Addiction Shows Up in Unlikely Places

I don’t know about you but the more time I spend with me, the more the “past” haunts me.  During these “stay at home” times, most nights I’m by myself since hubby is an essential employee.  Despite my best efforts, the inner gremlins of the past creep in.  I think about those I have hurt.  I think about the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” things.  I think about “what if”.  Not always a good place for a recovering addict.

I love this simple message:

“Don’t Stumble On Things That Are Behind You.”

I thought hard about this seemingly simple directive about a habit which trips so many of us up: looking back. Allowing the past to deter and diminish our present and our future.

I had an “epiphany” last night.  As I was thanking God for the blessings of the day and asking for his guidance, I realized I had again substituted one thing for another.  My addiction had shown up in an unlikely spot –  not really unlikely for me. Showing up in unlikely places is not uncommon for addicts if we don’t keep things in check.  No, I didn’t have thoughts of using drugs or drinking.  No, I didn’t go on a shopping spree.  I was eating “junk food” and hiding it.  Crazy, right?

I thought about the went last 5 days hubby had worked.  I went to pick up some groceries and here is what happened.

  • I stopped to Dunkin for my iced green tea.   It was Friday so I got a “free” donut”. I was out a second time on Friday to pick up Baby’s medicine.  Stopped at Dunkin again and got another “free” donut.
  • Went to Aldi’s for some fresh fruit and fresh veggies – a good thing, right?  They had Cadbury mini eggs on sale.  I have been obsessing over them for a week so I bought a whole bag along with a bag of Robin’s Eggs.
  • Stopped to Wawa and picked up bottles of Wawa diet tea. Not very healthy because of all of the artificial sweeteners.
  • Had to stop myself yesterday from going out just to get a Dunkin tea and a donut.

Each time I go on a shopping run, I end up buying something I normally would not eat or drink.  WHY???  I want what I want when I want it.  LOL. The crazy part is I was hiding all of this stuff from hubby.  I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal BUT it is how it starts, right?  Substitute one thing for another and keeping secrets.

I know I am only as sick as my secrets so I am letting them into the light….I’m sharing it publicly as a way to be accountable.  As harmless as it may seem to someone, it is the start of the spiral.   I beat myself up.  I start to justify things with “I haven’t gained any weight”, or “it is stress eating” or when this is over I will do better.  The truth is by then it will be too late…..the weight will be back and I will be miserable.  I have been riding the stationary bike every day for at least 20 minutes which has helped to keep me from gaining weight BUT it doesn’t justify the sneak eating.  This is an old behavior from my days of being a bulimic – the only difference is, I’m not purging.

I know I’m not alone….finding things to keep us busy and out of our heads can be tough.  I have been creating angels, reading, sewing and cleaning out closets.  I have been doing at least one video meeting a day – over the weekend it was 3 meetings a day.  WHY?  Because I know when I hear what others share, I am out of my head and I know I am not alone.

Today I am giving myself grace – it meets us in the asking for strength from our Higher Power.  Because of this I can move forward (and so can you) in His grace. Even when life is complicated and messy.

It’s not about locking things in a secret compartment of your heart. When we turn things over, no matter how insignificant it may seem to our Higher Power, He can give us the rest we long for. Healing for our heart wounds.

The reward of faith is freedom in our Higher Power. With this faith, the past has no hold on us.  Grace fixes our gaze forward.

So the next time I’m tempted to beat myself up because of a mistake, I will turn things over to my Higher Power and choose not to beat myself up, not to re-hash a painful conversation, not to blame another person … not to stumble on things behind me.

Instead I will reach for grace. I will reach for my Higher Power and call to Him for help.

This seems like a jumble of thoughts but I need to be accountable.  Are you struggling with keeping away from the “junk food”?  What are your best tips?  Share them with us..

Have a blessed day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Is Your Past Tripping You Up?

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message….

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. (Philippians 3:13b, NIV)

It spoke to me as I strolled down the check out aisle of Marshalls that day. The wall art that was featured on an impulse-buy rack.

Amen! I thought.

The message? Simple: “Don’t Stumble On Things That Are Behind You.”

My mind reeled, and I thought hard about this seemingly simple directive that points to a habit that trips so many of us up: looking back. Allowing the past to deter and diminish our present and our future.

The Apostle Paul had a difficult past to contend with. His early years were spent learning laws and tormenting Chris followers. Then he met Jesus and everything changed for him. He chose to move forward as the new man he’d become.

Instead of wallowing in the muck of condemnation, he stepped into the grace of Christ with determination. With a fresh mission. He wrote a heart-felt message similar to the wall art in his New Testament letter to the believers in the church of Philippi. That familiar, challenging passage…

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-14, NIV)

Many of us know this section of scripture, but it’s important for us to realize that the conversation doesn’t end there. What Paul says next is a game-changing statement:

Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (Philippians 3:15-16, ESV)

I want to be mature. I want to think this way. Don’t you?

I want to hold true to what I’ve attained in Christ.

It’s the way of life!

I read this and I begin to realize that what Paul is really saying is something to this effect: Let it go, people! Move on. Greater things await you. Don’t look back. It’s no good for you. You won’t gain any traction on the plans that God has for you. If you choose to look back then you need to grow up because that is not where your promise lies. If you are mature in your faith you will believe the gospel. When you are forgiven … You. Are. Forgiven. Believe it. What Jesus did for you and me covers anything that we lay at His feet. Fully.

