hopequest blog

Staying On The Right Path For The New Year

So many experiences in my life have paralleled my recovery journey.

I remember a hunting trip several years ago. Walking for several hours on an old logging road some 11,000 feet above sea level in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, I began to realize that the road I was on was not ever going to take me where I was hoping it would. I had to admit that I was lost, and if I kept following the road, I would just get more lost and further away from my intended destination.

All roads take us somewhere, but not all roads take us where we need to go.

I have been lost more than once when hunting in Southwestern Colorado. Not like life-in-danger lost, but rather an “I-have-no-idea-exactly-where-I-am” –and more importantly–a “how-do-I-get-where-I-want-to-go” lost.

The key in every case was to stay calm, use my tools to connect me with the right direction, and make sure that I cooperated with the resulting information to ultimately get where I wanted to go.

I am sure you can already sense where I’m going with this.

Jeremiah 6:16 says this, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand by the roads and look; ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it!’”

STAND. ASK. WALK. 

Just wanting change–just hoping that God will somehow zap our hearts and minds and “force” us to walk the right path–will never lead to actual change. We must intentionally make choices to join God on His path every day of our lives.

Sometimes in recovery we come to a crossroads and the path forward is not clear. Sometimes, we lose our way and end up somewhere other than the right path. When that happens, we must remember our tools to find our way back. I’ve found it helpful to remember the three C’s: calm, connection, and cooperation.

CALM

We never make good decisions when we are anxious. Anxiety drives us to make foolish and sinful choices. We panic and start grasping for what we think we need. So, when we feel anxious, we need to remember to pause, take a deep breath, and invite God into the present moment. God tells us to “…stand by the roads and look…” If we take a moment to seek Him, He will help us assess the situation correctly and give us the space we need to make a wise decision.

CONNECTION

Remember, the opposite of addiction is connection. God tells us to, “…ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is…” We must connect with God and other believers authentically,  sharing the truths of where we are and what we are thinking.  Reach Out. Connect. Ask.

COOPERATION
Finally, we must walk in the direction we have received, cooperating with God to stay on the right path. “…THEN WALK IN IT,” God says. Sometimes submitting to His direction is difficult, but He has promised us that if we stay calm and look at our choices, connect with Him and others for wisdom and support, and take the first step on the right path, “you will find rest for your souls.”

I want that for you. I want that for me.

Happy New Year, and may God help us stay on the right path, the path of recovery, as we walk out this journey with Him.

God bless you all.

Troy

RECENT ACCREDITATION AND EXPANSION PREPARES HOPEQUEST

Woodstock, GA – The unprecedented times in our community and our country means that there are many people struggling. “People that have been running away from addictions, depression, loneliness, and other personal battles for some time need help now, more than ever,” says John Tanner, 2020 HopeQuest Vision Campaign Chairman. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “SAMHSA expects the current national crisis of COVID-19 to contribute to an increase in the number of Americans grappling with those disorders: People throughout the nation will struggle with increases in depression, anxiety, trauma, and grief.” These conditions typically lead to an escalation in addictions.

With more people in need, HopeQuest, an organization located on 18 acres in Woodstock, Georgia, 30 miles north of Atlanta, has a mission to help individuals and families impacted by addiction to discover God’s plans for freedom and hope. In the fall of 2019, HopeQuest leaders initiated a renovation and increased the number of beds. “We felt we had God’s blessing do so, and now we see why we were setting up for it, as well as going through the process of CARF accreditation,” adds Tanner. CARF accreditation is a quality care process to offer the best in patient care, safety and services to foster recovery through a vigorous process of meeting international standards of quality and an external review. HopeQuest recently received the highest 3-year accreditation for its residential program (RTC), intensive out-patient program (IOP), and Out-Patient Counseling Program (OP) from CARF.

“We are committed to clinical excellence and following best practices in addiction treatment. We want those seeking faith-based treatment to be confident that they are also getting the clinical treatment that measures up to CARF standards for the best services,” says Troy Haas, CEO, CADC II, CSAT, for HopeQuest Ministry Group, a 501c3 organization.

HopeQuest is a truly unique program for Christians seeking help with addictions. It features a homelike feel with amenities such as a recreation area, walking trails, and outdoor living, with a recently remodeled residence with a clinic, space for programs and an administration space.

