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Posts tagged ‘Oprah’

The Power of Addiction

I watched a special last night on Oprah Prime.  The topic was substance addition, prescription drug usage and street heroin.  I had no idea that heroin addiction has doubled in the last 5 years!  The statistics are alarming.  Drug addiction doesn’t look like it used to.  Addicts can look like your next door neighbor, the clerk at the store, a middle aged homemaker, a nurse at a hospital.  Sometimes it starts with a medical procedure and prescription pain relievers and then when that is no longer affordable or available (depending upon insurance and refills) there can be problems.  One alternative:  Buying drugs on the street where they are cheap and available.

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There is a problem in our community with addition – all kinds, from alcohol to meth.  It is so sad to see what it does to families.  The addiction takes over – nothing is more important.  All common sense and reasoning goes out the window.  Simple things like grocery shopping and paying rent become second only to the drug of choice.

What I found interesting in all the stories told from last nights episode was this:  All have an emptiness that needs to be filled.  Some expressed that it is a spiritual emptiness.  And by “spiritual” they don’t necessarily mean a relationship with God (although I believe that is what would help the addiction problem) but an emotional/relationship emptiness and void that needs filling.

We often enjoy watching Hoarders and have remarked that all these people with this condition of “hoarding” seem to also have an emptiness or void that they try to fill through shopping and accumulations of “things”.  It is a very real and growing problem in our world today.  And every one of them – almost without exception,  had something traumatic happen to them at a young or impressionable age.  Sometimes it was even something later, like the death of a child or loved one – a financial reversal or loss of job.  Whatever the reason, there are common elements to addiction and disorders such as hoarding.

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Self loathing, hatred, feelings of helplessness and unworthiness are also a common theme.  Last night in the interview, Russell Brand confessed to his years of struggle with drug addiction.  Now more than 10 years sober – he says every day is still a struggle.  As he explained how the drugs – particularly heroin makes you feel – it is no wonder that it can pull people in and set them up to fail.  It is an unending cycle of dependency and abuse.  He has seen many senseless deaths of friends caught in the trap of addiction and understands all too well how it happens.  But I was struck most by his comment, “There was a voice in my head that wanted me dead”  That made me sit up and take notice.  Do I believe that voice is demonic in nature?  Yes.  Absolutely.  It’s just like Satan.

” The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

Crazy scary stuff!  But it also makes sense.  People lose themselves in the feeling that takes over their lives and nothing else matters.  It is a form of suicide, just like anorexia.  A self loathing of immense proportions.  And I recognize that this is evil and demonic.  Satan wants us all dead.  That’s his agenda, and he’s not good at hiding it.

This makes me very sad.

As a Christian I can see another side to addiction.  I can see life, health, purpose, prosperity of the soul, forgiveness, common sense, kindness, honesty, giving, graciousness and most of all…love.

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Christianity is not just a crutch – like so many out there looking for something to fill that empty void.   Christ is the filling.  The freedom He gives us is not just a temporary “fix” – it is a way of living.  It lasts.  It endures.  It lengthens life and relationships.  Not just in this lifetime – but the next one too.  It does not rob.  It gives.  When we don’t have to just depend on ourselves for “things” to fix us or fulfill us, but instead can give ourselves over to a loving God who not only created us – but has a plan for us – it changes things.  It takes the pressure off.  Gives purpose.  Gives life, a clear and sober mind, health of body and most of all – fills the void inside.  Because He loves us – it doesn’t matter what others may have done to us – His plan and purpose for us is always healthy, always reassuring and always builds us up rather than tearing us down.  When we are full of love from Him – we are free to love others and give to others out of that love.  It is a release from the prison that others find themselves in.

