Guest Post: Lincoln’s Story: How a Recovery Survivor Found Hope

lincoln

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Addiction continues to grip our country in ways we never imagined. Every day there are countless news stories about overdoses, drunk driving incidents, and violence associated with the drug trade.

Then you have the stories of people who are stuck in the quicksand of addiction. And while we hear about the criminal aspect of addiction, we don’t hear the human aspect. We don’t hear about the struggles associated with addiction or how people are finding their way back to a real life through recovery.

Truthful and scary as the news stories are, it’s important to counterbalance the negative with the positive. Those who suffer from addiction are humans, too; humans who need support and strength to help them right their ship. Sometimes the very best way to consider the other side of addiction is to hear the story of a survivor — particularly a survivor who found his way back and now dedicates his life to helping others.

“People with the ability to change lives have the responsibility to change lives.” – Lincoln, proud graduate of addiction treatment

Lincoln came from a family of alcoholics. His father and grandmother, both former alcoholics,  helped found AA support groups in their community, and none of his sisters ever suffered from addiction. But Lincoln said he always felt like addiction was patiently waiting in the wings for the day he would arrive. Sadly, that day came.

As a college student, Lincoln found himself caught up in a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol. Unable to manage his studies, he was ejected from school. And after a revolving door of detox programs, he became homeless. In a rehab program associated with a homeless shelter where he was staying, Lincoln found himself talking to a Marine recruiter. With a perfect opportunity to force himself into sobriety, Lincoln immediately enlisted.

However, even though mandatory testing kept Lincoln off drugs, he found himself drinking more and more.

“Once I was in the military, I realized I couldn’t stop drinking,” Lincoln said.

After having neck surgery, Lincoln was prescribed pain medication that he couldn’t stop using, and he kept finding ways to get more. Finally, another visit to rehab prompted by his commanding officer forced Lincoln to quickly wrap up his service. But being out of the military made it easier for Lincoln to return to his former lifestyle.

“The military had kept me sober, so once I was out, I quickly went back to drugs. I was doing heroin, cocaine, pills, weed … anything I could get my hands on,” he said.

As his life began to spiral out of control, Lincoln’s family recognized that he was a danger to himself. Thanks to a Kentucky law, his family was able to commit him to involuntary drug treatment. He didn’t realize it at the time, but Lincoln’s arrival at Treehouse Rehab started the journey of a lifetime.

When he first arrived, Lincoln said he wasn’t convinced rehab would work.

“Nothing had ever worked before — not that I had really tried. But I knew something had to change,” he said. “At the Treehouse, I hit the ground running. I knew if I was going to be there, I wanted to be 100 percent. … I immersed myself in it and went to all of the classes that I could.”

“I showed up at the Treehouse as a Godless, fearless man,” he continued. “While I was there, I connected to a 12-step program and came to find my higher power.”

But Lincoln said he also realized the only way this was all going to work was if he flipped the script.

“I learned I needed a new start. Anyone who knew me would have never imagined that I could do it. I didn’t want to uphold my reputation. I needed to establish a new identity and not conform to what others thought I should or could be.”

And so it began that Lincoln not only found a way back to himself, but he realized he could be a force for change with others suffering from substance abuse.

“I’ve found a God of my understanding and I’m working with other alcoholics and addicts. It’s a passion and joy for me – and that’s what drives my life.

“I regularly attend AA meetings and have nine sponsees. It’s a snowball effect that’s infinite. It’s such a joy in my life that wasn’t there before. It’s a joy I never knew I could find,” Lincoln said. “Being an outlet for people has been my greatest joy in recovery.”

Here’s a man who hit rock bottom but was able to carve out a new life for himself through sobriety. Lincoln is a shining example of someone who found the support and strength needed to pick up the pieces. Let his story be one that can inspire others to do the same.

Written By: Constance Ray at information@recoverywell.org

Dragging? Try These 10 Simple Steps to Boost Your Energy!

-my mother used to tell me that all the time.it was the best advice i ever got.-allie chardin

Are you dragging yourself out of bed in the morning? Or is it the afternoon slump that hits you hard? I’ve experienced both and on the same day! Life is busy as a single mom! You don’t have to feel depleted.

Try these 10 Simple Tips to Boost Your Energy!

