthy for Christians to set boundaries.

It is critical for our spiritual, as well as our emotional, and relational health to maintain clear boundaries with others.

Steps for setting healthy boundaries

  1. Decide what behavior you will accept from others.
  2. Formulate a very clear statement of your expectations. Example: Instead of “Don’t just drop in,” say, “Please call first to arrange a time to visit.”
  3. It is often helpful to write the statement on a piece of paper.
  4. Practice saying it in front of a mirror to be sure your facial expression matches your message.
  5. If you call to deliver your message, have the paper in front of you.
  6. If you are with the person, use only the statement you’ve written.
  7. Continue to restate the message if the other person objects, argues, or tries to put a guilt trip on you.
  8. If they persist after a few exchanges, politely excuse yourself and exit the conversation.
  9. Don’t be surprised if the people in your life don’t like your new boundaries.
  10. Be prepared to lovingly and firmly maintain them.
  11. Occasional push back is quite typical, so be alert!

Taking the time to learn boundary-setting skills and practicing them will benefit you greatly, and your relationships will be much more rewarding.

If your family is driving you crazy consider whether your most loving action might be to establish and maintain a healthy boundary.


(article copied from: familyfire.com/articles/help-my-family-is-driving-me-crazy)

Hope for Your Problems

When life seems overwhelming with problems, and hope seems lost…please don’t give up! What you are going through must be horrible and may feel like it’s never going to stop. I want to encourage you and give you hope, what you are experiencing is only temporary!

It had a starting point, and most definitely has an ending point. It is NOT going to last forever, although it may feel that way. Here is the good news; when we get to the end of ourselves, meaning we have done everything we know to do in our own strength, turn to JESUS; He will Help!

He is the Only One Who has the Power that can and will set you free and deliver you from fear, worry, torment, depression, and despair, and in exchange give you freedom, peace, joy, and every other good and beneficial thing.

And He wants to, God’s desire for you is absolute freedom, deliverance, and salvation… all which are found in Jesus.

That is why He sent Him into the world, so everyone can be saved, set free, and delivered.

I am going to share a few passages that I hope and pray ?? will provide you with hope, peace, and faith in what God says, versus how you feel.

Feelings are fickle and don’t always align with what is true and real and at times cause us great emotional conflict and harm.

Gods Word (The Bible) is True and has real spiritual power. (Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 1:16) When you put your faith in God and His Word, (believing what He says versus what you feel) your feelings will begin to lose power and effect and you will begin to experience His peace and freedom like never before.

Look (Focus your attention) to God for Help. Don’t look (focus) on the problem!

When you focus on your feelings and the problem it may seem impossible to overcome, and cause/produce a downward spiral of negativity, and/or depression that can lead to despair and hopelessness.

But when your focus is on God and Jesus and His promises, you will be encouraged that help is available, and on the way. He has promised to never leave nor forsake us and is Ever Present to Help in our time of need.

Heb 4:14 – “But Jesus the Son of God is our great High Priest who has gone to heaven itself to help us; therefore let us never stop trusting him.”

Heb 4:15 – “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses since he had the same temptations we do, though he never once gave way to them and sinned.”

Heb 4:16 – “So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive his mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need.”

Trust God and Keep Believing!

He Who has Promised is Faithful to fulfill it:-)

Isa 26:3 – You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

Isa 26:4 – Trust in the Lord God always, for in the Lord Jehovah is your everlasting strength.

Php 4:6 – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Php 4:7 – Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Php 4:8 – And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

Php 4:9 – Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

If you put into practice (continually) these things you have been instructed to do; You begin to experience all these things and more on a continual basis. And remember He (God) Who said these things is Faithful and watches over His Word to perform them in our lives as we believe (Keep Faith) in what He says. That is the way in which we receive and experience All His blessings and benefits-

Psa 103:1 –  A Psalm Of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Psa 103:2 –  Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

Psa 103:3 –  Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases (Isaiah 53),

Psa 103:4 –  Who redeems your life from destruction (John 3:16), Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies

Psa 103:5 –  Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]! [Isa 40:31]

Psa 103:6 –  The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.

Psa 103:7 –  He revealed his will and nature to Moses and the people of Israel.

Psa 103:8 –  The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

Psa 34:2 –  I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart.

Psa 34:3 –  Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.

Psa 34:4 – I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.

