“I Am An Alcoholic”



“Hi, my name is         and I am an alcoholic”…and so goes the introductions as they progress around the A.A. meeting room. Finally, it is your turn to introduce yourself and there is something within you that is resisting having to say those words…”I am an alcoholic.” But in keeping with the expectations of everyone in the room, you open your mouth and proclaim, ”Hi, my name is      and I am an alcoholic.”

The origin of this way of introducing one’s self at an A.A. Meeting is uncertain and was not originally practiced, even in the meetings led by Bill W. and Dr. Bob. If you search the A.A. Grapevine archives online, the earliest reference of member identification is: September 1944, Vol. 1 No. 4, entitled “Points of View”. Originally, being mandated to identify ourselves as an “Alcoholic” was never intended.

This article would like to propose that, by introducing ourselves as “Alcoholics”, we actually are proclaiming something in direct contradiction to the very core of our being. This is maybe why so many of us find it difficult within our spirit to utter those self-proclaiming words…”I am an alcoholic”. So let’s systematically unpack what we’re really saying when we say, “I am an Alcoholic”, and consider a better approach that is true, honest and still addresses the reality of our disorder.

  1. We are spiritual beings experiencing humanity.

We are spiritual beings experiencing humanity

We are NOT human beings trying to experience spirituality. All human beings were created and contain the image of our Creator, God. God’s image is not human, it is spirit and eternal…and so are we. Our human bodies and minds simply animate our true spiritual self.


  1. Our spirits were disordered by sin.

Our spirits were disordered by sin

As a result of the original rebellious choices made by man in the Garden of Eden, as explained in the book of Genesis and throughout the Bible, man’s perfect spirit was disordered and corrupted forever for all generations. As a result, man’s broken nature now finds it easier to do wrong than to do right. This disordered spirit has kept us in a constant state of rebellion towards God…but even in this state of being, God’s love never waned for us and He still loves us as His precious creation.


  1. Our spirits were “born again” in Christ.

Our spirits were born again in Christ

God’s love compelled Him to rescue us from our broken, disordered spirits and separation from Him by sending his perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer the penalty of that separation for us. Through our belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who physically died and rose from the grave, we become what the Bible calls, “born again”. In other words, God takes our disordered and broken eternal identity and makes it new and perfect and fundamentally gives us a new identity in Christ. When God now sees us, He sees His perfect child again!


So what does this all have to do with proclaiming, “I am an alcoholic”? Everything…BECAUSE IT ISN’T TRUE! Why?

  1. Because as a “born again” Child of God, through Jesus Christ, God already sees you NOW as you will be in Heaven…PERFECT!
  2. God’s love is not based upon what you have done, what you are doing, or what you are going to do! His love for you is solely based upon WHO YOU ARE…his precious child…PERIOD!
  3. Therefore, WHO I AM…is fundamentally renewed…and God does not attach my behavior to my identity in any way!

So…if I contain the image of God, if God sees me perfect in Christ, if my sins have been forgiven and put as far as the east is to the west, if there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, and if I have been truly “born again” in my spirit…then what I proclaim about myself must reflect what is also true about God’s nature! Therefore, when I use God’s name, “I AM” in a sentence to identify myself…what follows after those two words about myself must also be true about God.


For example, when you say, “I am an alcoholic”, we need to ask ourselves as God’s Child, is that true of God? The answer, of course, is “No!”…God is not an alcoholic…so neither am I as His Child who contains His perfect image.

So what should I say? State what is true…”I am a Child of God who struggles with alcohol.” In this statement, you are separating WHO YOU ARE from WHAT YOU DO…just as God does. Your identity is now in how God sees you…not in your behavior. Below are statements of identity restated in a way that is true about God and true about you.

 “I am a liar.” – Is this true of God (“I AM”) ? NO! Then it’s not true of you!

What is true? – “I am a Child of God who struggles with lying.”

 “I am an adulterer” – Is this true of God (“I AM”) ? NO! Then it’s not true of you!

What is true? – “I am a Child of God who committed adultery.”

“I am a thief” – Is this true of God (“I AM”) ? NO! Then it’s not true of you!

What is true? – “I am a Child of God who struggles with stealing.”

“I am a drug addict” – Is this true of God (“I AM”) ? NO! Then it’s not true of you!

What is true? – “I am a Child of God who struggles with drugs.”

