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Staying Sober For The Holidays Jump To Class
Leadership In The CR MinistryJump To Class
Staying Sober For The Holidays
The holiday season is upon us once again. The parties are being planned and the food prepared. You too must prepare yourself for the struggles, temptations or flashbacks that could be winging their way in your direction even as you read this. Of course, the holidays are a time of celebration but for most of us, in the past, celebrating meant getting high or drunk.
This could be your first holiday sober and the memories could come flooding back. It would be foolish to face this season unprepared. So in light of this, here are some tips to help get you through the holidays sane and sober.
Spend Time With God
By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgement is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. John 5:30
Not that the holiday season is the only time that you should spend quality time with God but clearly Jesus understood that He could do nothing without God. If he, who healed the sick, gave sight to the blind and raised the dead understood that time with his Father was his top priority then so should we. Jesus’ relationship with God was to please him and not just to keep him out of trouble. Unfortunately, too often, our prayers can appear as a type of attempted spiritual manipulation of God to get what we desire and not what we need. Our love for God must be sincere and from the heart. Our times with him should come from a heart of love, not pressure or fear. When we stay close to God, our decisions will be guided by wisdom.
Failure To Plan Is A Plan For Failure
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
The scripture above does not warn us to keep track of how much sober time we have. Instead it teaches us to plan our days, prioritize our lives correctly. The consequences for us picking up and using again are dire. Thanks be to God, since getting sober, many of us have received spouses and families back. We work in careers that we know could never have been without the power of God and we have brothers and sisters who love, trust and believe in us. It is a lot to risk over one dumb decision. In life’s situations we often hear about the need to have a plan B. As addicts, there are times when we should have a plan C and D as well. We need to make sure we know what we are walking into and more importantly, how to walk back out.
Seek Advice On Decisions You Make
Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance. Proverbs 20:18
Make plans by seeking advice. The best-laid plans can come undone without objectivity. We may feel with all our hearts that what we are doing is for the best, or that the decisions that we are making are the most suited for the situation, but without getting input from others who know you and can be objective, we can rush into many pitfalls. A humble person has no fear in seeking advice.
Pray For Wisdom
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
Asking for wisdom is something we need to do a lot. Unfortunately it is not an ask once, use often policy. We have to ask again and again. We need to seek out wisdom with more zeal that we had for seeking our next high and we will grow closer to God. We should not rely on our own wisdom and experiences; that’s what got us into trouble in the first place.
Don’t Take Chances
Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house,lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel, Proverbs 5:8-9
When we used, we took chances all the time. We drove drunk, smuggled drugs, shot our mouths off, but now that we are disciples, wisdom must guide our steps. We may feel that we can go into that party alone and not use — but why take the chance? Sure, you may not drink or smoke today, but what about tomorrow? Satan is very patient. We may be confident we can spend the holidays alone with our families who drink, smoke or do drugs regularly — but why take the chance? Bring someone close to you along as support – it will be a great opportunity for them to meet your family. We have too much to lose! Missing the occasional party or getting together to stay sober are smart choices.
Safety In Numbers
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12
God knows that there is strength in numbers. Whenever possible, if you are attending a function where alcohol will be served, bring a friend. Make it someone who knows your background and what to look out for. Have numbers you can call to talk to someone else in recovery. Make sure it is someone who will tell you the Truth in Love.
Take In A Meeting
Find out where and when CR is meeting in your area and go, even if you graduated years ago. Take in a twelve step meeting. Keep it fresh for yourself and remember how much God has saved you from.
If you are unsure if non-alcoholic beverages will be available, bring your own soda, juice or water. Be prepared!
People Who Play With Fire Get Burned
Stay away from the bar area and area where people are smoking. If you are seated near someone who is drinking or smoking and you feel uncomfortable, ask to be moved.
Just Say NO
If offered drugs or alcohol, just say ‘No, thanks’ You do not have to explain. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into compromise. If you feel that you are becoming tempted to drink or use, leave early.
If there is food available, be sure to eat, so that you are not hungry. Remember HALT (too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.) Any of these feelings can trigger a relapse.
Be honest with yourself. How do you really feel? Are you comfortable? Do you care what others will think of you if you leave early or not show up at all? Avoid trying to please people. Being Macho gets you killed.
Stay busy. Talk to others, dance, share your faith, etc. Don’t give yourself time to think about the fact that you are not drinking, smoking, using.
Don’t Use, No Matter What!
