The Bachelor

Next season, The Bachelor will resume its 20-year run on network television. Because some years have had multiple seasons, this will mark the 25th season for the top-rated show. As you probably know, the premise is that a man picks his wife from among several women who essentially audition for the job each week, in…

Read more

Betrayal Pain

Guys, if you think your sexual betrayal isn’t hurting anybody, read on. Barbara Steffens reports, in “The Traumatic Nature of Disclosure for Wives of Sexual Addicts,” that a survey of 63 wives of self-identified sex addicts found that 70 percent of these women met most criteria for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, and 71…

Read more

Independence Day

For those living in America, today is Independence Day, which marks the birth of the nation. When I celebrate today, two thoughts come to mind. “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). “What the people want is very simple – they want an America as good as its promise” (Barbara Jordan). We have daily readers…

Read more

Golf Lesson

A man loved to play golf. But one Saturday, he returned home from a game with a friend much earlier than expected. His wife asked him why his game ended so soon. The man answered, “Would you want to play with someone who whines about every shot, complains constantly about the course, and makes obnoxious…

Read more

Pa Won’t Like It!

A farm boy accidentally overturned his wagon load of corn. His neighbor heard him scream in frustration, and invited him over for lunch.  The farm boy said, “That’s mighty nice of you to invite me over, but Pa won’t like it.” After a delicious lunch, the man said to the farm boy, “Before lunch, you…

Read more

Arkansas Hunters

A couple of Arkansas hunters were deep into the woods when one of the men suddenly collapsed. His friend immediately called 911. “I think my friend is dead! What do I do?” The operator tried to calm the man down. “Stay calm. The first thing you need to do is make sure your friend is…

Read more

Choppy Waters

“Joab defected to Adonijah, though he had not defected to Absalom” (I Kings 2:28). Joab had withstood his greatest test, remaining faithful to King David by not following after the fascinating leadership of upstart Absalom. Yet, toward the end of his life, Joab turned away to follow the less attractive leader, Adonijah. He overcame to…

Read more

Keep Playing

A pastor, a doctor, and an engineer went out for a round of golf. It wasn’t long before they caught up to a group playing ahead of them, that was very slow. When they asked the groundskeeper why the other group was so slow, they were told that all three golfers were blind. The pastor,…

Read more

The Man Who Died Twice

God cares for you enough to never waste your pain. A good friend recently told me that he hopes God can use his past, pain included. I assured him that this is God’s precise plan. God never lets our pain go to waste. Pain is what C.S. Lewis called “God’s great unwanted gift.” Remember a…

Read more

Stolen Tents

Two philosophers went on a camping trip. Tucked away in their sleeping bags for the night, one of them asked the other, “When you look up, what do you see?” His buddy said, “I see thousands of stars.” “And what is the deeper meaning of that to you?” “I think it means somebody stole our…

Read more

High Places

“He has a good heart.”  We hear that a lot. But is it the “heart” that really matters? Said another way, if the heart is good, but our actions don’t align with the desires of our heart, what good is it? We find this revealing description of a little-known king named Asa. “The high places…

Read more

Gunsmoke

Gunsmoke was the greatest western in television history. And Matt Dillon was the best U.S. Marshal ever. But during his 20-year career, Matt was shot 56 times, knocked unconscious 29 times, stabbed three times, and poisoned once. Imagine getting nearly killed on the job nearly five times a year for 20 years. And you think…

Read more

Married at 100

Larry and Henry were two 80-year-old friends who met for lunch the first Monday of each month. One day, before they even sat down at the table, Larry turned to Henry with a question.  “Who was that cute girl I saw you with at church yesterday?” Henry: “That ‘cute girl’ is my new wife.” Larry:…

Read more

Free Concert

A couple had their car stolen while shopping at a mall. While they were at the police station reporting the crime, the car was returned to the mall parking lot with a note on the windshield. “I am so sorry for taking your car. Let me explain. While walking through the parking lot, my wife…

Read more

Bad Reviews

Beth and I recently ate at a particular restaurant, largely because of its dozens of positive online reviews.   Those reviews were wrong.  Charles Spurgeon said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Dishonest reviews about a restaurant can cost you a nice night out. Dishonest…

Read more

This Day

Good choices have good consequences. And bad choices have bad consequences. C.S. Lewis wrote, “If man had never made bad choices, there would be no hell.” The bad choices of sexual addiction have resulted in a myriad of consequences: broken relationship with God, sleepless nights, loss of marriage, lack of spiritual power, absence of authenticity,…

Read more

Dumb Mr. Lewis

On April 4, 2019, Michael Casey Lewis was booked by the St. Lucie County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office for grand theft. He bonded out of jail and was released the same day.  Immediately after his release, Lewis burglarized several cars in the jail parking lot.  I think we can agree that Mr. Lewis cannot be considered…

Read more

A New Plan

There are a lot of interesting strategies that have been implemented in the fight against lust. Some have been found to be more successful than others. And it is my opinion that pretty much any plan that works is a good plan.  But here’s one you may have not thought of before. In the words…

Read more

Prison

Three men were each sentenced to 20-year prison terms. Each was allowed to bring one item into their cell, which they could keep for the entire 20 years. The first man requested a stack of books, the second requested his wife, and the third man asked for an unlimited supply of cigarettes.  At the end…

Read more

Name Him

Name him. He was one of just 13 athletes to play both Major League baseball and for the National Basketball Association. He played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Celtics. He was the first player in NBA history to shatter a backboard while dunking the basketball.  If you guessed Kevin Joseph Aloysius…

Read more

Music Trivia

Let’s play music trivia. Who was the first American Idol winner? Whom did Paul McCartney credit for teaching him everything he knew? Who was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Who is the only country artist to have a Top-20 hit for six consecutive decades? What was Elvis Presley’s…

Read more

An Apple a Day

We say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But no one really eats an apple a day. We say a lot of things – we’re going to join a gym, eat healthy, or spend less time playing silly video games. Many of us say we love our church, but a smaller percentage of…

Read more

You Already Have Enough

When God told Gideon to lead his people to victory over the Midianites, Gideon complained that he was the weakest man in the weakest family in the weakest tribe of Israel. Gideon essentially said, “Get someone else!”  To that, God said, “Go in the strength you already have” (Judges 6:14). That is life-changing. “Go in…

Read more

Good Tears

Hard times are a part of life. And they are certainly a part of recovery. I love this quote I came across the other day: “Laughter means nothing unless there have been tears” (Jack Hyles). Often, these tears are the result of bad decisions. A study cited by Psychology Today found that most people fail…

Read more

Smuggling

A man approached the border on his bicycle, carrying two heavy bags. The border patrol suspected drugs, but when they opened the bags, they only found sand. The next day, the man was back, crossing the border on a bicycle, carrying two bags. And once again, the border patrol checked the bags. Still, just sand. …

Read more

Turning Back

It’s one of the saddest verses in the Bible: “From that time many of his disciples went back and walked with him no more” (John 6:66).  In the recovery world, we call that relapse.  We find the following data on relapse from the Recovery Village. Following treatment, 80% suffer relapse within the first year. After…

Read more

Innocence

Purity is not innocence. If you define your sexual sobriety by zero thoughts of fantasy, no second looks, and only the purest of motives, prepare to reset your sobriety date – often. Purity is not innocence. This is to excuse any of the above. You absolutely should strive every day to overcome fantasy, second looks,…

Read more

Lawnmower

When Bob’s lawnmower quit on him, he called the repair shop. He asked the man at the shop what he recommended.  “We always suggest you try to fix the lawnmower yourself first. Only bring it to us if that doesn’t work.” Bob responded, “Wow! Thanks for the tip. But does your boss know you’re turning…

Read more

Afraid

Here’s something you don’t think about when you become a follower of Christ: “As they followed him they were afraid” (Mark 10:32). It’s what Oswald Chambers called “the discipline of dismay.” Charles Stanley wrote, “Those who have never trembled from head to toe will never know God’s perfect love.” I suggest we do two things:…

Read more

Weak Is Good

In his song, Weak Man, Leeland Mooring repeated this line throughout: “I’ll be weak for You are strong.” Dr. Travis Myers, professor of church history at Bethlehem College and Seminary, offers three ways in which God uses our weaknesses. Weakness reminds us that our life depends on God. Weakness reminds us that we deserve wrath,…

Read more

Millard Fillmore

On March 8, 1874, former President Millard Fillmore died from a stroke at his home in Buffalo, New York. His last words were spoken to his doctor, who had just fed him his last meal: “The nourishment is palatable.” Fillmore is buried near his home in Buffalo, and his grave can be easily viewed by…

Read more

Snatched from the Fire

Speaking of substance abuse, Joanne Zuhl wrote, “Even if addiction isn’t what puts people on the streets, it is often what keeps them there.”  Let’s apply that to any addiction, including sex. For many of us, regardless of how we found our way into the ditch, we are there, and we struggle mightily to dig…

Read more

Truth

In an old episode of Bonanza, Ben Cartwright said, “I don’t have anything against education, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your thinking.” That’s how a lot of us think. We are all in for truth – as long as it fits our narrative.  I agree with the sage philosopher of the past generation,…

Read more

Your Stash

I read about a bank robbery which resulted in a two-week trial for the prime suspect. While most observers were convinced of the man’s guilt, the jury foreman announced the verdict – “Not guilty.” The judge then asked the defendant if he had any questions. The man replied, “Only one question, your honor. Does this…

Read more

Neuroadaptation

In his groundbreaking book, Drowning in Screen Time, my good friend David Murrow writes, “Photographic pornography has existed only since the mid-1800s and was made illegal in the United States in 1873. Vice laws were relaxed after World War II, and Hugh Hefner democratized and upscaled porn with the debut of Playboy magazine in December,…

Read more

Porn Justified

Sadly, modern culture has degenerated to the point that many are now defending the indefensible.  Writing in Salon, Anna Pulley said, “Unlike physical sex, watching porn spreads no diseases, leads to zero pregnancies, and doesn’t engage with vicious judgments. Plus, using porn to satisfy one’s sexual needs is safe, free-to-cheap, and convenient. And it can…

Read more

Get Real

Sex addiction is an intimacy disorder. Ron Deal writes, “For many, sex has become a hiding place, a behavior that presents the appearance of intimacy, but is really striving for self-protection.” Sadly, true transparency, genuineness, and authenticity are not descriptors of many of us. Chris Rock framed it like this: “When someone meets you, they…

Read more

Headwinds

There is a stream of theology running amok that says faith in God means never having any problems. Tell that to the Apostle Paul. Reflecting on his trip across the Mediterranean Sea, Paul said, “The winds were against us” (Acts 27:4). That particular storm lasted for two weeks, leading to a shipwreck. The God of…

