God’s Word Has the Power to Defeat #MentalIllness

“Gifts Come With a Struggle” by Emma K.

What do you see? by Emma Klein
“Gifts Come With a Struggle” by Emma K.

This piece is by a regular contributor thirteen year old Emma K. from Los Angeles. Emma is a talented young artist who understands the beauty of the pain behind her creations. She has struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder but has overcome so much of it through channeling her energy into her incredible artwork.

Emma normally draws in anime style, but her teacher encouraged her to paint something figurative. Emma agreed to step outside of her comfort zone and through the depiction of the Mona Lisa she and her teacher not only formed a stronger bond, but she was able to open up about her OCD.

When I observe this painting, I sense a raw wisdom and emotions that reflect Emma’s remarkable inner beauty and strength. As Emma’s mother remarked, “It’s a true gift that comes with a struggle.”

Thank you Emma for sharing a part of your soul with us today.

B.E.A.U.T.Y hopes to redefine our understanding of beauty. Have a painting or artistic representation of inner beauty you would like to share? Please email me nikki@nikkidubose.com to submit your poem, drawing, painting, recovery story, photograph, song, or any creation that represents your inner self…which is simply beautiful!

High Above This Tree

From high above this tree mom
I can do anything
I can soar with the birds
Sing their melodies
I am one with nature.
From high above this tree mom
I am able to conquer
my deepest fears.
From high above this tree mom
I am exactly where
I want to be
In your arms
protected.

©2014 Nikki DuBose

We love and miss you mom.

Love,
Nikki and Anthony.

Black Bean Brownies with Sweet Avocado Frosting

Generally everyone like brownies, and never does this theory hold true more than with young people, right? While it is important for kids to enjoy dessert, I like to bake treats that are healthy and delicious!

Last night for Mondays at the Mission, I made these black bean brownies with a sweet avocado sauce for the youth! No sooner had I placed them on the table than they were gone 😀

I couldn’t believe they were made out of BEANS because of how scrumptious they were! I am curious to see if you agree with me 🙂

I made two batches of these and both came out fluffy yet moist because of the baking powder. If the idea of the avocado frosting turns you off, I understand, but just think of all of the health benefits balanced with the sweet taste! It’s a win-win 🙂

God Bless,

You will need:

Black Bean Brownies

1 (15 oz). can of low sodium black beans, drained
3 eggs
3 TBS coconut oil
1/2 cup of wondercocoa powder
3 TSP of bourbon vanilla extract
1 TSP baking powder
equ. of 1/2 cup of monk fruit in the raw/stevia/agave

Sweet Avocado Frosting

1 avocado, ripe
1 TBS canola/coconut oil
1/2 TSP bourbon vanilla extract
4 packets of Stevia
1 cup of arrowroot
1 cup of powdered milk

To make:

First, let’s make the brownies. Preheat the oven to 350°. Blend the black beans, eggs, coconut oil, wondercocoa powder, vanilla extract, baking powder, and sweetener of choice until smooth in a blender. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with fat-free cooking spray and pour the brownie mix into the pan. Bake in the oven for about twenty-five minutes. Let the brownies cool in the pan before cutting into even squares, which will make about twelve.

Now for the avocado frosting! With a high-powered whisk, beat together the oil and avocado until smooth. Then carefully add the vanilla. Blend the stevia, arrowroot, and powdered milk in a blender well to imitate powdered sugar, then mix that in with the avocado until everything is properly combined.

Now here’s the best part! You can and the kids can sit down and take quality time to enjoy the incredible brownies you have spent making. What better way to bond than over a meal as a family?

Grecian Banana Cream Pie

There is one dessert (ok, about a thousand) that I just can’t resist, and that is whipped banana cream pie!! I love the simplicity of the dessert yet how daggon’ INSANE it tastes!! Am I right, or am I right? No matter where I am at, when I taste a banana cream pie, I feel like I am twelve again, sitting in mom’s kitchen, reminiscing with my family.

I made this pie for a friend’s birthday over the holidays and it was a hit (Thank God!)

Grecian Banana Cream Pie 
You will need:

Crust

2 Cups Roasted Almonds
4 Tbsp Butter
9″ Pie Pan

Filling

3/4 – 1 cup Light Whipped Cream or *Soyatoo! Whipped Topping if Lactose Intolerant
1 Cup Greek Yogurt or *Goats Milk Yogurt if Lactose Intolerant
1 Mashed Banana
1/4 Tsp Vanilla
1/4 Tsp Vanilla Bourbon (optional)
2 Tsp Stevia/Splenda/Monk Fruit Sweetner

Top it off with:

Thinly Sliced Bananas
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
Sprinkle of Cacao Powder

To make:

First, let’s prepare the delightful crust! It’s as easy as one, two, three!

*Melt the butter and chop the two cups of almonds in a blender until they are finely done.
*Mix together the almonds and the butter and make sure it is thoroughly combined.
*Press the nut crust mixture into the bottom of a 9″ pie pan, and smooth it out so that everything is even and covered.

You’re done with the crust honey buns, let’s move on to the filling!

*In a large bowl with a masher, mash the banana.
*Gently combine the banana, whipped cream (or Soyatoo! Whipped Topping for lactose intolerance) and greek yogurt (or goats milk yogurt for lactose intolerance).

