The Hope Diary: Prayer for Addiction

I came across this prayer on Facebook by Joyce Meyer Ministries and I wanted to share it with you if you are struggling with any kind of addiction or stronghold in your life.

I believe that we can be totally set free from anything, when we believe that we hold the power over whatever threatens to control us.

Prayer for Addiction: “God, I know You can help me overcome this addiction, and I’m so thankful, because I want to be free. Every time I come to You, I win another battle. Thank You for helping me to keep on fighting. I pray for complete healing and transformation not just for myself, but so others will be blessed by my testimony of Your love and mercy and Your power over sin. Help me remember what Your Word says: You will never leave me or forsake me, and You love me no matter what. Because of Jesus Christ, I already have the victory. Thank You, Lord, for showing me who I am in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

-Joyce Meyer Ministries-

Love Letter to God

March 4, 2015

Thank You Dear Lord Jesus,

You are my Hope

You are my Strength

You are my Mind

You are my Love

You are my Savior

You are my Rock

You are my Comfort

You are my Healing

You are my Security

You are my Confidence

You are my Peace

You are my Stability

You are my Protection

You are my Beauty

Thank You Dear Lord Jesus,

You love me forever and forever

I love you with all that I am.

-Nikki DuBose


Love_Letter_to_God

Psalm 56:3,4

“But when I am afraid,

I will put my trust in you.
I praise God for what He has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?

What can mere mortals do to me?”

Psalm 57:1-4

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!

I look to you for protection.

I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings

until the danger passes by.

I cry out to God Most High,

to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.

He will send help from heaven to rescue me,

disgracing those who hound me.

My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness.”

The Hope Diary: Feeding Hope

February 16, 2015

Psalm 119:114

“You are my refuge and my shield, I have put my hope in your word.”

Feeding Hope

In every single area of my life, I can be a beacon of light and hope to others.

We cannot live without hope. Our hearts cannot beat very long without the blood of hope and faith that comes from Jesus, and that blood flows to the hearts of so many others who are suffering each and every day. We feed life into dead souls with every meal of encouragement, strength and love that we give, through our words, our actions and our loving thoughts.

When I spend time with God, I am becoming spiritually strong, I am filling up on everything that I need for the day to come, and I am instantly better because of it. I am able to face the day, and I have the tools I need to combat all of the things that come against me.

I am grateful…

for God’s Word. It nourishes my spirit, mind and body and has the power to nurture everyone.
May I let my life be an example

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

Nikki_DuBose_The_Hope_Diary_Feeding_Hope

The Hope Diary: Kindness

The_Hope_Diary_Nikki_DuBose_2015_KindnessThe Hope Diary: Kindness
January 20th, 2015

Kindness. How critical yet consistently undervalued in our world it is to be compassionate to ourselves and to one another. How often do we value success, power, entertainment and instant gratification? Although we search for things that cannot eternally satisfy us, time and time again we chase after them, only to be washed away like the tides of the sea.

English author Neil Gaiman has stated, “I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.”

I was determined to change everything about myself when I started modeling in 2006. I wanted to be somebody else because the person who I saw in the mirror made me wanted to kill myself, and with my destructive behaviors, I was on that road fast, although in serious denial.  During my childhood years I was unaware that I was hurting myself with my eating disorder behaviors and overexercising. Once I was confronted from my dad about what I was doing, I was stubborn and engaged in them more because they served me in many ways. I felt that if I stopped binging, purging and overexercising, that my world would fall apart and that I would die.  I believe at that point because I knew they were wrong and I did not stop, that they became addictive behaviors. By refusing to seek help early on, I hurt not only myself but many people in the process. Now because of therapy and recovery I understand that that thought process was a result of having sub-clinical obsessive compulsive disorder, depression and anxiety.

I was wrapped up in my career for the wrong reasons as well. In modeling, I was fixated on being the best in my profession at all costs, but that price meant hurting myself. Before every shoot, casting and fashion show, I binged and purged repeatedly over the anxiety that I felt knowing that I would be judged and scrutinized. I was always told in unkind ways to lose weight, and it just wore at my brain. I couldn’t take it. I was not kind to myself and the lack of self love cost me everything.

Life begins and ends with kindness. Our health is sustained only by our ability to nourish ourselves mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. Everything is in danger of falling apart if we cannot be kind to ourselves because then we cannot extend that love to the world.

I am grateful…

My recovery allows me to make positive decisions based on first being kind to myself, and second from extending that kindness to others.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Gaining

The Hope Diary: Gaining

July 9, 2014

You can’t paint over pain.

Gaining weight in recovery from anorexia and bulimia has been hell. There’s no ice cream-caked way to sugar coat the horrendous feelings that have surfaced once I actually started to put down my addiction, and picked up life again. Not numbing myself with food, drugs, or alcohol left me stone-cold naked and faced with thoughts and emotions that I had buried years and years ago; and many that I did not even know existed.

The sexual abuse began in my childhood and resurfaced in the modeling business. I used food, and later drugs and alcohol, to forget the experiences and dull the nightmares that I was having of being used for my body and thrown away like yesterday’s trash. I lost my identity over the course of my life, and between all of the mental problems with my mother, I often considered suicide. I began to see myself like a monster in my teenage years, and I felt like my eating disorder was my best friend, and the only thing I had to live for. Sometimes when life was really low, I found myself debating between only the eating disorder or killing myself. I truly thought that I was so low, so degraded, that I had nothing to live for. I had been so shamed in my body since my childhood, that I had come to view myself as an object, which is what others had treated me as.

Gaining weight in recovery has given me my strength back physically, mentally and emotionally, and it has enabled me to deal with the underlying pain underneath the eating disorder. When I was first sexually abused at the age of eight, I began to overeat to try to bury the shameful feelings that I had. Therefore, as an adult in recovery, at twenty-nine years old, I am working every day to value and love myself at a healthy weight, and not feel ashamed of the person that I am. There is a mental and emotional reflection I guess you could say that stares back at me sometimes, even without a mirror, and that is because of the tremendously damaged little girl and adult girl from the modeling industry that really got hurt from the constant abuse.

Gaining weight is my “sharpened Savior” in a sense, because it is a necessary tool that has been molding me into the true person that I really am, and need to be in order to face all of the monsters from my past, and the ones that will inevitably reoccur. Knowing that God is with me throughout everything is my hope and comfort.

Don’t give up. Wherever you are at in recovery, embrace it. You are strong. You can do this. I know you can. I believe in you.

God Bless,

 

The Hope Diary: Step Twelve: Helping Others

We have now arrived at the twelfth and final step of the recovery program. Congratulations! Give yourself a huge hug and relish how far you have come to reach this point. Your recovery is the cornerstone of the success for the rest of your life.

Step twelve touches on what is single-handedly the most important part of daily recovery. Although all of the steps are essential for a healthy soul, mind and body, the twelfth step is crucial because it instills the importance of giving away what you have been given. After all, where would we be if recovery, support, and guidance had not been given to us by others all along the way?

Helping other people get their life back on track by sharing our experience, strength and hope can be done in the form of sponsoring up to the level of your recovery or by being an accountability partner.  Just being kind to others and allowing positivity and love to flow through your personality to the world around you enables all kinds of continual healing to take place. When we don’t pass on the knowledge that we have received, we run the assured risk of falling back on our own recovery and becoming selfish and proud.

The steps need to be repeated for the rest of our lives. We never become “too good” for program; rather, our success in life is dependant upon our daily surrender to God and being willing to work on ourselves. Recovery is a beautiful thing; how will you pass it on today?

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Our Mission
Isaiah 61:1-3

1. How have I passed through the pain and despair of enslavement to addiction and moved into healing and freedom?

2. Having had a “spiritual awakening” after being set free from my addiction, am I excited or hesitant to share my experience, strength, and hope with others who are struggling with addiction? Why?

Our Story
Mark 16:14-18

Describe the story of your spiritual awakening and how the first eleven steps have brought spiritual principals, truth, and healing into your life. Describe what you were like, what happened, and what you are like now.

Sharing Together
John 15:5-15

1. Am I connected to the vine? How do the Twelve Steps help me to “remain” in him?

2. Is my recovery attractive to other addictive/compulsive people because I am becoming more loving rather than condemning those who need my help?