With all of the therapists at a master’s level and above licensed clinicians, with industry certifications such as CSAT (Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist), EMDR, and CADC, it exceeds minimum qualifications for staff. The 12-week program, instead of an industry standard of 30 days, allows HopeQuest to focus on root causes during treatment. For more information, go to https://hopequestgroup.org, or call 678-391-5950.

Fight for Freedom

“The primary reason most people do not know the freedom and life Christ promised is that they won’t fight for it, or they have been told not to fight for it. Friends, we are now in the midst of an epic battle, a brutal and vicious war against an Enemy who knows his time is short. Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.” -John Eldridge Waking The Dead

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Jesus has given us freedom but it is not something we can simply take for granted. We must fight every single day to not get sucked back into the traps of slavery. One great way to fight is to get face to face, heart to heart with other men and honestly talk about your heart. If we can be honest, authentic and real with our brothers then the freedom of Christ can flow through our lives. I pray you are doing that this week.

Transformation Happens at HopeQuest…

Hi, I’m Brian Minor, and I went through the Trek program in 2017. Whether you’re a Trek alum, attend Walking Free or Journey, been to a Reclaiming Families Weekend, or are a dear friend and support the ministry of HopeQuest, we all have been touched in some way by God through this amazing ministry – and every one of us has a story to tell about that.

This is my story.  

In 2013 I was facing a big transition. I just became the missions pastor at church which was new for me. At the same time, I had to have a root canal done so I went and got a prescription for pain killers.

A couple weeks went by another stressful situation came up. I went to the doctor and got a prescription for Adderall. I had taken it in college to help study and prepare. It was a miracle drug for me. I took one, and then I took more and more until 3 days later I used all my medication.

Going back to my childhood, I can remember as a 10 year-old taking my first pain pill and instead of feeling down and lethargic and disconnected, it actually gave me energy and made me feel confident.

I always saw it as something that I could just stop. I could use Adderall to get this job done, then I’m good. If I could just use the pain killers to get me off Adderall, then I’m okay. But I never actually took that first step to try and stop. I just kept putting it off and putting it off.

In the summer of 2016, my father-in-law passed and it was in that place the first thought I had was, “I don’t want to deal with this pain.” So I called the doctor and asked if I could get a script. I got another script for Adderall. As I was sitting there going through my father-in-law’s stuff, I wondered, “What would happen at my death? What would my wife find out about me? How surprised she would be that the man she fell in love with was trapped in addiction. So, I stuffed it down. 

The event that got me to HopeQuest happened on day when I went to a funeral and later was at someone’s house, and left on the sink in the bathroom was a pill bottle full of Hydrocodone. There were like 2-3 pills in there and I took one. The next day I woke up and the LORD spoke to me audibly and said, “Repentance is a gift. Your journey starts today.” 

My Executive Pastor called an emergency meeting and said, “You need to come in.” All sorts of emotions were going through me: panic, fear. I had no proof I would actually be caught, but I was praying that I would. I walked into his office and just lost it. I didn’t have to say a word. He knew what I had been doing. I told him, “I want freedom. I want out! I need help!” I confessed everything to him and that’s what lead me, by God’s providence, to find HopeQuest.  

As a pastor I learned to hide my pain and hurt behind masks. How could I struggle with addiction and yet lead others? I had a head knowledge of authentic community, but at home I couldn’t even connect with my own family. HopeQuest gave me the tools to communicate and connect with my family again. I learned how to engage in healthy conflict resolution and how to invite Jesus into my struggle versus constantly trying to clean myself up to be approved by Him. HopeQuest truly changed our family’s trajectory.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story, and thank you for your gift this month to HopeQuest. 

Gratefully,

Brian and Meredith Minor

For over 20 years, Troy and Melissa Haas have dedicated their lives to helping people that are impacted by addiction to experience God's plan for freedom and hope.  This download, Emotions 101, was written by Melissa as she addresses practical ways to help us to better understand how emotions impact our relationships.

