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Archive for May, 2020


Father,
I’m not where I want to be in life—not even close.
I am not the person I want to be—
Not the person I’m capable of being.
Even worse, the gap between who I should be
And who I am is widening, rather than narrowing.
If I’m being honest with myself,
Which I have tried to avoid for so long,
I constantly and repeatedly excuse
My poor behavior and even poorer attitude.
I don’t like myself the way I am.
I’m a pathetic substitute for what I should be—
For what I know You want me to be.
Nearly everyone who knows me well
Recognizes that my life is shipwrecked.
My life may look acceptable to casual observers,
But to those who have insight into me—
To those who know what I am capable of being—
They don’t like what they see. Neither do I.
My purpose and zeal for life have evaporated,
Even though I pretend to others that I have it all together.
I know who I am—who I have become from drinking.
I’m responsible for all the self-destructive behavior
That has accompanied it—nobody else other than me.
I want to acknowledge the truth to You, Father.
I want to discard my denial and my pretentiousness.
I want to be real—completely transparent before You.
You see me as I really am, so why pretend to be
Someone I am not and haven’t been for years.
I have traveled the wrong path for so long
That I’m not certain I can correct my journey
Admitting the truth of who I have become
Frightens me and makes me feel insecure.
I have refused to face the truth for so long it is scary.
I know I can’t change my destructive patterns by myself.
Without Your help, I have no chance—none whatsoever.
Will You accept me as I really am—devoid of pretence?
Will You guide me on my journey back to wholeness?
Will You take my hand, touch my heart, and forgive me?
Will You be with me today and give me strength?
Will You also guide me from this day forward, one day at a time?
Because, if You don’t, I will never make it by myself,
Amen.
Jack Watts

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RECOVERY: Addictions are destructive, especially to a person’s body, but physical health isn’t all that is destroyed. Inwardly, because addictions wound a person’s soul, the damage can be even more extensive. Addictions empower negativity, feeding low self-esteem. They disaffirm a person’s self-worth constantly, making meaningful recovery virtually impossible.
In their minds, alcoholics, addicts, and codependents repeatedly tell themselves:
—I’m no good.
—I hate myself.
—Nobody cares about me.
—I have no value.
—Life has no meaning.
—I don’t want to go on like this.
Wounded people repeat these messages in their mind constantly. Such destructive thinking, which addictive people firmly believe to be true, regardless of what they say outwardly, makes it more difficult for them to break free from their enslaving lifestyles.
An addict’s only freedom from negativity comes while he or she is using. Booze and drugs make addicts feel okay—even if it’s just for a short period. It’s why they use. It’s their way to escape the realities of life. It’s also why they gravitate to the seamier side of life, where their dysfunction is accepted as normal. Sometimes, it can even be championed.
Jack Watts

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RECOVERY: Although most of my Facebook Friends and Followers respond more frequently to my COMMON SENSE posts, I expend as much effort on posts to help people who have problems with alcoholism and drug addiction. It’s probably why “Hi, My Name Is Jack” continues to be read by so many.
I post prayers, meditations, affirmations and inspiration daily. Because I do, people routinely contact me to tell me their stories. I always have time for this. It’s part of what I am called to do.
We live in a broken world, most of it of our own doing, but this doesn’t make it any less painful. Being there for those who are shattered is a privilege I cherish. Having done it for quite a long time, it’s also a part of my core nature. I couldn’t imagine living any other way.
Here is a message I received this morning that broke my heart. We say that alcoholism kills, and it does.
“I’m a 27-year grateful recovering alcoholic. At 15 years sober, I watched as they lowered my 33-year-old son into his grave. He knew where to get help. He didn’t want it enough. He had reached the stage in his addiction where he couldn’t imagine life without the substances. He also couldn’t imagine going on the way he was. He was self-medicating with whatever he could get his hands on. There was a military vet in our town who sold his pain meds. My son bought a 72 hour fentanyl patch. He was very drunk. He cut the patch in half then sucked the gel out. It killed him. It was his 3rd overdose. He left two children. One is following in his dad’s footsteps. And I can’t help him either. One thing I CAN do, tho, is to not enable him. It’s hard to turn him away. But it’s the only way to help him see what he has become. And I pray. Hard and often.”
The struggle is real and it’s painful, but our Lord is strong and able to meet us exactly where we are. He is always there for us.
Jack Watts

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Heavenly Father,

Despite the fact that much of America remaining shutdown

Because of the contagion spread by COVID-19’s destructiveness,

On this long Memorial Day weekend, we still choose

To come before You to remember those who have gone

Before us, sacrificing their lives so that we could remain free.