The point is this…any time you are expected or are tempted to identify yourself by your behavior, you are most likely proclaiming something that is not true in the eyes of God and is reinforcing in your heart something about yourself that is less than you really are! Be VERY CAREFUL how you speak about yourself as a Christian. You may find yourself proclaiming something that is neither true of your Heavenly Father, or you!

So maybe at your next A.A., N.A., S.A. Meeting, when introductions are being made, you can stand up and proclaim what is true…”Hi, my name is      and I am a Child of God who struggles with    .”


At New Life Spirit Recovery, we work hard in helping our clients live in this true identity as they encounter the transformative healing of God’s Holy Spirit and walk in freedom in their newly found identity in Christ. Contact us today.

Rebuilding Trust After Addiction

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You’re feeling pretty good about yourself after engaging in some of the hardest work of your life…your recovery from your addiction! But unfortunately, the work doesn’t stop for you just because you’ve completed your 30, 60 or 90-day program. As a result of your addictive behaviors, you’ve come to realize that there has been some serious damage done to the loving relationships in your life. Some of the most serious damage done is the loss of trust. Trust is foundation for every relationship and without trust, a relationship cannot exist and thrive the way God intends it to.

The “Initial Trust Foundation”

For the most part, every relationship starts off with the gift of trust at some level. Depending upon the relationship, the initial trust levels will vary, but it is on this “initial trust foundation” that we are afforded the opportunity to grow in our relationships as trust increases. When this trust foundation has been breached or broken, the relationship goes into a crisis. This crisis is also dependent upon the type of relationship. For example, trust lost at work may create the crisis of a lost job, but the loss of trust in a marriage may cause the crisis of a divorce. Both hurt, but the crisis in the more intimate relationship (marriage) will create greater and more painful consequences.

Does this mean that once trust is lost that it can never be regained again? No, not necessarily…but it will depend on some very important decisions made by both the “offender” of the trust…and the one on the hurt side of the broken trust…the “offended”.

Will You Do Whatever It Takes?

If you find yourself on the “offender” side of a broken trust relationship as a result of your addiction, and you are surrendered to do whatever it will take to lay a new “initial trust foundation” so that your broken relationship can have a fighting chance to be resurrected, restored and healed…then this article is for you! But be warned, the solutions suggested in this article are not for the half-hearted or double-minded who simply want everything to be the way they used to be and have everyone trust them like nothing ever happened. It will take lots of hard, persistent long-term effort on your part. So…if you are ready to begin…read on!

Requesting and Offering Forgiveness

Requesting and Offering Forgiveness

Before a relationship can move forward from any hurt or brokenness, forgiveness MUST be requested by the “offender” and given by the “offended”. The offended party must feel the sincerity of the request by the person seeking forgiveness at an emotional level. The one seeking forgiveness needs to be specific in every way possible as to how they have offended and why they want the forgiveness for the other.

While forgiveness may be given, that does not mean that reconciliation is automatic. When the offended person forgives the offender in the relationship…the offended person is allowing the offender to have the opportunity to rebuild trust. It is the responsibility of the offender alone to rebuild the trust, not the other way around. As the offended person begins to feel that the offender is trustworthy…reconciliation begins to happen. But before any relationship can experience reconciliation, forgiveness MUST be requested and given by both parties.

Surrender to Some Truths

Assuming that forgiveness has been requested and given, now the work of rebuilding trustworthiness begins. Before we start to do anything, we need to be completely surrendered to these truths:

  1. “I have NO TRUST, even though I feel trustworthy in my heart.”
  2. “Trust is given to me…I can’t demand it or take it.”
  3. “Trust is given to me in their timing…not mine.”
  4. “It may take a very long time before I get trust…and maybe never.”

The Work of “Giving Up Freedom”

Giving Up Freedom

Now that forgiveness has been requested and given and you’ve surrendered your spirit to some vital truths…the work of “giving up freedom” begins! While this may seem counter intuitive and confusing…even painful…the only way to begin rebuilding the trust is to give up our freedoms so that we can re-enter the relationship that we proclaim that we want so badly. Of course, the more intimate the relationship, the more freedoms must be surrendered.

So what are these freedoms I need to give up? Again, it depends upon the level of intimacy in the relationship, but for the sake of illustration, let’s look at a marital relationship.