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COVID-19 Public Statement

Dear HopeQuest Family,

There is no doubt that we are living in unprecedented times as together we face realities and concerns surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  At the HopeQuest Ministry Group, nothing matters more to us than the physical, emotional and spiritual health of those men God has entrusted to us for help. In doing our part to face this challenge well, we have continued to execute policies we have had in place that keep our clients, families, and staff safe.  Because of our normal preparation, we have been able to follow the recommended best communicated by the CDC while continuing to provide the appropriate treatment for our clients as it applies to their recovery. During this extraordinary time, we want to give extra focus to ensure the safety of HopeQuest clients and staff. Below you will find several key questions answered. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to us. Wisdom involves communicating, following guidelines, praying, and ultimately trusting God. We promise to do all four together with you as I know God will continue to guide and protect us all.

  1. Is HopeQuest still open and taking new clients?
    • The short answer is yes. Not only are we continuing to take in new clients, HopeQuest might very well be the safest place they can be as they work on their recovery.
    • In times like these, addiction flourishes with uncertainty, isolation and other challenges. As addiction takes advantage of this crisis and spirals men deeper, please remember only recovery saves lives impacted by addiction. We must stay open to continue to serve those men who are finally ready to take a real step toward freedom and hope.
    • We have revised our admissions department pre-screening and screening process to include specific health screenings, international and domestic travel, and family members’ risk potential. Anyone deemed a possible risk will not be allowed on campus. 
    • We currently have clients in Residential, PHP, and Transitional Living housing. Please pray for their safety (see increased protocols and info below). Most of all pray for their continued transformation and recovery.
    • If you need more info about an admission or potential client, please contact our Admissions Team, as they would be happy to help you make an informed and wise decision.
  1. How are we keeping clients and staff safe?
    • We normally adhere to universal healthcare precaution measures to prevent the spread of any infection and have elected to add additional measures to ensure the health of our clients, employees, and visitors. These include following CDC guidelines especially in the areas of handwashing, sanitizing living/workspaces, and social distancing.
    • We have canceled all outings and off-campus activities for the clients.
    • We have restricted visitor access at our residences.
    • Our medical team has done additional training with both the clients and staff to ensure they are aware of all policies and practices meant to keep everyone safe.
    • All clients and staff have regular health and temperature checks by our medical team.
    • We have protocols in place and are prepared to isolate/quarantine staff or clients that are exposed or test positive for COVID-19 in order to ensure client and staff safety.
  1. What about HopeQuest events and meetings?
    • Family sessions are being done via technology to limit contact.
    • We are working on contingency plans for our April Reclaiming Families Weekend.
    • All Walking Free, Journey, and Freedom Experience groups are not meeting in person and, where possible, will move to online formats for the foreseeable future.
    • The Journey Retreat has been canceled. A decision will be made later regarding the Walking Free Retreat as it is not until the last weekend in April.
  1. What can you do to help HopeQuest?
    • Pray – while we follow the guidelines of experts and direction from authorities, our trust is wholly in God. Please pray that God will keep our clients and staff safe. More so, pray that God would do the transforming work that only He can do. In addition, there are men and families wanting to get help so please pray all barriers to their being with us would be overcome.
    • Refer – if you know someone that is struggling, we are here to help. It is rarely the “best” time to get treatment, but it is always the “right” time. Our Admissions Team is available to answer any questions and help people make wise and informed decisions.
    • Give – every single year our financial partners make it possible for men that could otherwise not afford help to receive it. Around 80% of our operating costs are generated via program revenue including insurance and client fees. That allows us to point 100% of our donations toward client scholarships and not operating expenses. With the economic impact of this crisis, your help is needed more than ever. Please consider helping us help others by donating. Every gift you share makes a significant difference.

We are so thankful for you. Know that your help really does make a difference. It is a huge encouragement for me, the staff and our clients to know that you are praying for us. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

Grateful,

Troy Haas 

CEO | CADC II, CSAT

Ever Compare Your Recovery To The Recovery Of Someone Else?

As sons of Adam, we have a propensity to classify our sin in one of two ways: we’ve broken a rule (black and white legalism) or we’re not as bad as that other guy (comparative liberalism). The danger with a legalistic approach to life is that we can justify certain thoughts and behaviors if we are careful not to break stated rules.

