I’ve been troubled for a few days and I can’t identify a reason. I’ve had Carter on my mind a lot; I know we’ve just passed his birthday, but that was almost a month ago. I didn’t anticipate the recovery time since his birthday to be this long but it’s the only thing I can figure that may be the source.

The human brain is an amazing miracle that only our Creator could understand and design (as well as “build”). I was reminded of this last night when I attended a seminar called The Addicted Brain led by Tim Hilton. He explained the differences in a “normal” brain and one predisposed to addiction. His emphasis was on drugs and alcohol and what happens to the brain with continued use. He did this in very simple terms and easily understood diagrams. I was overwhelmed at the impact of just one or two dysfunctional neurotransmitters. It doesn’t take much to go awry in the human brain leading to potentially catastrophic results.

One of Mr. Hilton’s statements was, to an alcoholic, drugs and alcohol are not the problem; they are solutions. Life is the problem. He then said, “Everyone is seeking relief from something in their life.” There are a couple of factors that can contribute to dysfunction: 1) Genetics; and 2) a traumatic event. I can’t say anything about genetics, but I do know our family has experienced a traumatic event. How we respond is particularly important, because any choice we make will be accompanied by consequences (some good, some bad). I can only speak for myself, but I am disappointed with my response to the trauma of Carter’s death. Mr. Hilton talked about an addict’s “drug of choice”; mine has been food, and one of the consequences is I now have type II diabetes.

“Everyone is seeking relief from something in their life.” One of my Bibles has this introduction to Philippians 4:

“We live in a day when so many people clamor to climb the ladder of success. As we desperately seek things that will make us happy we often miss true joy. In this chapter Paul pointed to contentment as a secret to gaining true joy and happiness. Contentment doesn’t imply a lazy, irresponsible attitude or lack of motivation; it is simply an ability to be thankful and joyful no matter how much or how little we possess or what mountains or valleys we face. There is profound peace in thankful contentment. When we realize Who has given us what we have, we can walk in contentment and experience true joy. Then the message of Philippians will not be limited to a four-chapter book in the bible…It will be displayed in the everyday experiences of life.”

After opening chapter 4 expressing his love for the Philippians Paul says, “that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!” I think this refers back to Paul’s instructions in chapter 3. He then pleads for unity for some of the Philippians who are apparently in a disagreement. Verses 4-9 contain the following instructions:

1) Rejoice in the Lord
2) Show gentleness to everyone
3) Do not be anxious about anything
4) Present your prayers and requests to God with thanksgiving

He says if we do these things the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ. He then gives us a list of things to think about (whatever is right, whatever is pure…) “and the God of peace will be with you.” He first says the peace of God, which transcends all understanding then he says the God of peace will be with you. There is no peace without God in our lives.

One other thing Tim Hilton said in the seminar was basically the only way out of the addict’s dilemma was to “reprogram” the brain by repetition of new coping skills. He said it must be done over and over and over… Another note in my Bible from Philippians 4 says “Thoughts positive or negative grow stronger when fertilized with constant repetition.”

We must repeatedly practice Paul’s instructions in Philippians 4… “And the God of peace will be with you.” We will no longer need our drug of choice.

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