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 April, turns to a four-part series with an esteemed author and colleague, Dr. Jason Brooks, who will share insight on faith-based rehab, and focus on hope, forgiveness, freedom, and acceptance.
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.
The fourth step…Embracing your new life
“So, how are things going for you today, Frank?”
“I’m doing good, Dr. Jason. Living day by day and taking the next steps to rebuild my life.”
“That’s awesome, my friend. I’m so glad to hear that you’re keeping your focus one day at a time. Thinking beyond that can be so overwhelming. Being present in the moment is so important and it sounds like you’re doing great.”
Frank and I had been working together for several months after his successful completion of inpatient treatment for heroinand prescription drug addiction. He was a Christian, but had fallen away from his faith after a series of major life problems. When the problems hit, instead of putting his faith and trust in God, he turned to prescription pain meds and then ultimately to heroin. The downward spiral continued for almost 2 years before Frank’s family intervened and through loving but firm confrontation, put him on the road to recovery.
“Frank, we’re getting close to ending our time together. I’m so proud of you and the progress you’ve made over the last several months. You have come so far, but I’m interested in hearing the progress you believe you’ve made.”
Frank was eager to jump right in. “Well, I know I’ve come a long way. It’s hard to imagine who I was before compared to who I am now. Don’t get me wrong, everything’s not perfect, and there are still issues I’m working through as a result of my addiction, but for the first time in a long time, I see Hope.”
Frank continued. “Everyday I see Jesus as my only hope for staying clean and sober. I know other people are able to do it too. But for me, Jesus is the only way. I love the verse in Matthew 12:21 that says ‘And His name will be the hope of all the world.’ This is absolutely true in my life. He was my only hope. He is my only hope. He gives me strength each and every day to take another step and not fall. He’s a constant focus for me.”
“That’s awesome Frank. What else?” I asked.
“I’ve learned to forgive. Forgive myself…forgive others…even forgive things from the past that I’ve carried for years and years. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted from my life. It wasn’t easy, especially forgiving my parents. But, I know it was a key part of my healing. Unforgiveness, for me, is like a huge anchor holding me back. It was drowning me, but for the first time, I finally feel free. And I’ve learned that as soon as I feel ‘wronged’ in some way, I immediately go to forgiveness. I don’t want to let that demon get even a toe-hold in my life ever again. It’s a cancer that I know could lead me right back to where I was. I have on my mirror at home the verse from Psalm 103:3 that says ‘He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.’ This is so true in my life. He has completely forgiven me, given me the ability to forgive myself, and healed me from the disease of addiction.”
“Buddy, that could preach”, I said. Frank just laughed.
“I know, right!” Frank said. “It’s definitely something that a lot of people really need to hear right now. You know, because of the forgiveness, I’ve also found freedom. I’m not weighed down by the pain and destruction of my addiction any longer. I’ve found acceptance by not blaming any more but instead accepting responsibility. I’ve accepted the painful part of my past. But, more importantly I’m accepting that God has a better life ahead for me. I love that!! Galatians 5:13 says ‘For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.’ This is so true in my life. Now that I’ve found freedom through Christ, my focus is no longer on myself, my pain, my problems, my addiction. But instead, I’m focused on how I can pour into others. God is using the pain of my past to speak life to others. It’s so awesome!!”
I was so psyched. “That’s incredible Frank! So when you think of the next step in treatment, embracing your new life, what does that look like for you?”
“Well, I guess first it’s remembering that God can make all things new and bring beauty from ashes. 2 Corinthians says ‘He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.’ I know that probably for the first time in my life, I’m not living for myself because I’ve received a new life in Christ. I’m not living for the next high. I’m not serving myself. I’m finally free and I want to give back to others because I’m not focused on myself anymore.
I’m now able to move forward rebuilding my life, with God leading my life. My relationships with my wife and kids are being restored. I have a new church family who doesn’t judge me by my past, but accepts me where I am today and is helping me to create a new future.”
I’ve taken a leadership role with our Celebrate Recovery group at my church. Being able to come alongside other Christians who are struggling with addiction has been a huge blessing. I remember you saying, Dr. Jason, that no one learns as much as when they teach. So, I’m trying to teach others and in the process, I’m learning so much.”
“That’s so true, Frank,” I said. “What else?”
“I’m finally embracing the idea that God has a purpose for my life and I’m excited to learn what that is. I’ve always heard Jeremiah 29:11 that says ‘For I know the plans I have for you,” says the lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’ But, right after that scripture, God says ‘I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes.’ The fact that God has a purpose for my life is powerful. I now know I’m here for a reason. My addiction could have killed me. Or, I could have killed someone else. But God protected me for a reason.”
I know there’s a purpose for me being here and I’m finding that purpose each day. He has kept His promise to end my captivity! I’m not captive to addiction any longer…by His power and grace. And I believe He will restore the treasures in my life. For me, it’s not about the money. My greatest treasures in this world are the relationships with those I love most…my wife, my kids, my friends, my family. Addiction distorts reality…But, freedom from addiction through Christ puts everything into the right perspective. I have hope for tomorrow and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is moving in powerful ways to heal and touch lives, just like mine.”
“Amen, my Brother. Amen.” As I looked into Frank’s eyes, I saw the hope of a man who once was a prisoner to addiction. But, through faith and trust in Jesus, the source of Hope, he found freedom from that addiction, forgiveness, and a sense of purpose for the future. Frank was a new man, just as the Bible says, and I knew he would never be the same again and his legacy would be one of hope, healing, restoration, and love.
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.