Saturday, December 28, 2019

Encourage yourself to change...

Hey, guys.

People will use ”should” as a strong motivator for you to change. The problem with this is the human response to “should.” When someone tells you that you “should do this or that,” because they think it’s right, you’ll want to naturally rebel. It’s the projection of shame. So, when someone tells you, “You should be good,” you will find a way to be bad. Maybe not immediately, but your mind will be inclined to reject the notion for change.

It’s amazing what happens when someone makes the shift from should, and they’re encouraged in a healthy way.

They see honesty not just as a virtue, but as they only way they’ll have intimacy.

They see confession and ownership of their faults not as something humiliating and guilt inducing, but as the way to grow and reach goals.
They see listening to feedback and correction, not as someone telling them they are bad, but as receiving a gift that will bring them life.

In other words, when someone isn’t under the shame of “should,” they see it as the way to life. Let's dive into this further.



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Friday, December 13, 2019

How using consequences saves your sanity

Hi everyone,

We must respect the freedom of others to make their own choices. If we do not respect that freedom, we will do two things:

• We will nag or otherwise try to control them, and they will begin to resent us.
• We will continually frustrate ourselves as we demand that someone be or do what we wish for them when they do not want to. When they resist, we will end up being angry, shaming, guilt-inducing, or resentful—or all of the above. This path destroys love.

The hard thing is to be honest and clear and to take responsibility for our own wishes, realizing that other people are free to do what they want. We can make our best case, we can even invoke consequences for their choices ... like letting go an employee who doesn’t want to step up and get with the program, or saying goodbye to someone who doesn’t want to commit to a relationship.

Sometimes clear consequences are the only thing that will cause someone to make a choice — whether it’s the choice we want or not. But we can’t control whether they make a choice or what choice they make. We can only be the best we can, offer them the best we have, and then allow them to choose.

Let's talk more about consequences and the law of responsibility.

Until next time ...



Friday, December 6, 2019

Taking Smart Precautions

"Taking Smart Precautions"
By Rodney Holmstrom, National Field Director

"God remains in us and his love in us is made complete."1 John 4:12 CEV

Are the Holidays tough for you? I know for some they can be very difficult.

When things get tough, the temptation is to isolate.
Everything inside of us might be saying that is the best solution, but we must not listen to that lie.  When I isolate in my pain, then the light begins to fade. This wrong choice can lead to making additional wrong choices. However, when I choose to make healthy choices, such as getting myself to stay in community even when I don't "feel" like it, making meetings, calling my accountability team, and spending time with God daily, that's when the light starts getting brighter.

So, if we know that we tend to isolate by our very nature, why not be proactive this holiday season?
When the weather man says, "Folks, there is a hurricane moving in, you need to take precautions", the right thing to do is to take precautions. The wrong choice would be to wait for the storm to hit and then react.
Let's make a choice this holiday season to take precautions and make the right proactive choices. Someone once said, "Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."
Let's make the next right choice this season by planning ahead for any storm on the horizon. The Father is our refuge and ever present help in time of need.

A word of encouragement from Pastor Rick Warren: "You are not an accident. Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature."
Let's live with an intentional plan of action. Never discount the fact that your presence, your phone call, your visit with a friend may be just what "they" needed too.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Self Talk: Helping Your Internal Voice Be A Benefit To You

e engage every day in other-talk, which is what happens at meetings, meals and over the phone. But we also have constant conversations in our head about our favorite subject, with is ourselves. Self-talk has to do with the evaluations and judgments we make of ourselves and our behavior, and sometimes the evaluations are pretty harsh. Sometimes the evaluations are so cruel that we are paralyzed from being transparent and real, or from taking the risks we need to take. Here are some tips to help your own self-talk be a benefit, and not a problem, for you.
Observe the observer. Our digital culture has made personal reflection harder to engage in. But pulling away from our schedule, or the next text or email, to think about what we are thinking, is one of the best things you can do for yourself, to solve problems and grow as a person. The technical word for this is metacognition, or thinking about thinking. Part of metacognition is developing the habit of mentally taking a step back from your activities, and observing your observer, that is, your self-talk.  
For example, after a difficult conversation with your spouse, notice the nature of your self talk. Just reflect on how you are evaluating what you said. You might observe that you are thinking, I wasn’t kind, or I didn’t listen, or I didn’t speak up. This quick habit of simply observing your observer gives you more power over it, and a means to change it.
Question the accuracy. Ask yourself, is my self talk true about me or not? If it’s true, it’s working for you, and will help you to be a healthier and more successful person. But sometimes you need to ask others if, from their perspective, your self talk is telling the truth. Suppose after you give a presentation at work, your self talk is that I always disappoint people and I should live in a cave and eat worms, that probably needs to be reframed by someone who knows and likes you, such as I didn’t do my best at the presentation, but I learned some things to help me improve.
At end of day, have more positive than negative. Even though truthfulness trumps everything, you should still have more positive than negative self-evaluations by the end of the day. We just can’t tolerate the reverse. It discourages us and deflates our energy. Don’t make up things to say that aren’t real, but while you are being truthful about the screwups, also focus on your wins, even if they are small:  I passed on dessert a third day in a row is at least something!
Develop a warm tone. Research has shown that our tone with others is more important than the words we say to them. The same is true with self talk.  A harsh, judgmental, “what a loser” tone will simply not make you a better person. So, though you are honest with yourself, don’t condemn yourself.  I’m a pretty good person and I have good values and motives, though I really blew it with my teenager, can help right-size your head.
Listen to what you’re doing in your internal conversation. You might be a bit dismayed about how mean you can be to yourself. Change the pattern.  You’ll be glad you did.
From John Townsend (