Step One: Ask yourself, “If my spouse did to me what I did to him/her, what would I need from them to prove their trust worthiness?” Answer that questions honestly and then ratchet it up one or two more notches! Make a list of the things you would want and begin to implement them. If you would want your spouse to have a phone tracker…then you get a phone tracker. If you would want your spouse to justify any ATM and cash spending with receipts, then you keep and present all receipts. If you would want to test your spouse for drugs and alcohol every day, then you submit yourself to testing every day. If you would want a computer accountability program on your spouse’s computer, then put on your computer. The key is that these are freedoms that you surrender of your own free will…not freedoms that you are being “strong armed” in giving up by your spouse or loved one.

Step Two: Inform your spouse that you are surrendering these freedoms for however long it takes him or her to trust you again…and mean it! Let your spouse know that you are doing this because you love him/her and want to demonstrate your love through your trustworthiness to them and to prove that you really have changed. After you’ve shared your list of surrendered freedoms, if they request that you add something onto your list that will help them, add it with joy and gladness in your heart! Another opportunity to prove yourself!

Step Three: Be trustworthy, patient, and keep a humble attitude. You’re in this for the long haul. Remember that you created this issue, it’s up to you to do what you can to make it better. Results won’t come over night. Trust, once lost, doesn’t come back as quickly as it was lost. It takes time, consistency, patience, and the grace of God for trust to bear out its fruit in a broken relationship. What is that fruit…a restored and more intimate relationship with your loved one, God and regained freedoms…physically, emotionally and spiritually!

A Note of Caution

A Note of Caution

If you diligently follow these instructions and run this marathon with the Lord…and if by the grace of God your loved one presents back to you the gift of their trust…DO NOT MOCK IT! Because if you lose it again…chances are it will be gone forever!

May God bless you with an extra measure of His Spirit as trustworthiness thrives in your life!


Are you still struggling with a relationship and need to learn about our treatment program? Click here.

Learn more about our codependence resources to have healthy and whole relationships.

When Life Hurts

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Often times in our recovery process, we go through what seems to be insurmountable struggles as we are learning to live life in our recovery. These struggles can appear in almost every area of our lives: physically, emotionally, relationally, vocationally, financially and spiritually. In the midst of all our struggles in recovery, it is very easy for us to feel like we are the only ones experiencing such trials and tribulations.

It’s not long before we find ourselves turning our voices to God asking, “God, if you are so good, why are you letting me struggle so hard?!” Struggles aren’t fun to go through and often times they can make us feel like we are failing or doing something wrong in our efforts to stay in our recovery. Our struggles in our recovery can also make us wonder, “What’s the point of all of this? Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like?” If we aren’t careful, the voices that we hear coming out of our struggles can put us in a place of hopelessness and a relapse won’t be far behind.

Unfortunately, life is full of struggles and there’s no way to live life without them. While some struggles in our lives do come as a result of choices that we make, not all struggles necessarily mean that we are failing or doing anything inherently wrong. It could actually be God’s way to strengthen us for the next level of healing and growth for our lives…and in that struggle, transforming us into a stronger and more beautiful person.

The Story of the Butterfly

To help illustrate God’s divine purpose of our struggles in recovery, let’s take a look the struggle of the butterfly.

One day, a man found a butterfly cocoon in his garden. He watched it for several days anticipating the emergence of a beautiful butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Then, it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and could go no further. So, the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But, it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support its swollen body, which he thought would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to become what it was intended to be.

What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restriction of the cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes, our struggles in recovery are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us and keep us from enjoying deeper healing, transformation, and experiencing the fullness of the life that God intends for us.

Struggles Are Necessary for Growth

When we resist or try to run away from our struggles, we need to realize that we may actually be resisting the very miracle that God is waiting to give us. It’s the endurance of our struggles that make us strong and gives us the strength to walk joyfully and freely in our recovery!

I asked for Strength…and God gave me Difficulties to make me strong.

I asked for Wisdom…and God gave me Problems to solve.

I asked for Prosperity…and God gave me Brain and Brawn to work.

I asked for Courage…and God gave me Danger to overcome.

I asked for Love…and God gave me Troubled People to help.

I asked for Favors…and God gave me Opportunities.

I received nothing I wanted…and everything I needed!


If you, or someone you know, is struggling with addiction or in the midst of a relapse, we at New Life Spirit Recovery are here for you to help you overcome your struggle. Don’t wait any longer and contact us today at 866-543-3361 and let us help you be an overcomer!

