Category Archives: Recovery

Invisible Fences

I was walking my dog yesterday by this farm across from my friend Ron’s house when I was blessed with an epiphany. You see the people next door have a couple of dogs who were trained by the Invisible Fence people. They get to a certain point in the yard and stop dead. It was the past experiences with electric shock that had convinced them that if they went any further they would get shocked again. Now they are free from the system but still believe they will get the same results if they move forward so they just stand at the invisible line in their minds and bark like crazy. They see what they want but have been conditioned to not even try to get it. It really made me think.

Funny thing is that I posted the idea before I saw the example of it. Is it coincidence or Divine revelation?

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Making Choices

Sometimes we can make the simplest things the most complex. We love to over think things. Instead of just taking things as they are and appreciating them as such we attempt to make more of them and in doing so make them so much less significant.

There are a wide range of scenarios that fit this common process of deduction. Everything from the evaluation of friendships, relationships and partnerships all the way to making the basic everyday choices in our live are often subject to the scrutiny of our over active minds. We seem to have an unquenchable thirst for breaking down every conversation, gesture and action involving all others in our lives. So too do we continually take the simplest decisions and make the making of them complex.

In all areas and in all choices there exists a constant. We are able to deduce the possible outcomes of any and all decisions prior to making them. There are a few very basic questions that we must ask ourselves as to what the possible outcomes of our choices could be.

Most recently I was in counsel with a resident in a recovery program. He was doing very well in house and on pass, but was very concerned with staying on his path of recovery. The program had enabled him to recognize the vast opportunities which are afforded to him via a life of sobriety.

I simply put it to him this way, “In every decision there exists a few possible outcomes; if you don’t like one of them than don’t make that decision.” In other words, suppose he decided to go to a party with friends knowing that there would be an abundance of drugs and alcohol there. What are the possible consequences of going there? Well, one may be a violation of his probation if the party was busted and he was found there. If that happened he would find himself back in court and most likely at the training school. If he used drugs while with his friends, he would fail his next drug test and be sent back into a mandatory recovery program. He could even get away with it all together and maybe never get caught. Yet, if there was only one negative scenario wouldn’t it be best not to participate at all?

In every decision we consider making there are always less than a handful of potential consequences related to that choice. We must get in the habit of asking ourselves;“If I do this than what could happen?’ If any of those results are something that we would not want to live with than we should not make that choice.

Court ordered into a recovery program will require another six months of residential treatment if a drug test comes back positive. Staying clean and doing the right thing will open many doors. Which choice sounds best?

Times have really changed over the years. Just about every job requires and initial drug test and many require periodic testing once hired. The days of partying over the weekend and starting fresh on Monday are quickly becoming times past. The high cost of insurances has forced employers to comply or pay huge premiums. Most have chosen to do what they need to do in order to lower overhead and secure a prosperous future.

There are also many choices that we face in relationships that can really determine the tone of our destiny and the direction of our journey. Fidelity is often a simple choice if we prove to carefully evaluate the potential outcomes associated with our actions. To cheat or not to cheat is often the question.

Let’s look at a common struggle in many marriages. Temptation comes knocking. Should we let it in? Again, we must carefully consider the possible outcomes of the path we choose. The best choice is often to leave the door closed, but let’s examine this scenario for its learning potential. What could be the initial consequences of opening that door? One could be that we begin to feel drawn to the temptation. We may begin to imagine the adultery and start to crave physical contact. Suppose we follow through and never get caught. How would that feel? If we would suffer under the guilt of our actions why would we put ourselves into that situation in the first place? It would probably be best just to walk away. What if we did follow through and got caught in an adulterous affair? Now what consequences would we face? If there are children involved we could quickly find ourselves with limited visitations and the cause of much anguish in their lives. The trust of our spouse would be destroyed and even if given another chance the freedoms we once enjoyed would only be a distant memory. Divorce causes so much negativity. Is this a scenario worth partaking? When there are more things that can go wrong than can go right the decision becomes easy. It’s best to abstain from that choice.