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Those of us who find ourselves free from addiction are very fortunate.  But being fortunate does not give license to be judgmental or critical to those who are.  Instead of looking at people with addictions as weak, stupid, or even hardened criminals – we need to look on them with compassion and the love of Christ.  As a Christian this can be the hardest thing of all.  The “I’m OK – you’re NOT OK” seems to fit most of us with a healthy lifestyle.  The “how stupid” or “what a weak person” comments are never far from our thoughts.  If only “they” were just like me.  If only they had real resolve and will power they wouldn’t be in this fix or lifestyle.  We say these senseless things without having any idea the journey others are on.

Dear Jesus – soften our hearts to accept others with their addictions and problems – just as they are.  Help us to see them as you see them – broken but wonderful creations loved by you.  Help us live in such a way that those that are bound by things here on earth will see YOU in US.  And by seeing YOU – they will want what you offer – hope, freedom, peace, forgiveness, love, acceptance, purpose and health.  Help us live in such a way that you are attractive.  That You would be a real solution to a huge unsolvable way of life.  I pray that the inner void would be filled by something that will last – a relationship with you.  And that I would be aware and take an active part in bringing about real change.  This is my prayer. Help us. Humble us.  Teach us.  Break our hearts.   Amen.

LIVETH

5 Things That Shape You

English: Rick Warren speaks at the 2006 TED co...

English: Rick Warren speaks at the 2006 TED conference. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Purpose Driven Life book cover

The Purpose Driven Life book cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greg and I started watching a new series last night on the OWN station. It is hosted by Oprah and entitled “Oprah’s LifeClass”. Last night Rick Warren, pastor, teaching and author of “The Purpose Driven Life” was on sharing his heart and principles from his many books.  He was right on.  I took away many things from watching the segment.  And no matter what you may have heard or think of Oprah in a negative fashion – I will have to disagree.  I have been so impressed with her.  Yes she is successful and influential – but I don’t believe she abuses her power.  She has given her life to help others, is a true blessing and giver and willingly shares her spot light with so many others.  We have watched many of her episodes and interviews – she gives good solid advice to others and knows first hand what it is like to make something of herself in spite of an abusive past.  It is a great compliment to her when those like Pastor Rick Warren will go on her new series and speak truth.  I believe many were encouraged and helped by the things that both he and Oprah said during the hour.  Below is a snippet from the show.  Be encouraged as you learn the “5 Things that shape you”.

God Bless

What’s Your Story?

English: Motivational speaker Tony Robbins at ...

Image via Wikipedia

Greg and I watched a very interesting interview the other day on OWN about Life Coach and Motivational Speaker, Tony Robbins.  We’ve been enjoying all of Oprah’s in-depth interviews with people she admires and this one with Tony was no exception.  If you missed it – try to catch it on a rerun or online somewhere.  There is a reason why Tony has been successful for many years – and has sold out seminars around the world.

What was the most interesting to us as we watched and heard what he said to empower people with their God-given strengths and gifts – was the humble past that he himself had come from.  Because of that neglect and abuse from family members, he decided that he was going to be different, whatever it took – and change his life for the better.  He found the key was in giving to others.

He also said something very important – we are defined by the story that we tell ourselves.

We may have had abuse, neglect, failure, disappointment or a list of other things be a part of our past – but if we keep including that narrative into our present – we will never  write a new chapter.  Those things will hold us back – frighten us and keep us from exploring the gifts that we have been given – as we tell ourselves, “you can’t do that”.

Our story need to remember what we’ve been through – but then we need to write that new chapter and leave it alone.

Here’s my story:

I am a redeemed child of God.  I am not perfect.  I have been involved with sin.  I have flirted with deceit.  I have failed many times.  But I am loved by God.  He sees me as worthy despite my sinful nature and lack of faith.  He sent His son Jesus – for me.  I have an advocate when I slip and fall.  I can look the enemy squarely in the face and say, “you thought you had me – you tried to trip me up – destroy my life – and ruin my chances at peace with God – but you did not succeed – so GET LOST!”  I can look at my failures and challenges as a way of giving of myself for others who may be hurting or lost in a failure and challenge of their own.  I can say that I am nothing except for the stubborn love and grace of Jesus.  And if I receive any praise for my accomplishments, attitude or gifts – it is solely because of the one who created me, and works in me.  His love will never leave me alone.