3. What am I doing to reach out with Jesus’ love?

Listening First
Acts 8:26-40

1. What is my attitude about sharing my story of recovery? Am I reluctant to tell my story, or am I the type that wants to share too much, too soon, with too many people?

2. From either extreme, am I willing to wait for God’s timing for sharing recovery?

3. Do I see my story as valuable to God’s plan? Describe how.

Talking the Walk
1 Timothy 4:14-16

1. Paul encourages Timothy to “throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” What changes in my life can others observe since I have been sober and working the Twelve Steps?

2. Paul wanted Timothy not only to teach others, but to be an example. When I share my story with others, am I preaching, or sharing my experience, strength, and hope.

3. Am I able to let the other person make his or her own decision by relinquishing control and letting God do his work?

Never Forget
Titus 3:1-5

What do I remember about my last drink or my last binge? Describe that last time, including actions, feelings, behaviors, and thoughts that led up to it and followed it:

The Narrow Road
1 Peter 4:1-4

1. Peter pointed out: “You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy-their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties” (1 Peter 4:1-2) the pains of recovery.

2. Does the approval or judgement of others keep me from sharing recovery? Do I fear negative rumors?

3. How can I work the Twelve Steps on this fear?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Eleven: God’s Will be Done

Step eleven of the twelve step program teaches us that recovery is a daily renewal of our minds, bodies and souls. Without surrendering to God’s Will for our lives it is impossible to have a successful and abstinent day. I tried to live my life in recovery my way for a long time until I finally became exhausted because I kept ending up in the same place: failure! I just said “Ok God You win I give up! Your Will be done not mine!” Now whenever I feel myself getting frustrated it is a warning sign that I am trying to live life on my terms, and so I have to 1. Stop and 2. Simply ask God for His help. Man what humble pie tastes like going down! But the rewards of humility and surrender surely are sweeter than trying to do things alone.
Prayer does not have to be fancy. God wants us to come simply as we are. I often pray “Father, your will be done, not my own. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.” God is a God of hearts.

What is your Step 11 Prayer that you can use throughout the day?

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook for the following questions.

A New Hiding Place
2 Samuel 22:1-33

1. How was addiction a hiding place from life for me? Compare this with having God as a hiding place.

2. Describe how I experience “conscious contact” with God:

Thirst for God:
Psalm 27: 1-6

1. What do I most seek from God?

2. What is difficult about trusting God with my requests?

Joy in God’s Presence
Psalm 65:1-4

1. What keeps me from accepting God’s forgiveness?

2. What scares me about knowledge of God’s will for me?

Finding God
Psalm 105:1-9

1. Is my life changing daily? Am I noticing when I am resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid today? Identify ways that I am changing:

2. Am I aware of others’ feelings, needs, and rights? What have I noticed today?

Powerful Secrets
Psalm 119: 1-11

1. What am I hiding in my heart–secrets of old behaviors and issues, or God’s Word?

2. List what I can thank God for today:

Patient Waiting
Isaiah 40: 28-31

1. How does impatience show itself in my attitude and behaviors?

2. Am I impatient about my progress in recovery? Do I expect myself to “get it” the first time? Do I expect perfection?

3. Why is it hard to “trust in the Lord”?

Friends of the Light
John 3:18-21

1. In what areas of my life am I still afraid to seek God’s will?

2. When I think I am hearing God’s will, whose power do I act on? Am I tempted to do God’s will in my own power?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Ten: Taking Daily Inventory

Step ten is the first step that I take daily in order to keep myself in check. When I find that my character or food plan might be getting a bit sloppy, I try to immediately surrender myself to God and ask for His help to renew my mind In Him and take account for exactly where I am going wrong. In doing so, I am able to get back on track much faster and have a fruitful day. In the past before I found strong recovery I just kind of floundered around mercilessly inside and felt very lost. My mind was weak because I had let the eating disorder and other problems control it for many years. Thank God for His Grace and the twelve steps of recovery to bring daily help in every single situation that can arise.

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Personal Boundaries
Genesis 31:45-55

1. In order to restore trust in relationships, what particular weaknesses do I need to set boundaries around?

2. Is there a trusted person to whom I can clearly define my commitments? Who? What commitments am I willing to make?

Repeated Forgiveness
Romans 5:3-5

1. Do certain behaviors and character defects that show up in my Step Ten inventory point to a pattern? Which ones? What is being revealed to me?

2. Am I having trouble admitting these promptly and forgiving myself?

3. Do I give myself grace? Why or why not?

Dealing with Anger
Ephesians 4:26-27

1. What is my first response when I am angry? Lashing out? Stuffing down? Avoidance and covering up?

2. How was anger dealt with in my family? How did my mother deal with anger? My father? Which pattern do I follow?

3. When I am angry, can I promptly admit it? Why or why not?

4. Do I have support people who can help me learn to deal with anger more appropriately? Am I willing to ask for assistance with this issue?

Spiritual Exercises
1 Timothy 4:7-8

1. As this continual inventory is important for spiritual fitness, where in my daily routine can I set aside time to make myself self-assessment part of every day?

2. Do I have any resistance to evaluating my defects daily? What are my objections? What do I fear?

3. An example of a simple, daily, personal inventory:

Where have I been selfish, dishonest, fearful, inconsiderate, or proud?

What have I done right today?

What do I need God's help with tomorrow?

What am I grateful for today?

Perseverance
2 Timothy 2:1-8

1. How do I see my recovery as a war against addiction and as a fight for my soul?

2. How do I see myself as an athlete in training for the marathon journey of recovery and serenity?

3. Am I working in every season and situation? planting seeds of recovery by applying the Twelve Steps to my life?

4. Where do I lose heart in fighting, training, and working through the Twelve Steps?

Looking in the Mirror
James 1:21-25

1. Have I been quick to recognize but not take action in a particular area of my life or defect of character? If so, I can take action without self-criticism by going back through Steps Six and Seven, then Eight and Nine on that particular area or defect.

2. On what area or defect do I need to take action today? This week? This month?

Recurrent Sins
1 John 1:!-10

1. Have I hoped for immediate release from my defects as I may have had from my addiction? Have I perhaps unknowingly hoped that by doing all this step work I could attain perfection? Write any thoughts and feelings that arise from reading this meditation:

2. Am I clear that I still need inventories to continue my spiritual growth? In other words, have I developed enough humility to accept that inventories will be a regular part of my journey?
Explain:

3. Am I sensing that my conscience is returning or developing so that I more easily recognize my faults? Am I humble enough to admit them more readily? Record any progress you've noticed in your conscience:

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step 9: Direct Amends

In step eight we took inventory of all of the people we had hurt and how it had affected us; and in step nine we lay out a plan of action with our trusted sponsor. We discuss how we can execute making amends with them except when it would be problematic for them or us. For example there might be past relationships that come to a point where it would be easier to “bury the hatchet” by not ever saying anything bad about them ever again rather than contacting the person directly because doing so would damage their current situation (eg marriage or work).

Step nine might sound like a harsh and frightening dose of reality if we are not prepared for it, but truly when are we ever really prepared for anything? I believe the best way to receive healing and to grow, is to face the fear and go through it rather than to run away from it. The pain of doing things we might not always want to do makes us stronger, wiser and better people for ourselves and for the world.

Truly though we never have to be afraid because God is always with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. And when we really meditate on that and trust in that, we can be confident to move forward in step nine and in anything that life brings our way.

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Long Awaited Healing
Genesis 33:1-11

1. Who are the people on my Step Eight list who strike the most intense fear in my heart when I think about making amends, face-to-face?

2. Do I have supportive people who help me gain willingness to take such a challenging step? Do I have an advisor or sponsor to work with me?

Keeping Promises
2 Samuel 9:1-9

1. How have my thoughts/opinions/ideas affected the decisions I have made?

2. Is there anyone to whom I owe amends due to forgetting, either on purpose or unintentionally, to fulfill a promise?

Covering the Past
Ezekiel 33:10-16

1. What forms of harm listed in Step Eight do I resist giving up in order to make amends with another?

2. What fears keep me from the life-giving process of Step Nine?

Making Peace
Matthew 5:23-26

1. What is my usual response or reaction to brokenness?

2. Does my amends list include people that have something against me? If so, do I have difficulty finding the courage to deal with them?