How to Choose a Christian Sponsor

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This article is written with the understanding that the “official” stance of AA is that, “A good sponsor who is an atheist does not try to persuade a religious newcomer to abandon faith, nor does a religious sponsor argue theological matters with an agnostic newcomer.” That a sponsor should never impose his or her personal views on the sponsoree. This stance makes sense if a sponsor’s and sponsoree’s views of their “Higher Power” are different. But the foundation of this article is coming from the perspective that having a Christian sponsor for the Christian sponsoree has greater advantages and should be seriously pursued.

For a Christian in recovery, having a C of “kindred faith” will not only give the 12 Steps more authority and power in our recovery, but together we can access deeper healing of the soul (mind, emotions and will) through mutual participation in prayer, deeper application of Biblical truth and encouragement into a deeper personal intimacy with the Creator of the 12-Steps…God!

So this is written not to dispute basic AA principles, but to help guide the recovering Christian to find a Christian sponsor who will not only do everything that an AA or NA sponsor is suppose to do, but who will also help us stay in fellowship connection with the Great Physician and Counselor who IS our RECOVERY. Someone who will keep us connected to both the Truth and the Truth Giver.

Where Do You Find A Christian Sponsor?

Alcoholics Anonymous began in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, who both found their recovery through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and Biblical truth. Hence, AA’s roots are found in the Bible and the earliest AA meetings promoted a personal relationship with God. As the years passed, the Bible was deemphasized in efforts to make AA more “user friendly” and God was replaced as a “Higher Power”. This way, people who had no faith could receive the principles of the Bible (the “12 Steps) without having to accept the Creator of the “12 Steps”…but instead identify their “Higher Power” as anything they wanted it to be. As a result, most AA Meetings avoid talking about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit directly.

However, in 1990, John Baker from Saddleback Church founded “Celebrate Recovery” in response to this missing element in the modernized AA Program. While Celebrate Recovery functions in many ways like other traditional twelve-step recovery programs, there are program features that are specific to Celebrate Recovery. One major feature is that it is a Christ-centered program.

While there are some AA Meetings that are Christ-centered, they are very difficult to find. So the easiest place to locate a Christian Sponsor is by attending local Celebrate Recovery meetings. You can search for local Celebration Recovery Groups by going to: locator.crgroups.info and type in your city, state or zip code.

If you live in an area where there aren’t any Celebrate Recovery groups, you may need to attend AA Meetings and your sponsor may need to come from this source. You might be able to find a fellow Christian who is attending the same AA Meeting that has some significant sobriety and who is willing to be your sponsor. You can search for AA Groups near you by going to: www.aa.org/pages/en_US/find-local-aa.

If you cannot locate a Christian in your AA Meeting, you may need to ask a person who is not a Christian to be your sponsor. If that’s the case, try to also obtain a Christian “Mentor” whose relationship with Jesus is one that you admire and desire to emulate. You will most likely find this person at your church through Bible Studies or Small Group Ministries. So, in this scenario, you would have an “AA Sponsor” to help with the 12 Steps and a “Spiritual Mentor” who will help you grow in your relationship with God.

The other option you may want to consider is to start a Celebrate Recovery Group yourself. This does take some commitment, work and dedication, but if the Holy Spirit has laid this on your heart, He will empower you to get it off the ground. While this might be a scary option for you, one of the greatest ways to stay in your recovery is to be leading or mentoring others in their recovery. You can go to: http://www.fellowshipnwa.org/start-a-cr-ministry to learn more about how to start a CR Group in your location.

What Is A Christian Sponsor?

What Is A Christian Sponsor?

Basically, a Christian sponsor is someone who has something that we want in terms of sobriety, personal integrity, and spiritual maturity. A Christian sponsor is a major ingredient in our aftercare program that will assist us in our journey to recovery. Studies have shown that if the person receiving sponsorship views his or her sponsor as having similar recovery goals and approaches to achieve those goals, outcomes are better. So as a Christian walking out our recovery, it is important to find a sponsor who is also of kindred spirit, or as the Bible puts it, “equally yoked”.