Even when it comes to friendships we must make it a point to choose those who we associate with very carefully. We must matriculate towards those who echo our beliefs. If they are doing things that we don’t want to do than we must consciously choose not to be with them. When we put ourselves in situations where certain people are in contrast with our moral and ethical beliefs we must remove ourselves from the equation. It all goes back to being equally yoked. Certain people will always find themselves with certain problems and if we are with them those problems will become ours very quickly. If we are to maintain our sobriety, our morality or our self respect we must evaluate all possibilities in every decision we make.

Our Starting Point

Our Starting Point

We can’t get to where we are going if we don’t know where we’re at.

One of the most fundamental necessities of moving forward in any quest which we pursue is coming to a clear and accurate realization of where we are right now.  Where is our current location in regards to heath, wealth and happiness?  As we take an evaluation of the “who, what and where” of our environment the formulation of and exit plan or a map of our journey will quickly begin to unfold.

Just think about this for a brief moment.  How do we usually get to our chosen destination?  Most every journey begins with a single step.  Whether our goal is sobriety, academic credentials, financial gains or even to find the ideal relationship; it all starts with knowing where we are right now.  It is essential that we evaluate our current environment, establish our present location and calculate our intended course.

How far will we get if we don’t know where we are?  All calculations regarding our destination begin with a clear and concise evaluation of where we are at present.  Where we are “Right Now” has everything to do with accurately planning the next step in our journey.

With all our modern science and technology we still are reliant upon knowing where we are before we can get direction to where we want to be.  Everything and everyone from the gas station attendant to MapQuest.com will ask us where we are right now.  Even the presets on our most advanced GPS systems will ask us for our starting point before it can calculate the approximate time and distance of our intended journey.  Actually, satellites will need to track us down from outer space before a GPS can even let us know our current location and calculate the quickest route to our intended destination.

When we are looking for directions we rarely ask a fellow traveler.  It is common to ask people who live and work in the place that we are.  I’m certain that none of us will approach the family in the minivan with luggage piled up on its roof and “Live Free of Die” license plates attached to it bumpers, “How do we get there from here?”; while we are smack in the middle of “The Sunshine State”.  We want to speak with those who are familiar with the area.  Someone from out of town will most certainly find us the most difficult way to getting from where we are to where we want to be or get us even more lost than we already are.  Even that telephone to a close friend or relative can’t help us if we don’t know our current location.  What is the first question we will be asked?  “Well, where are you right now?”  If we don’t know the answer to that we will be asked about landmarks, street signs and other characteristics of our present location.  Without knowing where to start there is really nothing that comforting voice over the phone can do for us besides advising us to seek out and discover the necessary information from someone else.  There is nothing that can or will get us to where we are going if we don’t know where we are at.

Let’s look at addiction and recovery for a moment.  What is the first thing we need to establish in order to start off on the road to recovery?  Alcoholic Anonymous, Narcotic Anonymous and all the other Anonymous organizations of the world have established a crucial starting point in mapping out a destination free of addiction; “My name is … and I am an addict.”  You see if we don’t know there is a problem we can never find the solution.  Failing to locate our current location on this infinite path of ascension will only prove to bind us in our own ignorance.  The realization of a life of sobriety will rarely be experienced if we choose to ignore reality and convince ourselves that we are where we are not.

Imagine trying to get to where we are going from somewhere we are not.  How efficiently could we travel by following a map from New York to Los Angeles when we are sitting in the middle of Houston?  This would not be very effective to say the least.  So why would we choose to convince ourselves that we can get to where we want to go by creating a false starting point?  Many times it is just our Ego getting the best of us.  It hates to admit that we have made a mistake, taken a wrong turn and are now totally lost and in need of assistance.  Therefore we would rather drive around aimlessly with only the feeling that we are making some kind of headway while our partner pleads with us to stop and ask for directions.

In order to succeed in any journey we must understand the basic elements of travel and transition.  There are certain things that will guide us along our path of purpose and assist us in becoming all that we are created to be.  Many times it is just a matter of making a few corrections in order to get back on course.  Usually we are only a single choice away from getting back on track and traveling freely and efficiently to our ultimate destination.

(Deuteronomy 30:19 New International Version)  This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

In faith always,

Ron Ash

Artifice and Embellishment

Artifice and Embellishment

What if we only dreamed of yesterday? It’s a very interesting concept isn’t it? If only everything was as it used to be. We would enjoy the same people, places and things. All things would forever remain the same.