From Taker to Giver
Luke 19:1-10

1. List financial amends that you owe. Name the people and amounts:

2. Am I willing to go to any lengths to offer amends? What risks are involved?

Unfinished Business
Philemon 1:13-16

1. How far will I go to restore a relationship with another person, with God, and with myself?

2. Do I have any unfinished business left on my list? List these categories:

Money owed to people/jobs/businesses:

Any laws broken:

Broken; painful relationships:

3. Am I waiting for the certainty of forgiveness before I make amends? Am I willing to take the risk? Explain:

A Servant’s Heart
1 Peter 2:18-25

1. What am I afraid will happen when I attempt to make amends?

2. Do I fear that painful consequences will cause me suffering if I make amends? If so what is the worst that could happen?

3. Do I trust God’s will for me if I follow the challenge of Step Nine?

4. Which of the Twelve Steps do I need to focus on before I make these fearsome amends?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Eight: Reflecting on Who We Had Hurt

Step Eight requires tremendous doses of humility and courage as we ponder over the courses of our lives who we have hurt while living in our addictions. Sometimes we have mistreated others and were not even aware that we had done so. As we begin to meditate on those who had been affected by our irresponsibility we quickly find that we can list a slew of of people we had hurt.

This was a tough step for me the first couple of times I went through early recovery and now I really try not to hurt others. I may not always be where I need to be but with God’s help thank God I am not where I used to be! Take heart and know that although your healing journey may seem difficult or like a long road to walk on, that it is a path filled with healing and with healing comes many blessings and happiness. And we all deserve to be happy! Most importantly we all need to learn how to treat other people with kindness and love so this is a very important step to accomplish but with God’s help you can do it one day at a time.

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Making Restitution
Exodus 22:10-15

1. How have I failed to respect the property of others.

2. Have I been so harmed or condemned by others that I have avoided responsibility for myself. By whom and when.

3. What excuses have I used for not looking at my behaviors.

Unintentional Sins
Leviticus 4:1-28

1. In what areas have I unintentionally harmed others with my words/moods/self-pity/depression/anger/or fears.

2. In what ways have I acted thoughtlessly without regard for others’ needs or feelings. When; To Whom;

Scapegoats
Leviticus 16:20-22

1. Have I been putting off making a list because I am afraid of some responses. Whose.

2. Have I held on to shame about a certain incident or relationships. What am I willing to do to let go so that I can become willing to make amends.

3. Is there someone I am having trouble forgiving who blocks my willingness. Who.

Overcoming Loneliness
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

1. How have I allowed isolation due to shame and guilt to keep me from supportive relationships.

2. What is the role of shame and guilt in my isolation.

3. Am I willing to forgive myself for the hurt I have caused others. Write a prayer of willingness to forgive and ask for God’s grace to heal these relationships.

Forgiven to Forgive
Matthew 18:23-35

1. Are there people on my list that I am having trouble forgiving for their part in our relationship. Who and Why.

2. What keeps me from letting others off the hook. Fear/Resentment/Caretaking.

3. What blocks me from forgiving others for the wrongs done to me.

a. Fear of what others would think of me. (Pride).

b. Fear of letting others see my hurts.

c. Fear of conflict. Protecting others feelings to avoid conflict.

The Fruit of Forgiveness
2 Corinthians 2:5-8

1. Is there anyone on my list whose behavior I do not approve. Who. Why.

2. Am I willing to let go of judgement and disapproval to open myself to working this step.

3. Have I been so afraid of rejection that I have delayed willingness to make amends. Who could reject me and why.

Reaping Goodness
Galatians 6:7-10

1. What “crop” did I sow while practicing my addiction.

2. Describe the correlation between healthy living and acceptance of the consequences for my addiction/behavior:

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Seven: Humility and Asking God to Remove our Defects

Step Six was all about getting ready for God to remove our defects in order that He may help us to be all that He has created us to be. Step Seven now is simply and humbly coming before God in prayer and asking Him to remove every shortcoming that stands in the way between us and our God-Given Purpose.

Being a humble person is so important because without it it is pretty impossible to recognize our defects and to be people that can ask God to help us. I daily come to God in prayer in the morning and all throughout the day and ask God for His help now because I know that I know that I know that without Him I can do nothing. Within myself I am weak addicted and a total mess but In Christ I am strong confident courageous and an overcomer. I am set free from every attack that satan tries to bring against me because God is with me and for me.

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Clearing the Mess
Isaiah 57:12-19

1. Have I developed enough humility from my experiences in addiction to see that I need to let God work in my heart. Is there any doubt that self-reliance has kept God out.

2. Describe the difference between humiliation and humility.

Giving up Control
Jeremiah 18:1-6

1. Have I ever demanded to have circumstances changed for my benefit. When.

2. Have I ever become impatient with God’s timing in the process of changing my heart and character.

3. What keeps me from letting go so that God can shape my life better than I could ever imagine or create myself.

Pride Born of Hurt
Luke 11:5-13

1.Is it hard for me to ask anyone even God for help. What keeps me from sharing.

2. What experiences in my family of origin have brought about this self-sufficiency.

3. Have I held back from asking God for what I need because I am projecting my disappointments onto Him. Do I trust Him.

4. Am I willing to give up self-sufficiency and pride to persistently ask for God’s help in removing my shortcomings.

A Humble Heart
Luke 18:10-14

1. Have I ever compared my faults/problems/sins to blatant sins of others such as robbery/murder/adultery to justify avoiding deeper work on my own character defects. What does this do for me.

2. Have I ever justified myself because I attend church/sing in the choir/do service work. Do I judge others for their lack of participation or involvement.

3. After self-examination in Steps Four through Six have I been struggling with self-hatred and shame.

4. Do I realize that the “secret sins” of pride/judgement/comparison are just as serious as the more blatant ones.

5. Have addiction and adversities humbled me enough to open the door to God’s forgiveness.

Declared Not Guilty
Romans 3:23-28

1. Steps Six and Seven re one path to acceptance of this verse: all of us have fallen short not only of our own ideals but also of God’s glory. Have I been trying to “measure up” and show God that I can “be good” by doing good works. How have I tried to show him that I am okay.

2. Can I now trust in faith that Jesus will not only make up for my weaknesses but will also begin to remove shortcomings as I surrender humbly to his will. If not why.

Into the Open
Philippians 2:5-9

1. Have I disguised my addiction by covering it up with a good image. Have I hidden behind a good reputation.

2. Do I still fear that others will find out about my addiction. Will my pride be hurt if someone knows the extent of it. Am I willing to share it if it will help others.

3. Can I release to God my self-centered fears of being known and of losing my image. If so write a prayer to God expressing your desire to do so.

Eyes of Love
1 John 5:11-15

1. God already sees us as we will be when his work is done. Am I aware of any blocks that keep me from asking him into my heart to do that work. What are they.

2. Is my confidence in God’s willingness to remove my shortcomings renewed. How and why.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Six, Allowing God to Remove All Defects.

     Are you ready to become a beautiful butterfly my overcomers? Ok, let’s go!! Step six of the twelve-step program is all about being ready and willing to let God or your Higher Power (whomever or whatever you choose to worship) remove your defects of character that you took inventory of in Step Four and confessed to your trusted sponsor/mentor/pastor/unbiased friend, which was referenced in Step Five.

Step Six is one that was difficult for me the first time around. It was, in all honesty, like breaking up for good with a lover that I knew wasn’t good for me yet I couldn’t help but sneak back in his bed every night. My addiction had left me high and dry for 17 years, and had almost killed me, yet I couldn’t stand the thought deep down of leaving it totally and completely. It was like a comfort blanket that was always there and I was, in fact, acting like a baby as long as I stuck around. Did I want to continue to be a baby all my life or did I want to dig my heels deep into the Earth and become ALL that God had created me to be? Step Six is crucial because it requires humility and surrendering to say “OK, I see now all of my defects as well as my strengths from Step Four, and I accept them. I am totally powerless over them, and I allow God to work in my life instead of me always trying to take control because obviously, I haven’t done such a fantastic job at that in my life.” Step Six also celebrates the strengths listed in Step Four and uses them as confidence to say, “You know what? I am pretty awesome. Yes I have made many mistakes in my life, but, with God on my side and living this new, humble way, I believe that I can live life totally victorious. I don’t have to go through life anymore in a defeated, self-pity mindset.” That’s an amazing feeling, let me tell you! So Step Six basically pauses, reflects on Steps Four and Five, and has a humble and wiling attitude to let God use us to act in a different way that will bring us to abstinence daily, and become all that we can be. God has an amazing plan for each and every one of our lives, but until we are open to letting Him do it His way, we won’t ever truly experience the fullness of that Glory. Here are the Step Six exercises for you to read and reflect on as you walk through your recovery program. Remember, you are never alone! You are already a winner for being here and trying. Keep coming back to recovery.