Having a Christian sponsor should be thought of as a “buddy system”. Just like when we go out swimming in deep waters it’s strongly suggested that we have a buddy to help us navigate the unforeseen undertows and reefs. In sobriety, there are lots of surprises that can easily pull us under because we are still very “raw” and “fragile” to reality and our spiritual walk. The experiences of our Christian sponsor (both in addiction and long term sobriety) serve much like the lifeguard at the pool or on the beach who is watching us, advising us and coming to our assistance when needed.

Our Christian sponsor should be modeling for us what it looks like to face life’s terms with the needed strength and guidance from God. They need to be the type of person that we can learn by watching and by imitating them. The Apostle Paul understood this important principle when he encouraged the believers in Corinth by saying, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV) Hence, it is very important that we look for a Christian sponsor that is walking intimately with God themselves…for we have a far better chance of permanent recovery with a sponsor who models not only what needs to be done, but how to connect with the loving, relational God who empowers us to do what needs to be done.

A Christian sponsor needs to care enough about us to “risk” the friendship by telling us the truth when needed. Christian sponsors need to show us “the path” and it must be done unselfishly and without hesitation. Our Christian sponsor will not be effective or helpful to us if he or she is just being our friend. They have to be walking in truth and be willing to speak that truth to us…as hard and as upsetting that may be for us to hear.

Most good Christian sponsors have almost the same temperaments…faith, hope, patience, honesty, humility, strength, and a willingness to show their own weakness as they are in touch with the reality of God’s grace in their lives. It is in this humility we should be able to see that human nature will only take us so far and that the keys to our ongoing sobriety lie within spiritual truth and connection with God.

Once again, our Christian sponsor should teach us by “doing”. Not just by telling us, but by modeling for us. Our Christian sponsor should demonstrate to us how life really works on this side of recovery when God is in control. As we learn to live this new life that was modeled for us by our Christian sponsor, we will learn from them at a deeper level and see them as the “blessing” in our sobriety.

Choosing A Christian Sponsor

Choosing A Christian Sponsor

Below are some of the things you should be looking for in a Christian sponsor and some issues to steer away from.

An Effective Christian Sponsor:

Spiritual Maturity

  • Is a Christian
  • Attends Church regularly
  • Demonstrates a trust in God
  • Experiences a daily person time with Jesus Christ
  • Demonstrates a familiarity with the Holy Spirit

Recovery Maturity

  • Has one or more years of continuous sobriety
  • Attends CR, AA or NA meetings on a regular basis
  • Is familiar with the approved core program
  • Does not over extend schedule and has adequate time to be a sponsor
  • Sponsors only same sex

Questions To Ask

  • Do you attend CR, AA or NA on a regular basis?
  • How long have you been sober?
  • What do you feel is the primary role of a sponsor? (The correct answer: help the newcomer work through the steps.)
  • How many people are you presently sponsoring?
  • How do you feel about meeting outside of CR, AA, NA on a regular basis, and how often? (A good sponsor meets with a new person at least weekly.)

Things To Avoid

  • The sponsor does not emphasize the need to work through the steps.
  • The sponsor lacks personal boundaries and “demands” that a “sponsoree” helps solve the sponsor’s personal or social issues.


The Truth About Your Sponsor

The Truth About Your Sponsor

We need to understand that no matter how smart, how educated, or how spiritual our Christian sponsor is, they do not have the power to help us stay sober. Our Christian sponsor’s job is to point the way by guiding us through the steps in the power of the Step Giver…God. Because by doing this, they help us with getting on the path with God and His intended purpose for us in our sobriety. It is God’s healing that happens to us and not the fancy or heartfelt words of our Christian sponsor. God’s work does the miracle…our Christian sponsor is simply there to guide us to the Path.


Article contributed by Dan Delghi, D.Div

For information about the treatment program at New Life Spirit Recovery, click here.


Choosing a Sober Living House

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Congratulations! You’ve either completed, or are about to complete, one of the most courageous journeys you have ever taken – your rehab program. Whether your rehab was 30, 60, 90 days, or longer, you have persevered and your hard work in dealing with the root issues of your addiction has given you healing, freedom, peace and a great sense of accomplishment. But now what?

You might be feeling some trepidation over the reality of now having to live out your recovery in the “real” world. A place where it won’t be so safe and temptations are poised and ready to pounce at any given moment when you least expect it. In addition, you know that the place you came from is full of “triggers” that helped fuel your addiction, such as a dysfunctional spouse, family member or old friends. In your heart you know that if you go back, there is a possibility that you will go right back into your addiction.