Psa 34:5 – Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

Psa 34:6 – In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.

Psa 34:7 – For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

Psa 34:8 – Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

Psa 30:5 – For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

Isa 61:1 – The Sovereign LORD has filled me (Jesus) with his Spirit. He has chosen me and sent me To bring good news to the poor, To heal the broken-hearted, To announce release to captives And freedom to those in prison.

Isa 61:2 – He has sent me to proclaim That the time has come When the LORD will save his people And defeat their enemies. He has sent me to comfort all who mourn,

Isa 61:3 – To give to those who mourn in Zion (everywhere on the planet) Joy and gladness instead of grief, A song of praise instead of sorrow. They will be like trees That the LORD himself has planted. They will all do what is right, And God will be praised for what he has done.If you are hurting, and you need someone to share your struggles with, we provide a free live chat that is available any time, any day, and from anywhere in the world.

How to Overcome Depression

Depression is real. If you are reading this, you may already know that.


In some cultures, it can be dismissed as a myth or something that doesn’t deserve real treatment. However, if you do struggle with the symptoms of depression, there are steps you can take to make your quality of life better.

Other times we jump to the conclusion that depression only means sad when really, it can affect people in a wide swath of ways:

Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable:

Can you relate to some or multiple of these?
Is it hard for you to go to sleep or decide to get out of bed?
Is it hard for you to want to do activities you used to like? Whether it be reading or hunting or sewing or hanging out with friends?
Do negative thoughts sabotage your mind to hinder you from success?
Do you feel hopeless or helpless?
Do you hurt emotionally and physically?

If your answer is yes to any of these questions, there are ways to fight back.

Here are ways you can begin to overcome depression:

Find emotional support

This can be a support group, or it can be having a friend, family member, or mentor who is a genuine listener who can be present with you. Engaging is the key word here. Be proactive in finding friends to go get coffee with or a trip to the city for a show or something fun. Volunteering can also be rewarding as can the emotional support of a beloved pet in the home. If you struggle with depression, it’s important to have someone you can be vulnerable and honest with.

Participate in a hobby

A wholesome hobby could be joining a rec league in a sport you love or attending cooking or a language class. It could be creating crafts inspired from Pinterest or dusting off an instrument that’s been tucked inside a closet or a corner. This is important because it gives you a reason to do something with your day. We’ve been there where we spend hours sleeping in because we don’t have a reason to get out of bed. This just leads to feeling worthless and having an unsatisfactory day. If you have events on a calendar, it gives you a reason to get out of bed, get dressed, and socialize with others.

Make Healthy Habits

The word healthy may also sound synonymous with eating salad, sweating, or staying away from sweets… which are all hard to do. But first, you should examine your sleep schedule. Are you consistently getting eight full, restorative hours of sleep? Are you on a consistent schedule? Do you feel drained when you wake up or throughout your day? If you struggle in this area, you can try several things:

Take a Nap

Brief daytime naps might protect you against the harmful health effects of a poor night’s sleep, a new study suggests. Specifically, naps appeared to restore hormones and proteins involved in stress and immune function to normal levels in the study.

Spend time outside

Spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, is one of the fastest ways to improve your health and happiness. It’s been shown to lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate, while encouraging physical activity and buoying mood and mental health

Avoid technology before bedtime

Using screens can affect how quickly you fall asleep and for how long you sleep. This happens for several reasons: Screen usage in the hour before bed can stimulate your brain. Blue light from televisions, computer screens, phones, and tablets might suppress melatonin levels and delay sleepiness.

Excercise

Find something you enjoy doing. Finding a lifetime sport you can be consistent with is the key to success.

Diet

You can make a few changes and reap a healthier life. Limiting caffeine and nicotine use can help with sleep and also help your brain. Also, avoiding sugar and refined carbs can help too. B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for stabilizing your mood and fighting off depression. Because of this, eating leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, chicken, eggs, and fish can be extremely helpful.