“Step Six Life Recovery Workbook”

Bible Reading (Genesis 23 1-4) 35:19-21

1. What defects identified in Step Four and five that are standing in the way of your recovery and service to God? Make a list.

2. What have each of these defects done for me or against me? List the defect than list the positive of it and the negative thing For example: Fear- how has helped me. It keeps me safe because without it I would not be afraid of danger. How does it hinder me? List any others and give examples Write about what you will miss about your defects and what you look forward to when these are removed. Write what you have learned about yourself in seeing the positive and the negatives parts. Have a burial service. The old has passed away, so burn what you have written or rip up the list of defects you have now given to God.

Read Psalm 51; 16-19
1. How have the last five steps prepared you to be “entirely ready” for God to work in your heart?

2. In this psalm David had to grow up a little. He had to accept that he was flawed in God’s eyes, and that he could never being a sacrifice good or perfect enough to atone for those flaws. Are you still trying to bring God evidence of how good you are or are you coming to a place of acceptance as David did? How does that acceptance help you stay out of your addiction? Explain.

Removing Deeper Hurts Reading Jonah 4 4-8
1. What deeper problems did my addiction shelter from my awareness? Pride? Ego centrism? Fear? Anger? Hatred? The arrogance of believing that life should go the way I want?

2. What difficulties have I suffered due to lack of forgiveness or compassion for others?

3. Am I ready to have these defects removed by God? Why or why not?

Removed not imported
Read Romans 6:5-11
1. What self-improvement tactic and methods have I used to get myself to let go of my addiction and character flaws? Mediate and dwell on the thought that “we are no longer slaves to sin (our addiction). FOR when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin (addictions) Romans 6:6-7) describe the feelings that arise during that time of reflection.

 

Attitudes and Actions
Philippians 3:12-14
1. Do I have a vision of the purpose for which God saved me spiritually and took me out of addiction? Describe

2. Am I willing to accept that I will continue taking the step in order to grow, letting go of the old flaws to make new for the new strength? Why or why not? To be ready to battle means that we are appropriately equipped to meet the enemy, when we are ready to allow God to clean things up, there are battles to be fought that require us to be armed and ready.

3. Peter 4:1 seems to hold the key for what prepares us for battle with our character and its defects. Peter tells us to arm ourselves with the attitude of Christ, who was prepared and willing to suffer. For it is when we are willing to suffer that we are ready to stop sinning. Are you ready? If not, it’s time to become ready.”

To get help now, please go to: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for allowing me to reprint for the purpose of healing and passing the message of hope to those who still suffer.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Eating Disorder Recovery Q&A

Today starts our eating disorder recovery series where I share real questions straight from my sponsees and my answers, in terms of my own experience, strength and hope, in the desire to help you recover as well. Hopefully you will be able to see that we all share the same ups and downs and that even if you are struggling with an eating disorder, you can not only recover, but live a more victorious life than you ever dreamed possible!
Please note that I have already been in strong recovery for the past year and a half and that I am able to live my life free of the eating disorder every day, but only because of the very Grace of God and because I help others to get free also. To see my initial post about what I do as a sponsor, please visit my previous post entitled, “The Hope Diary: Sponsoring Eating Disorder Recovery”.

Ok, let’s get started! So many things go on in our lives on a daily basis and it can be hard enough to handle them without an eating disorder. I remember before I ever sought help for my ED, my life constantly seemed to be spiraling out of control, even over the most simple things, like spending time with my friends and family, or focusing at school and work. I lost all interest in even taking care of myself. After 17 years of being completely wrapped up in bulimia and anorexia, I was living a mental, emotional, physical and spiritual hell that was killing me. Recovery has taken three years, and it has only been a year and a half of those years that I have been Blessed enough to really be able to live a life free of addiction. But here’s the deal: for the rest of my life I have to accept and understand that the moment I stop working my recovery and helping others, and doing things in the world that give life a deeper meaning, I am in a very vulnerable position to fall right back into my disease again, and probably a million times worse. It’s just the truth. Recovery is different for every person and you have to take it one day at a time, and love yourself into wholeness every step of the way. Self love and acceptance is one of the biggest keys to true healing and happiness to not only healing from this disease, but to living a life far greater than what you can ever imagine.
So my question for today comes from a girl I sponsor that I’ll call “Rebecca”. Rebecca is in her mid twenties, married, and has a small child. She has an eating disorder classified as binge eating disorder and has been in a sponsorship 12 step program with me for about six months. About a month ago Rebecca started going back to college and at first was very excited about finishing her two year associates degree at the community college and then transferring to a four year bachelors program. Since we have been working together for six months, she has seen great improvement in her desire to stop binge eating on a daily basis, she follows a food plan and emails it to me daily, she communicates to me almost every day about how she is doing, follows an exercise program, and sees a therapist for her emotional issues. Overall she is very happy since entering the 12 step recovery program and getting a sponsor because she has put her recovery first daily, and her life is now manageable and joyful. However, after being in school for about a month, she starts to have some ups and downs, as we all do. She writes to me:
“Dear Nikki,
I am not feeling too well today, I feel very isolated and overwhelmed. All this struggling has made me realize that today I have to put recovery first in my mind and do the work. When I don’t put recovery first in my life I feel terrible and slip backwards as I’ve been for the past two weeks or so. With school it is too much too fast and I think that I should drop one or two classes. I signed up for six classes right now, and I did that because I feel like I have to take them, in order to graduate before the Fall semester and move on to a 4 year college. But I’ve been realizing that I’m doing this more because of what other people will think. For example, my parents, sister and best friend have always criticized me and said that it’s taken me too long and when am i finally going to finish? I feel this way too, and so I took on this load of classes, that I’m now drowning in. I haven’t been in school in almost a year, and when I was, I was only taking two classes. So to go from 0- 100 now feels so overwhelming. I don’t want to feel like i’m letting anybody down…”
Rebecca then goes on to explain that because of the stress of her situation with school and her feeling the need to “people please” her family, she has temporarily lost her abstinence and has turned back to the food for comfort. My response to her below.
“Dear Rebecca,
Give yourself a big hug right now because you have progressed so much to recognize the patterns that are not serving you well. You are awesome and deserve to be happy in every area of your life!
I am so impressed that you are being open and honest to yourself and me because this is vital for continuous recovery.
Loving yourself is extremely important, and this means balance in everything. Put recovery first, and everything else will make sense. When I feel overwhelmed it is usually because I have my priorities way out of balance and am not putting my recovery first. I am an extremist-type of person unless I am checking everything in-line with what God wants me to do. I can’t just pretend that I am superwoman and try to do a billion things and expect to get the same results as I will when I have recovery first, followed by the priorities that are healthy and beneficial to me for the short and long term. So I put the food down, and say yes to life, and no to the things that do not ultimately serve me.
Now let’s go back to people pleasing. It just never does us any good. We get worn out and lose our recovery fast and hard. As a child I never learned to say “no” to anyone. I was filled with fear, anxiety and always worried that if I did not say “yes” to my parents, friends, peers, stressful situations and eventually food for comfort, that I wouldn’t be able to handle my life. I wanted to be accepted and loved, and I thought that the only way was to say “yes” to everyone and just about everything. But in recovery we learn that if we say “yes” just to make everyone else satisfied and “no” to our recovery, where is our health and life?
Perhaps you should assess what is best for Rebecca. Pray to God, consult Him first in everything, because truly without Him we can do nothing!! If you feel then that you need to let go of a class or two to balance your life, sanity and recovery, then by all means I hear you.
At the age of nineteen I went to community college, and I wanted to prove to my family that I was “the best”. I was also trying really hard to “people please” a boyfriend that I was infatuated with at the time. He had all types of rules and regulations for me to “fit into” and one of them was going to college. Now I understand of course that I was following old behaviors from childhood of trying to win a person’s love who was similar to certain people in my family. So when I did go, I of course, took pre-med classes, and something ridiculous like 22 credits in ONE semester. What happened? Burnout, majorly!! Fast and hard. And the whole time I was binging and purging to release my stress. All this just to be “good enough” for someone when really it was the opposite. I know now that I am already a Queen in the Eyes of God and that I am a human BEING not a human DOING!
You have to work at your pace, at your level to achieve the best results for you. You are running your own race, and no matter what anyone says about you, truly their opinion doesn’t really matter because they are not living your life or your recovery for you. You have to daily put Rebecca first and say NO to people pleasing and YES to your best life now.”

