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 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

Dont Wallow in the Spilled Milk: Forgive!

One of my sponsees asked how she could be free of all of the people and situations that had hurt her in her past.
This is a common question and something we all have to go through again and again for the rest of our lives. Unless we learn to forgive every time someone offends us we run the risk of holding onto unhealthy resentments that do nothing but hold us hostage in our addictions and keep us from receiving God’s Best Plan.
Let’s say for example you are holding onto resentments from a past relationship.
1. Past Relationship: The fact that you are Aware that you are resentful of your childhood bullies is the first step because it allows you to Accept you have those feelings and then be able to take the spiritual Action you need to be free of it…
3 A’s of Recovery
AWARENESS
ACCEPTANCE
ACTION

Ask yourself “Can I forgive this person/these people”..
If you find yourself saying “No! they hurt ME! I am still messed up inside and hurting because of them”… then just remember this…
When Jesus died for US He payed the ultimate price. He was and is Perfect and Blameless and took ALL of OUR sins and Never ever complained. In fact He did it out of the Purest and Highest Love and Loves us Unconditionally all of the Time. He Forgives us over and over again when we ask Him to sincerely and He is always waiting for us with open and Loving Arms; never judging. Surely we can forgive others just as God Forgives us.
If you still have a hard time feeling like you can forgive remember that you ARE SO MUCH MORE than your feelings and then ask God to help you forgive them. Pray and repent and get down on your knees. Write it out and pour your heart out to Him or maybe say a simple prayer. If you need to ask God to help you forgive them because you know that apart from Him you can do nothing then by all means do it.
But remember that forgiveness is not for the other person it is for YOU. You do not want to waste your life over broken memories and not receive God’s Promises. You do not want to be living off “spilled milk” and find yourself in your eighties one day still bent out of shape because of all of the injustices the world caused you.
After all what have you done to hurt others consciously and unconsciously knowing it…
Ponder that and write it down.

My Story: Domestic Violence and How YOU can Use Your Voice

As a survivor of childhood, adult, family and domestic abuse, I am passionate about raising awareness not only on a political level, but for each and every person who is still suffering in their own hell and afraid to get help.

You don’t have to be a victim any longer. No matter what situation you are in, or how powerful your abuser claims to be, the second YOU decide to get out and get help, your hell will be over. Seek out help, and seek it out NOW, before it’s too late.

Think nothing will happen to you? Ok, fair enough, I understand. Here’s a little bit of my story, and about my mom.

My mother used to think that nothing REALLY dangerous would happen to her; She thought she was invincible.

Last year when she mixed alcoholism and an abusive relationship together, her life came to an end. I begged her for months to stop this relationship with her abuser. Her bruises became more and more evident as time went on all over her body. Her abuser was also her enabler and also knew that the more that he kept her knocked-out drunk, the more that she would stay with him. This relationship only lasted for a few months. The beatings and the drinking spiraled out of control, until one day in August 2012, domestic violence and alcohol took both their lives in a car accident.

Still think that nothing will happen to you if you stay in an abusive relationship? Think again. Keep playing with fire and you WILL get burned, and maybe to death. Why don’t you love yourself enough right NOW to get the help available in your area?

Use your right and voice to help put a stop to domestic violence. One out of every four women in the United States are victims of domestic violence. Tell the Senate to reauthorize #VAWA & its critical protections tomorrow.

Visit Girls Inc. to find out more information about how you can take action now!