(For example, since the Bible never mentions the word “masturbate” explicitly, it can’t be sinful to masturbate.) And if we tend to compare our actions with the behavior of others, we can always find someone acting “worse” than us and feel smug about our own condition. (“I just look at pornography. That guy has had dozens of affairs. I’m not as sinful as he is.”) The truth of the matter is that God is not really looking at the behaviors we are doing; he is concerned with the motive of the heart behind the behaviors. That’s where sin starts—in our hearts…

…Whenever we look to sex or substances or work or ministry or whatever to meet our desire for love, acceptance, significance, security, comfort, or control, we are committing the sin of idolatry…

…The sexual thoughts and behaviors you are struggling with are not the primary sins in your life. They are sins resulting from a choice you have made to look to things other than God to meet needs only He can fill. At the core of your sexual addiction is an idolatrous heart. That means that no matter how you classify your sin in an effort to justify your thoughts and behaviors, God sees a heart that has forsaken Him. And from that reality, you cannot run or hide. You have been living dependent on your own resources instead of His, and in doing so, you have sinned…

– Troy Haas, Building for Freedom

Are You Aware Of Unhealthy Dynamics In Your Relationships?

During Reclaiming Families Weekend, clients and their friends and families learn many things, and we teach a breakout session that looks at unhealthy ways people have grown to relate…

Being Aware of Unhealthy Strategies

• Guilt

• Enabling “Helping”

• Rescuing

• Controlling

Being Aware of Unhealthy Roles

• Superstar/Hero

• Rebel

• Mascot

• Scapegoat

Reclaiming Families Seminar Workbook

Other Recent Posts from Reclaiming Families Weekend

How Do I Turn My ME Into A WE?

The Five Factors Of Addiction

What Is Addiction?

Relationships And God’s Plan

When Do I Invite Family and Others Into My Story?

Right now my mind is being flooded with a bunch of questions I’ve heard women ask along the way. Let me list some of them here and try to answer them briefly.

Whose responsibility is it to tell his parents about the problem?

Many times when a woman finds out about her husband’s sexual addiction, one of the first phone calls she makes is to her parents. Her husband, however, may struggle with telling his parents about the problem. Shame is working overtime in his heart, and facing the pain of disappointing his parents is a huge hurdle to overcome. In my opinion, it is his responsibility to tell his parents—not yours. It’s part of the hard work he must do—facing his sin and taking responsibility for it. Don’t rescue him from that work.

If he is blaming you for the marital problems instead of owning them with his parents, it is still not your responsibility to tell them. You can say, “Your son is not being completely honest with you. The marriage has been greatly damaged by _____’s choices. I am really hurting right now, but it is _____’s responsibility to be honest with you about what is going on.” If his parents really care for you and are interested in knowing the truth, they will confront their son. If they are unhealthy and deceived, then they won’t believe anything you tell them anyway.

Should my husband meet with my parents for a time of reconciliation?

If your parents are aware of the problem, are safe people (i.e. they won’t meet him at the door with a shotgun), and are willing to talk with your husband, I think it is a very wise and Scriptural thing to do. Your family needs to know that your husband is sorry for what he’s done to you and to them. Regardless of how your family members respond, it is a great exercise in obedience and faith for your husband. I would say, however, that a plan to meet with your parents and apologize should be initiated by your husband—not you. That’s his stuff. Let God work in his heart to bring him to that place of maturity and obedience.

What should I do if my husband doesn’t want me to tell anyone about his struggle?

Especially in situations where the husband is not working on his stuff, this is a very common response. If this is your situation, you will need great discernment and great courage. Tell your husband that you need a place to talk about how his sexual sin has impacted you. Assure him that you will use discretion. Then find a counselor, become involved in a confidential support group, and if you have a safe friend or two, tell your husband that you are going to tell them and let him know exactly what you will say about him. This is your stuff. His sin has impacted you, and you must walk in both grace and truth. You may need a lot of courage to stand by your word if your husband threatens to leave you. But covering up his sin in order to save the marriage won’t work. You’ll be miserable, and the marriage will eventually fall apart. Again, be honest with safe people, be truthful with your husband about what you are sharing and who you are sharing with, and trust God to be at work in your husband’s life.

What should I tell acquaintances who are really not close friends?