Read more

The Driver

When I was a kid, our family drove great distances on vacations from Texas – to California, Tennessee, and Ohio. I often slept for hours in the crowded car. How could I do this? It’s simple. I knew the driver. With Dad at the wheel, I always felt safe.  I have found recovery to be…

Read more

To Know God

There is a line from AA that reads, “It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning.” A knowledge of God is foundational for long-term recovery. J.I. Packer said it so well: “Once you become aware that the…

Read more

Simple

From my 31 years as a pastor and eight years of recovery work, I have come to this conclusion. Most of us are educated far beyond our level of obedience.  I often tell clients they won’t fall because they don’t know what to do, but because they don’t do what they know. It is important…

Read more

God Sees

What you see in the future, God sees in the past.  Let me say that again. What you see in the future, God sees in the past. That’s why he promises, “I will guide you with my eye” (Psalm 32:8). God sees what is coming before it comes.  What you see in the future, God…

Read more

God Sees

What you see in the future, God sees in the past.  Let me say that again. What you see in the future, God sees in the past. That’s why he promises, “I will guide you with my eye” (Psalm 32:8). God sees what is coming before it comes.  What you see in the future, God…

Read more

Tightrope

On June 15, 2012, Nik Wallenda crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope. That’s pretty impressive. I’ve met Nik. He’s an impressive guy and a devoted follower of Christ. But he wasn’t the first to cross the Falls. On June 30, 1859, Charles Blondin became the first to complete this unbelievable task. And he did it…

Read more

Unattainable

William Howard wrote, “The future belongs to the man who sets his sights on what is humanly unattainable.”  There are several dreams I once found unattainable in my life:  Saving my marriage Life after pastoring 2,302 consecutive days of sexual sobriety (as of today) Here’s the good news: we serve a God who turns the…

Read more

When Life’s a Wreck

Psalm 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” God doesn’t promise that there will be no storms.…

Read more

Sanctification

Life for the believer is a process: Regeneration Sanctification Glorification  In regeneration, we are born again. In glorification, we meet God face to face. It’s that middle step we are in now.  Paul wrote, “This is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). J. C. Ryle takes us a little deeper. “The means…

Read more

Daily

G.K. Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”  But following Jesus isn’t just hard work. It is daily work.  Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Catch…

Read more

Conor McGregor

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. MMA legend Conor McGregor said, “My success isn’t a result of arrogance. It’s the result of belief.”  Belief is good. Arrogance is not.  Pastor Sam Rainer said it like this: “Arrogance is not a good vehicle for the Gospel.” So what’s the problem with arrogance? From…

Read more

Presumptions

A new CEO demanded hard work from his employees. One day, he saw a guy standing by the food table, doing nothing. He yelled, “You’re fired! Get out of here!” Then he turned to one of the other men and said, “Smith, see what happens to slackers? Tell me, in your own words, what just…

Read more

Hole Digger

Two guys were working for the city. One would dig a hole, and the other would come behind him and fill it back up. A bystander was watching in disbelief. He said to the hole digger, “I am impressed by your hard work, the way you dig each hole. But why does your partner come…

Read more

Name This Place

It opened in 1992. It is large enough to hold 32 Boeing 747s. It has a roller coaster and a 74-foot Ferris wheel. Also home to a 1.2 million gallon aquarium, a wedding chapel, and 50 restaurants, it is visited by over 40 million guests each year, making it the most visited place in the…

Read more

Who Would Have Known?

Who would have known?  Cows don’t like the sound of cowbells. The sound increases the cow’s heart rate and creates anxiety. A Swiss study found that the constant sound of cowbells negatively affects the cow’s grazing and dietary habits.  Who would have known?  In the earliest days of baseball, umpires called balls and strikes from…

Read more

There’s Still Hope

Dr. Frances Cohen Praver writes, “Rather than desiring a sexual partner, the sex addict craves a sexual object – his fix.” God commanded man to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). And he created the perfect way to do that. We call it “sex.” And when limited to the marriage bed, sex is a wonderful…

Read more

The Wedding Cake

A dietician was addressing a crowd who wanted to learn how to eat in a healthier way. After his speech, he took questions from the audience.  One person asked, “What food causes more pain and suffering years after its consumption?”  Before the speaker had time to respond, a wise guy yelled out: “That’s easy –…

Read more

The Tongue

The United States military is the world’s #1 purchaser of explosives. Coming in at #2 is – ready for this? – Disney World. Explosives are either good or bad depending on how they are used. The tongue is that way. James said that the tongue can bring great blessing or destruction, depending on how it…

Read more

The First YouTube Video

The very first YouTube video was an 18-second clip called “Me at the Zoo.” It was uploaded by the site’s co-founder, Jawed Karim, on April 23, 2005. The video was first recorded by Karim’s high school friend, Yakov Lapitsky, at the San Diego Zoo, featuring Karim in front of the elephant habitat. Major achievements often…

Read more

Samuel J. Tilden

The 2020 election was without controversy compared to what happened in 1876. You’ve probably heard of Rutherford B. Hayes, who won the election. But you need to know about his opponent, Samuel J. Tilden. Winning 52 percent of the vote, Tilden became the first – and only – presidential candidate in U.S. history to win…

Read more

Quiet, Please!

Mother Teresa: “God cannot be found in noise.” A study in the journal Heart in 2006 found that silence can relieve tension in just two minutes.  In another study of 100 men and women who went on a silent retreat, Conor O’Shea found that simply being quiet before the Lord led each person to experience…

Read more

God Has a Plan

God has a plan. No matter the turmoil and pain you may have caused with your addiction, God can turn it for good. Peter Marshall wrote, “God will not allow suffering to come into your life without first devising a plan on how to use it.” There is no amount of suffering that is greater…

Read more

Twenty $1 Bills

A lady lost her purse in a shopping mall. It was found by a young boy, who was happy to return it. When the woman looked through her purse, she found something odd. “When I lost my purse, there was a $20 bill in it. Now there are twenty $1 bills.” The boy replied, “That’s…

Read more

Fast and Furious

There’s a great line from the movie, The Fast and the Furious: “I live my life a quarter mile at a time.”  Dr. Eric Maisel writes, “Recovery requires daily exercises and paying daily attention to your life’s purposes.” If you desire long-term sobriety, I offer this advice – Stop it! Let me explain. While long-term…

Read more

Life Jackets

As a storm raged, the captain realized his ship was sinking fast. He called out, “Anyone here know how to pray?” One man stepped forward. “Aye, Captain, I know how to pray.” “Good,” said the captain. “You pray while the rest of us put on our life jackets. We’re one short.”  In life – and…

Read more

Where Football Began

What we in America call “football” has its roots in European rugby and what we call “soccer.” Imported to the states in the 1800s, these games evolved into what would eventually become the National Football League, which recently celebrated its 55th annual Super Bowl. Tom Brady has won 50 of those Super Bowls. The modern…

Read more

Charles Reilly

On this day in history – April 29, 1892, Charlie Reilly did something that had never been done in a baseball game before. He was baseball’s first pinch hitter. We all need a pinch hitter at some point.  At some point in every hitter’s career, they come out for a pinch hitter. There are times…

Read more

Humiliations

Writing The True Christian Life, John Calvin said, “Warned by such evidences of their spiritual illness, believers profit by their humiliations. Robbed of their foolish confidence in the flesh, they take refuge in the grace of God. And when they have done so, they experience the nearness of the divine protection which is to them…

Read more

When They Were Alone

I recently came upon this gem from the Book that bears my name. “When they were alone, Jesus explained all things to his disciples” (Mark 4:34).  Think on that for a second or two . . .  Okay, time’s up. Allow me to expound. The disciples had a front row seat to Jesus’ miracles, healings,…

Read more

Keep Punching

Relapse is a trickle that becomes a stream that becomes a river. The key is to catch it while it is still just a trickle. Any of us is susceptible to relapse. Take this verse to heart: “Let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).  In my book, Life…

Read more

Hogan’s Hero

Bob Crane played Colonel Hogan in the 1960s comedy series, Hogan’s Heroes. Crane lived the life of a faithful family man. He was married and had five children.  But there was more to Crane’s life than his fans, friends, and family knew. He was living the compartmentalized life of a sex addict. On June 29,…

Read more

Manna

Your past performance is no guarantee of future success. If Jesus was sitting there with you in place of your device, he would say what he has already said: “Take no thought about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take thought about the things of itself. Sufficient to the day is the trouble thereof” (Matthew 6:34). Translation:…

Read more

Mess Up, Clean Up

God loves the worst of us on our worst days just as much as he loved Billy Graham on his best day. Oswald Chambers wrote, “The miracle of the redemptive reality of God is that the worst of the vilest offenders can never exhaust the depths of his love.” The great apostle said it like…

Read more

How to Become a Billionaire

Let’s start today with some financial advice. I’m going to give you one tip for financial planning. If done successfully, it will guarantee your financial security and that of your children and grandchildren. Ready? Here it is.  Become Steven Spielberg’s beneficiary. Why? Because Spielberg has the most expensive life insurance policy in the world –…

Read more

Get Outta Dodge!

Ever hear the phrase, “Get out of Dodge?” From whence does that come? In the late 1800s, cowboys often moved their cattle north from Texas into Kansas territory. This took them through a town called Dodge, where legendary lawman Wyatt Earp helped keep the peace.  They made a TV show out of it, called Gunsmoke,…

Read more

Pumped

A man was walking across the prairie when he saw a farm in the distance. And on the farm was a man pumping a well. As the traveler got closer, he was amazed at the consistent, effortless work of the man pumping the well. Then, when he got closer, the picture became clear. Beneath the…

Read more

King James Living

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to speak at the memorial service of my lifelong pastor, Dr. Cecil Sewell, Jr., who went to be with the Lord at the age of 84. His pastor was kind enough to invite me to attend his church the morning of the memorial service. What I found in…

Read more

Joe DiMaggio

One year, Joe DiMaggio missed much of the season with a minor injury. He saw this as a good opportunity to sit with his son, Joe, Jr., at a ballgame. So one day, rather than sit in the dugout, DiMaggio wore dark glasses and a ball cap, while sitting with his son in the stands…

Read more

Where You Should Die

President John Quincy Adams was a man of firsts. He was the first son of a president to become president himself. He was the first president to serve in Congress after his presidency – for 18 years. He was the first president whose body was transported to its burial place by train. And he was…

Read more

Stephen King

On June 19, 1999, author Stephen King was taking an afternoon walk along a familiar road near his home in Maine. A driver named Bryan Smith, distracted by a dog in his van, was driving the same route. He swerved to the side of the road and struck King, sending him 14 feet through the…

Read more

Get Your Own Dirt!