Hopefully, as you honestly recognize these potential pitfalls to your recovery, you will want to set yourself up to succeed and protect the freedom you have from your addiction. Because you realize that you are still very fragile and vulnerable in your recovery, it may be wise for you to not go back into that unhealthy environment and instead, transition into a sober living house.

What Is A Sober Living House?

Sober living houses provide you with the opportunity to remove yourself from familiar and toxic communities and dysfunctional influential people. It may feel very uncomfortable to do this, but there’s a saying in recovery; “If you are serious about your recovery, you only have to change one thing…EVERYTHING!” Changing your surroundings and friends significantly increase your chances of continued freedom from addiction.

Sober living houses also provide a healthy transition from a highly structured treatment program to a less-restrictive environment so that you can more successfully transition towards independence. Most sober living houses will require you to be proactive in working on your recovery program, attend 12-Step or Celebrate Recovery meetings, follow house rules and attend regular house meetings. You will most likely be expected to find work, look for your own housing, and work on mending relationships that were hurt by your addiction. Sober living houses have a zero tolerance for drugs or alcohol and will evict anyone caught violating this rule. This is done to protect you and the other houseguests.

It is important to choose a sober living home that offers the necessary structure and support for you during this crucial next stage of your recovery.

Choosing A Good Sober Living House

Not all sober living houses are created equal. Sober living houses are abundant across the nation and you’ll want to make sure the sober living house you choose offers qualities and features that will ultimately be supportive to your recovery success. So how do you go about looking for a sober living house and what do you look for?

#1. Visit In Person

Procrastination is our worst enemy when it comes to transitioning from a rehab program into a sober living. As a result, many rehab clients wait until the last minute to locate a sober living house. In desperation, they start making phone calls and end up going to the first sober living house that has an open bed. This is a recipe for disaster! Avoid this “desperation shopping” and start looking for a sober living house at least 2 weeks before leaving rehab.

  • See if your rehab will give you a pass to go out with a family member or with a trusted individual to visit in person the sober livings you are interested in.
  • Interview and observe every sober living house on your list.

The following will help you know what to look for, what to inquire about and what to avoid.

#2 Location and Safety

Location and Safety


Another important factor in choosing a sober living house is its location and safety. It would be great if the sober living house that you are looking at is located near your meetings, work, church and healthcare providers. You may not have a vehicle to drive to these important meetings, events and services, so you will want to be able to get to them easily by foot, bicycle or public transportation. You will also want to explore whether or not the sober living house is going to be a jeopardy to your physical safety and your sobriety. Is it located in a safe neighborhood? Does the sober living house have a strong staff? Does the sober living staff truly care about the well-being and success of its residents? Who owns the sober living house? How often are staff and residents tested?

#3. Licensed Or Not

Many of sober living houses are not managed well and do not monitor the tenants as promised. There can be problems such as house managers who are rarely present, violence in the homes, or house managers who turn a blind eye toward a tenant who is obviously using drugs or alcohol in order to not upset the cash flow. In California, sober living houses are not licensed or required to report to any agency or local government. However, in California, there are Sober Living House Associations that oversee health, safety, and operations of the houses. These include the Sober Living Network (SLN) and California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP). Due diligence is strongly encouraged when considering a sober living house.

#4 Rules and Accountability

Rules and Accountability

It’s important to find a sober living home that implements more than just a daily routine…it should also implement rules and regulations, such as curfews and a zero-tolerance drug-free environment.

  • You want to find a house that supervises you and holds you accountable.
  • Ask around and find out which sober living houses have a good reputation and which ones aren’t so good.

Why would you want to move into a sober living house that won’t prepare you for the structure of life and keep you accountable in your young sobriety?

#5 Atmosphere

The mood and spirit that you sense from a sober living house is extremely important. Pay attention to your intuitive feelings. Do you get a good vibe from the people currently living there? Is there a sense of camaraderie? Does it appear to be a positive environment or does it project negativity? You will be living here for a while, so be sure that you feel good about the “spirit” of the sober living house you are considering.

#6 Strong Staff

A strong staff will make or break a good sober living house. When evaluating a sober living house, it’s important to find one that has a staff that truly cares about you and your success…but you also want a staff that’s not afraid to enforce the rules and call you on your “stuff”. A firm support system can be seen in policies that enforce regular drug testing or encouraging residents to attend 12-Step or Celebrate Recovery meetings – both of which can make or break your early recovery.