Think Happy Thoughts

No, it’s not easy to break off the chains of negative thinking. But it is possible to identify patterns of pessimistic thoughts that throw gasoline onto the fire of depression and replace them with reasonable thinking. For example, if you look at things in absolutes, this can lead you to mental destruction as there are middle grounds in life. If you overgeneralize life circumstances, this can keep you from growing as one negative experience can keep you from having positive ones in the same area. Also, if you are a glass-half-empty kind of person, you can spend a lot of thoughts focusing on all the bad things in life rather than the good things. Jumping to conclusions can also be harmful as assuming the worst can be detrimental especially in relationships. Another thing to remember is the way you feel doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. The most helpful thing you can do if you are drowning in disparaging thoughts is to question them. Is there truth to what you are thinking? Is there another way to look at your current situation? How would a positive person look at this situation?

Make a commitment

Changing a lifestyle isn’t easy or more people would be able to complete their New Years’ Resolutions. Anything worth having takes work and effort. If you do decide to take medication for depression, it’s important to know that they work best if you also make an effort for a healthier lifestyle. Also, it’s good to aim to be off of them for the long-term to avoid unwanted side effects. But sometimes they may be necessary for the short-term. It’s also important to seek out professional help if you have made lifestyle changes and your depression doesn’t recede. Depression is a treatable illness and because the causation can be from a wide variety of factors, there isn’t a universal band-aid for it. But if you are struggling, there is help out there.

We’d be remiss if we did not mention another aspect of depression – the spiritual side.

Ephesians six says there’s a war happening every day on this earth against evil and good, light and darkness, Jesus and Satan. And in this war, we can defend ourselves with truth, salvation, peace, and faith. But our offense, our sword, our way to fight back, comes from relying on the Holy Spirit to fight our battles for us. All it takes is prayer. Praying truth is also both a defensive and offensive strategy that can send spiraling, negative thoughts far away and replace it with peace. Here are some scriptures you can pray to feel peace and hope:

Find courage, find peace. If you need a reminder, print off these verses and put them where you can see them every day. Memorize them and treasure them in your heart. If you are hurting, and you need someone to share your struggles with, contact us and we'll be happy to help.

When Worry Takes Over Your Life

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” – Leo Buscaglia

We can worry about almost anything: our job, our relationships, our health, our country, our money, our family, etc.

Modern studies suggest worrying can negatively impact health because it can lead to unnecessary stress in one’s life. When we worry, we spend our time focused on what can go wrong or the negative things that can happen in life. Instead, we should be spending energy on reaching goals and enjoying the positive things in life.

Worry isn’t something we should write-off. Some consequences include increasing the chances of fatal diseases, being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, having a damaged immune system, and sabotaged sleep.

Researchers from the University of Surrey put it like this: “Worry is a chain of thoughts and images that are affectively negative and relatively uncontrollable.” 

We worry because we feel out of control. But at some point, we eventually have to come to a “Que, Sera Sera,” moment where we realize we can’t control everything.

Another reason we could worry is because of stressful past circumstances that we don’t want to be repeated. This could surface in stage fright, social anxiety, the fear of failing, etc.

Do you spend a lot of daylight hours worrying?

Is this mental preoccupation being destructive to your overall health and wellness?

Do you want to stop?

Here are some researched-out ways that can help you kick worrying to the curb.

Keep a Journal

Whenever you feel the onslaught of anxious thoughts, write them down. Having a record, over time, can help you see the number of worries that play out in life. Hopefully, it’s slim-to-none. If a similar worry repeats itself, you can already know from past experiences there was nothing to worry about!

Practice mindfulness

Live present with today and right now. If you find yourself worrying about things way out in the future that you have no control over… stop and redirect your thoughts. This takes practice but paired with deep-breathing exercises it can create a happier life.

Find Acceptance

Sometimes, we can worry about worrying. As a result, when we try to avoid negative thoughts it ends up being a soda pop in a can that’s all shook up. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee explained it like this: “Those who are naturally more accepting of their intrusive thoughts are less obsessional, have lower levels of depression, and are less anxious.”

Spend time “off the grid”

Anxiety UK did a study that revealed half of the people feel worried when disconnected from their Social Media or email.

Have you become controlled by technology?

Do you feel anxious if your phone isn’t within an arms reach away from you? You may need to spend some time off of your devices. This could involve finding a new hobby. Something like baking, long walks, exploring the local scenes, or visiting a library can prove wholesome.

Have a “worry time”

For a brief period of your day, have a spot in your routine dedicated to worrying. This could be in the shower, with a cup of coffee in the mornings, or on your lunch break. Any other time of the day that you catch yourself worrying, procrastinate it for your “worry time.” Use these minutes to find solutions or practice mindfulness.