A scientist told God, “We no longer need you. We have advanced to the point that we can create anything we need with our own ingenuity.”  God said, “You want to put that to a test?” The scientist said, “Sure. What do you have in mind?” God said, “Let’s each make a man, just like…

Read more

Together

Compromise is a key ingredient to a successful marriage. I love the example of Senator Rob Portman, who said, “My wife became a Republican when I became a Methodist.” The marriage relationship is, of course, unique among all relationships. God spoke to men through his prophet Malachi. He described the woman as “your companion and…

Read more

The Ohio River

The Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join together in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to form the Ohio River. If you want to understand the Ohio River, you must first take a look at the Allegheny and the Monongahela.  Jesus said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles him” (Mark 7:15). Medical News Today identified the…

Read more

Worship

According to the Journal of Religion and Health (August 21, 2019), 73 percent of addiction treatment programs in the U.S. include a spirituality-based element. There’s a reason for that.  The Bible is full of examples of the benefits of a spiritual connection for those seeking to improve their personal lives. We read this account of…

Read more

BID Disease

Have you heard of BID disease? That stands for Body Integrity Dysphoria. Only a very small number of people have it, maybe 300 in recorded history. BID, which strikes mostly men, causes the patient to have an overwhelming sense that a certain limb on his body doesn’t belong. And its effects can be catastrophic. A…

Read more

Foundation

Early in recovery, we attend a 12-Step meeting and are humbled as we hear others speak of their longtime sobriety – one, two, five, or even ten years. What we need to recognize is the need to celebrate early victories. There is a biblical model for this. In the Old Testament we read of the…

Read more

Survival

If you ever find yourself in a sinking car, in the arms of a bear, or jumping from a building into a dumpster from three stories up, there is a book written just for you. It’s called The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, and it certainly deserves an esteemed place in anyone’s library.  At There’s Still…

Read more

When God Says No

A common train of thought is that if we do our spiritual disciplines, go to church, and live a good life, we will be rewarded by God meeting all of our hearts’ desires.  Not so fast! Case in point – St. Peter. One day, when all was well, he made a simple request of the…

Read more

Seven Years of Marriage

Your wife has a cold. This is how you respond, each year of marriage. Year 1: “Sugar babe, I’m worried about your sniffles. I’ve made an appointment for you to see the head of surgery at St. Luke’s. I’ll take you this afternoon.” Year 2: “Darling, I don’t like the sound of that. I’ve asked…

Read more

The Green Room

When someone is a guest on a talk show, before going out, they wait in the “green room.” Before a band takes the stage, they gather in the “green room.” Before a politician offers a speech, he waits off stage, out of sight, in the – you guessed it – “green room.” So why is…

Read more

Love vs Live

“And this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God” (John 17:3). There is this dichotomy in life. On one side we have what we love, but on the other side we have how we live. For those mired in addiction, this becomes a daily battle.  I love my God, yet…

Read more

The Elevator

Bubba drove his family into the big city for the first time. Their first stop was a four-star, 20-story hotel. As they entered the lobby, an elderly woman with a cane entered an elevator. Of course, Bubba and his family had never seen an elevator before, so they just assumed the lady was walking into…

Read more

A Strong Hand

I came across an interesting quote the other day: “Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for someone who has had a relapse is to not sound loving.” The prophet said it like this: “The Lord spoke to me with a strong hand” (Isaiah 8:11).  You know someone who is struggling in their addiction.…

Read more

Oswald Chambers

In His Utmost for My Highest, Oswald Chambers writes, “God providentially produces a crisis where we have to decide – for or against. That moment becomes a great crossroads in our lives. If a crisis has come to you on any front, surrender your will to Jesus absolutely and irrevocably.” When a crisis hits, you…

Read more

Tom Dula

Tom Dula lived deep in the North Carolina Appalachians. Dula was known as a ladies’ man, and he had an on-again, off-again relationship with a woman named Anne Foster. The problem was that Foster was married to another man. Rather than break off the relationship, Dula continued to see Ms. Foster, as well as her…

Read more

How to Settle an Election

There are different ways to settle elections. What we saw in the presidential vote a few months ago continues to lead to dissention on both sides. Maybe they have figured out a better plan in Dickinson, Texas. The Houston suburb of about 22,000 citizens held a mayoral race in November. No candidate received 50 percent…

Read more

Stolen Bikes

Have you ever tried to manipulate God? Maybe you asked God for something, but then you set out to help him answer your prayer. Comedian Emo Philips said, “I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked God for forgiveness.” While I don’t…

Read more

Compelling Goal

One of my truisms in life is this: seek answers and you will be frustrated; seek God and answers will find you. J.I. Packer said, “There is no more compelling goal than knowing God.” And the prophet said, “I desired the knowledge of God more than burn offerings” (Hosea 6:6). You will never find lasting…

Read more

Future

You have a past. But far more importantly, you have a future. And in order to have a better future, you need to quit trying to have a better past. Author Jason Versey observed, “Even a spineless anthropod sheds what’s no longer useful and leaves it behind.” I have come to believe that our past…

Read more

Ducks

Where we live in Florida, we see a lot of ducks. They are in the pond behind our house, waddling around the neighborhood, and too often, walking across the street. And that’s where it becomes a problem. Walking across a street where there are a lot of drivers over 90 (the median age of Floridians…

Read more

Puzzles

Beth and I have reached the age when we enjoy things like collecting shells on the beach. We still wait up for the news before we go to bed. But instead of watching the 10:00 news, we watch the 6:00 news. And one other sign of our age – we love to work a good…

Read more

The Truth

It was one of the few movies I remember watching in a theater with my mom. The year was 1992. The movie was A Few Good Men. Mom’s favorite actor, Jack Nicholson, played the role of Jessup. And he uttered this most famous line – “You can’t handle the truth!” I offer the following for…

Read more

Flawless

The MercyMe song from 2014 has become one that I listen to multiple times each week. I suggest you watch it on YouTube, as the visuals are most powerful. Here are a few of the lyrics. No matter the bumps No matter the bruises No matter the scars Still the truth is The cross has…

Read more

Don’t Forget God

You will never find recovery apart from your Higher Power. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “At this moment of lust God loses all reality. Satan does not fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God.” Many of us have become what Craig Groeschel calls a “Christian atheist.” We believe in God, but when it…

Read more

What No One Else Sees

2 Kings 5:1 reads, “Naaman was commander of the army of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master, and was highly regarded. He was a mighty man of valor. But Naaman had leprosy.” A person with leprosy would not be allowed in public, and everything he touched was considered cursed.…

Read more

More than Compliance

The average person of 2021 meets as many people in one year as our grandparents met in their lifetimes. With so many ways to connect with others, no one is alone. But many are lonely. That’s where Jesus steps in. He was rightly accused of being a “friend of sinners” (Luke 7:34). And Jesus told…

Read more

Touch

It was New Year’s Day of 1907. A staggering 8,150 people lined up at the White House to shake the hand of President Theodore Roosevelt. That is a presidential handshaking record that stands to this day. There is no substitute for a physical touch. In the 1990s, two scientists traveled to Romania to examine the…

Read more

Jefferson’s Flaw

Thomas Jefferson was a man of amazing brilliance and wide-ranging achievement. Not only was he the author of the Declaration of Independence and president of the United States, he was also a philosopher, diplomat, inventor, architect, and musician. But there was one thing Jefferson wasn’t good at. Managing money. Throughout his life, Thomas Jefferson spent…

Read more

Bridge Jumping

Bob was walking across a bridge when he saw a man named Jim, about to jump to his death. “Don’t jump!” said Bob. “Why not?” asked Jim. “I don’t have any friends.” Bob: “Are you religious?” Jim: “Yes.” Bob: “Me too! What denomination?” Jim: “Baptist.” Bob: “Me too! Southern Baptist or American Baptist?” Jim: “Southern.”…

Read more

Ain’t That a Shame

You must learn to stare shame in the face, then walk away. Jay Stringer writes, “My research found that shame was the most consistent key driver of unwanted sexual behavior. Shame convinces us that we are unwanted, and we pursue behavior that confirms it. To find freedom, disarm the power of shame.” Andy Casagrande, the…

Read more

Five Keys to Accountability

There are three keys to sobriety: desperation, surrender, and community. And a part of community is accountability. You need to have someone in your life whom you hold accountable for their sobriety, and you need to be accountable to someone else. The Bible says it like this: “Set the believers an example in speech, in…

Read more

The Artist

An artist asked the gallery owner if there had been any recent interest in his paintings, which were on display. The gallery owner said one man had asked if the paintings would appreciate after the artist’s death. “What did you tell him?” asked the artist. “I told him they would appreciate in value, and he…

Read more

Destination Unknown

There’s a little verse in the New Testament that reads, “Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). Notice three things. 1. Abraham didn’t wait until he had all the facts before he stepped out. Life is about direction, not destination. When God directs, start walking, whether you can see the finish…

Read more

Plane Dumb

Jim decided to finally face his fear of heights. On his 50th birthday, he decided to jump out of an airplane. After the necessary training, Jim was in the plane. As the plane neared the point where Jim would jump, he turned to his instructor and asked a question. “What if my parachute doesn’t open?…

Read more

Dual Addictions

The Bible says, “The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). Notice that word, “strongholds.” Plural. More than one. And you can insert “addictions” in its place. Addictions are strongholds, and many of us have more than one. For example, a study of…

Read more

Futility

Let’s talk about one of the demons that can bring you down the hardest – futility. When you start believing the lie that recovery is futile, that your periods of relapse have rendered you hopeless, that is when you are in real trouble. Dr. Jay Stringer writes, “When futility goes unaddressed, it will eventually taunt…

Read more

Past & Present

Do you ever feel stuck? Ever feel like you have an uncertain future? King David pondered that very question: “How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:4). Repeat after me – “My past does not define me and it does not own me.” John R. Rice was…

Read more

The White House

In 1792, Thomas Jefferson convinced George Washington that the government needed a presidential home. It was decided to solicit drawings from the public. In March of 1792, ads were printed, offering $500 to the person who submitted the winning design. Only nine designers applied. The winner was James Hoban, an Irish-born architect from South Carolina.…

Read more

Why We Lie

Tim Allen said, “Men are liars. I’m an algebra liar. I figure two good lies make a positive.” The Bible says, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 12:22). For most of us, especially men, honesty is a huge problem. Research has found that men tell six lies a day. (Women tell three.)…

Read more

Listen Up!