# 7. Cost


You need to find a sober living home that you can afford based upon your income. There are sober living houses that have different financial requirements. Some houses offer scholarship programs for the newly sober resident who is looking for a job. It is vital that you find a house that is going to work with your situation. At most sober living houses, you will be responsible for rent, utilities, groceries and other necessities. Find out what your payments cover. By knowing what you can afford, you can narrow your choices and eliminate the options that are out of your price range.

#8. Things To Avoid

Things To Avoid

There are some things that you should avoid in your search for a sober living house. You want to avoid those sober living houses that don’t have 24-hour supervision. Sober living houses that have a low staff to client ratios also need to be avoided. You should also avoid sober living houses where the staff is not trained or equipped to deal with those in recovery. If a facility does not perform drug testing or offers little or no educational programs, life skills training or support groups – stay away. Additionally, if the facility does not provide referrals to medical or mental health professionals, you would be wise to look elsewhere.

Locating a good sober living can be a daunting task, but if you start early and invest the time and energy into this next level of your recovery, it will reward you for a lifetime.

Need treatment first? Learn about our treatment program.


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A true brokenness is a divine appointment only God can orchestrate. Through various situations, God is pleading with us to realize our helplessness and thus realize our need for Him. When this occurs, it gives us the ability to transfer control. When and if we are ready to surrender, we must take two basic transactions:

-Die to self. What does that mean? We choose to cease control. We choose to strip off our own defense mechanisms and strategies of battle, recognizing that we are losing the war. THe death of self is not the death of our God given destiny, identity, personality and giftedness. It’s the death of our self-will (flesh) that is programmed to meet needs independent of God.

-Ask God to take control of our life. That means we no longer call the shots based on our own needs, perceptions, survival strategies, and so forth. Instead, we let God call the shots for us. We allow Him to lead and guide us into His ultimate plan and purpose for our life.

While this sounds simple enough, it can be a fierce internal struggle. By nature, we are prone to be in a mode of self-survival and self-defense. Being asked to abandon those strategies, admit defeat and truly surrender can leave us with a complete sense of vulnerability. So what would motivate us to do such a thing?

John 12:24-26 provides a summary of the purpose and goal of true surrender. (Bracket’s enclose author’s words for emphasis).

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies (our self-will), it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels – a plentiful harvest of new lives (a life surrendered). Those who love their life in this world will lose it (those who choose to live independently of God). Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity (those who give God control). Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.”

Through this scripture, we learn that ultimately the entire destination of our lives rests upon our willingness to die to self so Christ can live through us. Living for God brings amazing blessings – the access to all God’s resources and an endless supply of His love, mercy, grace and power.


-Christian Codependence Workbook, ©New Life Spirit Recovery


Honor and Recovery



God’s love honors us. To honor is to assign value and preciousness as prescribed by the Beholder. Honor isn’t based on what we do or even the contents we carry internally. Honor is imputed to us by the God that both created us and redeemed us. God’s honor means the price and value of our life is high. For God to honor us is the highest position we will ever carry in this world. Kings and queens; presidents and diplomats are honored by the standards of this world; we are honored by the King of Kings and Lord and Lords. There simply is no greater privilege.

When we enter into healing, we can easily misinterpret God’s intents if we don’t understand honor drives the essence of everything He does. Through honor, God meets us where we are at and loves us without conditions. Before commanding we change or barging into our world to tell us what’s wrong; He tenderly injects Himself in our pain and perspective. It’s vital we know that God does this first, lest we can mistake His actions as a rejection of who we are at the moment.

God doesn’t speak down to us as though we are wretched, or dirty or defective. He loves us in the broken places and sees our value far surpassing the adjustment that needs to be made. Through honor, God allows us to feel, to hurt, to have needs, and to be where we are. In essence, He doesn’t ask us to come up to His level. He drops down and sits in the pits of our life situations with us.