Recognizing our profound debt to these heroes of the past,

There are no words that that seem suitable or adequate—

No expression of appreciation that could possibly equal the deeds

That these mighty men and women of valor have done for us,

But we recognize it is our duty and our privilege to pause—

To stop and honor them in a way that is reverent and fitting.

 

Consequently, with profound respect and hearts full of gratitude,

Along with misty eyes, we bow our heads in reverence

And thank You for raising up so many warriors over the years—

From the time of the Revolution to our destructive Civil War,

From the two World Wars to the Middle Eastern conflicts.

Never allow us to forget the sacrifices our warriors have made for us.

Allow their deeds to be perpetually and indelibly etched in our hearts,

Knowing that  in our dark, depraved, and fallen world the price of freedom

Will continue to remain high because of the Evil desires of others.

 

From our nation’s founding, You have put into the hearts of our forefathers

That America would be a “City on a Hill” for the entire world to emulate.

Accordingly, let us pause on this special weekend when summer begins

To remember those who died, that we, the living, might continue

To answer the perpetual call to fight for freedom, justice and righteousness.

In Your benevolence, You have allowed our generation to remain free.

We thank You for this and for each of our numerous blessings.

We owe all of the abundance we have accumulated and enjoy to You.

 

Nevertheless, because of a biological attack upon the land of the free,

We find ourselves in a desperate situation, where economic calamity,

Which we have not brought upon ourselves, threatens our economy

With misery, famine and pestilence that can dismantle the foundation

Of our existence and of all the sacrifices our warriors have made for us.

Father, we come before You today and ask for Your favor.

Do not allow the virus launched by the Chinese Communists,

Which is being exploited by the Progressive Democrats and the media,

To succeed in destroying all that our veterans have fought to protect.

Instead, pour forth Your Holy Spirit and stir the American people

To once again look to You as our benefactor. Heal our land.

We need You now, just as we have needed You so many times before.

Be there for us, even though our generation of Americans is so undeserving.

As Your children, we ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ,

Amen

—Jack Watts

 

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RECOVERY: Life can be very difficult, especially for someone who is using. That addicted people need God’s help is obvious, or at least it should be. Nearly everybody who has been in recovery for any length of time acknowledges this. Living life on life’s terms can be tough for anybody, but especially for those trapped by their addictions. For these people, adversity can become overwhelming and debilitating. Their coping skills simply do not allow them to deal with life’s problems the way they should.
Instead of accepting the responsibility for their actions, they make the choice to use—to act out. By not dealing with their problems appropriately, they create additional problems. This isn’t what they want to do, but it is what happens. As a result, family dysfunction and work related difficulties inevitably follow; creating a vicious, destructive cycle that destroys people’s lives.
Unable to cope with stress and difficulties in healthy ways, millions medicate their problems with alcohol, drugs, excessive prescriptions, inappropriate sexual relationships, over-eating, over-spending, and numerous other addictive vices. As they see it, it’s their only solution, their only alternative, and their only way out of intolerable situations.
Drinking and drugging provide these people with an unhealthy way to deal with life—a one-day reprieve from facing their troubles. It’s a quick fix that works for the moment, but in the long run, it creates far more problems than it solves. Those who choose to pursue this path cease to live lives that are meaningful. Instead, they simply exist from one day to the next, and the destructiveness of their actions creates dysfunction for everyone who loves them. It also makes healthy people codependent by the millions—an unintended but predictable consequence.
Jack Watts

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RECOVERY: Most people in recovery don’t discount God involvement intentionally. It’s just something that happens—it’s not purposeful. Focusing on spirituality doesn’t seem important enough for them to make a priority, but this is exactly what it needs to be—a priority.
Instead, they just muddle along, trying to do the work of remaining sober or drug free within their own power. Unfortunately, this makes the success of their task much more difficult than necessary.
Such a mindset is counterproductive and the specific reason why so many fail to achieve lasting sobriety. When God’s role is diminished, the user’s ability to remain sober or drug free is also diminished. When His role is accentuated, the end result produces stronger, more firmly established sobriety for alcoholics and drug addicts—not just abstinence.
Seeking God’s will is literally the way to emotional wellbeing and personal fulfillment, not just for people in recovery but for everybody.
Jack Watts

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Heavenly Father,

Despite the fact that much of America remaining shutdown

Because of the contagion spread by COVID-19’s destructiveness,

On this long Memorial Day weekend, we still choose

To come before You to remember those who have gone

Before us, sacrificing their lives so that we could remain free.