God Bless,

<3 Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Sponsoring Eating Disorder Recovery

So one of the things I am very Blessed to do in my spare time is sponsor people who are going through #eatingdisorder recovery. I am in no way a professional, a doctor, nor can I take the place (obviously) of any medical personnel.

What I DO do, though, is sponsorship, and this is something that opened up for me after I was in recovery for two and a half years for an eating disorder that I had for 17 years.

I think that one of the toughest things about having an eating disorder is coming out and telling someone else, and especially the fact that I was modeling and doing work publicly really scared the heck out of me to admit to my #ED.

However, I realized after working for a couple of years with my own #sponsor and gaining strong recovery that I would be doing a huge disservice to not speak out and at least try to help one other person.

I believe now that the greatest joy comes in helping others and getting our minds off ourselves. This is how I keep my recovery and how I have truly changed my entire life perspective in every single area. To see another person come from a very dark place of despair, and work through the 12 steps of recovery, push through in spite of all of the emotional, physical and spiritual challenges that an #EDrecovery brings, and come out a #Victorious person, is the most rewarding feeling I have ever felt!

Want to know more about what a sponsor IS and IS NOT?

What is a sponsor?

A sponsor is someone who, like myself, has had strong recovery and who is willing and able to share that recovery with a fellow sufferer. A sponsor is someone who dedicates their time to help another recover based on a program that the two people agree on, basically. And the sponsor does this by sharing their own #ESH, which is Experience, Strength and Hope. I work with my sponsees (the people I sponsor) based on the tried and true 12 step program.

What is a sponsor NOT?

A sponsor should never be someone who TELLS another person what to do, only suggest by their own ESH (Experience, Strength and Hope). A sponsor acts as a guide, not as an authority. Recovery is something that you have to want, you have to do the legwork and no body can do it for you. A sponsor should never make you feel bad about yourself, guilty, condemned, ashamed, only the opposite; they should be like your supporter, always cheering you on and picking you back up when you stumble, like we all do.

So, I thought that I would start a “Q&A” Section where I share some typical questions I get almost daily from my sponsees and share my answers. These are subjects that I really hope you can relate to and will help you if you are reading this and are struggling with an eating disorder. Also, I will leave the forum open to submit a question and I will do my very best to answer in a timely manner 🙂

I have “The Hope Diary” on my website, http://thenikkidubose.com/category/point-of-youth/beauty/ and that’s kind of where I started to share about #EDRecovery. So I will pass the torch here and title this section of my tumblr “The Hope Diary”.

Never stop believing for all of your dreams to come to pass. Start seeing yourself as #Healed, #Restored, #Prosperous, #Healthy, and living the #life you’ve always imagined. I try to always repeat those affirmations throughout the day if you feel myself getting discouraged. Get rid of the negative thoughts…right now 🙂

I hope you are as excited as I am to share in recovery. The world is such a bright and beautiful place for those who #believe 🙂

I will start posting the Q&A tomorrow, until then…

Peace, Love and Health

Nikki DuBose <3 “You are beautiful just the way you are!”

The Hope Diary: Step Five, Trusting Another

After going through my Step Four Inventory the first time in 2010, I was scared to death to actually share it with another person. I had read in my recovery book early in my program that I had to confess my deepest, darkest secrets to God and to a trusted sponsor, pastor or unbiased friend.

At that time I remember thinking: “HUH? How humiliating! Wasn’t it good enough to give it to God in prayer and trust that He was Healing me? Why would I tell my shameful past to another person? Besides, they would just hurt me like everyone else…right? How in the WORLD could I truly trust blindly someone else. I knew it, here was the catch. I knew this recovery program was too good to be true, everything always is. No one and nothing is ever to be trusted. There is always fine print.” And I thought like this for about, oh, a good six months or so the first time I went through Steps 4 and attempted to go through Step 5. And I backtracked in my recovery and slipped into old habits because of FEAR. Do you know what fear really stands for? F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real.

I was so afraid of the false scenarios I spent more time making up in my mind about sharing my mess with my sponsor than actually DOING it for the healing that I needed to get, that I ended up having a relapse. Now, relapse can be a part of recovery, but do you see what I am saying that if we just learn to take hold of the fearful thoughts and know that God is with us and for us, and just DO the things that are being asked of us, surrender and get the help we need, we would see so much victory in our recovery and lives.

Fast forward, three years later, strong in recovery, Praise the Lord I did regain victory over the relapse and did end up completing Steps 4 and 5 (a few times). I had gotten a wonderful sponsor and life coach who really worked and worked with me and never gave up. I would never be where I am without my sponsor and without working with her and continually taking inventory and telling her about my messes. I believe that we generally give up too easily in life and we can give up on others too soon also. You never know what you can do for another person’s life if you just keep praying for them, working with them, and helping them in any way you can.

In the Catholic religion, confession is very similar to step five, you know, going and releasing your sins to the priest and being relieved of your burdens. Well in recovery, your past and the things underlying your addiction truly have to be inventoried and shared with God and another person because if not, they continued to get buried. Our secrets, pains, traumas, defects and past fuel our addiction if we do not get healing for them. This is what I consider to be the most critical step of any 12 step program.

So as I continue in sharing from the Life Recovery Workbook, here are the questions from Step Five.

“Overcoming Denial
Genesis 38:1-30

1. What am I avoiding in Step Four by delaying Step Five?

2. What is the exact nature of my wrongs as listed in Step Four?

3. What interferes with my being honest about myself?

Unending Love
Hosea 11:8-11

1. How do I react/respond to the truth that God does not give up on me?

2. What keeps me from being truthful with God?

3. What makes me think that I can hide anything from God?

The Plumb Line
Amos 7:7-8

1. Have my morals and values been in line with God’s? Explain.

2. Have I had morals and values without being able to apply them to my life? Explain:

3. What has kept me from staying in line with God’s and my own morals and values?

4. Am I ready to surrender to God’s moral “plumb line” and share my Step Four Inventory? If not, why am I hesitating?

Feelings of Shame
John 8:3-11

1. What scares me about sharing “the exact nature of (my) wrongs” with another human being?

2. Who is my fear related to in my past? How did this fear develop?

3. Has there ever been a time in my life when I felt the fear and took action anyway?

4. Have I set the appointment for completing Step Five by sharing my Step Four Inventory? My commitment to myself:

Date: Time:

Receiving Forgiveness
Matthew 5:23-24

1. Why would God want reconciliation before praise when we bring gifts to him?

2. Does anyone have anything against you that needs to be reconciled? Who and why?

3. What would be the impact on your life if you opened yourself up to forgiveness of others and from others?

Freedom through Confession
James 5:16

1. Lack of confession and openness with others results in a self-constructed prison. Do you know what that is like? Describe it here.

2. How can confession result in such profound healing?

3. Reflect it here on God’s command to be open not just to Him but also with each other.

Escaping Self-Deception
Lamentations 3:40

1. As you examine yourself, can you admit to some self-deception in the past?

2. Does anyone have the freedom to speak truth into your life on a regular basis? Who?

3. Ask three or four trusted friends to write five words describing your strengths and five words describing your weaknesses. Record them here and examine them to discover areas you can work on within your small group of trusted fellow strugglers.”

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for letting me reprint the above questions to help further the recovery process for those still suffering.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Four, Coming Clean of My Deepest, Darkest Secrets.

Now that I had one, admitted I was powerless over my addiction, the biggest step towards recovery I could ever take in my life, I then had two, allowed that God could restore me to sanity.