  1. Make a Date with Jesus- When our spiritual life is out of whack we lack energy. The very first thing you should always do is have a little talk with Jesus! When you dive into the word and get spiritually fed it carries over to every area of your life.
  2. Sleep! Consistent shut-eye can do wonders. If you’re staying up until the wee hours of the night and waking up exhausted you’re doing some serious damage to your body. Get a good night sleep, ideally 7-8 hours, but if you can’t figure out the amount of hours you need to sleep to not feel like a zombie the next day.
  3. Exercise– When you start physically moving all kinds of endorphins are released that make you feel good! There are gyms such as Planet Fitness that are $10 a month that make it incredibly affordable. Not a gym gal? It’s okay! You can get exercise simply by walking or even jogging in place. Try to make exercise a part of your daily routine and not only will your health improve, but so will your energy levels.
  4. Feed Your Body with Healthy Food- If you feel your body with junk you feel like junk right?Try to incorporate as many fresh fruit, veggies, lean meat, and grains. Instead of grabbing a sugary donut for a snack opt for some pre-cut veggies and fruit. Prepare small baggies so you can just grab them on the go.
  5. Stay Hydrated-When you’re dragging it can simply be because your dehydrated. Drink water. It’s that simple.
  6. Take Vitamins– Ask your doctor about the vitamins they suggest you take. Most common are a multivitamin and a B12, but you may be lacking a certain vitamin that has your body completely out of whack.
  7. Stay Away From Emotionally Draining People– This isn’t meant to come off harsh, but there are people who literally drain you until you’re a puddle on the ground. Try to keep a healthy distance from people who are negative and live in a place of stinking thinking. It’s contagious so the most effective antibiotic are boundaries.
  8. Talk to Someone Who Is Uplifting! We all need those friends who can pick us up and when necessary whip us into shape. They are energy boosters! Maybe it’s your parent, a friend, a minister, whoever it is have a good old heart to heart, you’ll walk away feeling a whole lot better.
  9. Take a Time Out– When everything is spinning out of control, chances are you are too. Sometimes you have to get off the crazy train and take a time out. You don’t have to hop on a plane to a remote island (although not a bad idea!) but you can create some serenity by simply taking a step back. Maybe your time out place is your bathroom, a closet, the back porch, or your parked car. Find a place to unwind and take a breath.
  10. Do Something You Enjoy– When we’re happy, engaged and passionate we have boundless energy. When you’re feeling low go back to your sweet spot, that happy place and do what it is that you love! It will give you the boost you need.

6 Simple Steps to Pursue Your Passion

Has pursuing your passion become a distant memory? Your purpose matters! Pursuing your purpose matters, especially to God! Life is busy, kids need us, committements pile up, but that doesn’t mean you should shove your passion aside. Here are 6 simple steps you can take to work towards the goals God has planted in your heart! Look for a video this weekend on this resource.

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Tips on Beating Those Co-Parenting Holiday Blues for Single Moms

Do you share holidays? Feeling lost without the kids? I’ll be giving you suggestions on how to handle those  tough holidays when the kids are with the other parent. Don’t worry your momma heart will get through it!

the-automobile

10 Tips On Finding Your Rhythm As A Single Mom

Find Your Rhythm Through the Waves

Find Your Rhythm Through the Waves

Do you have a groove? I have a groove and it isn’t my awesome dance moves :) it’s my rhythm as a single mom. I found my rhythm and it works for me, but it didn’t come without some trial and error. Finding your groove takes time, practice and the ability to think outside the box, but your life runs so much smoother when you do, doesn’t it?

Today, I want to give you 10 Tips that may help you find your rhythm as a single mom and make life a little easier.