How about you?  What’s your story?

God Bless

Dream On – A Visit With Steven Tyler

Last night I finished watching the 2 hour interview on OWN about Steven Tyler from Aerosmith.  Oprah has a new show – where she in true Barbara Walters style, is interviewing famous people one-on-one in their homes.

I have to say this: the thoughts below are my  personal opinion only.  I have a somewhat different view, because I grew up when bands like Aerosmith were at the height of their popularity – and like so many other bands of the era – they became the soundtrack of my childhood and teenage years.

I actually haven’t been a fan of Oprah until recent years – it was after all the controversy stirred up about her being “anti-God” and even “trouble because she’s so rich and powerful”.  I decided to watch, listen and decide for myself – not just take everyone’s word for it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find her open, generous to a fault, teachable, and gracious.  She has helped so many people – been an inspiration to thousands, maybe millions of people and is on a personal quest to find the good out there – and celebrate it.  I can’t speak about her spiritual condition – but if we judge her on her what she has done to help others – then I would have to say that her life speaks for itself and God is the only judge.  I like her.  I can’t help it.  She’s so down to earth and a really nice person, I feel like if I knew her personally, she would be a friend.

I also like Steven Tyler.  I can’t help it.  He’s such a nice, kind and gracious person.  I feel like if I knew him personally, he would also be a friend.  He has paid his dues as a rock star and all that comes with that title – and he’s still a really nice person – at the end of the day.  He’s stayed grounded, had a good support system, was intensely close to his parents and sister and stayed true to himself in the midst of years of drug abuse and pain.  Every interview I’ve ever seen of him in his recent years has been one filled with regret and it’s changed him and made him a real person, humble and open.  He was always a great performer – but now he’s just a really nice person who really cares about making a difference and not taking anything for granted.  He’s a judge on American Idol – and his humorous ways keep the show “light” and give a human touch.  He’s known to be outrageous and out spoken – I find him refreshing and real.

The interview was a glimpse into Steven and why he has come to be the way he is today.  It is wonderful to hear him say that each day is a gift – he wants to give back and not take anything for granted – that drugs are empty and he wishes he had not given into their seductive play in his life – he regrets the people and family he’s hurt and has spent much time trying to regain what he’s lost and to be a better Dad to those four kids that suffered at his absence.  He does not speak specifically about personal faith – but it is right under the surface of things he expresses and his life, attitude and actions prove that something has indeed changed him.  I loved it when he said that God is in the music he hears – and Oprah said, “maybe God IS the music” – it was a rich moment.

As a child of the 70’s – I appreciate the “old school” bands like Aerosmith – because they are classic and no one has ever been able to duplicate their unique sound and talent in all the years since.  Drug abuse was rampant in the 70’s and 80’s in most of the mainstream bands.  It was a way of life – an empty life of false promises and real heartache and pain after the fact.  Those alive today are grateful and take nothing for granted.

The older I get, the more grace I have for others that have made mistakes and bad choices.  I am not perfect – have blown it more times than I can count – and have found God’s grace rich, intense and always there for me.  I appreciate it when others are real about their mistakes, shortcomings and sin – and are willing to turn and go another direction with God’s help.  Even very wealthy rock stars and talk show hosts.  God’s grace has no limit on race, color or circumstance and is there for anyone who asks for it.  It is not for me to prejudge another person’s heart and life – that is for God alone.

Steven wrote “Dream On” when he was in his twenties.  The lyrics and melody came to him while he was in his home  – in the same place where Oprah was interviewing him – and  it has been Aerosmith’s signature anthem ever since.  My favorite Aerosmith song of all time – here it is.  It is a glimpse into his early talent as a songwriter, singer and performer.

Enjoy and God Bless

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