How can I recover from my hurts, hang-ups, and habits?
This is a program that is based on the beatitudes of the Bible.
There is hope.
Let me share my testimony of what happened to me with I was completely lost, hopeless and suicidal.
Before I begin, I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ in recocery from drugs / alcohol and a violent imorage lifestyle. My name is Monty.
My journey to Victory through Celebrate Recovery
Good evening everyone. I am so glad you are reading this, if you have lost hope or know someone that has this might help you. When I was first asked to share my testimony, I was excited, then scared, then reflective on my journey in Celebrate Recovery.
I would like to open this with prayer. Father I pray that this testimony would reach someone that needs you. That my story of your love and redeeming Grace brought me out of hell on earth and into a personal relationship with the Lord. How my addictions have been turned over to the Lord and my life is so much better than I ever thought possible. Testify to them that you love them right where they are. And you want to heal then of whatever they are going through, In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Let us jump back about 5 and a half years ago. I was about as messed up as any human being could be. I did not realize it at the time, because I was in such denial that I could not even believe that God existed anymore. Or if he did, he did not want anything to do with me.
Thank God, He directed me to a Celebrate Recovery meeting at Lenexa Baptist Church and I actually went!
When I walked in the door to the first meeting I expected and was looking for someone to judge me, tell me I did not belong there, tell me I needed to change the way I was dressed, cut my hair and beard or ask me if I was lost?
I wanted someone to confront me so, I could confront them, like I would have before I found the Lord throught Celebrate Recovery. Trying to prove to myself again, I didn’t belong in Church, and God wanted nothing to do with me.
You see, I was in my full leathers, a biker’s shirt, Harley boots, and skull rings on almost every finger. And of course, my long hair. K-BAR strapped to my leg. That was just my normal dress every day. I wasn’t going to change for all you “bible thumpers” or anyone else for that matter. Besides I had to keep up my reputation, “you didn’t want to mess with me”. I had learned that I could intimidate almost anyone with that look.
I had moved back to Kansas City to escape my violent immoral lifestyle which had spun completely out of control for about two decades. I finally wanted to get sober for my kids and newly born grandson. And get out of a lifestyle that was about as far from God as you could get. But I didn’t have a clue how to do that?
Before, I was kicking in doors almost every night and working with drug dealers and my motorcycle club as an enforcer. I was completely suicidal. After being shot three times and stabbed over 12 times I knew I was immortal, and my street name was VIKING. And along with that lifestyle I had attempted suicide at least three times that I can remember, I got to the point that I believed not even God could kill me. (do you think I might have been in denial?)
Well, my attempt to get sober did not work so good for me. I attended AA, NA, CA and did 248 meetings in my first 90 days. (I am not bashing any of these 12 step programs, it’s just they did not work for me, because I refused to surrender to anyone or anything, especially an unknown higher power.) and besides,surrender was not part of my vocabulary!!
Getting back to coming to Celebrate Recovery for the first time.
Not only did NOT one person judge me, or look down on me, these weird guys (Who later became the best friends I ever had!) reached out to me and told me I was exactly where I belonged? I thought immediately, ok what kind of cult is this, and what do they want me to do for them? And I am not paying them a penny! And I’m not joining your multi-level pyramid scam either. Especially when they told me they Loved me and understood what I was dealing with. What, were these guy’s physic? Man, I was looking for an escape door anywhere and everywhere.
So, why bring all this up? I wanted to show you how using Celebrate Recovery in my life was the key that leads me to my recovery. Because it allowed me to claim Jesus Christ as my Higher Power. It worked for me and now I try to use it in my daily life every day and consistently. And it brought VICTORY over so many of my hurts, hang-ups, and habits.
Why do I Talk about victory? What is the world’s definition of VICTORY?
- An act of defeating an enemy or opponent in a battle, game, or other competition.
‘an election victory’
mass noun ‘they won their heat and went on to victory in the final’
I used to be all about this kind of VICTORY, limiting myself to what the world see’s as VICTORY. Not just doing but demanding it of myself.