  1. Spend Time With God. Nothing, nothing, nothing made a bigger difference in my life than strengthening my relationship with God and spending time in the word and prayer. He is your partner, so go to Him every day and let God be your number one priority.
  2. Get Organized. You don’t have to be all OCD, but a little organization in your life will help you keep your head above water. There are different areas of your life that need to be organized, so start out with the one that seems to give you the most headaches. If it is your house, start a plan to organize it in a way that works for you. Then practice maintaining it by creating boundaries for you and the kids. Put systems in place that will make your day go smoother. Write lists, put up a central calendar with everyone’s activities and appointments, put a meal plan together, whatever will make your life smoother do it.
  3. Create Your Community. You need your people! It’s important to have good, reliable and kind people in your life. Reach out and create a community! Don’t go it alone. It’s important to have a support group and to be a support to others. Don’t be afraid to reach out because I can bet you some mom out there is needing you as much as you need her.
  4. Don’t Run on Overload. You are one person don’t try to be everything to everyone it doesn’t work. Know your priorities, don’t feel bad about saying  no, and know your limits. Saying yes to everything all the time will exhaust you and leave you feeling resentful. Evaluate what is important to you and spend your energy in the appropriate places.
  5. Don’t Compare Yourself. Comparisons are the devil. When you start comparing yourself you lose focus on your blessings. You lose the gratitude for all that God has done for you and instead you spend time wishing for a situation that isn’t yours. I’ve seen this time and again with single moms comparing themselves to other families and not believing their family is whole. Your family is as whole as you believe it to be, don’t allow your perception of others to form your reality. Listen, focus on creating the life you want for you and your family and do it!
  6. Keep Your Dreams Alive.Before you were a mom you had a life. You still have a life and it is enriched by your beautiful children, but don’t forget about the desires of your heart either. Go for your dreams! Be a role mode for your kids by teaching them to be tenacious in doing what they love.
  7. Stop Complaining About Your Ex. Listen, things happen, people get hurt and relationships end. All of it is hard. But, at some point you either make peace with your situation or you live in a state of conflict. This can be a long, arduous and painful process, but complaining doesn’t resolve anything it only keeps the hurt alive and leaves you angry and bitter. You are so much better than that! Take action, be an adult and remember what momma said, “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say nothing at all.” Keeping the strife going  isn’t healthy and keeps you stuck. Also don’t get sucked into friendships with other single moms who make it their life’s mission to complain about their ex because it becomes contagious! Know when to move on.
  8. Communicate With Your Children’s Father. Communication is key and not always easy, but if you want your children to have the best life they can in this scenario then it is key. Follow the schedule, communicate about activities, and allow flexibility when it can be accommodated.  Everyone’s life will be better.
  9. Take Care of Yourself. Everything falls on your shoulders, but if you aren’t physically, mentally and emotionally healthy everything will fall apart. Ladies, take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, and rest. Your kids need you more than anything so make loving yourself a priority and you will take care of everyone else by doing so.
  10. Think Outside the Box. When I become a single mom I started seriously thinking about how I wanted my life to look. My heart wanted to be at home. So, I started looking for telecommuting positions. Most people didn’t think it would work, but 3 contracts in and 3 years later it is working. Working at home has posed its own challenges, but I’m happier and I’m content with my lifestyle. Create the life you want and don’t allow anyone to discourage you on the journey. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try new ways that work for you.

Well, there are my tips! I hope you groove your way through this journey and find the rhythm that makes your life work for you!

3 Ways To Allow The Scab From Your Ex to Heal

scab

When I talk to single moms one of the topics that never fails to arise is… the father of their children. Unfortunately, once the subject is broached there usually follows a tirade of emotion. I get it. I’ve been there and it isn’t easy. But, these conversations always makes me think about the healing process and what a complicated and delicate journey it is to heal from a divorce or separation especially when a child is involved. It’s interesting, I’ve spoken to women who have been divorced for years and as soon as the ex-factor comes up it is like they are transported back into time and can recall every single terrible thing they went through. It isn’t surprising because ties are ties and when a trust is broken or violated it sticks with us like a scar and if we start  picking at that scar or scab that old wound just starts bleeding again. How often do you pick at your ex-scab?

My daughter has a ton of scabs from playing, falling and Lord knows what else from school. There are three things I tell her to do with a scab:

  1. Clean It
  2. Don’t Pick at It
  3. Let it Heal

This is not a bad way to deal with our scabs from the father of our children. How you say? Well, let’s break it down.