Did you ever notice how as time moves on our memories of past people and experiences seem to by some means retain the positive and delete the negative aspects of times past? The places seem so much sweeter than they actually were. Relationships will likely seem so much more wonderful that they ever really used to be. Somehow we inadvertently left all the bad memories behind.

Absent of the heartache we begin to sensationalize what no longer exists. We begin to yearn for what no longer is probable. If we are not careful we just may put at risk all the incredible gifts of this moment by allowing the past to linger in our souls leaving no room for all that is real.

Now is the time that we have to experience all that there is. Today is the day which is the greatest of days. These are the best times of our lives. We must never be fooled to believing that yesterday was anything more than nothing because today is the only something we own and all else is deception. When we fall into this trap we forfeit the joy we can experience today for a false impression of what once was.

We are so prone to romanticizing about those special people from days gone by. If only I had her back in my life we may think. He was my knight in shining armor we may recall. The truth is that we have unintentionally built these people up to be gods in our lives and in doing so have potentially created an unattainable goal for those who we are now with. Is it possible that we have forgotten the mistrust, abuse, jealousy and lack of consideration? How could we have forgotten those unanswered calls, the no shows and all those cancelled plans? Where did the memories of all the lies go? Why don’t we remember the pains of infidelity and verbal cruelty? The reason is that if our minds held on to all those negative things we could not move on. They would weigh us down like a ton of bricks and drown us in our own emotions.

Our mind knows how to disposes of these things and time does help heal most wounds. It is all part of a process. This is what enables us to grow. However, we must remain constantly aware of what is real. Our minds can cause artifice to occur rather easily in regards to past love affairs. These brief and intense romances can take on a life of their own. We can without difficulty positively embellish upon the times that we shared while extracting the destructive characteristics from them.

A friend and I were speaking of this very thing recently. We began to reminisce about first loves. She spoke of hers as if he was the only one she would ever love that strongly, powerfully and passionately. We both spoke of that kind of love without fear. I related to exactly what she was saying on so many levels, but I knew that what once was could never be again. My first love was a truly wonderful experience, but today those feelings no longer exist. This is because that time no longer exists. The people we both used to be, what we both needed and where we were has vanished in the hands of time.

You see, everything fit just right at that time. We were the right person for each other in that particular time and place. None of these exist today. I am not the person who fell deeply in love with my first and she certainly is no longer the person I was able to love so fully and without reservation. It was a wonderful experience and well worth the pain that followed. My memories are just echoes of that experience for today the pain no longer remains. My friends boyfriend from that time is no longer who he was and back then is only a self manipulated memory anyway. Our experience was derived from an instant in time and that instant no longer exists. We can’t go back in time and even if we could the experience would prove to be distressing. What we experienced was a fantastic ride without the anticipation of an ending. We gave ourselves freely and without reservation without restraint and without trepidation.

All things in our lives have happened for a reason and today we stand at the precipice of every instant and moment which relinquish another now. If we could have everything exactly as it were we would find ourselves in a perpetual state of disillusion. Listen, we will never ever be the person we once were. We are constant and continuous creations that are being prepared always for an ascension that we partake in infinitely.

When our goals are set on what is past our dreams of a better place will never come to pass. It is imperative that we release ourselves from these self perpetuated illusions if we are ever to experience joy, happiness and peace in the present. In order for us to truly be fair and to actually appreciate the incredible gifts of the people, places and things in our lives we must focus on what is and allow the past to blur.

Today is our present; a special gift so wonderful and free. It is unique to us and to this time as it is all that there is in this now moment. Taste it! Relish in its flavor! For it will never taste the same again.

Peace be true,

Ron Ash

Conflicted with Ourselves

Conflicted with Ourselves

We really have to ask ourselves who we are and who we want to be.  In knowing where we are in our spiritual development we acknowledge a starting point and have the necessary means to move forward along our ordained path.  Our ascension will depend largely on our willingness to cooperate and remain connected to Spirit.  If we are conflicted with ourselves our concentration is divided and we will experience static interference and become immobilized by the flesh.