Reach out

We care.

And remember, you are more valuable to the God in heaven who cares for the birds and the flowers. He cares for you too.

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:27, 34)


I’m Addicted and I Can’t Give It Up

What is Addiction?

Addiction is when a person is unable to consistently abstain from a substance or behavior (ASAM). It can be craving alcohol, medication, or other substances. It can be desiring to eat excessively, to shop, to have sex, to gamble, to be on social media, to work, or to exercise.
Whatever it is – it controls you.

Addiction may start with just one drink, enjoying the rush of a big win, or the thrill of swiping a credit card. The high makes everything worth it… at first.

But then, consequences follow. And soon, things can seem out of control. The first step to overcoming addictive behavior is recognizing it. If you are reading this, you may already know that you or someone you love needs help.

Do you or your loved one feel a lack of control to where they cannot stay away from a substance or behavior?
Do you or your loved one stop engaging with friends, family, or relationships?
Do you or your loved one take illogical risks?
Are there physical signs of withdrawal?

Change cannot always happen by yourself. If you want to talk to someone, chat here. We are here to listen.

But once you have recognized this behavior and can see the negative effects it has on your life; you can start taking steps. Here are some helpful suggestions for how to start breaking the chains of addiction.

Setting a Clear Goal

What do you want to accomplish? Sometimes going from 100 to 0 can be difficult. And sometimes, it can be dangerous. For example, if a person is addicted to eating excessively, not eating at all will cause another harmful disorder.

If you are addicted to nicotine, it’s easier to wane yourself off of cigarettes by doing small doses like patches or gum.

Set a goal that’s achievable – going cold turkey can set a person up for relapse. Talking to a doctor, counselor, or other licensed professional may help so that you can take clear steps towards recovery.

Cleaning House

Once you’ve decided to change and have made your goal, it’s time to clean house. What does this mean? To take away anything that might be an emotional trigger or substances within reach.
It’s trashing your stash.

It’s unplugging the video game console, cutting up the credit cards, cleaning out the pantry, or setting up safeguards for porn use.

It’s getting whatever it is as far away as possible.

Having a Trusted Friend or Therapy Group

Success is higher if you have an accountability partner, friend, supportive family member, or a group. Many people know what AA is and there’s also a program called Celebrate Recovery which is for any addictive behaviors or personal struggles.

So, as part of the preparation stage, add that additional safeguard and accountability.

Therapy and Withdrawl

Find the best therapy for you. There are Cognitive Behavior Therapies, online therapy programs, mindfulness approaches, and counseling. Reach out to a trusted professional and find out what will help you achieve your goal.

Once you have talked with a professional, it’s time to quit. When withdrawing from a substance, it can be extremely uncomfortable which is why it is crucial to reach out for professional help. You can go here: samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline as an online resource.

Avoiding Relapse

The top cause of going back to the addiction is stress because a person may crave release. Ways to avoid major negative stressors can be getting out of toxic relationships or bad circumstances (financial, physical, job, etc.). It’s also good to be mindful of when you are stressed and what to do when you are.

Trading negative coping mechanisms for positive ones can take time. This is why more people relapse on the first attempt to quit an addiction than find recovery. Relapse does not mean failure; it happens because we are craving what is missing. If you do relapse, you can learn from it and try to understand what and why it happened so you can put safeguards in place for next time.

Finding Normalcy

Many people replace one addictive behavior with another one. The key to avoiding this is being present and enjoying every-day living. It may not have the rush that comes with addictive behavior, but there will be peace.

John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”


Addicted to Porn

Porn.
A word that has been normalized in our culture.
A casual activity that can become a habit.
A habit that can become an addiction.

Porn is an addiction that can control your life, steal real joy and pleasure from authentic relationships, and always demands more.

If you are addicted to porn and need help, you are not alone. Many people have to fight this battle every day whether they are male, female, young, old, married, or single. If you want to talk about this with someone, we are here for you and you can chat now.

Pornography addiction is a behavioral addiction that is a compulsive obsession to watch porn. Like other addictions, this can affect a person to the point where the need to watch sex can be compared to the need for a smoker to light up a cigarette. And as a behavioral addiction, porn addictions have the same symptoms:

So, do you spend a lot of time watching porn?