From an early age, I was enrolled in athletic competitive sports. Baseball, Football, Swimming, Motocross, Wrestling, Basketball. I excelled at most of them, so I claimed VICTORY in many games and matches. But, I would ALWAYS fall short of what my father expected of me. He was a perfectionist and expected the same of me. Even though this is impossible, it was expected. If I was not first place every time, I was a loser.
Then my education, I was on the honor roll. But, that did not really matter because my older brother was second in his class. So, I have been continually reminded my entire adult life that I was a failure in school and would never do anything to make my father proud of me. That was actually something he said, “word for word”. Just before he died 6 years ago.
During my culinary career, it was the same thing. I was in many competitions, getting medals in several of them. But, in my head, I could not claim VICTORY unless I received GOLD every time.
I believed that VICTORY was something “I achieved by myself”! Always trying to make my father and others proud of me. I hoped to make myself feel loved and appreciated by achieving it. But by not ever being able to get that VICTORY, that I imagined being real, I labeled myself a failure in everything.
Then when I was really trying to develop a personal relationship with the Lord I continued to fail there too. Whenever I tried to get that personal relationship with the Lord, by confessing my sins, my church disciplined me very harshly and told me I could not take communion or pray in public until they decided I was worthy.
So, the word VICTORY started signifying to me, mental anguish, torture, unreal, impossible, fake, and eventually “there was no God!” so why try. Just do what I want, it does not matter anyway.
Then I realized as I was coming to Celebrate Recovery and doing my first Step Study, I had been doing many of the steps we talked about, throughout my life. But because I had not put God in the front office, making Him CEO of my life, I was choosing what steps to take and when.
By taking the third step before I had completed the first two steps it was like building a house by framing it first then trying to build a foundation after and thinking it would hold up.
The first three steps & principles are the foundation to victory over my hurts, hang-ups, and habits. Then I’m on my way to a personal relationship with the Lord and His ultimate healing power!
Principle 1: Powerless
Principle 1: Realize I’m not God. I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong things and that my life is unmanageable.
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.” Matthew 5:3
If I am honest with myself, I will admit to myself that I am POWERLESS. I am not in control of anything but my thoughts and my actions. Pretty much everything else is out of my control.
Step 1 – Denial
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.
“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Romans 7:18
“Where God’s love is there is no fear because God’s perfect love drives out fear” 1 John 4:18 NCV
Principle 2 HOPE
Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and He has the power to help me recover.
Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4
This was a very important part of my journey in my recovery from drugs/alcohol and many other character defects.
I was so out there that nothing made sense anymore. I had no hope. It just didn’t exist. I was already in HELL as far as I could see. How could anything be worse than where I was at. That is when suicide became a reality for me. It was the only way out. I attempted three times. But, God had a different plan for me. Even though I had no idea, he was preparing me for His work.
It all happened when I learned about grace during my first step study. I had never been taught about grace. I had always been taught I had to be perfect and earn my way to heaven. When I learned that God loved me right where I was at, at first I couldn’t believe it. It took me a few months to let it sink in. although during that time I was praying and in God’s Word daily. There came a time (I can’t tell exactly what day it was, it was gradual.) when I knew this to be true. I got baptized by Pastor Chad and Brian Rothrock at Shawnee Mission Lake.
Step 2 – Surrender
Step 2: We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:13
Step 3 – Turn your life over to God’s will
By missing those two important steps I had doomed myself to failure. Because I was still acting in my will and not God’s will for my life. As I take this journey of recovery, in all areas of my life, I cannot skip steps, or jump over them, thinking we will come back to that one later.
First, I had to come out of denial. (completely admit that I was not in control, I couldn’t do it alone) Not pick and choose what I was going to turn over.
Second, I had to surrender (remember that word wasn’t in my vocabulary. I was raised and taught my whole life that you never surrender, it shows you are weak, helpless and vulnerable).
It took months of Celebrate Recovery to teach me that is absolutely right! All those things are true.
Third, When I surrender to the Lord, I am admitting to Him that I am weak. I am helpless to control almost everything in my life and others; I am vulnerable because I am sinful despite my desire not to be.
But that is ok, now I see when I am weak, the Lord makes me strong.
This is just a start of my testimony. I am working on it to share publically at Celebrate Recovery meetings. I will be updating and adding to it as I finish editing it. I just wanted to share what I have done now.