I’m reminded that it’s time to move forward. That it’s time to fix my eyes on what is ahead, not on what is behind. That God’s mercies are new every day.

Clearly this press-on message is not about sweeping un-confessed sins under a rug and pretending they don’t exist. When we stumble – when we sin – we can’t just forget it and move on. We are to confess it to the Lord, and ask Him for forgiveness.

Grace meets us in the asking and settles it with God. Because of this we can move forward in His grace. Even when life is complicated and messy.

And it’s not about locking deep heart wounds in a secret compartment of your heart. The Bible invites us to take our aching, angry, abused, or offended hearts to Jesus so that He can give us the rest we long for. Healing for our heart wounds.

The reward of faith is freedom in Christ. The past has no hold on us.

Grace fixes the gaze of the believer forward.

So the next time I’m tempted to look back at a failure or an old heart wound, I will remember the wall art wisdom from Marshalls and choose not to beat myself up, not to re-hash that painful conversation, not to blame that person … not to stumble on things that are behind me.

Instead I will reach for grace. I will reach for Jesus and call to Him for help.

And in the reaching I begin to take my place among the mature-in-faith.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

A Brand New Me


“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

This past week, I have been blessed.  Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful every day but this week was the dawning of a NEW me.  I know, you have heard it before right?  But each transforming step helps me to see the NEW me.

I have been reading the book The Secret.  This book opened my eyes to so many things.  I had been praying to God for guidance.  This book made me look at the way that I was thinking and saying things that kept me stuck.  Stuck in the place that I didn’t want to be in my business.  Stuck in a place I didn’t like in my life.  And with the flick of switch, actually the reading of each page, the light came on.  Guidance came in the form of “The Secret”.

It not only helped my business and my personal life but it is also helping me in my walk with God.  Trusting and believing were my greatest struggle.   The inner gremlins had me judging my journey.  They had me convinced that I was not worthy of God’s grace or love.  Did I see it? NO!  Did I consciously think it?  NO!  What I did was put a timeline in place, dreamed big AND never believed that I would be able to reach those dreams.  I put a timeline in place never trusting that God would provide for my needs. I put goals in place with an underlying belief based on fear and doubt.  I spoke being “stuck” into the Universe and guess what “I was stuck”.


This week, I am buried

  • My old self.
  • My old past.
  • My old way of thinking.
  • My old entanglements..
  • My hurt over old words spoken over your life.

TODAY, I feel re-born.  And a new ME is free to emerge in its place.  I have shed the old behaviors. I am sharing my goals proudly with others as if they were already obtained.  It surprised me, actually shocked me.

When I think about an old memory, it is just that — an old memory.  Something that could serve as a teaching marker that I can share with others to encourage them as they struggle in their journey.  Everyone’s journey is different but by sharing our strengths, hopes and experiences with others, we can encourage them to continue on their journey.

I was amazed at how confidently and easily I am connecting with others. I’m bravely stepping out of my comfort zone — not realizing until later it was courageous.  I am not worrying about what people think – I am enjoying building new relationships.

“The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!” 2 Corinthians 5:17b (MSG)

The word “burgeon” means to to flourish!  I am beginning to flourish.  It is a gift that is available for all of us, including you.  Let your Higher Power guide you:

  • As you walk with Him, follow His lead. Let Him show you how to let go of the old.
  • Embrace receiving as you remove your focus from the person who hurt your heart to a Higher Power who treasures you.
  • Embrace the gift as you begin to break the patterns of the past, no longer doing what you’ve always done, or thinking the way you’ve always thought.

Guess what, you’re becoming a brand new girl.  With a new way of thinking.  Heading in a new direction.  With a newly mended heart.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!



Hope Wissel, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

My Refuge and Strength

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

Have you ever wanted something so badly and prayed to God that he would give it to you only to have the opportunity slip away?  Have you ever thought that if God really loved or cared for me, he would help me NOW?

I know that God is with me – even if I don’t hear him.  I know that he is there – watching. I struggle when I see the prayers of others being answered and mine appear to go unanswered.  I struggle when I pray (or ask for something) that I think is part of God’s plan only to loose out on the opportunity.  I struggle comparing my walk to other’s.

It is with God’s grace that I made it through my promiscuous life.  It is with God’s grace that I came out of my addiction.  It is because if God’s grace that I was able to raise my amazing daughter, Belinda.  With all of the grace that I have been given, why do I struggle now when the answers don’t come.

Did I believe that God had a hand in keeping me safe and bringing through my crazy life?  NO!  Looking back I can see his loving hand – the people he put in my life, the jobs, the nudges (okay so maybe they were shoves) towards him.  Yet today, I long for that refuge and strength.  Totally believing and trusting in him to take care of things.

As I work through issues with my life coach, I trust that there is a reason why things are not happening in MY time.  I know – everything in God’s time but how come we aren’t on the same page at the same time?

In my heart, I trust that God is right beside me protecting me… loving me… listening to me.  I just wish that I could hear what he is saying so that I could move a little quicker along this path.

He is the One in whom I find comfort and reassurance: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).

He is right here with me in the midst of my trouble, I am not alone: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

Sometimes God’s power is shown as much in preventing things as it is in making them happen. We may never know why. But we can always know and trust the Who.

Dear Lord, thank You for knowing what I need and what I don’t — even when I don’t agree. Help me see Your “yes” and “no” as protection and guidance. Today, I choose to trust You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!