Recognizing our profound debt to these heroes of the past,

There are no words that that seem suitable or adequate—

No expression of appreciation that could possibly equal the deeds

That these mighty men and women of valor have done for us,

But we recognize it is our duty and our privilege to pause—

To stop and honor them in a way that is reverent and fitting.

 

Consequently, with profound respect and hearts full of gratitude,

Along with misty eyes, we bow our heads in reverence

And thank You for raising up so many warriors over the years—

From the time of the Revolution to our destructive Civil War,

From the two World Wars to the Middle Eastern conflicts.

Never allow us to forget the sacrifices our warriors have made for us.

Allow their deeds to be perpetually and indelibly etched in our hearts,

Knowing that  in our dark, depraved, and fallen world the price of freedom

Will continue to remain high because of the Evil desires of others.

 

From our nation’s founding, You have put into the hearts of our forefathers

That America would be a “City on a Hill” for the entire world to emulate.

Accordingly, let us pause on this special weekend when summer begins

To remember those who died, that we, the living, might continue

To answer the perpetual call to fight for freedom, justice and righteousness.

In Your benevolence, You have allowed our generation to remain free.

We thank You for this and for each of our numerous blessings.

We owe all of the abundance we have accumulated and enjoy to You.

 

Nevertheless, because of a biological attack upon the land of the free,

We find ourselves in a desperate situation, where economic calamity,

Which we have not brought upon ourselves, threatens our economy

With misery, famine and pestilence that can dismantle the foundation

Of our existence and of all the sacrifices our warriors have made for us.

Father, we come before You today and ask for Your favor.

Do not allow the virus launched by the Chinese Communists,

Which is being exploited by the Progressive Democrats and the media,

To succeed in destroying all that our veterans have fought to protect.

Instead, pour forth Your Holy Spirit and stir the American people

To once again look to You as our benefactor. Heal our land.

We need You now, just as we have needed You so many times before.

Be there for us, even though our generation of Americans is so undeserving.

As Your children, we ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ,

Amen

 

—Jack Watts

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RECOVERY: Seeking God’s will is an essential component of recovery. It always has been, and it always will be.
Once a newcomer understands this, however, once the principle has been established, the emphasis quickly turns from focusing on God’s will to the more important issues of developing practical solutions to remaining sober or drug free.
The spiritual component, instead of remaining dominant, recedes. Occasionally, it practically ceases to exist. As often as not, one’s Higher Power becomes the collective group consciousness of those assembled, which effectively diminishes Almighty God’s redemptive and healing role. Essentially, His active involvement becomes little more than an afterthought. Often, it’s less than that.
Essentially, people in recovery are left to fend for themselves, making it nearly impossible for them to renew their minds effectively. Instead of doing the core work necessary for renewal, they continue in their well-established patterns of negative self-talk, wondering why they don’t make much progress.
Discounting God’s power and desire to be actively involved in their lives, they rarely give a second thought to embracing His promises, which are the positive validations necessary to counteract their negative self-talk. Such affirmations have the power to transform lives, but they must be appropriated. It happens by doing the necessary work—not by osmosis or wishful thinking.
Jack Watts

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Often, drunks and drug addicts are court-ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous for a period of time, as part of their program to stay out of jail. Attending a daily meeting puts people like these in a place where those, who have been successful at transforming their lives, congregate and share their experiences.

In these meetings, people in recovery are encouraged to pray. In their prayers, they are exhorted to seek God’s will. Step three says, we “made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

Regardless of which twelve-step program it is, seeking God is as essential to recovery as flour is to baking a cake. There is a reason why prayer has been mentioned in meetings since the 1930s; it works.

But as important as prayer is, there is virtually no direction given about how to pray. Other than the example of the Lord’s Prayer, the Serenity Prayer, and the Prayer of St. Francis, there is no direction provided whatsoever. Like a baby left in the woods to fend for himself or herself, those new to recovery are simply expected to know how to pray, which they certainly do not.