  1. Clean It- This has more to do with you then him. There comes a point when you have to come clean. Take responsibility for your part, be accountable. When we start the purifying process it takes us looking back, laying it on the table honestly, asking for forgiveness for our own actions and asking God to grant us a pure heart and mind when it comes to this relationship. When you clean yourself from all the dirt, grime, and residue left behind then your attitude changes. Remember it really does begin with you. This isn’t an easy process it may take years but it will give you freedom. When we leave a wound unclean it gets infected and can spread. Stop it from spreading and infecting the other areas of your life with your family and even the possibility of love again.
  2. Don’t Pick at It- What is it about scabs that make them so tempting to pick? Just when that wound is being covered and trying to grow a new skin we want to dig away at it? When we constantly rehash the past and pick apart every bit of that relationship, every argument, every hurt we take away the ability for our wounds to heal. We don’t give that new skin a chance because we keep ripping it off and it keeps bleeding. There comes a point where you have to accept that you fell, you got hurt, but then you have to get up and heal. If you want to have any type of cordial relationship with your ex stop picking at the wound between the two of you. This is hard. But, you have a choice you can either live bleeding and injured or you can live healed with a scar that fades more and more every day.
  3. Let it Heal-Have you ever heard people say that you need to let your scab breathe? Give yourself time to breathe. Don’t expect your scar to disappear in a few days or even a few months. But, take off the band aid, run, play, enjoy life and breathe in all that is good and exhale all that doesn’t serve you. Be kind, be compassionate, be gentle with your injury and take care of yourself and allow time for healing. You and your family deserve it!

We’re going to get lots of bruise on the bumpy road of life, but if we know how to take care of them we can move forward a little easier. Wishing you a healing today!

Ladies Inspiration Day in MD with Speaker Isabelle Williamson

 

If you live in the Metro DC area you won’t want to miss the Ladies Inspiration Day this Saturday from 9 AM-1 PM at University Park Church of Christ. It will be a fun day full of fellowship. I happen to personally know the speaker Isabelle Williamson who is just a truly gifted and dynamic presenter who really speaks into women’s hearts. You will love her delivery, her message, and her humor! The topic is, “Stay Calm and Serve.” In our busy lives and hurried society that we live in I think this topic is right on time for so many of us.

Registration and breakfast start at 8:00 AM. Hope you can make it you will definitely be blessed!

The Address is:

6420 Adelphi Road Hyattsville, MD 20782

*Childcare is available all the more reason to come!

3 Principles For Making Wise Decisions

 

Wisdom Begins Here

Wisdom Begins Here

One of my goals as a mom is to teach my daughter how to make wise choices.Our choices come with consequences…good and bad…long and short-term and our choices determine to some degree how we are going to live our life. I cringe when I think about some of the choices in my past and if I could go back and change some of them I would, especially those that effected other people negatively. The bible tells us we need to train our children and a significant part of that training is guiding them on how to make wise choices. There are 3 principles that I try to live by and to instill in my 9-year-old as she begins to navigate through the many choices she’ll eventually have to make regardless of how big or small.

1) Pray: All wise choices begin with prayer. James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him.” It is so comforting to know that God wants to give us the wisdom we need and he isn’t stingy about it! He gives generously. So we need to ask generously. If we made our first stop God and not Facebook or even a friend we could make choices that were based in his will. Too often we don’t turn to God until after we already made a choice was made and we need God to clean up the mess. Pray is essential in making wise choices.

2) Ask Yourself, Is This a Wise Decision: Is this choice scripturally correct? Does this decision go against God’s word? Does this choice lead to sin?If it does it isn’t a wise decision.  2 Timothy 3:16 states, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” So we can trust that scripture is truth and God intended for the scriptures to guide us in making choices, for teaching and training. Dig into the scriptures, it is a blueprint for our life.

 

3) Think About the Consequences: Some consequences are life long. When you make a decision try to envision how this choice will effect you 5 or 10 years from now. Are the consequences positive or negative?Will they enrich your life or diminish it? How will the consequences effect those around you? Are you able to live with  the consequences? James 1: 15 “Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin when it is full grown gives birth to death.” One poor choice often leads to another poor choice that keeps us in bondage. The consequences for unwise choices can literally lead to physical death or worse a spiritual death.

Making unwise choices is a recipe for disaster, but if we use these 3 ingredients we can cook up a delicious life. One that is rooted in the principles of Christ and the freedom that comes through the wisdom that he freely and generously gives each one of us.