Tell them the truth without sharing any details. Things like, “Yes, we are really struggling right now. I really can’t share what’s going on, but please do pray for our marriage.” Or you could try being very real. “Thanks for your concern. I really don’t know you well enough to share details with you, but I appreciate your prayers for our marriage.” Lots of truth. Healthy boundaries.

I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone about this. Do I have to?

Well, that depends on two things: can you keep from telling without being dishonest and can you remain in relationships without telling? You have to have people, and you have to have truth. If the truth about your husband’s struggle causes you to isolate yourself from other people, you will never heal. Healing comes in relationship—and not just relationship, but intimate relationship. If you are lying about your situation, you will never heal—and neither will your husband. It was secrets that brought him this far, and it is secrets that will keep him bound. I can’t make you tell safe people about your struggles. But overcoming your fears and your shame will be necessary for you and your husband to continue on the journey.

–Melissa Haas, The Journey: Book One

Other Recent Posts on Disclosure:

Disclosing Your Story to Family Members and Close Friends

Trusting God In Uncertainty

Finding Freedom for Yourself

Five Guys and Addiction

Journey – Week Thirty-Seven

Journey – Week Thirty-Eight

Journey – Week Thirty- Nine

Journey – Week Forty

Journey – Week Forty-One

Journey – Week Forty-Two

Journey – Week Forty-Three

Finding Safe People: You Can’t Trust Just Anybody…

You need to be meeting at least once per week with a group of three to five men as you undertake this process of building for freedom. These men should be guys with whom you can feel safe sharing your secrets. Anything said in a group meeting is to be kept strictly confidential, so that group is a safe place to start practicing being honest and real about your struggles. Other safe people with whom you might share include your pastor or an elder in your church, a qualified counselor, or a mature believer whose life and character you respect. You will need a lot of support and help on the journey toward freedom. Even two men can’t move a 750 lb. boulder by themselves.

I do want to make a few comments about safe people before we close for the day. It is important to begin being real with others, but it is also important to have wisdom and discretion as you share. Before you make yourself vulnerable to another person, look for these qualities.

Safe People:

  • Accept and love me unconditionally.
  • Are comfortable with my humanity. They don’t expect me to be perfect, but they don’t minimize my sin either. They encourage me to be real and discourage all pretense.
  • Don’t gossip about me.
  • Don’t try to fix my problem or offer solutions. They simply listen, encourage me, and pray.
  • Don’t need my love or approval to be okay. They can handle my angry outbursts and stormy emotions because they know who they are in Christ.
  • Are aware of their own brokenness. Humility and integrity are the hallmarks of their character.
  • Are more concerned about relating to me and loving me than about giving me advice.
  • Are sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. Only believers can be truly safe people.

Because you are very vulnerable right now, it is also very important that you guard yourself from unsafe people. 

Unsafe People:

  • Condemn or blame others for my problem.
  • Deny or minimize my sin.
  • Try to “fix” me by suggesting things I should or should not do.
  • Give unwanted advice.
  • Cannot keep confidences.
  • Only stay in relationship with me when I am happy and hopeful. They are too uncomfortable with or embarrassed by grief and anger to allow me to feel negative emotions.
  • Are arrogant and self-righteous.
  • Are unable to see the Holy Spirit at work in me. This would apply both to non-believers and immature believers who walk more in the flesh than in the Spirit.

– Troy Haas, Building for Freedom

How Do I Turn My ME Into a WE?

During the Reclaiming Families Weekend for our Trek residential clients and their friends and families, one of the breakout sessions discusses healthy relationships of ME and WE:

Me

When talking about relationships, you have to start with an understanding of a healthy individual.

  • Understand who I am
  • Know my thoughts and feelings
  • Recognize the source of my thoughts and feelings
  • Family of origin
  • Life experience

We

Creating a “We” through cohesion/togetherness

  • When ME and YOU come together, we form a WE
  • Varying degrees of WE, or emotional bonding
  • Balance of separateness and togetherness
  • Independent from + connected to
  • Build consensus vs. do your own thing”

Reclaiming Families Seminar Workbook

Disclosing Your Story to Family Members and Close Friends

When it comes to disclosing what has happened in your marriage to family members and close friends, much of what we feel is related to how we learned to deal with embarrassing and shameful situations in our home as a child/teenager. You need to be aware of those dynamics in order to walk with both truth and grace with your family and your husband’s.