It’s just assumed that people have somehow mastered this skill or know how to articulate the deepest desires of their heart. Operating under this assumption would be about as prudent as giving a sixteen-year-old a driver’s license, expecting him or her to drive without any training or practice. Obviously, this wouldn’t be a good idea. Neither is expecting people to know how to pray without providing direction or guidance.

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In recovery from alcoholism, drug addiction, or any other issue requiring a twelve-step program, people are often encouraged to seek God’s will for their lives. God is the author of change and renewal. This is a consistently repeated theme, even if it doesn’t mean much to those who are saying it.

Recovering people are told that without God’s active involvement in their daily lives, their chances to remain sober, drug free, or have healthy boundaries are less than optimal. The clear underlying message is that sobriety is difficult enough to achieve with God’s help, let alone without it. On one’s own, without actively seeking divine assistance, becoming clean is a much more arduous task.

Nearly everybody who has been in any type of twelve-step program has heard this message repeatedly. They know it well. Despite this, those who are trying to become sober or drug free often balk at asking for Divine assistance. In their defiance, willfulness, or indifference, they fight God tooth and nail. These people are determined to be substance free without seeking God’s involvement in any way.

This recalcitrance becomes self-defeating. Most don’t fully comprehend what they are doing or how harmful their attitude actually is, but they maintain their defiance anyway.

In their rebelliousness, they flounder, rarely getting very far. Many “go back out,” to continue drinking and drugging, pursuing a downward spiral that frequently ends in death. Others continue with their self-defeating behavior until they become ready to do the necessary work. This includes seeking God’s will each day, asking Him for the power to remain sober, drug free, or both.

Some, realizing they are at the end of their rope, seek God’s support easily, embracing the process willingly. Their prospects for sustained recovery are much better than those who don’t. Nevertheless, it is still difficult. Achieving sobriety isn’t easy, even when actively pursuing God’s will, especially in the early stages. By the time an alcoholic or addict develops a willing attitude, his or her life is usually in shambles. Many end up having no other option than to do as they have been instructed.

 

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RECOVERY: Concerning addiction, few understand the enormity of what is required to make their loved one whole again. Let’s take Alcoholics Anonymous for example. Users, and those who care about them, believe, that by attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, most of an alcoholic’s problems will be solved. This isn’t true.
Sadly, this is nothing more than wishful thinking. Far more fail to achieve sobriety than succeed. Of those who seek help at AA, picking up a white chip, which signifies surrender, only 5 percent make it to thirty days of continuous sobriety. That’s all—just 5 percent! The others return to the comfort of what they know best—medicating their addictions with booze.
By going to AA in the first place, more often than not, the user admits that he or she is powerless over alcohol—that their lives have become unmanageable. Once they arrive, they are told that it will require a power greater than themselves to restore them to sanity, which also lets the newcomer know that the way he or she has been living is crazy. By this point, at some level, most already know this. Because they desperately need help, they are serious about recovery and are willing to acknowledge how far down the ladder they have actually fallen.
Then, the alcoholic is told he or she needs to make a decision to turn his or her will over to the care of God, as they understand Him. This is where the problem begins. Increasingly, as our society moves away from its foundational values, addicted people have no idea how to discover God’s will, much less how to relinquish control of their lives to God’s care. As often as not, neither do those who are sponsoring them. It’s the blind leading the blind.
No wonder so few achieve the sobriety they desire so desperately. While turning one’s will and life over to God may seem easy enough, there needs to be more than an emotional desire to do so. In AA, one of the slogans is, “Let go and let God.” The meaning of the slogan is clear and unambiguous, but achieving this goal, in a way that can make life-altering transformations, isn’t clear at all. To most, it seems like an unsolvable puzzle.
Jack Watts

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RECOVERY: Alcoholics, drug addicts, codependents and others live dysfunctional lives. They exist from day to day, drifting along aimlessly, producing negative outcomes rather than positive, contributing virtually nothing of value to either themselves or others. More than anything, their lives are self-destructive.
Although most don’t want this to be the case, it is, but it doesn’t have to continue being this way. They can reach their full potential and be all that they are capable of being. Things can change dramatically for them. Those in recovery never need to return to their negative patterns. Their dysfunction can be gone with the wind.
This isn’t wishful thinking. It can happen. By changing their perspective, by renewing their minds, and by doing the work necessary to view themselves the way God views them, everything can be altered. Their lives can improve, and the transformation can be sustained for a lifetime.
By conquering negative self-talk, dysfunctional people can experience spiritual renewal. Love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness can enter their lives. These estimable character qualities can return from being absence for a long time.
Instead of living each day engulfed in negativity, people in recovery can actually attain fulfillment in life. They can become completely functional, which is something most alcoholics, addicts, and codependents have given up any hope of achieving.
For many, their lives have become increasingly unmanageable, producing a destructive downward spiral. At some point, many do cry out for help. When this happens, help needs to be available, but it has to be the user’s choice to seek it. Imposing accountability on someone, regardless of the type of addiction they have, rarely works.
Jack Watts

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Father,

We are deeply grieved as we see how far America has strayed

From the nation we once were—from the people You’ve called us to be.

As Deep State operatives supported by corrupt elected officials

Increase their power over the righteous, they betray

The public trust time after time, and it’s all for personal gain.

Inept, they point a blaming finger at others,

Constantly condemning anybody but themselves for their failures,

But nothing could be further from the truth.

They are the ones who are destroying our nation’s future.

They are the ones who want to take America down “a notch or two.”

 

Repeatedly, we witness one miscarriage of justice after the other.

It is clear that these enemies of the American way of life

Have abandoned the ways of righteousness in favor

Of a lifestyle that provides them with bountiful lucre.

In their greed, they exploit the innocent to enhance

Their positions of power over them, all to boost their status

And satisfy their lust to fulfill their perverse sexual cravings,

But this is not the future You want for the American people.

 

Oh, how we long for the honorable leaders we once produced—

Men and women whose only purpose was to do what was right,

Regardless of personal consequences,

Regardless of whether it was in their best interests or not.

But we, Your children, also have a part in our nation’s decline.

In our foolishness, we have not paid attention to our direction,

Nor have we been as involved as we should have been.

Instead of taking our civic responsibility seriously,

We have left our nation’s future up to others—

Up to those who champion Evil and call it Good.

For this, we are deeply sorry, remorseful and repentant.

 

Father, we have created a mess of our own making,

But what we see is not what we desire in the depth

Of our souls, nor is it what You want our future to be.

Where we are grieves us deeply, but we are powerless

To change the trajectory of our nation’s future

Without Your intervention and Your leadership.

For this reason, on this National Day of Prayer,

As Your children, we bow our knees to You and ask that You

Lead us, guide us and sustain us; bless us and restore us

To the greatness You desire for our nation to experience.

We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ,

Amen

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Nearly every lesson I’ve learned in life has come while I’ve been in the crucible, when my circumstances became crushing, making me feel like I was in the emotional pit of hell. This is also where I learned to be genuine and authentic.

There are those who have the ability to learn life’s lessons in a kinder, gentler way, but I’m certainly not one of them. More often than not, people in recovery have trouble learning things easily. Instead, we seem to gain wisdom and maturity when adversity stops us dead in their tracks—when we have no choice but to trust God.

During my times of hardship, I’ve discovered that I’m far more likely to seek God, rather than when my life seems to be progressing smoothly. Again, this is a predictable pattern for nearly everybody who has a problem with substance abuse.

We learn to trust while we are deep in the valley of despair, when apprehensions become overwhelming—not while we are enjoying victory on the mountaintop of success. During times of fulfillment, when each day is filled with endless wonder, we tend to take our blessings for granted.

I’m like this. I wish I wasn’t, but it’s the way I’ve always been. Again, my experiences are similar to most people in recovery.

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Father, Lord God Almighty:

We come before You today on bended knee,

Because our hearts are troubled and sorrowful.

We are apprehensive about our nation’s future.

In Your goodness to us, during the last election,

As our nation was about to go over the cliff,

You spared us from certain destruction,

By foiling the ambitions of the Progressive elites—

Those who desire to remove You from the public arena.

 

Hearing our prayers, which were offered by so many,

You honored our plea by stopping the cold-hearted schemes

Of those who mock Your Name and ridicule Your children.

In Your mercy and benevolence, You gave us another chance

To change our wicked ways, which have dishonored You.

Thank You for Your kindness and mercy toward us,

Which we don’t deserve but has been graciously granted.

Knowing that restitution of righteousness is within our grasp,

We are overjoyed with being given another opportunity.

Lead us, Father, in a way that is always pleasing to You.

Let America once again be known as the home of the brave

And the land of the free—a nation that seeks Your will.

We ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior,

Amen.

 

—Jack Watts

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