Have you been unable to stop watching pornography and other behaviors associated with it (like masturbation) despite trying to repeatedly?

Do you need to watch porn? Do you crave it?

Do you become angry if someone confronts you about porn-use?

Do you have to keep watching more explicit porn to gain satisfaction?

Have you lost interest in intimacy with your spouse? Or, even in simple acts of physical expressions of love with a significant other like holding their hand or sharing a kiss?

Have you stopped being involved with your friends or family because of the need to watch porn?

Have you kept it a secret from loved ones?

If your answer is yes to more than a few of these questions, it’s time to seriously evaluate how porn can be negatively affecting your life and your relationships with loved ones.

If you want to change, it’s time to reach out to someone who cares and make a game plan. Here are some ways you can fight porn addiction.

Get Accountability
This addiction dwells in secret, when you are alone, and when you believe “no one will ever know.” It’s time to take out the cat from the bag.

Whether it be a friend, a parent, or even an accountability group, find someone you can trust to be open and honest about your addiction.

If you try to break this addiction on your own, you may fail. Don’t try to go it alone. Confide in someone who loves and cares for you.

Put up Safeguards
Have safeguards in place on your phone or electronics or however you access porn. Buy a flip phone if you have to. Wherever you are the most tempted and whenever you are the most tempted… replace that time with another activity that also releases good chemicals in the brain like exercising. Keep the door open. Put your phone outside of your bedroom if you are tempted at night. Do whatever it takes.

Counseling or Therapy
If you are addicted to porn and need help, it’s time to get professional counseling. If you have tried everything you can and the clutches of pornography still haven’t released you, there is no shame in going to counseling or seeking out group therapy. Pornography has neurological side-effects and can be treated. Find help.

Not Alone
You are beloved. And whatever you are going through, there is hope and a way out.

“You have never been tempted to sin in any different way than other people. God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted more than you can take. But when you are tempted, He will make a way for you to keep falling into sin.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

“The man who does not give up when tests come is happy. After the test is over, he will receive the crown of life. God has promised this to those who love him.” James 1:12


What is Loneliness?

Being alone is different from loneliness.

One can be surrounded by people, connected with hundreds of friends on technology, or live with a large family and still feel lonely.

Loneliness comes from the anxiety of lacking genuine connection with others. Or, even if someone does have a genuine connection with others, feeling like no one cares. If left unchecked, it can develop into feelings of low self-esteem or even self-loathing which can have devastating impacts on life.

On average, about 35% of people feel lonely or say they do not have meaningful interactions with people daily. What’s more interesting is despite the rampant use of technology and being around people their age often in school or college, 40% of younger people report feeling lonely.

If you are feeling lonely, you are not alone in your loneliness. Chat right now with someone who cares.

What’s more, over time, loneliness can be both physically and psychologically harmful. Some even claim loneliness shortens a lifespan the same as smoking 15 cigarettes a day because it can raise the risk of anxiety, depression, heart disease, diabetes, substance use, higher blood pressure, and a weaker immune system.

Five main characteristics of feeling lonely can include

If you feel like you can relate to several of these characteristics, here are some proactive steps you can take to combat loneliness:

Share good moments

When something good happens, use it to direct positive thoughts. Sharing happy moments in life with co-workers, friends, or even a journal will create positive connections with people or strengthen that mentality within your brain.

Focus on real-life connections

Texting, sharing Tic-Tok videos or funny posts on Instagram can seem a lot easier than actually talking with someone face-to-face.

It might be time to log out from social media and login into a genuine connection. Whether that’s putting the phones away when you are eating dinner with your family or being proactive with your friends, you can decrease feelings of loneliness if you build stronger in-person connections.

Making eye contact, listening more and speaking less, and being caring can help you accomplish this.

These can become social moments that do so much more for your health and wellness than binging Netflix, scrolling through your media feeds, or oversleeping.

Engage in the real-world

Get out of your comfort zone! Talk to the cashier checking you out at the store, to the person next to you on the airplane, to the person waiting in line with you… Get out of your bubble!

Also, creating community in your life can be very helpful in the fight against loneliness. This could be joining a Bible study group, taking fitness classes with the same people, joining a club, etc. Find what you like to do and share that experience with others.