For instance, in my home, telling the truth about what had happened was very important, but expressing how you felt about the truth was not encouraged and sometimes even discouraged. So, when I was growing up if something bad happened, we talked about it in terms of factual reality, but we didn’t talk about how it impacted us emotionally. Telling my parents about Troy’s unfaithfulness was not difficult from the standpoint of being truthful. It was difficult because I didn’t feel safe to express how his unfaithfulness was impacting me. I felt like I needed to look like I was doing okay—even if I really wasn’t. My siblings were especially difficult to talk to. They accepted the truth, but they did not seek to know my heart or to share how Troy’s sin had impacted them.

Troy’s parents, on the other hand, grew up in family systems that taught them not to “air their dirty laundry in public.” They were very uncomfortable about other people finding out about Troy’s sexual sin and resented those who reacted to his sin negatively. In their generation, people didn’t talk about their problems with others. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking is a recipe for bondage. Secret sins and wounds can only be forgiven and healed if they are brought to the light. Covering them up only leads to more sin and more secrets.

So, the first thing to be aware of before you disclose to family or close friends is how they typically respond to painful/shameful information. You need to know what to expect in order to prepare yourself for their reactions.

The second thing you need to determine about those you want or need to tell about the problem is how much they really need to know. Most often, family members only need to know generalities. Remember, details make the emotional impact of truth much greater. And if someone asks for details, your response should be, “I don’t think you need to know that” or “I’m really not comfortable answering that question.” Be as specific as you can to avoid confusion or unnecessary fears, but limit what you tell your family in order not to expose them to more than they might be able to deal with. Keep in mind that you have a support group and probably a counselor to talk to. Most of your family members will have to deal with the bad news without that kind of support.

Please understand; I’m not trying to give you a script to follow. I just want you to think about what you say to other people and how it is going to impact them. The goal is to speak with both grace and truth. Be as honest as you can without causing your family or your husband or yourself any more pain than is necessary.

Of course, there are times when a family member is safe and healthy enough to really share your heart with. You may have a sibling who is a counselor and understands the dynamics of sexual addiction. A family member may have walked through the same thing and be able to identify with your struggles completely. Just be wise.

–Melissa Haas, The Journey: Book One

Other Recent Posts on Disclosure:

Trusting God In Uncertainty

Finding Freedom for Yourself

Five Guys and Addiction

Journey – Week Thirty-Seven

Journey – Week Thirty-Eight

Journey – Week Thirty- Nine

Journey – Week Forty

Journey – Week Forty-One

Journey – Week Forty-Two

Journey – Week Forty-Three

Why Should We Invite Others Along Our Recovery Journey?

When we detach ourselves from God and others because of the fears that rule our hearts, the only thing we accomplish is the perpetuation of the enemy’s purpose for our lives. Satan, the father of lies, thrives on stealing, killing, and destroying. If he can get you to believe that no one, including God, could love you if they really knew the truth about you, then he has succeeded in his agenda for you. When you build a wall of secrets around your heart and life to protect yourself from rejection, you inadvertently cut off the supply of the only thing you really want—unconditional love. No one can get in to hurt you, but you can’t receive life-giving supplies either. And that brings us down to the biggest false belief driving this whole mess: I can’t trust God or anyone else to meet my needs; I can only depend on myself…

…If you are going to eradicate patterns of sin that have dominated your life, you must begin to expose all of the secret places of your heart and your secret thoughts and behaviors to God and to other safe people. That’s the first thing to do in preparing the site—calling for help. Secrecy kills; honesty heals. And I want to add something very important here: Telling your secrets to God is not enough. You must involve other people. Why? The Bible tells us that healing only comes in relationship (“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”–James 5:16).