If you are married, your recovery is a team sport. You and your spouse are in this thing together. And in order to reach your goals, you will need to learn to listen to one another in a way that takes hard work. Cathy Huyghe, writing for Inc., offers three listening tips. Tip #1 –…

Read more

The Amazing Dirk Williams

Late in the winter of 1569, Dirk Williams found himself running from the Dutch authorities. Although no one today would see his beliefs about baptism as radical or threatening, leaders of his day regarded him as a heretic. Fleeing for his life, Williams came to a pond covered with a thin layer of ice. After…

Read more

What Porn Does to the Marriage

The Internet has taken the porn industry to a whole new level, providing what is known as the “triple-A engine” effect: accessibility, affordability, and anonymity. And the results have been devastating. The Kinsey Institute has found that men’s use of porn has resulted in 86 percent of them finding reduced sexual quality with their partners.…

Read more

The Power of 100 Free Throws

On January 21, 1989, Michigan played Wisconsin in a men’s basketball game. The game came down to two free throws by Michigan guard Rumeal Robinson. He clanked both shots, and the Wolverines lost by a single point. Determined that this would never happen again, Robinson stayed after every practice for the rest of the season,…

Read more

Five Ways to Stay Sober

The Bible says to “hold fast to what you have attained” (Revelation 2:25). Let’s consider five ways to do that with your sobriety. 1. Celebrate milestones. If you’re in a 12-Step program, you understand this. It is important to celebrate the hard work of recovery and to use this as a motivation for further success.…

Read more

Why We Need Each Other

In 2016, Drs. Shoba Sreenivasan and Linda E. Weinberger published an article in Psychology Today, titled “Why We Need Each Other.” The article concludes with this summary: “We need each other – for connectedness remains essential for psychological survival.” Community is not just a key to your happiness; it is integral to your very survival.…

Read more

Sinatra

In 1934, a young Frank Sinatra sang the lyrics of I Get a Kick Out of You for the first time. A line from that song: “Mere alcohol doesn’t thrill me at all.” Substitute sex addiction for alcohol and you have the testament of every sex addict. Eventually, the alure loses its thrill. The addict…

Read more

LumberKings Win!

It was one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. On May 7, 2014, the Clinton LumberKings played the Burlington Bees in a Single-A level minor league baseball game. The Bees had buzzed to a 17-1 lead by the fifth inning. But the LumberKings erased the 16-run deficit and won the game in extra innings.…

Read more

One Stomach Flu Away

In the 2006 movie, The Devil Wears Prada, Emily Charlton (played by Emily Blunt) said, “I’m just one stomach flu away from my ideal weight.” I suppose that’s one way to lose weight. Unfortunately, that is also the way most of us do recovery. Like losing weight, recovery demands discipline, new habits, and absolute resolve.…

Read more

5 Cents Store

On this date in 1879, Frank Winfield Woolworth opened the first 5 Cents Store in Utica, New York. Pledging to sell nothing that cost more than a nickel, Woolworth stores increased in number to over 1,000 over the next 50 years. But the chain’s inability to change with the times eventually led to its demise.…

Read more

Don’t Focus on the Consequences

Dr. Lance Dodes, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, offers an interesting perspective on recovery. He writes, “Don’t focus on the consequences of addiction. It’s a waste of time.” Dodes continues, “Focusing on consequences of our behaviors does not help to stop addiction. It is a waste of valuable time that could be spent…

Read more

Step Two

“We became aware that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity” (Step 2, AA). Let’s break down the all-important second step of recovery. 1. Awareness: Until we become aware of our situation and the ability of God to heal, we do not get well. 2. Power: Recovery requires more than personal resolve.…

Read more

Sinking Ships

Violet Jessop lived a charmed life. Jessop was a stewardess abord the RMS Olympic, one of the Titanic’s sister ships, when it collided with another ship in September, 1911. The Olympic was damaged, but made it back to port with no injuries. Les than six months later Jessop was aboard the Titanic, again as a…

Read more

Cleveland Cavs & Porn

Google Analytics can track data on porn site use specific to cultural events. For example, the Cleveland Cavaliers played the Golden State Warriors in the 2017 NBA Finals. When the Warriors were on the verge of winning the final game, porn use in the San Francisco area (home to the Warriors) dropped by 21 percent.…

Read more

St. Valentine

According to early tradition, Saint Valentine was imprisoned in Rome, where he restored sight to the blind daughter of his jailer. Another tradition adds on a legend that St. Valentine later wrote a love letter to this woman, and signed it, “Your Valentine,” before his execution. The date of February 14 was set by Pope…

Read more

Mad As Hell

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” (Network, 1976) Forgive my language, but to borrow from the movie, if you are married to a sex addict, it may be that until you are mad as hell and unwilling to take it anymore, your spouse will not get desperate. Don’t misunderstand.…

Read more

Melville Weston

If today is your birthday, you are in good company. The following people were born on February 11: Thomas Edison (1847), Lloyd Bentsen (1921), Leslie Nielsen (1926), Tina Louise (1934), Burt Reynolds (1936), Jeb Bush (1953), Sheryl Crow (1962), Sarah Palin (1964), and Jennifer Aniston (1969). And Melville Weston. Don’t forget about Melville Weston. You…

Read more

Five Steps to Staying Sober

Dr. Steven Stosny, noted author and addiction expert, offers five steps to staying sober. Let’s jump right in. Step 1 – Practice a regimen to change old habits. Create new patterns of living that alter the behaviors that lead to acting out. Step 2 – Recondition your emotional system. Focus on regulating your emotions in…

Read more

Flawless

For the last five years, this has been my favorite song. In 2014, MercyMe produced Flawless. I try to listen to the song every day. It brings hope to any of us who have flaws. “No matter the bumps, no matter the bruises, no matter the scars, still the truth is – the cross has…

Read more

Looking Back

I’m nostalgic. When possible, I still enjoy driving by my childhood home, my first church, and the high school where I spent the best six years of my life. Do you often think about “the good ‘ol days”? If so, you’re in good company. King David often looked back. He said, “I thought about my…

Read more

The Longest 6-Iron

On January 31, 1971, Alan Shepherd brought a golf club to work, along with a couple of balls. But Shepherd’s “work” was a little unusual. He was the commander of Apollo 14. Six days later, his work would have him on the surface of the moon. It was then, 50 years ago today, when Shepherd…

Read more

Child Abuse

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in four girls and one is six boys are sexually abused by the age of 18. Psychologist and trauma specialist Susanne Babbel writes, “Thirty-five percent of child sexual abusers were once abused themselves.” With that, the cycle of abuse continues. God puts a premium on children.…

Read more

Get Your Own Dirt!

A scientist told God, “We no longer need you. We have advanced to the point that we can create anything we need with our own ingenuity.” God said, “You want to put that to a test?” The scientist said, “Sure. What do you have in mind?” God said, “Let’s each make a man, just like…

Read more

A Few Good Steps

In his groundbreaking book, Unwanted, Dr. Jay Stringer writes, “The more an individual acts out, the more likely he is to deprive himself of meaningful relationships and self-care because he will not feel as if he deserves that.” But this cycle must stop. God is clear: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers…

Read more

Walk Well

Your current sexual behavior is the predictable result of your childhood experiences. Most likely, your early childhood was littered with isolation. Or trauma. Or abuse. Or all three. And that explains how you got here. However, that does not excuse why you’re staying here. Let me be clear. You owe no one an apology for…

Read more

Is Porn Use an Affair?

We live in a porn-crazed time. Covenant Eyes reports that $3,075.64 is spent on porn every second and that young adults think that not recycling is worse than viewing porn. Further, more than 50,000 church leaders in the United States are using porn on a regular basis. The Bible is abundantly clear. “Marriage should be…

Read more

Misery

In the Heidelberg Catechism, a Protestant confessional document, there is a question about how human beings know their misery. It’s an odd question, until you understand that the German word for misery is elend, meaning to be out of one’s native land, with a deep sense of homesickness. Translation: when removed from familiar surroundings, a…

Read more

The Ohio River

The Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join together in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to form the Ohio River. If you want to understand the Ohio River, you must first take a look at the Allegheny and the Monongahela. Jesus said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles him” (Mark 7:15). Medical News Today identified the…

Read more

The Challenge with Middle Age

In 2017, the Boston Globe released an article titled “The Biggest Threat Facing Middle Aged Men Isn’t Smoking or Obesity, It’s Loneliness.” Actress Anne Hathaway said, “Loneliness is my least favorite thing about life.” The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) studied loneliness in America. Among their findings: Loneliness is more damaging to our health…

Read more

Screwtape Letters

C.S. Lewis wrote, in his preface to The Screwtape Letters, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe in them too strongly.” “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, rules of…

Read more

Serenity Prayer

Someone recently gave me a copy of the Serenity Prayer for those of us who are getting a little older. “God, grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to know the difference.” The more popular version of the…

Read more

Getting Started

When I first got into recovery, I felt like a mosquito at a nudist colony. I didn’t know where to begin. Recovery, like a thirsty mosquito at a nudist colony, is all about getting started. Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” And Drew Houston, the 37-year-old founder of Dropbox (worth…

Read more

Out of Gas

Dad warned me about this, but it happened anyway. As a new driver, I forgot to check the fuel level in my car. So I ran out of gas. This was in the pre-cell phone era, so a long walk to a gas station was in order. Many times, recovery is like that. We don’t…

Read more

Saint Ambrose

Saint Ambrose wrote, “Many a sin has sullied me in body and in soul because I did not restrain my thoughts nor guard my lips; nevertheless, it is to Thee, O God of majesty and love, that I turn in my extremity, for Thou are the fount of mercy; to Thee, as quickly as I…

Read more

F-16 Fighter Jet

A U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds air demonstration is an amazing thing to see. The F-16 fighter jet was developed to act as a support weapons system for the military’s larger and more expensive fighter aircraft, the F-14 Tomcat and the F-15 Eagle. Blindingly fast and agile, the F-16 Fighting Falcon has a top speed of…

Read more

Tuned Pianos

A.W. Tozer wrote with his typical brilliance, in The Pursuit of God. “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must…

Read more

Flat Tire

I hopped in my car at 4:15 a.m. to go pick up a friend to take him to the airport for an early flight. But before I left my driveway, this message flashed from the screen above the steering column: Low air pressure in back right tire. Only one tire was going flat. The other…

Read more

It Could Have Been Me

Richard Elliot was born on January 16, 1960. So was I. Richard Elliot was given a tenor saxophone as a young teenager. So was I. Richard Elliot played tenor sax for years. So did I. Richard Elliot was nominated for a Grammy Award for his excellent play of the tenor sax. I wasn’t. Richard Elliot…

Read more

Lost Wallet

A man was on his hands and knees under a street light late at night when another man passed by and asked what he was doing. The following discussion ensued. “I’m looking for my wallet,” the man said. “Are you sure you lost it here?” asked the passerby. “No, I lost it at the other…

Read more

2 Questions

There is a story in Genesis 16 about an Egyptian teenager named Hagar. She is brought in as a concubine for Abraham because he and Sarai had been struggling with infertility for more than ten years. Hagar successfully conceived a child for Abraham and Sarai. But Sarai mistreated Hagar. In the next scene, we find…

Read more

The Brothel

In his book, The World, The Flesh, and Father Smith, Bruce Marshall wrote, “The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God.” Billy Graham said it like this: “There is a God-shaped emptiness in all our hearts that only God can fill.” The answer for the sex addict is…

Read more

Fire Hydrants

A Sunday School helper was delivering a station wagon full of kids to their homes when a fire truck zoomed past them. Sitting in the front of the truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children immediately began to debate the role of that dog. “They use him to keep crowds back,” suggested one child. Another…

Read more

Is Addiction a Sin?

There is this ongoing debate among those who fancy themselves as both addiction specialists and theologians. The debate centers on one question – is addiction a sin? Let me answer that for you with two truths. Addiction is not a sin. Acting out is. Joyce Myer said, “No matter what has happened to you in…

Read more

Someone Is Watching You

A woman had been shopping and had bought a dress that she knew she couldn’t afford. “Why did you do it?” asked her husband. “I just couldn’t help it,” she replied. “The devil tempted me.” Her husband countered, “Why didn’t you say, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan’?” The wife answered, “I did. But he just…

Read more

Avoid the Aisle

“Jack” was a very heavy man, and in need of back surgery. Before the doctor could do the surgery, Jack had to lose close to 100 pounds. His diet meant staying away from the grocery store. But one day, he went. And then it happened. He wandered down the ice cream aisle, and eventually bought…

Read more

Perez

Ever heard of a guy in the Bible named Perez? Perez was an obscure character in the Old Testament. Here’s his story. A woman named Tamar seduced a fellow named Judah, who was the great-grandson of Abraham. Tamar became pregnant, and had twins nine months later, born outside of marriage. One of those twins was…

Read more

Consistency

On this date in 1996, Crazy After You closed at Shubert Theater after 1,622 consecutive performances. From 1992 to 2010, Brett Favre started 199 consecutive games as a quarterback in the NFL. From 1982 to 1998, Cal Ripken played in 2,632 straight baseball games for the Baltimore Orioles. My favorite record of consistency was set…

Read more

Facelift

Linda was 65 when she suffered a serious heart attack and was rushed to the local hospital. Before surgery, she prayed that she would survive the surgery. God said, “Not only will you survive the surgery, I will give you 40 more years of good health.” Sure enough, Linda came through the surgery well. Trusting…

Read more

Can God Use a Sinner?

Do you think God can’t use a sinner? In the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1), we find only four women named. Two were prostitutes, one was an adulteress, and the other was from a foreign land. Still think God can’t use a sinner? Only one man in Scripture was described as being a man “after…

Read more

Plane Dumb

Jim decided to finally face his fear of heights. On his 50th birthday, he decided to jump out of an airplane. After the necessary training, Jim was in the plane. As the plane neared the point where Jim would jump, he turned to his instructor and asked a question. “What if my parachute doesn’t open?…

Read more

Anyone Can Do It

George Carlin said it well: “In the United States, anybody can be president. That’s the problem.” Carlin’s point is well taken. In America – and many other countries – a person becomes the sum total of his decisions. If he strings together enough wise decisions, he will enjoy the intended outcome. But what about addiction?…

Read more

Necessary Mistakes

Consider these words as you launch a new year. “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you’re making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing…

Read more

New Things

Actress Tallulah Bankhead said, “If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.” As we turn the page to a new year, it is important to learn from the mistakes of our past, and then to move forward. An article in Country Living last month offered 15 suggestions on…

Read more

Strawberries

A farmer was driving down a road with a load of fertilizer in the back of his truck. A young boy saw him and yelled out, “What do you have in the back of your truck?” “Fertilizer,” said the farmer. “What are you going to do with it?” asked the boy. “I’m putting it on…

Read more

Comebacks

The date was December 27, 2000. For those of you who aren’t so gifted in mathematics, that makes that 20 years ago today. Here’s what happened. Hockey legend Mario Lemieux scored a goal and had two assists, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not a big deal, except…

Read more

Beware of Relapse

Did you have a great Christmas yesterday? If so, beware of relapse today. Did you have a lousy Christmas yesterday? If so, beware of relapse today. There are two times when you are in heightened danger of relapse – when things are going well and when things are going poorly. We see it all the…

Read more

A Very Special Christmas

December 25, 1914 was a very special Christmas. For one day, World War I hostilities ceased. At dawn that day, soldiers emerged from their trenches and crossed “no man’s land” to exchange gifts and goodwill with their enemies. German and British troops joined together to sing carols, break bread, and pose for photos. Several soldiers…

Read more

Wise Decisions

Christmas is the season when you buy this year’s gifts with next year’s money. That’s also how we live in addiction. The pleasure of the moment is robbing us of the blessings of tomorrow. The mistakes I make today will affect my life tomorrow, in so many ways: My marriage My checkbook My shame My…

Read more

Flashlight Day

In late December, we celebrate the biggest holiday of the year. Today’s the day – National Flashlight Day. Because December 21 is the day of winter solstice, making this the day with the least sunshine, this date has been forever immortalized. It is for today that David Misell was born. On January 10, 1899, the…

Read more

There’s Still Hope

The message of this Christmas Season is one of hope. James Cameron was the only survivor of a 1930 lynch mob, and he would go on to found America’s Black Holocaust Museum. How did he survive the mob – physically and emotionally? In his autobiography, A Time of Terror, he wrote, “With faith and prayer…

Read more

Death Notice

The Bible tells us to deal rather harshly with our sexual sins. “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). We are to “put to death” all sexual immorality. What does that look like? How do we do that, exactly? I…

Read more

Get Started

A full 100% of those who never started recovery never recovered. Amazing stat, huh? But the reality is that so many men and women fail simply because they don’t start. I love the words of Anne Frank: “How wonderful it is that nobody should wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Here’s…

Read more

Fear

Let’s talk about fear. The funny thing about fear is that, to quote Mark Twain, “I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Someone defined fear as “False Evidence Appearing Real.” There is enough trouble in the world without imagining more. The prophet said, “Say to those with fearful hearts,…

Read more

Potato Chips

Best Life publication has produced “20 Crazy Facts that Will Blow Your Mind.” On their list: Humans are the only animals that enjoy spicy foods. Humans are also the only animals whose brains shrink. It is impossible to hum while holding your nose. Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis died the same day as JFK. Potato…

Read more

Ruth

There was a woman in the Bible named Naomi. With her husband, she had two sons, and was blessed to see them both marry. But a famine in the land brought great loss, as Naomi’s husband and both of her sons died young. Out of pure loyalty to her mother-in-law, Ruth vowed to stay with…

Read more

35 Years

Satirist Tom Lehrer commented, “It is a sobering thought that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years.” Born in the Holy Roman Empire in 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived just 35 years. But in those 35 years, he composed more than 600 works and is still considered perhaps the most…

Read more

Whispers

When your child wants to tell you a secret, she may climb into your lap, cup her hands around your ear, and then whisper in such a way that you are the only person on earth who hears what she has to say. God is waiting for you to crawl into his lap. You may…

Read more

TV Dinners and Pot Pies

Batman has been listed as the 82nd greatest show in television history (by Zoller Seitz). From January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968, my brother and I watched all 120 riveting episodes. Every Wednesday night, an episode would play, always ending with the caped crusaders in perilous danger. So we had to tune into the…

Read more

One Man’s Dying Request

The Apostle Paul worked with the giants of the faith – men like Peter, Barnabas, Silas, and Timothy. And then there was another fellow, a young man who checked out when trouble checked in. John Mark abandoned Paul early in his first missionary journey. Fast forward several years. Paul is now an aging missionary, and…

Read more

I Write the Songs

On this date in 1975, Barry Manilow reached #1 on the Billboard adult contemporary charts with his greatest hit ever, I Write the Songs. There was just one problem. Manilow didn’t write the song. The 32-year-old singer-songwriter was proud of his songwriting skills, but he had not written anything that was really that successful. Producer…

Read more

The First Heart Transplant

Dr. Adrian Kantrowitz made history when his team performed the first heart transplant in America, at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, on December 6, 1967. Neary 41 years later, on November 14, 2008, Dr. Kantrowitz died – of heart failure. Putting the irony of his cause of death aside, Dr. Kantrowitz taught us an important…

Read more

Pythagoras

There is a famous line from the movie Network. “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” Let’s talk about that – anger. The Bible warns us, “Let not the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26). There are actually two distinct kinds of anger identified in the Greek New…

Read more

Elvis

The most successful musician in American history said, “I don’t know anything about music, In my line, you don’t have to.” Elvis had a good point. It is not knowledge that matters as much as what we do with that knowledge. My favorite author said is like this: “We don’t fall because we don’t know…

Read more

Through Many Dangers

“Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come. Tis grace has brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.” Those immortal words by John Newton have brought comfort to millions, if not billions of saints for the last 250 years. And we need those words – to read, quote, and…

Read more

Instant Gratification

“Give careful thought to your ways. You eat, but you never have enough. You drink, but you never have your fill” (Haggai 1:5-6). Addiction seeks the next thrill, the next hit, the next high. But it is never enough. To that way of thinking, George Orwell said, “Men can only be happy when they do…

Read more

Tag Team

It was one of the most significant events in sports history. The date was March 31, 1985. In Wrestlemania I, The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff defeated Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo for the WWE World Tag Team Championship. A lot of us treat the Christian life as a tag team event. When we get…

Read more

Free Bagels

Trevor started a new job. On his first day, he noticed a box of bagels in the break room, with a sign that read, “Please drop in a quarter for every bagel.” After a few days, Trevor noticed that no one seemed to be monitoring the payment system. So he’d occasionally take a bagel without…

Read more

Sax and Sex

Change comes slowly. Just ask my Dad. The three years that began with Dad handing me my first tenor saxophone when I was in 7th grade until I made first chair in the high school band in 10th grade were tortuous for the entire family. The early days of practicing my sax every day after…

Read more

The Enemy

All recovery is spiritual. The Bible is clear: “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12). In an excellent sermon on spiritual warfare, Pastor Sam Rainer said there are two false views of…

Read more

Born This Day

If you were born on November 25, you share today’s birthday with some pretty impressive people: Andrew Carnegie, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Joe DiMaggio, Amy Grant, Christina Applegate, and Anastas Mikoyan. Yes, Anastas Mikoyan. Mikoyan was an Armenian revolutionary who made his mark as a loyal servant to Joseph Stalin. He would play a leading…

Read more

Strong Medicine

Life can be heavy. This is especially true in addiction recovery. The road to freedom is often marked with challenges and set-backs. That leads me to a very important ingredient of successful recovery. Humor. Educator Frank Moore Colby noted, “Men will confess to treason, murder, arson, false teeth, or a wig. But how many of…

Read more

Snow White

I have never met a man or woman who said their life turned out exactly as they had hoped and planned. For each of us there have been trials, challenges, and failures. But because we have a God who is up to the challenge, we overcome. Our story actually becomes more historic because of our…

Read more

Only In Florida

In 2014, Beth and I moved to Florida. We are still learning some things about this amazing state. For example: No matter where you are in Florida, you are within 60 miles of a beach. It is illegal to sing while wearing swimwear in public. It is illegal for an unmarried woman to skydive on…