Most of us will enter seasons in our life when we don’t want someone to fix us; we want someone to hear our heart. This is very much a human need, and God knows that need more than anyone. The challenge that arises is that in our pit we typically surround ourselves with faulty messaging and toxic mindsets that will destroy our inner world. The injuries we carry at a heart level can create filters that wrongly judge the situation and circumstances. We can have misplaced intimacy and misguided insights into relational principles. Thus, should God leave us where we are without offering us a redemptive tool, it wouldn’t be love at all. He will challenge us to make the choice to heal in the midst of our awareness of what’s wrong – but not because He won’t accept us and love us exactly how we are. But because He calls us to more. He calls us to freedom and wholeness in Him. He calls us into a relationship with people that allow us to give and receive love as He intended.

He loves us too much to enable us to stay in the pit and create that as our own “normal”. But the ability to leave the pit will always, always be activated through the choices we make. People will try to fix us in the pit; but only God owns the tools of redemption. And because God honors us; He lets us make a choice. We can stay in the pit if we choose.

Uprooting old systems

Looking at rooted issues in life may seem backwards but the roots drive what is happening in the here and now.

“Most of us are unaware of how deep our methods of self-protection and survival run. We often developed unhealthy roots that have dug down and formed internal mindsets that dictated the way we see life, relationships, and our identity. As we grow, life experiences drive these roots deeper and produce wrongful fruits: fear, anger, discord, bitterness, drinking, drugs, codependency, love addiction, anxiety, inferiority, depression, people pleasing are merely fruits. As we are driven further away from our ordained purpose by harmful behaviors and emotions, we lose touch with the nature of God’s redemptive heart, and the perspective He houses toward us.

Many times, we want to change our “fruit” without the comprehension of how deep that fruit links with the rooted system. We, in essence, want to plant over areas in our lives with the “good stuff” we hope to attain, only to continually experience failure. Not understanding that we can’t plant something new where deeper rooted systems were already formed, we wrongly conclude that healthy growth is impossible or that we are stuck in our circumstances with no way out. Misunderstanding the nature of God’s love and the power He claims on our behalf, we do not walk with the authority to overcome; but we live as though we are spiritual paupers – having a Heavenly Father, but being unable to live under His promises.

It’s not that God can’t emerge us into our design, but rather that we need to uproot sometimes before that positive growth can occur. Looking at the rooted issues in our life may seem backwards, but it drives what is happening in the here and now. You can chop the fruit off a tree, but until it’s roots are eliminated, it will continue to grow back. So it is with the “fruit” we eliminated in our own lives.

While looking at roots is imperative, it’s not enough. God calls us out of bondage by speaking vision, destiny, and purpose into our lives. He gives us a picture of our potential; much like viewing the eventual fruit meant to be harvested from a tiny seed. So just as God comes to uproot, He comes to plant you into your original design. God never paints a picture of our future with doom and gloom; He has a redemptive scope on our life. God may not immediately change or fix what’s wrong; but He places His grace on to our situation and somehow, someway, He can resurrect life and goodness in the very places of pain and destruction. “
Thrive, Spirit of Life Recovery

Goal setting: Where the practical meets the miraculous.

Most all of the work that needs to be accomplished in our lives happens in the messy and ordinary routines of life.


Sometimes we need God to perform something miraculous in our life; things are that are utterly impossible for us to change without His intervention. God specializes in the field of miracles and absolutely will bypass our natural circumstances in Divine ways. What we can fail to understand is that while God has His part, we have our part. More often, God uses our normal, everyday situation to initiate change. Change typically starts in small increments that increases to larger things. God may inject Himself supernaturally along the way with breakthrough moments to encourage us – but we will not stay there. Most of all the work that needs to be accomplished in our lives happens in the messy and ordinary routines of life.

Think of the Israelites. They had to have the Red Sea parted and all sorts of signs and wonders performed by God before they accessed the pathway of freedom. God opened that pathway, they needed to choose to walk in it. But when they got to the other side of the miracle, there was more work to be done. A journey unfolded in the desert that tested, tried them and prepared them for a new destiny. Through that voyage, there were more choices, and at times a sinking desire to return to comfort of the familiar. The desert even made them doubt God’s direction. God was not surprised, however. He knew that would happen and expected more work needed to be done.
Rest assured when you set out to change you will experience set-backs and will discover the contents of your heart may need cleansing. By writing down some goals, you are staking a claim in an area of your life and saying you are willing to let God orchestrate redemption. If God needs to part your “Red Sea” wait for Him to do that. But in the midst of relying on the miracle, don’t forget the step you need to take right now, today.

-Thrive, Live by Goals