– Troy Haas, Building for Freedom

The Five Factors of Addiction

Five Factors of Addiction can be explained as follows:

Biological Factors

• Genetic vulnerability

• Individual biology

• Coping with undiagnosed or untreated medical or mental health issues

• Repeated use leads to lasting changes in the brain – habituation

Psychological Factors

• Distorted thoughts and beliefs

• Inability to cope with negative feelings

• Personality traits

Environmental Factors

• Trauma

• Peer influences

• Failures

Family Factors

• Develop a sense of self

• Develop values, limits, and coping styles

• Learn to relate to others

• Develop our understanding of the world

• Shapes our view of God

Spiritual Factors

• View of self

• Sense of purpose and meaning

• Faith and hope

Reclaiming Families Seminar Workbook

Moving On After Betrayal

Finding out about a husband’s sexual sin and betrayal is one of the most painful things that can happen in the life of a woman. I think it is probably even more painful than the death of a spouse. Denial, anger, bargaining, and despair are all part of the natural process of grieving the great losses that result from a husband’s struggle with sexual addiction. And as long as you are moving through grief without getting stuck somewhere along the way, eventually you will come to accept the losses and be able to move on.

Moving on may mean you and your husband are able to deal with your own issues and come back together as two broken people growing daily in relationship with God and depending on Him instead of each other to meet your deepest needs for love and acceptance. This is my prayer for every woman who comes to Journey. I want you to heal. I want your husband to heal, and I want your marriage to become everything God intended it to be.

Sometimes, though, moving on means an extended separation or even divorce. This may happen if a husband refuses to work on his stuff. It can also happen if you refuse to work on your stuff. In rare cases, both the husband and wife may deal with their brokenness but be unable to reconcile because too much damage to the integrity and trust of the relationship has been done to salvage the marriage.

And I do want to make one more comment before we take a look at God’s heart. If your husband is pursuing God and allowing the Lord to replace lies with truth and learning how to let God fill up the empty holes in his heart—if he is sincerely and consistently working on his stuff—then the success of the relationship will depend on whether or not you take your own recovery seriously. Susie Sunshines, we need to take two steps away from our husbands, put up some boundary markers, and surrender our need to be loved to the only One who can truly love us. Stormy Sues, you need to take two steps toward your husbands, lay down your weapons, and surrender your need to control to the only One who has the right to rule and reign in your marriage. Remember, dear sisters, your responsibility is you.

Proverbs 19:5 (NASB) A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will not escape.

Proverbs 28:13 (NASB) He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

–Melissa Haas, The Journey: Book One

More About Susie Sunshines and Stormy Sues:

Journey – Week Thirty-Three-Introducing Susie and Sue

Journey – Week Thirty-Four-More About Susie Sunshine

Journey – Week Thirty-Five-More About Stormy Sue

Journey – Week Thirty-Six-Little About Both Ladies

Secrecy Kills, Honesty Heals

The problem with secrets is that they only seem to protect us. We think that our only option is to hide the truth—that we’ll be rejected or hurt or destroyed or abandoned if the truth is exposed. And when we are talking about our relationships with other people, some of our beliefs may be valid, at least in part. If you had a physically abusive father, it was dangerous for you to mess up in some way and be honest about it with him. If you were sexually violated or abused by another person as a child or adolescent, all kinds of fears kept you silent—fear that others wouldn’t believe you, fear that the abuser would hurt you, fear that you were to blame, fear that others would think you were gay, fear that others would reject you. Now in your present life you have all of the old fears ruling in the depths of your heart, and as you try to calm those fears and soothe the feelings of shame, you behave in ways that create more fears. You hide your use of pornography and/or your unfaithfulness from your wife because you fear her rejection and scorn. The first secrets beget more secrets until your whole life’s goal is to conceal and hide your struggle from others. And in the process, you also hide from God—or at least you try to.

– Troy Haas, Building for Freedom

What is Addiction?

Definition of Addiction

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addictive Behavior Can Be Characterized by 5 Specific Features:

  • Inability to Abstain
  • Behavioral Control Impairment
  • Craving
  • Diminished recognition of Significant Problems
  • Emotional dysfunction

Source, and further information: 

https://www.asam.org/resources/definition-of-addiction

Reclaiming Families Seminar Workbook

Trusting God in Uncertainty

We’ll start this day with a question that burns in all of our hearts at some time or another.

How do I know if my husband has told me everything?

The answer to that question falls somewhere between “You can’t” and “You’ll know.”

Let me put it this way, if your husband is pursuing God and working diligently to replace lies with truth in his heart and life, then he will be completely honest with you and disclose everything you need to know.

On the other hand, if your husband is not pursuing God or working on his stuff, he is probably not going to be honest with you about everything. In that case, God Himself will show you what you need to know.

