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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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!…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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