Read more

Lost Wallet

A man was on his hands and knees under a street light late at night when another man passed by and asked what he was doing. The following discussion ensued. “I’m looking for my wallet,” the man said. “Are you sure you lost it here?” asked the passerby. “No, I lost it at the other…

Read more

The Cost of a Good Brain

A surgeon entered the waiting room of the hospital with shocking news for his patient’s family. “Your loved one needs a brain transplant immediately,” he said. The family asked, “How much does that cost?” The doctor replied, “It all depends. A female brain goes for $20,000. A male brain costs $50,000.” The family asked, “Why…

Read more

Time Up

I don’t know anyone who says they have more time than they need. We all feel rushed to accomplish all we want to in a day, week, month, year, and life. Leonard Bernstein said, “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” If we are to achieve all…

Read more

Overcoming the Pain

Nothing is so devastating as discovering that your spouse is addicted to porn. But there is hope. Sharon Salzberg said, “Even in the midst of devastation, something within us always points the way to freedom.” That is true for the addict and his/her spouse. God promised, “I am the Lord your God who takes hold…

Read more

Reginald

Reginald dropped out of high school to pursue his musical aspirations. It seems this was a good decision. In 2013, Billboard ranked him as the most successful male artist of all-time. He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is the winner of multiple…

Read more

Life Is Unfair

In a comic strip written by Bill Watterson, Dad said, “The world isn’t fair, Calvin.” Calvin responded, “I know, but why isn’t it ever unfair in my favor?” If you are an addict – or are married to one – you can identify with that sentiment. Life isn’t unfair in your favor. Author Sherrie Bourg…

Read more

The Quarrymen

Sixty-one years ago today, on November 15, 1959, a singing group known as The Quarrymen lost in the preliminary round of Carroll Levis’s TV Star Search competition. This was the third time they entered the competition and lost. They lost to a woman who played a tune on her spoons. The Quarrymen found little success,…

Read more

Keeping It Simple

Don’t overthink things. Confucius said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Recovery is like that. We never fall because we don’t know what to do, but because we don’t do what we know. Here’s my advice – seek God more than you seek recovery. In my experience, when I seek…

Read more

Anyone Can Do It

George Carlin said it well: “In the United States, anybody can be president. That’s the problem.” Carlin’s point is well taken. In America – and many other countries – a person becomes the sum total of his decisions. If he strings together enough wise decisions, he will enjoy the intended outcome. But what about addiction?…

Read more

Avoid the Slide

Visit any recovery meeting and you will hear addicts describe how they “fell into addiction.” May I respectfully disagree? It is my observation, after knowing and working with hundreds of addicts, that no one ever falls into addiction. We slide into addiction. To fall implies an unintended slip or stumble. But the way we got…

Read more

She Played Hockey

A grocery store manager wanted to get to know his new employee, so he asked him a few basic questions. He led with, “Where are you from?” The young employee said, “Sir, I’m from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the home of ugly women and great hockey teams.” The manager responded, “That’s interesting. My wife is from Lancaster.”…

Read more

Blockbuster

It was a weekly routine early in our marriage. We would run to the Blockbuster video store to rent a movie, which we could then watch as many times as we wanted for the next three days. Then on this date in 2013, the unthinkable happened. Blockbuster closed its doors for the final time, marking…

Read more

The Demise of a Holywood Star

Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Academy Award for his leading role in Capote (2005). Hoffman was nominated for three other Academy Awards, along with three Tony Award nominations. Unfortunately, Hoffman held another title. Addict. In 2006, Hoffman told his story on 60 Minutes. He was a drug and alcohol addict. At age 22, he got…

Read more

Breaking the Curse

On this date in 1811, William Henry Harrison’s army prevailed over the Shawnee leader Tecumseh in the Battle of Tippecanoe. The Shawnee leader proceeded to place a curse on Harrison and every president who would be elected at 20-year intervals. Harrison (elected in 1840) caught a cold and died one month into office. Abraham Lincoln…

Read more

The Solution

Why do we act out sexually? Dr. Timothy Fong addresses this in his article, “Understanding and Managing Sexual Behaviors.” He writes, “Psychologically, sexual behaviors serve to escape emotional or physical pain or are a way of dealing with life stressors. The irony is that the sexual behaviors become the primary way of coping and handling…

Read more

Growing Old with You

A man told his wife that he had invited a friend home for dinner. His wife was enraged. “Are you crazy?” she asked him. “The house is a mess, I didn’t go shopping, the dishes are dirty, and I look like a wreck!” “I know all that,” the husband responded. “Then why did you invite…

Read more

Walk in His Shoes

Billy Connolly said, “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He’s a mile away and you’ve got his shoes!” Jesus was pointed: “Do not judge others” (Matthew 7:1). Through the years, I have observed that we tend to judge others by their worst actions, while we judge…

Read more

The Price of Success

Vince Lombardi said, “The price of success is hard work.” Peter Drucker said it like this: “Plans are only good intentions unless they degenerate into hard work.” The Bible is pro-work. King David wrote, “You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with…

Read more

How to Spot a Sex Addict

Coach Mike Ditka used to say, “You are what your record says you are.” By that he meant that our actions define us. Johann Wolfgang Goethe said it like this: “Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.” Jesus said we are known by our fruit (Matthew 7:16). Action trumps intent; it is…

Read more

Addiction on the Brain

Physicist Michio Kaku said of his own profession, “Physicists are made of atoms. A physicist is an attempt by an atom to understand itself.” For centuries, men have been trying to understand themselves. And often, they turn to science for those answers. And when they look hard enough, they usually find the Creator waiting at…

Read more

Five Ways to Love Your Wife

Travis went to see his supervisor in the front office. “Boss,” he said, “we’re doing some heavy cleaning at our house tomorrow, and my wife needs me to help in the attic and the garage, moving and hauling stuff.” “We’re shorthanded here, Travis,” replied his boss. “I can’t give you the day off.” “Thanks, boss,”…

Read more

Pinky Pull-ups

On October 7, 2018, Tazio Gavioli set a new world record by completing 36 consecutive pull-ups. With his pinkies. I’m not sure I’ve done 36 pull-ups in my whole life, using all ten fingers. And while I admire this incredible feat by the Italian pull-up king, it sends two dangerous messages. Dangerous message #1 –…

Read more

Structure

In my never-ending pursuit of good recovery material, I browse through several blogs and articles each week. I recently came across an article which identified 12 tips for staying sober. I love #6 on their list – develop a structured schedule. It’s so true. Having a chaotic or disorganized lifestyle can hinder your recovery. It’s…

Read more

Where Were Doritos Invented?

Here are a few things you probably didn’t know. Doritos were invented at Disneyland. The U.S. is visited by more missionaries than any other country. The word “hundred” used to mean 120. Buzz Aldrin’s father was friends with Orville Wright. At a food safety conference in Baltimore in 2014, 100 attendees got food poisoning. The…

Read more

Cutting the Cord

October 24 is a significant date in history. It was on this date in 1857 that the first soccer club was formed, in Yorkshire, England. On October 24, 1931, gangster Al Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion. This date marks the deaths of three civil rights icons. All dying on…

Read more

Do 5 Things Well

Sometimes, the key to recovery is simply staying at it. No one gets it right the first time. I often tell clients that all who fail in recovery have one thing in common – they quit too soon. Samuel Johnson wrote, “Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.” The Bible addresses this…

Read more

High Expectations

Recovery is about progress, not perfection. Beware of overly high expectations. They can look good, but turn deadly. George Elliot wrote, “Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.” The Bible says, “I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and…

Read more

Kintsugi

Kintsugi is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery. Rather than rejoin ceramic pieces with an adhesive, the Kintsugi technique employs a special tree sap dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Once completed, beautiful seams of gold glint in the cracks of ceramic give a one-of-a-kind appearance that actually enhances the beauty –…

Read more

Lesson From Chess

Some play football. Others play basketball, baseball, or hockey. But real men play my sport. Chess. I was pretty good in my day (Houston high school champion, 1977). So bear with me while I quote an international chess champion. Savielly Tartakower was the Polish chess champion and a gold medal winner of the 1931 Chess…

Read more

You Gotta Have This

The psalmist said, “Passion for God’s house will consume me” (Psalm 69:9). I love that word passion. You can’t achieve anything meaningful without passion. Vincent Van Gosh said, “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” I agree. What is passion, exactly? I recently came across this definition: the degree of difficulty one will…

Read more

God and Air Conditioning

Poet Amiri Baraka said of modern culture, “God has been replaced with air conditioning.” We seek comfort above all else. Many of us have been duped into thinking God’s primary interest in our lives is our comfort rather than our character. We think he never wants us to suffer or feel pain. That doesn’t square…

Read more

The Final Question

2 Chronicles was the last book in the Hebrew Bible. The final verse of the final chapter offers an interesting insight to God’s purpose for our lives. King Cyrus issued a decree that allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Why did he do this? His explanation was simple. “The Lord…

Read more

iBrik

First, there was the iPhone. Then there came the iPad, iPod, and iCloud. Now there is the ibrik. I’m sure our most tech-savvy readers will know what that is. For the rest of you, let me help. An ibrik is a metal pot with a wooden handle, used to brew Turkish coffee. The ibrik was…

Read more

Great Expectations

Expectations are an illusion. In the Old Testament, the people of Israel wanted a new king. Samuel was directed to a man named Jesse, who had several sons. One of them would be the man. But which one? Samuel began the search with a set of expectations. The chosen one would have a certain height,…

Read more

Emotional Abuse

It has long been my observation that virtually all addicts have in their past a combination of the following: (a) abuse, (b) trauma, and (c) isolation. Let’s talk about that first one – abuse. Specifically, emotional abuse. Jill Bley, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist, estimates that 85-90 percent of sex addicts have suffered from…

Read more

Shut Doors and Open Windows

Television host Fred Rogers said, “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” There’s a great little book called The Story of Everything. Author Neal Layton writes, on page 122, “You know, it’s possible that God’s plan for us is littleness. His plan for us may…

Read more

Years Restored

Every sex addict tells the same story. He or she has lost years, if not decades, to this disease. If you add up the hours on the Internet, trolling social media, visiting dating sites, and in therapy, the lost time is staggering. A year into my recovery, my past was discovered, and it cost me…

Read more

Restoration

A rusty gate, a broken-down car, an old house. To most of us, they look past their prime, beyond hope, and pretty much worthless. But to the person in the restoration business, these are not problems; they are opportunities. The same is true of each of us. The depth of your fall does not limit…

Read more

Premeditated Resentments

A friend recently sent me this quote: “Expectations are premeditated resentments.” That is powerful. Said another way, we can’t tie our self-perception to the perception of others. Here’s the thing – not everyone will understand your journey, and that’s fine, because it isn’t their journey to understand. I stopped explaining myself when I realized people…

Read more

Cognitive Bliss

Every person who has ever lived (except Jesus) has suffered from the same flaw – cognitive bias. Cognitive bias is defined as “the systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion.” Because we all have cognitive bias, James said,…

Read more

Signs You Are a Sex Addict

How can you recognize an addiction? More directly, how can you recognize your addiction? Jesus offered a really simple standard: “You shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:6). So let me suggest three fruits of sex addiction. If these characterize your life, well, there’s your answer. Sex dominates your thought life. Your sexual activities…

Read more

Three Learning Steps

One of the keys to lasting recovery is to never quit learning. Aristotle said, “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” And Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether he is 20 or 80.” A really smart guy named Solomon spoke from experience when he said, “Let the…

Read more

The Fence Has Fallen

A wealthy man called three repairmen to his house to bid on rebuilding a fallen fence. The first man measured the fence, calculated the hours it would take to do the job, then told the homeowner his price – $800. The second repairman measured the fence, did the calculations, and offered his bid – $700.…

Read more

Faith

Mark Twain said, “October is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February.” The Bible says, “We have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining…

Read more

He Ate an Airplane!