Friday, November 22, 2019

God Never Wastes A Hurt

By Carl Kimbro, Fellowship Bible Church, Rogers, Celebrate Recovery Devotional Team 11/20/19

As Christians and fellow strugglers, we often say we are “there for each other”.  My wife (Cheryl) and I experienced the true the meaning of “being there for each other” at a dark time in our lives, and we want to share a small part of our story.

In November 2012 on our son’s birthday, he and his wife had another in a series of drunken fights. After almost two years of sobriety, they had been sliding back into their addiction. That night in 2012 it came to a head. Our son went to prison, and his wife and his girls moved in with us. Life as we knew it was about to change forever.

The next two months were tense. The girls mom was distant from the girls and would disappear for two – three days at a time. In January 2013 she went to work and never came back. In our 50’s and were left with an 18-month-old and a 31/2-year-old to raise. With our son in prison and their mom lost in addiction, we had no choice but to go to court and get custody of the girls and eventually adopt them.

Dealing with a son in prison, an alcoholic daughter in law, and two little girls who didn’t understand what was happening was exhausting. There were drunken calls and threats from the girl’s mom and even some of the people she hung around with. We were tired, depressed, struggling, hurting, and ready to give up. We just went through the motions of living and lied to everyone by saying “we were good”. But we weren’t good. We were hurting, and life was spiraling out of control. We settled into a routine of coping and just trying to keep the girls happy and feeling loved.

In the fall of 2014, our friends Wayne and Vicki came to us with a new group they were starting called Grandparents as Parents. Their vision was to help guide people who found themselves raising their children’s children. It would be a faith-based approach lead by Wayne and Vicki who had been walking the path of raising their granddaughter for years. The need was great, Fellowship Bible Church also supported it, and God was putting them in a position to help. We latched on to GAP as a life preserver thrown to us as we drowned in an ocean of pain and sorrow.

Galatians 6:2 says to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you fulfill the law of Christ.” The GAP Community Care Group did just that for us! We found people who understood. We made forever friends. We found, hope, peace, and healing. Eventually we took over leading the North Group, and the Kennedy’s were able to start a group in Fayetteville. God was multiplying us so we could reach more people! 

God never wastes a hurt. He uses what seems like insurmountable struggles in our lives to help others. We have seen this time and time again through the Celebrate Recovery ministry!  It’s our hope that our story will encourage you to share yours with someone needing help and encouragement. There is hope and healing and forever friendships awaiting you there.

Click HERE to listen to "God Will Lift Up Your Head" by Jars of Clay

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Victories To Be Shared

Ben here... I'm a grateful believer celebrating recovery from drugs, alcohol, anger, rage, entitlement, and pornography.

On Tuesday night I taught the lesson on GIVE. If you recall the V in our acrostic is victories shared. 

"Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God from whom all help comes! 4 He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God." 1 Corinthians 1:3-5 GNT

Here is one of my VICTORIES shared. It's an adaptation from my daily inventory journal from October. I hope it encourages you to know that you are not alone in this journey and that there can be VICTORY even in moments that seem lost.

Last night as I sat in my hotel room I grabbed my phone intentionally in a second to find, look at and then mast-rbate to explicit images on Instagram. I didn't even type something into the search bar before three things hit me.. . 
  • How it's been a long time since I felt and acted on a sex-al impulse like this. 
  • I thought I'm only acting on this impulse right now because I'm exhausted, I'm hungry, and restless. (h.e.a.r.t)
  • The consequences of my sin. The lingering effects it always has on me days later. 
I'm in a hotel room because I'm at a conference focused on mobilizing others and the last thing I wanted to do was allow the devil a foothold on an incredible week Jesus has in store. So, I turned and prayed inviting Him to remove my desire and keep me from stumbling. VICTORY

Now I believe I was well aware of my heart for a few different reasons. I am not always and more so than not when an impulse of my flesh comes so violently I fail...

But not tonight because I was thoroughly prayed up. I had spent intentional time before leaving Atlanta to head to Phoenix and then spent time intermittently through the day praying. Then my dad and I spent a few minutes praying over our week when we met up in Phoenix. 

But not tonight because the past two weeks I've been awake to the things of God being in His word, seeing His work in other's lives in Georgia and the world, and sharing/recounting how He has moved in mighty ways, and asking for myself and the people I've been on mission with for a heart posture of awareness of Him daily. 

But not tonight lastly because as I've been daily inventorying I have been able to reflect often on the good things. 

"Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]." Philippians 4:8 AMP

Then comes my devo this morning on relapse prevention from Mark 14, the night of Jesus' arrest. This is a commentary from David Guzik 

"Watch and pray, let you enter into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" