Addiction reaches every aspect of a person’s life – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It affects family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. No one is left untouched by this disease. Vertava Health’ focus in the month of March, turns to a five-part series with an esteemed author and colleague, Dr. Jason Brooks, who will share insight on detoxing the mind, the body, the spirit, the family and life. Whether you or a loved one are overcoming addiction or other past traumas, Dr. Jason Brooks will show you how to “Begin, Again.” Recognized as one of the most prominent emerging voices in personal and organizational transformation, Dr. Jason Brooks is also likely to be one of the most authentic, transparent and “real”. Viewed by many as the “youth pastor of personal growth and success”, his life mission of “bringing hope, healing, and inspiration to everyone he meets and leading on the journey for change, growth, and success” provides the foundation and focus where his purpose and passion are fully unleashed. As a bestselling author, inspirational speaker, and Chief People Officer of Vertava Health, Dr. Jason brings a heart for helping others to achieve their greatest potential and success…one step at a time. Hear more from Dr. Jason in this video: Detox It. Detoxing the Spirit after Addiction “I’ve been through hell. If God really does love me, where was He through all the pain that my family and I went through?” If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times from folks who endured and survived the pain of addiction. People of faith who go through times of suffering are often brought to the point of questioning their faith. So, this question by Jake didn’t shock me in the least. “No doubt you’ve been through an incredibly tough journey,” I said. “I know that you grew up with strong faith. It sounds like you’re struggling with some thoughts and feelings of really questioning that faith.” “Absolutely,” Jake said. “It’s just hard for me to believe that a good God would allow bad things to happen. All the suffering, all the loss, all the heartache, all the shame, guilt, and pain. It’s like I was being punished for something.” “What you’re talking about is foundational to who we are as humans. It’s one of the core things that make us unique in all creation. We have the ability to see ourselves in the context of a bigger existence. We are self-aware and have the ability to search for meaning and we all find meaning by connecting with our spiritual selves. Spirituality may look different for different people. Questions like ‘Who am I?, Why am I here?, What’s my purpose?, Is there a point to it all?, Do I really matter?’ all speak to a spiritual awareness that we search to understand and apply to our lives. Jake jumped right in. “I guess that was my big issue. I had ‘faith’, but I thought that God had let me down. When I really think about it, though, I guess I was really trying to run my life, putting myself at the center of the universe, instead of following what I always believed that God was in control. It brought me to the point of really questioning everything. And while I now know there were many other issues that I was dealing with that kept me in my addiction, I completely neglected my faith, which should have been a source of strength, and ultimately became a source of discouragement and frustration too.” “That’s natural,” I said. “When our faith get’s shaken, our natural tendency is to rebel even more.” “So,” I continued, “I know that you developed Christian faith early in your life. As we start to look at your goal of drug detoxing your spirit and rekindling that faith, there will be some deep ‘soul searching’ to be done. Are you ready to begin the journey?” “Yes,” Jake exclaimed. “I’m tired of feeling shame and guilt and blaming. What do I need to do?” “The first step is not to make sense of where the shame, guilt, and blame comes from.But instead, let’s get even more fundamental than that. There are a series of questions I’d like for you to take and answer for next time. Ready to write them down?” “Ready!” “Here you go…
- What do you believe about God?
- What do you believe about yourself and why you’re here?
- What is your faith based on today?
- What words would you use to describe your faith today?
- What words would you want to use to describe your faith?”
“So,” Jake said, “what I’m seeing is it’s not as much about where my faith was as what it is today and where I would want it to be, right.” “Exactly,” I said. “Just like any area of detox, the focus is on building a balanced life worth living. Spirituality is a key part of that life for you, I know. Next, make a list of some trusted mentors who you can talk with about your thoughts. These may be pastors at your church or other men you trust and respect. Ask them to tell their stories of how God has moved in their lives. No two people are alike, and everyone’s path is different. But, everyone…everyone…goes through tough times and sometimes knowing there is healing on the other side of the pain can be motivational to not just through faith aside but know that there is a purpose for everything we go though and restoration can come.” “Really what you’re saying”, Jake said, “is to connect with other people who share similar beliefs where I can share and they can share to help each other know God again.” “Right on”, I said. “Scripture says in Proverbs 27:17 that ‘as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another’. We grow spiritually when we connect with others of similar faith and can provide encouragement and inspiration to each other.” “Got it. I’ve got a couple of people I can reach out to this week. What next?” “The next step is to fix in your mind what a ‘life of faith’ looks like for you and what you would be thinking, doing, and feeling when you are living that life authentically and intentionally. Living your life focused on God doesn’t mean that nothing bad will happen, but it does mean you’ll never walk alone. You said you felt alone, unloved, and abandoned. A life of faith may mean disciplining your mind and heart to accept as a promise that you’ll never be alone, never be unloved, and never be abandoned. It’s making a conscious choice each day and building habits that support that choice that your faith in God will not waver. Prayer, accountability groups, Bible reading, spending time in nature, and most importantly, maintaining an attitude of praise and thanksgiving are all essential for creating a life of faith. When we take the focus off of God and put it on ourselves, like drug and alcohol addiction always does, we lose the ability to live that life of faith. It’s impossible to be close to God and close to an addiction at the same time. The choice each day of who you will serve is yours…That’s why 12-step programs are beneficial for many. Keeping the focus on today with your thoughts, actions, and feelings. In the end, the past is going, the future is not a given, all you have is the present. Live fully in the moment focused on your faith.” “Tall order”, Jake said. “Yep. It can be. But you’re never alone and God has brought people into your life to help support you and provide the encouragement to take another step.” For the first time, Jake looked hopeful. “Makes sense. I believe that God wants a better life for me, but ultimately, what He wants most is my heart. It’ll be a journey, but He never gave up on me, so I won’t give up on Him.” “Awesome, my friend! That’s the first step…hope!” Dr. Jason is an expert in leading life change. As a gifted speaker and life success coach, he is available to speak at your next conference event and would love to connect with you on social media on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Dr. Jason can be contacted through the public relations team at Vertava Health.