As I have discussed in my earlier Hope Diary entries, this was a journey that took a couple of years to walk down. I was constantly battling with myself, thinking that I was my own god and my pride is what kept me bound to my eating disorders during that time.

Third, I had to finally give in to God and just say, “Lord, Your Will be done, not my own.” I learned that every time I found myself in a tempting situation to give into my addiction, I would surrender to God and pray that prayer. Many times I have failed and slipped into the addiction like a bad habit, and on those times I know better that as a Child of God I do not have to listen to the lies of the devil that I am a failure. I get right back up, learn from my mistakes, and do my very best to not repeat them from that moment on. I see myself as a victorious person now, not as a broken person like I did most of my life. That victim mentality is what used to hold me back and bind me in my addictions. It doesn’t serve me anymore.

The fourth step is one that I see many people afraid to take. It is where we take “a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” (Life Recovery Workbook). We go through our entire life, even our deepest, darkest secrets. We list all of the people, places and things that we have fears, resentments, angers and sadness against. We look at our own character and evaluate our defects. What about ourselves do not add up? Are we selfish? Angry? Corrupt? Do we use people? Steal? Lie? Cheat? We go by a recovery program workbook and disclose our information with a trusted sponsor, friend, pastor, or someone that we feel we can go to in total anonymity and confidence. We understand that what we share will never be revealed to anyone else and that this is to help mold us into better human beings. We also take a look at our strengths, because it is not healthy to just mark our weaknesses. We seek to become stronger and wiser as a result of this process, even if it is temporarily painful.

If you feel that you would like to get started with your Step Four Inventory, but are unsure as to where to go to begin, I have provided The Life Recovery Workbook Inventory to help get you started. There was a great quote that was shared with me from the AABB that says, “We are only as sick as our secrets”. When I heard that, I realized that a lot of the shame and guilt that I was trying to bury all of these years was dying to be set free. Once I began to share my deepest secrets with my sponsor, I received God’s forgiveness and was truly able to allow for healing to start flowing through my body, starting from the innermost parts of my soul. I had never experienced such Grace and rawness before. It was as if I was free to be the person that God had created me to be! What a glorious concept. No more hiding!

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook for the following questions:

Coming Out of Hiding
Genesis 3:6-13

1. When and in what ways have I led a “double-life”, looking good on the outside while full of shame about my addiction inside?

2. By hiding my problems with image management, how has my shame taken root and grown in my heart? Am I fearful to admit what is there?

3. Am I ready to deal with “the dirt”, to wash the inside so I can live free? What holds me back?

Facing the Sadness
Nehemiah 8:7-10

1. What painful memories keep me from going forward in writing a Fourth Step inventory? Describe them.

2; What have I been afraid of facing?

3. What role has shame from past mistakes played in keeping me from starting and completing an inventory?

4. Does pride tell me that I don’t need an inventory? Have I told myself that others who are in more dire straits than I am are the ones who really need it?

Confession
Nehemiah 9:1-3

1. What behaviors over my lifetime have been offensive to God?

2. What destructive habits need to be identified and confessed to God?

3. What blocks and resistances do I have to being honest with God about my wrongdoings?

4. What consequences from past wrong choices am I living with today?

Family Influence
Nehemiah 9:34-38

1. Are there people in my family of origin whom I have blamed for my life situations and resulting addiction? If so, who?

2. What resentments do I carry toward them, even if unrelated to addiction?

3. What truly brought me into the bondage of addiction and dependency (what is my responsibility, my part in it)?

Finger-Pointing
Matthew 7:1-5

1. Is it easier to look at the faults and shortcomings of other people in my life, past and present (such as bosses, coworkers, classmates, church members, pastors), than to recognize my own?

2. What is the “log” in my eye, the blind spot that has caused me trouble and given rise to pride, finger-pointing, and eventually to addiction?

3. Where and when have I stepped on people’s toes and invited retaliation? Have I been proud, blaming, or tearful?

Constructive Sorrow
2 Corinthians 7:8-11

1. In what ways have I avoided facing my sorrow about how my addiction has impacted my life and the lives of others?

2. Am I willing to set aside time to grieve and allow humility to grow in me? When? What is my commitment to myself, my growth, and my recovery?

3. Am I bent on self-condemnation? Am I now willing to let God’s mercy go with me as I examine my faults and their impact on others?

God’s Mercy
Revelation 20:11-15

1. Taking a moral inventory of ourselves here on earth will help to prepare us for the life to come. Is anything standing in the way of my taking action, such as pride or fear?

2. As I trust God in Step Three, am I able to let go of pride and fear in Step Four and allow His Will to be expressed through me? If so, write out a prayer of trust and willingness to complete Step Four.

3. Write down a list and description of resentments, fears, wrongdoings, and character flaws such as pride, jealousy, domination of others, self-centered needs/wants, etc. (Use extra space if necessary.)

Fears:

Resentments:

Wrongdoings (i.e., what actions have I committed which oppose my own and God’s morals and values?):

Character Flaws (remember that honesty and humility are character strengths that we are building here, so be as thorough and honest as possible to move toward long-term recovery):

Where have I acted out of pride, vanity, or a sense of superiority?

Where and when have I tried to dominate others (e.g., at work, home, marriage)?

What makes me jealous, envious, or covetous (wealth, good fortune, successful kids, functional families, jobs, and/or positions of others)?

Where and when have I demanded that my wants and/or needs come before those of others, especially those of my spouse, children, or coworkers?

4. After careful self-examination, am I more convinced than ever that I need a Savior every day, not just for salvation, but to walk in freedom from addiction and sin? If so, write out a prayer to God that expresses your complete dependence upon Him for salvation and freedom.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Three: Turning my life and will over to God.

Oh boy. You mean as if this recovery process wasn’t hard enough, I now had to turn my life and will over to the care of God as I understood Him? For me, God was always taught as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Personal Savior when I was in the second grade. I went out into the hallway with my sweet, devoted teacher Mrs. Hammock and right there and then I gave my life to Christ. However, if I had become saved and supposedly received some sort of Holy “immunity” against all evils and afflictions, why the heck had I developed a chronic and serious eating disorder that same year? Wasn’t God supposed to shield me from that?

In fact, come to think of it, about that time is when I remember starting to encounter all sorts of terrible abuses, issues, traumas, deaths, and they never stopped. If God was with me, He sure as heck didn’t care to give me an all access pass to life, liberty and the right to happiness. No, I wallowed for a long time in my own self pity and that my dear friends, is what kept me in my own unhappiness and addictions.

Once I really hit rock bottom in 2010 emotionally and decided to recommit my life to Christ, seek professional therapy for my past, and get help for my eating disorder, for the first time in my life, then I saw what God could do for me. But I had to turn my life over to Him every day. I have a disease of addiction that tells me that I don’t have a disease. It’s a constant release of pride, selfishness, jealousy and fantasy in exchange for living in the now moment, humility, powerlessness and realism. It’s understanding that truly only God can restore me to sanity and without turning over my addiction and those tempting moments over to Him, I will forever be living in denial and relapse; a deadly fantasy.

So, for today’s recovery on Step three, here are some very thought provoking questions for you to meditate on. I encourage you to take the time every day to go over these and answer honestly, it’s one of the best ways you can love yourself into wholeness. These questions are reprinted from the Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop, pages 25-28.

Trusting God
Numbers 23:18-24

1. What in my life has taught me not to trust God?

2. What have I done to cause others not to trust me?

3. What keeps me from surrendering to God?

Free to Choose
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
1.What is it about my understanding of God that blocks me from deciding to turn my life and my will over to His care?

2. How does fear affect my choices?

Giving up control
Psalm 61:1-8

1. Where did I get the illusion that I can control other people or my circumstances, job or life?

2. What stops me from giving up my life, so that I can find the life God intends for me?

Redeeming the Past
Isaiah 54:4-8

1. How do I hold God the Redeemer at arm’s length? Why?

2. What fears have the most power in my life?

3. How is shame connected to fear in me?

Submission and Rest
Matthew 11:27-30

1. Why do I think that I am able to handle my addictions/dependencies on my own with no help from outside myself?

2. How ready am I to be taught?

3. What characteristics interfere with my being taught by Jesus or another person?

Discovering God
Acts 17:22-28

1. How does my life reflect my image of God at any given moment?

2. How do I define the word surrender?

3. What is the difference between “my will” and “my life”?

Single-Minded Devotion
James 4:7-10

1. What does resistance look like in my life?

2. What do I have to face in myself when I draw close to God?

3. How is addiction connected to my resistance to God’s direction in my life?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Two: Only God Can Restore me to Sanity

Step two of the twelve step program was one that did not come so easily for me. I mean, I was raised a Christian and I had always believed in God. However after all of the addiction, abuse, and disordered eating behaviors I experienced for many years, I became angry and bitter towards the idea of God and religion so I turned away from Him and lived my life on my own terms. I spent most of my teenage and twenties examining other religions and spiritual concepts, believing that I could control my life without any consequences.