There are a number of reasons why our husbands may struggle with being completely honest about their sexual behaviors/sin. Obviously, sexual sin causes a lot of shame, and whatever sins the struggler sees as particularly shameful, he may have great difficulty sharing—even with his counselor. A man may also lie if he feels that a particular behavior will result in losses he is not ready to experience—i.e. loss of a job or marriage. If a guy knows that something is going to be particularly hurtful to his wife, he may hesitate to share it, and then there is the whole problem of black-outs. Some addicts literally cannot remember what they’ve done during an addictive cycle. (We had a good friend who would wake up in bed with someone and not remember how he got there.)

For our guys who are pursuing healing, God is always at work in their hearts and minds to renew and transform them. Many times as the Lord moves and ministers in the life of a man involved in the restoration process, He will remind him of secrets that have not been disclosed. Or, if a man has intentionally withheld information because of shame or regret, the Holy Spirit will prompt him to do the pain and be completely honest with his spouse and others. This is a good/bad thing for us as wives. It is good in that our husbands are being renewed and changed. It’s bad when we have to grieve again over things that have happened in the past.

When a husband shares additional information about his sexual sin after the time of formal disclosure has taken place, he is engaging in what I like to call the “dribble” method of disclosure… I hate the dribble method!!!!!!

And to be honest, I hate the fact that there is nothing we can do to ensure that our husbands tell us the whole truth and nothing but the truth during the initial time of disclosure.

–Melissa Haas, The Journey: Book One

Other Recent Posts on Disclosure:

Finding Freedom for Yourself

Five Guys and Addiction

Journey – Week Thirty-Seven

Journey – Week Thirty-Eight

Journey – Week Thirty- Nine

Journey – Week Forty

Journey – Week Forty-One

Journey – Week Forty-Two

Journey – Week Forty-Three

Beginning Your Journey with a Solid Foundation

Think about your life right now. If your life is a piece of land on which God wants to build a home, what things are going to have to be dug up or filled in or taken away in order for him to have a level lot on which He can pour a foundation?

The first thing that needs to happen as we rebuild for freedom is the eradication of a pattern of sin that has dominated our lives. That means we need to stop acting out sexually and start living a life that reflects who we are in Christ.

…Don’t worry. I’m the last person to tell you to just stop sinning sexually and expect you to say, “Okay, I’ll quit. No problem.” I know how it feels to be powerless—to promise yourself that you’ll stop and find yourself breaking those promises the very next day. I understand the shame and the feelings of condemnation which have taken up permanent residence in your heart. I’ve lived with the self-hatred and aching loneliness. I know. But I also know that there is hope…

…Think about it. Can you imagine leveling a lot by hand without any help from another person or any tools or machines? It’s impossible. You can’t move a 750lb. boulder by yourself. Sure, you can pull up weeds and thorns and poison ivy. You’ll get a lot of scratches and itchy places. The problem is, as soon as it rains all of it will grow back, and you’ll have to start the process over again. You can kick a little dirt into a gaping ravine, but there is no way you will ever be able to fill it up. Of course, the hopelessness of the task is enough to make even the most determined man throw up his hands toward the sky and say, “Why did you do this to me, God? Why did you give me a job I can’t do? I can’t level this lot! I’m not strong enough. I don’t have anything to protect my hands from the thorns. I don’t have any tools to help me! Why, God? Why?!”

And that’s the point.

– Troy Haas, Building for Freedom

Relationships and God’s Plan

Relationships: God’s Plan

• With God

• With ourselves

• Within families and others

 

Relationships: With God

• We are meant to have a real and vital relationship with God.

• This relationship becomes our “source” of real life!

• We are meant to live out His design and purpose for our lives.

 

Relationships: With Self

• Begins with being connected and bonded together with one another.

• Then comes learning to separate from others to form a sense of self. (Boundaries)

• Have a healthy self-concept which includes significance and worth, self-awareness, and self-acceptance.

 

Relationships: Within Families

• Families provide the environment of safety and acceptance for a child to bond, learn boundaries and gain a healthy sense of self.

• In families, children become prepared for the challenges of life and then are launched into adulthood.

• We are meant to live out His design and purpose for our lives.

Reclaiming Families Seminar Workbook