Over the course of his 57 years (1950-2007), a Frenchman named Michel Lotito bit off more than he could chew – many times. In the process, he managed to consume “food items” that most of us would probably pass on. Lotito ate television sets, bicycles, shopping carts, and – get this – an airplane. How…

Read more

When Your Car Is In The Pool

Wife: “There’s a problem with the car. It has water in the carburetor.” Husband: “Water in the carburetor? That’s crazy!” Wife: “I’m telling you, the car has water in the carburetor.” Husband: “You don’t even know what a carburetor is. “I’ll check it out. Where is the car?” Wife: “In the pool.” Sometimes, life takes…

Read more

Depression

Many addicts suffer with depression. They aren’t alone. Major depressive disorder affects 17.3 million American adults (National Institute of Mental Health, 2017). If you struggle with depression, repeat this at least 20 times every day: “Depression lies. It tells you you’ve always felt this way, and you always will. But you haven’t, and you won’t”…

Read more

Not Enough Blood

I recently came across this line: “Men were given a brain and reproductive machinery, but only enough blood to run one at a time.” Maintaining sexual integrity is a battle that men have struggled with as long as there have been men. The man who was said to pursue God’s own heart reflected, “How can…

Read more

Purpose

In his classic book, The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all who wander are lost.” Let’s talk about purpose. Sometimes, we must wander until we find it. And finding that purpose is critical for addiction recovery. In his best-selling book Unwanted, Jay Stringer concludes, “In the research I completed for my book,…

Read more

Try This Fast

Israel’s first king died a tragic death. When David heard about it, he responded in a way many of us would not understand. “Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for…

Read more

Pleasure

Acting out is to delve into one’s pleasures at all costs. With no regard for the consequences, we return to the thrill – over and over. Recovery, on the other hand, is about self-denial. And self-denial is counterintuitive 100 percent of the time. For many, there is no greater pleasure than sex. Perhaps you can…

Read more

The Mysteries of Life

Al McGuire once mused, “The only mystery of life is why the kamikaze pilots wore helmets.” There are other great mysteries of life. For example, why do cows always face north or south while eating? Why does lemonade have artificial flavoring, but furniture polish contains real lemon juice? Why do we believe someone when they…

Read more

Some Scary Facts

In case there was any doubt about the problem of addiction in America, here are a few numbers. 1. Cost to the economy – $600 billion/year. 2. Addiction is the leading cause of youth suicide. 3. Alcohol contributes to over 200 diseases and health conditions. 4. In the last ten years, 48,000 women died from…

Read more

A Sad Death

The following obituary told the story of a dear church member’s unexpected death. “Our church was saddened to learn this week of the death of one of our most valued members – Someone Else. Someone’s passing creates a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. Else always did more than his share of the work.…

Read more

Forgive

Pick one – sobriety or bitterness. You can have one, but you can’t have both. You have been wounded deeply by someone who matters a great deal to you. I know that because you are a member of the fallen race. Now you have a decision to make. To forgive or not forgive – that…

Read more

The Sabbath

The Jews took the Sabbath Day seriously. This command was central to their being: “Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). Henry Ward Beecher said, “A world without a Sabbath would be like a summer without flowers. It is the most joyous day of the week.” The Jews took the principles of the…

Read more

Abe Lincoln’s Son

The date was April 14, 1865. It was 10:15 p.m. President Lincoln was enjoying a play with his wife Mary. Then with one bullet fired from the derringer of John Wilkes Booth, everything changed. The President was declared dead nine hours later. Among his survivors was Mary. She lived the rest of her life in…

Read more

The Parrot

Three sons left home and prospered. Each was proud of the gift he was able to give their mother. The first bought her a big house. The second son bought her a new Mercedes. And the third bought their mother a parrot that was able to recite Scripture and keep her company. A few weeks…

Read more

No More Excuses

There’s a reason Step 1 comes first. Until we quit making excuses for our addiction, we will never get well. Dr. Elizabeth Hartney offers seven common justifications for one’s addiction. Denial: “It’s not a problem.” Minimization: “I have already cut down.” Comparisons: “Uncle Ted is worse than I am.” Defiance: “I’d rather live a short…

Read more

Sleep On It

If you are seeking real, lasting sobriety, try this – take a nap. Seriously, one of your problems may be that you aren’t getting enough sleep. Jenna Fletcher offers several health benefits from simply getting enough sleep: Better productivity and concentration Lower weight gain risk Better calorie regulation Greater athletic performance Lower risk of heart…

Read more

Hope

Hope is an indispensable ingredient of recovery. Thomas Carlyle said, “He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope has everything.” Dr. Dale Archer writes, “The power of hope defines the psychological victim and psychological survivor. As long as a patient, individual, or victim has hope, they can recover from anything and everything.…

Read more

Two Old Golfers

Two old golfers had a problem: one could still hit the ball, but could not see; the other could still see, but could not hit the ball. They came up with the perfect solution. The one who could hit would tee off, while the other golfer would tell him where the ball had gone. After…

Read more

The Moral of Humpty Dumpty

Comedian Ricky Gervais said, “I’ve never worked out what the moral of Humpty Dumpty is. I can only think of this – don’t sit on a wall if you’re an egg.” Application: If you struggle with sexually compulsive temptations, get off the fence (or wall). Put up some boundaries. This means living within predetermined guardrails.…

Read more

Losing Your Mind

From the comic strip, Blackadder, we read the following dialogue. Edmund Blackadder: “Baldrick, your brain is like the four-headed, man-eating haddock/fish/beast of Aberdeen.” Baldrick: “In what way?” Edmund Blackadder: “It doesn’t exist.” Porn has the same effect on the brain. In an extensive article, “Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction” (2015), four authors state the conclusion…

Read more

Chicken Little

Mrs. Johnson went to the butcher shop to buy a chicken. The butcher had just one scrawny chicken left. He put it on the scale. “Three pounds,” he said. “That’s too small,” said Mrs. Johnson. “Don’t you have something bigger?” The butcher didn’t want to lose the sale, so he pretended to rummage about, as…

Read more

Mr. Potato Head

It was the first toy advertised on television. On April 30, 1952, Hasbro, Inc. bought ad space to promote Mr. Potato Head. It apparently worked, as the sales of the three-year-old product went through the roof. At a cost of $0.98, the original Mr. Potato Head did not come with a potato “body,” so parents…

Read more

The Pooh Speaks

The great theologian, Winnie the Pooh, opined, “I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I have been.” While there is no empirical evidence that Winnie was a recovering sex addict, this one quote is quite revealing. But let’s talk about you. What are you walking away from? The problem is…

Read more

The Need for Speed

Addicts are adrenaline junkies. We can all relate to my double – Tom Cruise. He famously said, “I feel the need – the need for speed!” (Top Gun, 1986). Carey Mulligan said, “Sex addiction is a subject that should be discussed.” So let’s discuss it. We all like to pretend our addiction is only the…

Read more

Become Who You Are

For each of us there comes a time when we need to decide who we’re going to be. The choices are clear: addiction or recovery, insanity or peace, death or life. Paulo Coelho said, “Stop being who you were and become who you are.” The Bible promises, “If any man be in Christ, he is…

Read more

Sad Songs

Paul felt sorry for his friend’s son Julian. Paul’s friend, John, had left his wife for another woman, which Julian took really hard. To offer comfort, Paul wrote the boy a song. To conceal Julian’s identity, Paul changed his name to “Jude” for the song, which he released on this date – August 26, 1968.…

Read more

Ralph Lifshitz

Ralph Lifshitz was a shy boy, who was constantly ridiculed because of his last name. By the age of 16, he was relegated to the back of every classroom, picked last on every sports team, and without a hint of a first date. Tired of the ridicule, by the age of 30, Ralph did something…

Read more

Hiccups

Charles Osborne spent 68 consecutive years hiccupping. He finally found a cure, then died within a year. Don’t feel too sorry for Charles. A lot of us die before we find a cure, rather than after. I suggest you start chasing after your dreams now; there is no good reason to wait. But first, you…

Read more

Great Advice

Letter to advice columnist: “The other day, as I drove off to work, my car made a horrible noise, and then the engine began to smoke. The car died about three miles from my house. I had forgotten my cell phone, so I walked home, which took me three hours. When I got home, I…

Read more

The Best of Times

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Though Charles Dickens wrote those words in the 19th century, they could have been written this week. 2020 has been a year for the record books. In many ways, these are the best of times; in others, they are the worst of times.…

Read more

The Enemy

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” (The Godfather: Part II). It’s usually pretty easy to spot a friend. That is the person who loves you more because of your addiction, not despite your addiction. What’s not so easy to spot is an enemy. Let me help. An enemy is someone who . .…

Read more

Which Is Not Right?

Which of these is not correct? Babies have 100 more bones than adults. The Eiffel Tower can be 15 cm taller during the summer. 20% of Earth’s oxygen comes from the Amazon rainforest. In 2.3 billion years it will be too hot to live on Earth. It takes 8 minutes, 19 seconds for light to…

Read more

Running Your Day

Ours is a society of lists. We make a list each day, of all the things we want to accomplish that day. And that’s a good thing. But then our lists can become our god. And that’s a bad thing. Jim Rohn said, “Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” “The fruit…

Read more

Listen to Your Feelings?