Many of us have a warped perception of what the flesh is.  Most have come to see it as our physical bodies, but this is not the case.  The term “The Flesh” actually refers to us submitting to worldly temptations as we side step the law of the Spirit.  After all, we cannot blame the body because the body only follows our thoughts.  Again it is our thoughts that create the situations and circumstances in our lives.  They are the stones cast into the water that create the ripples which reach out to the world.  The bigger the stone we throw into the water the more far reaching the effects on others will be.

Our lives are so interconnected here. We forget sometimes, but everything we do affects someone else

The flesh is not just sexual desire.  It is anything that we desire that causes us to deviate for what is written in the Word.  It could be the way we make our living, the way we discipline our children, the way we interact with coworkers or even the way we present ourselves in society.  It is whenever we act and react to the world absent of Spirit, by compromising our Being and put Ourselves in conflict with that which is in the Temple.

We can pretty much justify anything that conflicts with the law in our own minds.  This is what has made it possible for thousands upon thousands of years for Us to do things that conflict with the law.  By doing what is right in our own minds we submit ourselves to the flesh.  By submitting to the flesh we forfeit the Gifts that otherwise would be available to us and unwittingly accept only a consolation prize.

Recently I spoke to a friend who mentioned that an Elder from her church owned partial interest in a strip club.  Talk about being conflicted.  His position requires an uncompromising pursuit of the law and the organization of which he represents has the main objective of saving others from secularization yet he is in fact nurturing conflict.  The strip club is in conflict with the temple, he maintains his justification of the business ownership by emphasizing the income that it brings him and thus chooses to participate in an action that is in conflict with the temple and is actually working towards what his church is against.

You see, in the temple aka the Church there exists certain laws.  Outside of the temple there exist things that are not in conflict with these laws.  This is what is referred to as secular.  Some examples of secular in our society are family style restaurants, suitable family entertainment and education facilities that do not conflict with scripture.  Secularization is the process of removing the law of and the suitable content within the temple from society.  Today we all stand witness to the secularization of America which started with the firing of all the network sensors back in the seventies.  Every time we sit with our children and feel embarrassed and uncomfortable by the programming we are viewing we are experiencing the results of this secularization.

I don’t want to get off topic, but this is why I am certain that America has a definite agenda in mind that is being put forth through the media.  It is what I not so affectionately refer to as Americanism.  It is a religion masquerading as a non religion.  Americanism has one goal and that is the massive and total secularization of our society and the total annihilation of that which exists in the temple.  It is bound and determine to make the unacceptable acceptable.  With every new program the mass media puts out we become more and more desensitized to the secularization which is boldly advancing an agenda that is in conflict with the Kingdom.  It is a “Trojan Horse” which we have voluntarily let into our homes.

How can we move forward ourselves and bring others forward with us if we continually be a party to the secularization of our society?  The truth is that we can’t.  We must be steadfast and confident that the law of the temple is the fastest route to where we need to be.  Leading by example is the key to affective leadership.  We cannot be both for and against.  It is imperative that we choose a direction and more forward in it.

I am not immune to this struggle by any means.  None of us are.  We are all faced with choices every so often that cause us to consider bending the law of the Profits just enough to fill a void in our lives.  The thing is that these laws are not meant to restrict us.  They are truly meant to move us forward and to assist us in our realization of the Promise.  By uncompromisingly adhering to the characteristics that are so plain and clearly stated we become readily equipped to boldly advance in a Kingdom quest.  It is not always easy.  Often we will feel alone in our journey, we may meet someone who seems to fill that empty void in our hearts which hungers for nourishment, but in reality we are only filling up on the appetizer and passing on the entrée.

Listen, our spouses may not see us, our friends my not see us, but I see us and more importantly God sees us.  He sees who we are right “NOW” and is very much aware of the potential we have for Being.  It is our job to remain focused on the Promise.  If our sight becomes blurred we will slip into the darkness and be less likely to experience the light.

God has so much more in store for us.  He has given us friends to fellowship with to fill the emptiness of our souls.  We have been blessed with those who support us, encourage us and replenish our energies.  All our needs are provided to us as we continually and unswervingly submit to His guidance.  It is all a matter of choosing to live a righteous life at any cost.

We will be tempted and we may fall, yet we can always rise to our feet and continue our walk in faith, hope and love.

In His service,

Ron Ash