Without a solid spiritual foundation, and after spiraling deeper into my destructive behaviors, I found myself flat on my face in despair without any way out and no one to help me. None of my alternative spiritual principles could help me out of my mess, and I was confronted with the unshakable truth that God was the only one who could save and strengthen me. I had a big pride pill to swallow, and many character defects to dig out, but man, how much pain and suffering did I hand over to Jesus, the one who had died for me, when I made the decision to stop hurting myself and give it all to Him instead in exchange for a beautiful life. The biggest difference now in regards to God is that I seek a personal relationship with Him, instead of abusing religion. I don’t belong to any religious organization, and if you ask me, God loves everyone!

I had many questions to reflect on as I humbled myself in the recovery process and allowed Him to take away my power. After all, did I create the universe? No. Did I create myself? No. Had I ever been successful in stopping my eating disorders and addictions on my own? No!! So, I had to humble myself and accept that only God could bring about the changes in me that I so badly needed.

But you know, I surprised myself with the issues that came about with step two. I believed in God, but I fell many times in recovery with my pride! I realized that one of the reasons why I had struggled with my disorders and addictions for so long was because I had tried to be my own god! I thought that I could worship my body instead of God and still have a meaningful relationship with Him! It does not work! When I put myself first instead of the One Who Created me, I fell to my own sin and devices repeatedly.

There are countless examples in the Bible of leaders who tried to take the place of God and fell terribly.
Take for example King Nebuchadnezzar. In Daniel Chapter 4, we see how the king thought he was the greatest and worshipped himself. He looked at his successes and called the glories for himself. He forgot to be humble and remember that God is the creator and ruler of all and that He gives power and success “to anyone He chooses” (Daniel 4:32). God took everything away from King Nebuchadnezzar and spent a time period with the cattle in the fields, eating and living with them until he humbled himself and acknowledged that God was the only one with power and might.

I lived the same way as King Nebuchadnezzar for most of my life…in pride, selfishness, and thinking that I was my own god! Because of my choices however, I also lived in addictions, pain, and an endless cycle of eating disorders that I could not get out of on my own. God allowed me to live in my own filth until I humbled myself and said, “Ok God, I admit it!! You are the only way, truth and light, Please help me!!” At that moment, my whole life began to change. I started to live according to what He wanted, and not unto my own destructive habits. I started to slowly become free.

Let’s take a look at the corresponding questions on Step two from the Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop.

Persistent Seeking
Job 14:1-6

1. How has life seemed unfair to me in the areas of family?

Trauma/abuse?

Addiction?

2. What are my objections to trusting God fully with my addiction and my life?

3. What emotions and questions do I need to be honest with God about?

4. Am I willing to work through the pain and unfairness of my life in order to find God and be freed from addiction? What holds me back?

Grandiose Thinking
Daniel 4:19-33

1. When in my addiction, in what ways did I display the belief that I was only accountable to myself?

2. How have I tried to have power over the events, outcomes, and people in my life?

3. In what ways did I show that I forgot that God is ultimately in control?

4. How have I avoided acceptance of God’s power over my life?

Internal Bondage
Mark 5:1-13

1. What self-destructive behaviors have I inflicted on myself due to addiction? List and describe them.

2. How has my addiction kept me from living my own life while finding myself more comfortable in “caves” of isolation, anger/rage, or silent judgement?

3. Have I begun to drop my insanity of living alone and being trapped in addiction? Am I ready to have Jesus visit me in my “caves” and cleanse me? If so, write out a prayer to Him here:

Healing Faith
Luke 8:43-48

1. How have I tried to control my problems in my own power?

2. What were the results?

3. Is there any other way that I would like to try to control and manage it?

4. Am I ready to do my part, as this woman courageously did, by reaching out for recovery in faith that Jesus’ Power will be there? Write a statement of readiness to God.

Restoration
Luke 15: 11-24

1. How have my compulsions and addictions led me to compromise my values, convictions, and principles?

2. How have my compulsions and addictions dehumanized me and brought me to shame?

3. In light of how my addictions and dependencies have degraded me, am I now open to a deeper level of believing that the power and forgiveness of God will restore me to sanity?

Coming to Believe
Romans 1:18-20

1. How have my experiences shown me that my way of living is not a satisfying or productive way to live?

2. How have I seen God’s power at work in other people’s lives?

3. What are the signs that I am on the path and in the process of being restored to sanity?

Hope in Faith
Hebrews 11:1-10

1. Am I becoming able to believe that God can help me live sanely? How?

2. Can I now believe that as I reach out for God’s Strength and surrender to Him, God’s Nature is to be present and ready to help and support sane choices? Why or why not?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step One, I am Powerless!

The Hope Diary: Step One, I am Powerless!
October 30, 2012

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I have been spending the evening quietly reflecting the past couple of days and how so many people in Jersey City and NYC around me are without power, submerged in water, scared, alone and helpless. I am extremely thankful that by the very Grace of God, my home was one of the only to not be affected with loss of anything, and I am definitely counting my Blessings.

The running theme right now of helplessness around the East Coast reminds me of Step One of my Twelve Step program for recovering from an eating disorder. Step One states that when we finally come to the realization that we have a true problem that is destroying our lives and many times, the lives of others, we say that we are “powerless.”

It took me 19 years to admit to myself and to others that I was powerless. Even after going for help 17 years into my bulimia and anorexia, I still did not admit that I was powerless. I sought help mostly for the wrong reasons; to please others and to make myself look better. I wanted everyone to think that I was again…perfect. That even though I had had an eating disorder for so many years that I could, in fact, pick myself right up and get help and be recovered immediately.

How absurd it was to pridefully seek help, and never really admit my powerlessness. The outcome of this was I went around and around my problems for much longer than needed, with results far more atrocious than the past.

True admittance of my powerlessness came when I found myself with nowhere to look than up at God for my life and my answers. Hopefully you will be smarter than I was and learn from my and others’ mistakes and seek help before you have to just about kill yourself to get there.

My Twelve Step Program defines powerlessness as such, “Step One: We admitted that we were powerlessness, that our lives had become unmanageable.” My unmanageable life, emotions, finances, and relationships all became sure-fire signals that my addiction had taken over and that I was powerless over myself. It was a sad realization but one that truly set me on the path to God, self-discovery, recovery, and ultimately, saving my life.

If you are thinking that maybe you have a problem with food, anorexia, bulimia, taking laxatives, over-exercising, or binge-eating, here are some questions and correlating Bible verses taken from The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop that are truly valuable in helping you get on the way to recovery.

Genesis 16:1-15
No-Win Situations

1). What feelings do I experience as I acknowledge people in my life who have power ( such as supervisors, spouse, religious leaders, and sponsors)?

2). What do I try to escape from?

3). How do I escape my feelings such as anger, boredom, fatigue, or loneliness?

4). When things do not go my way, or when I am in a no-win situation, what is my reaction (with relationships, work, promotions, kids who question or rebel, traffic, drivers in front of me, people talking on cell phones in public places, financial difficulties, people who hurt or disappoint me, or God, who seems to be silent)?

5. If I could, how would I change my response?

Dangerous Self-Deception
Judges 16:1-31

1). What is the longest time I have been able to stop addictive behaviors or using addictive substances?

2). What are some of the reasons I use for starting my behaviors or substance abuse again?

3). What are the things I think I can control? How do I lie to myself, and about what?

4). What is so scary about telling the truth?

5). As I explore powerlessness, what blind spots have I discovered?

6). What are the results of pride in my life?

A Humble Beginning
2 Kings 5: 1-5

1). What is the difference between humiliation and humility in my life?

2). How do I regard myself as being a little more important than other people?