Almost there!

*Spoon the Grecian Banana Cream Pie Filling into the Almond Nut Crust and smooth it all around with a spatula. (I like to use this time to make pretty little swirly designs).
*For best results I recommend sticking this baby into the ‘fridge for an hour or so before serving, BUT you can serve it immediately. Woohoo!

*Layer it with sliced bananas right before you serve and sprinkle cinnamon and 100% Cacao powder over the top.

You’re done!

Don’t forget to eat and relax! You’ve worked hard for this 🙂

 

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 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

Pea Salad with Turkey Bacon

I just adore this fresh take on the classic pea salad! I opted for turkey bacon instead of the regular bacon, and instead of normal sour cream I used sour cream with chives. For the cubed cheese I substituted applewood smoked cheddar to add some interesting flavor. Enjoy!

I got this recipe from The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook 15th Ed., just like my mom used to use 🙂

PREP: 20 MINUTES
CHILL: 4 TO 24 HOURS
MAKES: 6 TO 8 SIDE DISH SERVINGS

1 16-OUNCE PACKAGE FROZEN PEAS
4 OUNCES CHEDDAR CHEESE CUT INTO 1/2 -INCH CUBES
1/2 CUP CHOPPED CELERY
1/2 CUP MAYONNAISE
1/2 CUP DAIRY SOUR CREAM
1 SMALL RED ONION FINELY CHOPPED
1 TEASPOON SNIPPED FRESH DILL OR 1/4 TEASPOON DRIED DILLWEED (OPTIONAL)
1/4 TEASPOON SALT
1/4 TEASPOON BLACK PEPPER
2 SLICES BACON CRISP-COOKED; DRAINED; AND CRUMBLED.

Place the peas in a colander and run under cold water just until thawed but still cold: drain well.
In a medium bowl stir together peas, cheese, and celery. In a small bowl stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, dill (if desired), salt, and pepper; Add to pea mixture. Stir to combine.
Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.
Just before serving top with bacon.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

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!

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

One Year Later: Remembering Nana

thenikkidubose.com Nikki DuBose supermodel read me 2013 Nana January 31

One year ago today, Nana passed away while I was shooting in the Dominican Republic with a very sweet crew. I never thought that in just a few months I would lose my mom and my mom’s mom. I have all the Faith in God that His Ways are Higher and that they are in a better place. We love and miss you Nana and Mommy. Here are some photos I took the day Nana passed away when I was in Punta Cana. She was one of the most influential people in my life and her passing has greatly affected me. She will forever live in my heart and soul. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

January 31 4 Nikki DuBose thenikkidubose.com Nana Punta Cana Nikki DuBose supermodel writer editor in chief SQUA.RE SQUARE LUXURY

Nikki DuBose thenikkidubose.com Nana read me Punta Cana Janurary 31 3

thenikkidubose.com Nikki DuBose nana 7

thenikkidubose.com Nikki DuBose supermodel read me Nana Punta Cana 2

thenikkidubose.com Nikki DuBose supermodel writer editor in chief SQUA.RE SQUARE LUXURY Nikki DuBose nana

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 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

“Six Tips on How to Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You” by Karla Downing

Christian Relationship Help: Six Tips on How to Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You by Karla Downing

“Forgiveness is a commandment for Christians (Matthew 6:14-15); yet, there is a lot of misunderstanding on how to forgive. This Christian relationship help gives you six tips on how to forgive someone who has hurt you:

1. Understand that it is a process.The first step is to commit to that process. Some people erroneously suggest that someone should forgive right away when they find out about a major offense. This isn’t possible. Before you can forgive, you have to know what you are forgiving. It takes time to figure out what has happened and how it has affected your life.

2. Reflect on the facts of the situation, your reactions, and how it is affecting you. You have to count the cost in order to forgive by first recognizing how you have been affected by the offense. This way you know what you are forgiving.

3. Understand what the offender did and why it was done.This is putting yourself into the shoes of the other person. It gives you a perspective that can help you to be empathetic. Hurt people hurt people. This doesn’t mean you excuse the wrong or not hold the person appropriately accountable; it only means that you try to understand the problems the other person had that would have caused him/her to do what was done.

4. Choose to let go of the right to get revenge.You turn the person over to God and allow him to judge in his way and time (Romans 12:19). This can include allowing the person to face the legal, relational, financial and situational consequences of his/her actions; however, you need to let go of your bitterness and resentment and not take pleasure in the person’s pain and demise.

5. Treat the person with dignity and respect.You want to love your enemies and offer them a cup of cold water, as Jesus suggested (Romans 12:20); yet, you can still set boundaries to protect yourself. This requires that you take a step of faith and treat the person well. When you do it, it will help you to maintain the forgiveness and allow God to work in the person’s life.

6. Choose to no longer be defined by the offense.This is where you integrate the offense into your life as another thing that has happened that you have walked through that God has used to shape and mold you. Your identity is not: “The spouse who was abandoned,” The parent who lost his child,” or “The unloved child.” You have a different perspective that involves acceptance, forgiveness, and faith and a self-image that includes how you have been refined through your life experiences and how God is using it for good.

This Christian relationship help offers you these six tips on how to forgive someone who has hurt you. These tips will enable you to move on from the offense in a way that sets you free and pleases God.”

God Bless,
Nikki

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