Can a sex addict trust his feelings? Maybe not. Writer Mignon McLaughlin said, “Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have isn’t permanent.” Jeremiah 17:9 goes even further: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” And Solomon wrote, “Whoever trusts in his own mind is…

Read more

Raising Heroes

After tucking three-year-old Jimmy into bed, his parents heard sobbing coming from his bedroom. Rushing back in, they found their son crying hysterically. After they calmed him down a bit, Jimmy managed to tell them what had heppened. He said he had swallowed a penny and was afraid he would die. His parents were unable…

Read more

Roger Rabbit

I love this line from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” Every addict can relate. No one asks for sex addiction. Addicts were “drawn that way” through abuse, trauma, and isolation. So far today, I have heard men tell me of the following abuse: (a) physical abuse by a…

Read more

Healed at 40

Most of us are familiar with the story of Acts, chapter 2. On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the Church. This would change everything. But it is what happened next that I want to talk about. In Acts 3, we read about a 40-year-old man who had been crippled from birth.…

Read more

Beauty Is Pancreas Deep

Today’s topic – beauty. Author Jean Kerr wrote, “I’m tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin deep. That’s deep enough! What do you want – an adorable pancreas?” King Solomon praised the beauty of his wife. You can read about it in Song of Solomon, chapter 4. Solomon was smitten with his…

Read more

Wheelbarrows

A strong young man at the construction site was bragging that he could outdo anyone in a feat of strength. He made a special case of making fun of Morris, one of the older workmen. After several minutes, Morris had enough. “Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is?” he said. “I will…

Read more

Is It Really Relapse?

I have heard dozens of addicts confess to a relapse to sex addiction – every few days. Here’s the hard question: If you continue to have relapses, is it really a relapse? Poet Pablo Neruda offered an interesting perspective. “He who returns never left.” I believe there is a danger in saying, “I have had…

Read more

The Day Olajuwon Scored 100

It’s a record for which the NBA legend is little known – the day he scored 100. During his Hall-of-Fame career, the two-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star averaged about 25 points per game. But on one very special day, “The Dream” scored 100 – chicken nuggets. Hakeem was shooting an ad for McDonald’s, promoting…

Read more

75 Years Ago Today

It happened August 6, 1945 (75 years ago today). The U.S. B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb code-named “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan, resulting in an estimated 140,000 deaths. Three days later, the United States dropped a second nuclear device over Nagasaki. Five days later, Imperial Japan surrendered. The atomic bomb represented the…

Read more

There Is No Try

Vince Lombardi famously said, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” I like this quote from Bobby Knight even more. “The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. The key is the will to prepare to win.” In recovery, it’s what we do before the temptation hits that will determine our response.…

Read more

Keep Learning

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), an estimated 2.2 million new books are published worldwide each year. That comes to 6,027 books per day, or one new book every 15 seconds. President John Adams was right: “The more one reads, the more one sees he has to read.” There is…

Read more

Go Too Far

Recovery is a journey that knows no end, makes incredible promises, and whose freedom is only limited by your refusal to engage the process. T.S. Eliot said, “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go.” Here’s my challenge for today. In recovery, risk going too…

Read more

Get A Shovel

In the fable of Hercules and the Wagoner, first recorded by Babrius in the first century AD, the story is told of a wagon that fell into a ravine. When the driver appealed to Hercules for help, he was told to fix it himself. This, and other similar stories, gave birth to the common teaching,…

Read more

Does Your Spouse Complete You?

In the movie bearing his name, Jerry Maguire offered an impassioned speech to Dorothy, concluding with this memorable line: “You complete me.” Many a young romantic has fallen into that same trap. We marry someone, expecting them to “complete us.” And we are invariably disappointed. Why? Because we are never made “complete” by another human…

Read more

Eggs and Cake

Recovery is all about making wise decisions. So let’s talk about it – wisdom. We often mistake knowledge for wisdom. But if you have to pick one, take wisdom every time. Knowledge is the accumulation of facts; wisdom tells you what to do with those facts. President Coolidge said it like this: “Knowledge comes, but…

Read more

Minimizing Dumb Mistakes

Sometimes, recovery is about doing the next right thing. Other times, it is about avoiding the next wrong thing. Here are a few mistakes I see people make, which lead them down the road to relapse. Shame game Comparison trap Unrealistic expectations Fantasy island Premature disclosure No one ever said recovery would be easy. Or…

Read more

The Minefield of Recovery

Humorist Michael O’Donoghue said, “Life is one big minefield, and the only place that isn’t a minefield is the place they make the mines.” In recovery, you have probably discovered a few mines along the way: Temptations Triggers Trials Tests We all walk through the minefields. Jesus said it like this: “It rains on the…

Read more

The Answer to Relapse

Sadly, we all know that relapse is all too common among recovering addicts of all kinds. One study (cited by Clinical Psychology in 2007, “Relapse and Relapse Prevention”) found that 85 percent of addicts relapse within the first year of sobriety. Yale University conducted a one-year study on 878 patients entering clinical recovery. They identified…

Read more

The Price of Success

Today’s subject is something you probably aren’t going to like. If you will risk it all – your reputation, time, and secrets – in order to chase after recovery, you will find it. Otherwise, you probably won’t. Seneca said, “It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not…

Read more

Working Girl

In the 1988 movie, Working Girl, Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) stated her acute dilemma: “I have a head for business and a bod for sin.” That speaks to the inner battle each of us faces. Paul said it like this: “I do not do the good I want to do, Instead, I keep doing what…

Read more

B x 6

Maya Angelou was right when he said, “All great achievements require time.” Solomon wrote, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:8). Anything worthwhile takes time to achieve. This is especially true of recovery from any addiction. There are early wins that you can achieve quickly. Others will take…

Read more

The Road to Authenticity

A great aspiration for any man or woman would be a life of authenticity. Socrates offered great advice to all of us. He said, “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” J.B. Cachila wrote an article for Christian Post, “Three Ways to Be Authentic.” He…

Read more

Dreaming into Action

“This isn’t a dream! This is really happening!” (Bette Davis, Rosemary’s Baby, 1968). That’s the funny thing about dreams. Sometimes, they do happen. Daniel was a dreamer – way back in Old Testament times. He spoke truth to power one day. “There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known…

Read more

Mind Games

Stephen King wrote, “The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn’t real. I know that, and I also know that if I’m careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle.” Yogi Berra said, “The problem with my mind is that sometimes it gets…

Read more

Cool Hand Luke

In Paul Newman’s classic 1967 movie, Cool Hand Luke, the cruel prison warden justified his beating of Luke with this classic line: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” A failure to communicate has been at the root of many failed relationships, especially in marriage. Author Julie Baumgardner offers several keys to good…

Read more

Addicted to Virginia

Beth, Heidi (our 14-year-old Westie), and I are planning our next vacation. Destination – Virginia. The more I plan, the more excited I become. We are plotting every day, in order to see as much as possible. The more I look at pictures and think about the historical places we will see, the more hyped…

Read more

The #1 Commonality of Sex Addiction

In his groundbreaking book, TINSA (Trauma Induced Sexual Addiction), Dr. Michael Barta contends, “In my findings, the single commonality that sex addicts share is that they were all subjected to developmental trauma.” He further states that “most addicts suffer from abandonment and neglect.” Barta concludes, “The TINSA model theorizes that episodes of past trauma are…

Read more

Can Medicine Help My Addiction?

It’s a reasonable question. Is there medicine I can take that will help reduce my sexual urges, and thereby help with my addiction? The short answer is yes. In their incredible book, Real Hope, True Freedom, Dr. Milton Magness and Marsha Means report the following data. Naltrexone, a medication primarily used to treat addictions to…

Read more

Over/Under

Two ways we get into big trouble are by underestimating God and overestimating ourselves. Oscar Wilde said it well: “I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.” Jesus said it even better: “Without me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Step 1 says we are powerless over our addiction. Coming to grips with…

Read more

Time to Get Started

Eddie Van Halen said, “There’s a plaque on our wall that says we’ve sold over 65 million albums, and I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything. I feel like I’m just getting started.” The rock legend continues to travel the world and perform before enormous crowds, 48 years since he got started. Now 65, Van…

Read more

3 Ways to Avoid a Relapse

We all acted like we hadn’t heard it. To a man, the 15 of us just listened and nodded. But what we heard shook many in the group to their core. “I’ve had a relapse.” “Jeff” had been sober for five years – no slips and no relapses. Jeff is an active member of our…

Read more

Six Pitfalls in Early Sobriety

Marcus Tullius Cicero said, “Everything has a small beginning.” We see an example of this in the 1991 movie, What About Bob? Richard Dreyfus plays a psychiatrist who has written a book called Baby Steps, which Bill Murray’s character takes to heart and uses to help him step out of his neurotic life. Robert Taibbi…

Read more

Pulling the Trigger

It was a good day. We were in the Christmas season and I was excited about, what was for me, a creative gift idea for my husband. My plan was to gather some pictures of a recent vacation and put together a photo album to commemorate a fresh start with new memories. Creative and inexpensive!…

Read more

Secrets

For most of its 15-year run, from 1952 to 1967, it was rated among the top 20 shows on television. It was called “I’ve Got a Secret.” Millions of Americans tuned in to watch celebrities try to guess another person’s secret. We love seeing secrets exposed – unless they are our own. As I work…

Read more

Self-Care

The Bible offers us a wonderful story about self-care. We read about a man named Elijah, one of the most prominent figures of the Old Testament. “Elijah was afraid…Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. ‘I have…

Read more

Nine Ways to Stop Lusting

There is a line in the SA “white book” that defines sobriety as “progressive victory over lust.” Note, the goal is not to (a) quit masturbation, (b) quit porn, or (c) quit any behavior. The goal is to quit lust. So what’s the big deal about lust? It’s simple. When we lust, we tend to…

Read more

Security Screening

Recently I traveled by plane, requiring me to go through airport security screening. My ID was checked to verify that I was the person I reported to be. I was instructed to remove any objects from my pockets, my shoes, and electronics from my bag. All of my items were x-rayed and scrutinized and I…

Read more

Good Grief

Who among us has not witnessed the all too familiar scene at the grocery store check-out line of the parent trying to control the hysterical child who is screaming and crying for the now forbidden candy or toy that has been strategically displayed in his sight? In the child’s defense, millions of dollars have gone…

Read more

Rigorous Honesty

In Chapter Five of the AA “Big Book,” we read, “Those who do not recover are incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.” Nothing matters more to recovery than that – rigorous honesty. Ben Franklin famously said, “Honesty is the best policy.” William Shakespeare commented, “No legacy is so…

Read more

Betrayal

Betrayal – With its discovery comes an unbelievable pain that reaches to the core of our being, bringing suffering that feels like our hearts are literally shattering into a million pieces. There is this realization that life as we’ve known it is over. Often, many tears follow, but not the polite, respectable kind like in…

Read more

I’ve Had a Slip – Now What?

The shortest distance between addiction and recovery is rarely a straight line. Let me explain. Recovery is like boxing. Before a fight one night, Mike Tyson told his opponent, “Your game plan will work perfectly – until you get punched in the face.” If you are just entering recovery, get ready to get punched in…

Read more