3). What makes me think I am in control of anything?

4). How do I try to influence or control God or his representatives?

5). When have I places expectations on other people or God?

6). When have my attitudes shown that I believe I know better than God?

7. Why is it difficult for me to follow another’s instructions?

Hope Amidst Suffering
Job 6:2-13

1). What kind of people do I hang around with and trust– people who criticize, or people who encourage truth?

2). What emotions can I identify with when I am at the bottom?

3). What have I done in the past to tidelands with pains or sadness?

Like Little Children
Mark 10:13-16

1). What happened in the past that still provokes fear in me today?

2). When do I feel the most cared for?

3). What do I see in my life that reveals God’s care for me?

A Time to Choose
Acts 9:1-9

1). When I continue to pursue my own agenda without asking God for direction, what happens in my life?

2). Are there areas of my life in which God may have to use extreme measures before I will listen for direction? Which areas?

3). What will it take for me to listen to God?

The Paradox of Powerlessness
2 Corinthians 4:7-10

1). These are examples of when I have demonstrated acceptance of my own powerlessness and God’s Powerfulness.

2). How do I respond to trouble?

3). How do I respond to being perplexed?

4). What do I do when it seems that God or someone else has abandoned me?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: I’ve Found Something Better

I loved acting in school plays. I remember playing in “Peter Rabbit” when I was around nine and loving the feeling of being on stage. After the performance our family had a huge dinner and I gorged myself with all of the fixings and chocolate cake, then ran to the bathroom to cry my eyes out and threw up everything that my tiny hands could possibly manage to get out. I felt ashamed and horrified of my body. I felt judged by everyone in the audience and by my family. I wanted to be perfect; I wanted to be loved and accepted.

What seemed innocent and a “quick-fix” to appease my saddened emotions as a child, turned into a journey into hell for seventeen years that just about killed me. Let me tell you, I became SO attached to my addiction, I would have rather died with it, than gotten help. Me, need help? NEVER!! The perfect never need any help!! For we ARE perfect and we just don’t need anyone telling us how to do ANYTHING…right?

Not so! Thankfully in recovery, I have learned that no one is perfect except for God, and that I was made perfect and beautiful in His sight! When I was up there on stage playing “Cottontail” in the school play, I was a character, in more ways than one. I was a rabbit, and I was also playing the in-control, charismatic, perfect girl that I wanted the audience to see. In every day life growing up and in my early and mid-twenties, I tortured myself trying to hide the absolute mess I was inside and portray a “Barbie-doll” on the outside. I really thought that my worth and value was determined by how I looked and how much I could accomplish. My “best” was my beauty, and that scale slid drastically day to day. What a hell-hole to live in!

What an incredible release and power I have from the bondage of addiction to know that my worth and value is NOT based on the weight on the scale, the height, size or shape of my body, how I look, or how others judge me. My worth and value is based on the love of God and how He has molded me into His Image!! I know that I am a Child of Him, and with Him and through Him I can do ANYTHING in this life! I never have to feel down on myself again because I know where my self-worth lies. It lies in my God. I gladly trade the self-hatred and criticism ANYDAY for acceptance and loving my imperfectness knowing that it is God Himself who wants me this way! Who am I to argue with Him? I am but a little child learning in the road of life, and when that spirit of pride wants to argue and try to know more than God, it is the very thing that can cause me to fall right back into the addictive behaviors again.

Bye, Bye eating disorder, I’ve Found Something Better!!

The Hope Diary: Recovery in the Midst of Mortality

Alright, so, yes, I have come out to say that I have suffered for the majority of my life with an eating disorder. But, let me clarify, this is NOT in any way, shape, or form to promote or encourage anyone out there to have or to “wonder” what it is like to have an eating disorder because simply, they WILL. KILL. YOU. They ARE, Point, Blank and simple, an ADDICTION, like every other addictive substance, i.e., alcohol, drugs, etc. They fill the void of deeper emotional and mental issues that need to be taken care of by doctors and therapists, and GOD!! If I had only known then what I know now that I needed Jesus, to fill the hurts that I was using food and later other drugs and alcohol to fill, what a LOT of hurt and pain I would have saved my mind and body from going through. But you know what? I am so THANKFUL that I went through it all, and so GRATEFUL to God that I got help for it at such a young age so that I can hopefully be a voice to help people all over the world.

Because if I am just another face on a magazine cover, pretending that I look this way naturally, or that “I do not have do anything to look like this, or that my life is perfect, then that would be a TOTAL SHAM, not doing YOU ANY service, and my life would be unfulfilled for God. I am a lover and a helper, not a faker and a user. I know that with eating disorders the biggest cause of keeping them is to not speak about them…they are the great big elephants in the room, that people will go to bed with and die with. They are the “magic slimming pills” that I am so sure many people who are reading this want to chop my head off for sharing because their disease HATES the fact that I am trying to shed some much-needed light into the wounded souls of sufferers. But if you keep silent about them, you will keep silent all the way to the grave.

When I first thought about sharing this with the world, of course I was more scared than I have ever been in my life, but then I remembered that God says in Romans 8:31,

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”

So, I know I have nothing to fear knowing that God is with me and my sole purpose is to offer my experience, strength, and hope (my ESH) to countless others who suffer all over the world.

Today I would like to share on Food, Addictions, and Mortality

My mom passed away on August 25, 2012 in an automobile accident and she struggled most of her life with many addictions. In the final few months of her life, the whole family had gotten together to help her get cleaned up in a recovery home and while there, I genuinely saw her as I had never seen her before. She was happy, stable, clear-minded, hopeful and radiant. She and I spent what would be, unbeknownst to both of us, the happiest and final two weeks of her life together. I felt hopeful and serene that everything was going to be alright. I had placed the situation in God’s Hands, and I trusted Him, no matter what the outcome.

Three weeks after I left her, she died. What I have experienced is something like I could never write down in a billion books. I don’t even know the depth of my own sorrow for her.


Photo is of me and my brother spreading some of my mom’s ashes in the Mount Pleasant River.

Addictions kill if left untreated. If you think that a food addiction will not kill you, please think again. I remember growing up that before my mom developed her other addictions she had had a terrible time with bulimia. She openly shared about her bulimia with me and some of the family before she passed away while she was staying in the recovery home. I know that my mom was trying to connect and help me in any way she could with my disease. You see, at the root of any addiction, is an addictive behavior, which tries to cover deeper emotional issues. It is the emotional and mental issues that need to be dealt with properly, but you cannot do that until you stop the addictive behaviors. If you stop one addictive behavior it is likely that you can pick up another easily, just like I have and just like my mom did.

I have had my fair share of addictions in my past. If it wasn’t for the food, it was smoking or the other. Until I sought help two and a half years ago I was a total mess! The food has far and between been my biggest problem, and when my mom passed away it made me face my own mortality. It was tough enough to go to her funeral and know that she died way too young at 45 years old, but myself, at 27, well, I wasn’t too far behind! If we have suffered with the same problems then it made life and dying all too real and that reality stung colder than the iciest, black winter night on my naked soul.

How do we cope with an eating disorder especially when faced with our own mortality? How do we deal with our addictions when going through life and the loss of a loved one? One Day at a Time. By accepting every day that we have a life-threatening illness that, if left untreated, will lead to our untimely death, and that we are powerless over our disease. We must turn it over to the care of God as we understand Him, and seek to do His Will in our life, not our own. The 12 Step Program has been my one of my lifelines as well as journaling my thoughts, reaching out for support, and being that support system for others. One of the greatest enemies addictions have is a life lived for helping others. Getting out of self and living for a life of selflessness is Step 12 of the 12 Step Program. Once I adopted these behaviors and ways of life, I saw my Spirit rise to a whole new level. I no longer lived to eat, I ate to live. I lived to serve God and found myself asking God, “What can I do for You today? Who can I help and encourage today through You?”

With these new-founded ways of life, I have learned that even in the midst of my mom’s death and facing the reality of my own, I have a guide on how to get through it calmly and with a stable Spirit. I do not have to go through life another day depressed and defeated. However long God has me here on this Earth, I will live it with confidence, Faith and to the fullest, knowing that He has an incredible journey left for me to fulfill and help others through the lessons I have learned.

One Day at a Time, you can defeat your disease with God.
God Bless,
<3 Nikki DuBose