If others are the event are drinking, chances are they will never know that you only have cola in your glass. If you are new to sobriety and are concerned about attending an event where alcohol will be served or where people are smoking, arrive late and leave early.Top
Leadership in the CR Ministry
Need for Leadership:
As with any organizational or ministry structure there is always a need for leadership. The Bible is quite clear on the subject and concludes that, without leadership there will be a lack of direction and purpose.
Judges: 18:1, 19:1, 21:25 “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.”
When God spoke about Israel “having no king” it was not a compliment. The book of Judges records some of the worst times in Israel’s history because of the lack of solid spiritual leadership.
It was not the title of “king” that God was emphasizing but instead He was expressing the need for strong spiritual guidance for a nation of His people. Clearly defined leadership should be modeled after the greatest example of leadership in the Bible, Jesus. We must never feel weird about embracing a role of leadership in the C.R. Ministry, leadership is a very good thing when done in accordance with the scriptures.
I am among you as one who serves: Jesus washed the disciples feet, SHOWING THEM how to serve and care for one another. Even before that when He was baptized, it was a sign of leadership SHOWING all others who would follow how things ought to be done. The leaders role in C.R. is first and foremost one of example.
25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
“Hat Rack at The Door”
The best and most effective way of doing that is through true humility. When a leader is in C.R. his or her “title hat” is taken off and placed on the rack as soon as he or she enters the room. His or her primary objective is to be there for themselves. THIS MUST NEVER GET AWAY FROM THEM or they can develop an “Us and Them” mentality and become “special addicts” verses the other “regular addicts”.
This line of thinking has corrupted governmental officials, athletes, musicians and movie stars because it gives them a mentality that is “above the law” so to speak. In C.R. we don’t have one rule for the leader and another rule for everyone else. In the C.R. meeting we all meet at the hallowed ground at the foot of the cross where we are all recognized as sinners in need of God’s help. And He has provided it abundantly through this incredible ministry.
Matthew 28:20 “Go and teach them everything that I have taught you”
This scripture points out the significance of two vital roles in the process of learning. One is that there must be a source of learning and two the learning process must be continued.
The goal for a C.R. Leader is much like that of a ministry leader:
To get the group to a place where his hands on participation in the everyday matters becomes less and less significant because he is raising up others to share in the process. With this in mind the actual function of the C.R. Leader will change over time:
1) Starting up a group: The role of the C.R. Leaders is vital to this process in that they have to be the ones sounding the “Battle Cry”. Doing anonymous surveys in the ministry to highlight the need for such a ministry. Making sure that their ministry is well informed about the startup of such a group in their fellowship. Making sure that announcements are in the church bulletin and even announced from the podium about this new ministry in their church. Making up fliers and having them passed out. Doing their best to get the ministry off to a good start and that it’s well attended. Teaching the Staff and Bible Talk leaders the “How To’s” when it comes to working with someone with a C.R. background. Communicating clearly and consistently with their ministry leader about how things are going in the C.R. Ministry; how people are being helped by the ministry.
Remember the primary objective mentioned above “They are there for themselves” this must never get away from them. But at the same time they must understanding that God has called them to lead this ministry for His glory. Psalm 115:1
Initial Objectives In Group
a) Making sure that the structure and integrity of the group is maintained.
b) Traditions and Rules are read at each meeting.
c) Check to see if someone has “picked up” or been tempted to use drugs or alcohol since the last time at group.
d) Proper protocol is followed when a journal is read.
e) Ending group with “feelings check”: Mad, Glad, Sad, Afraid or Embarrassed.
2) Continual Need for Leadership
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Clearly there came a time when the relationship between Jesus and His disciples (students, learners) changed. They were still His disciples but they had matured and were now able to take on a different role.
Now they were ready to truly take on the role of Matthew 28 by going out and beginning ministries of their own. They were now ready to train others to do the same thing they were doing.
Continued Objectives of The C.R. Leader
a) Planning C.R. Graduations
b) Having annual C.R. “Friends and Family” Picnics.
c) Help to establish other C.R. Ministries in other Sectors or Regions in their church
d) Maintaining healthy relationships with other mature C.R. Leaders by attending C.R. workshops.
e) Planning C.R. workshops and Leader’s Retreats
f) Maintain a great relationship with his or her Evangelist about the great things God is continuing to do in and through the C.R. Ministry.
These are the notes from the CR session presented at the ILC in Miami in 2010. This section was presented by Will Ashley.