Invest in positive experiences

Have you used your vacation days? It might be time to go do something fun! Whether you are an outdoorsy person and would love to go canoeing, hiking, skiing beaching or wine tasting is more your speed, having new experiences can be amazing for your self-esteem and mental health.

Share these experiences with loved ones or use them as an opportunity to build deeper connections with your friends and family. Even if you do not have vacation days or money saved up, you can come up with something special to do on the weekend like a game night or going out to the movies.

Find hope

You are not alone. You are loved. You are cared for. Here are some encouraging verses to keep close to your heart when negative feelings of loneliness disparage you:

“I am with you and will keep you wherever you go… For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”(Genesis 28:15)

“Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; you understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; you are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know all about it, Lord. You have encircled me; you have placed your hand on me. This wondrous knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it. Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in the darkest pit, you are there. If I fly on the wings of the dawn and settle down on the western horizon, even there your hand will lead me; your right hand will hold on to me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night”— even the darkness is not dark to you. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to you. For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began.” (Psalm 139:1-16)


What is Alcoholism?

It can start with just one drink… A friend offers you a free one at a party, you are the only one at the restaurant not drinking, you have seen other people drink and it looks like “fun,” or a family member offered it to you when you were young and set you off a downward spiral into addiction.

Whatever the case, somehow, somewhere, “just one drink” can turn into where you cannot get through a day or a week without needing a drink to soothe you, to cope, or to take away the present pain.

The good news is, if you recognize the early signs of addiction, it can be easier to recover from it before it becomes a long-term habit that can have damaging side effects on your health and relationships.

What are the signs? Ask yourself these questions:

If your answer is yes to any of these questions, it may be time to seek help. Chat now with someone you can trust if you want to talk about it.

Why Alcohol?

The reason that drives you to drink can be important in recovery. Once you know why you turn to alcohol, you can take steps to quit.

Common reasons include:

Trauma
Traumatic events can stay with a person for a long time and continue to cause sorrow and loss, especially if they did not have an empathetic witness. Healing from past trauma in your life may be what you need to focus on to break away from alcoholism with a trained professional.

Stress
Alcohol is a depressant and sedative which can temporarily release feelings of pleasure in the brain. Also, if you are a naturally anxious person in general, it can soothe your nerves temporarily so you can relax in social situations. But it’s only a quick fix. If you are depending on alcohol to get through every-day life and tasks, you may want to see what in your life is causing you the most stress and how you can take that stressful trigger away. It might mean separating yourself from a toxic friend or family member or finding a new job. Instead of reaching for the bottle when you are stressed, it might be time to learn new, healthy habits that also release pleasure feelings in the brain like exercise, yoga, engaging with a pet, etc.

Escape
Maybe, you just want to feel good and escape the pressures of harsh reality. Maybe alcohol offers relief. What do you need relief from?

Cope with Loss
Losing a loved one can be devastating. Grief is a part of life, and if you need help accepting the death of someone close to you, it’s important to talk to a person who will listen and care. Alcohol does not care about you, but people do.

Shame
This emotion is difficult to overcome, and alcohol can lead to deeper feelings of shame. While inebriated, one can engage in reckless or foolish activities which someone can regret later down the road. Instead of learning how to deal with your feelings of shame, alcohol will only continue them.

Alcohol’s Damaging Effects

There are both short-term and long-term effects of alcohol use, both dangerous for a person’s health and safety.

The short-term effects include diminished reaction time, slow reflexes, restlessness, blurry vision, laborious breathing, and fewer reservations. This is why it can be FATAL for you and others on the road to drive after drinking.

The reason why alcohol use can be detrimental to paying for life or health insurance is that a person is more likely to have: brain defects, neurological diseases, cancer, liver disease, diabetes, and heart problems.

Alcohol is not worth it.

Committing to Treatment.

You are not alone. There is help out there. If you have a severe alcohol addiction, it is best to quit drinking alcohol with the help of a medical professional or facility as substance withdrawal can have serious side effects. Talk with your doctor or someone you trust to decide what treatment is best for you.

Even after you have completed rehab, it takes dedication and commitment to be sober. Joining a support group or seeing a counselor or therapist continually can all be helpful in this part of your journey.

Have hope, you are not alone. And if you seek out God, he will help you overcome.

“For if a man belongs to Christ, he is a new creation. The old life is gone. New life has begun.” 2 Corinthians 5:17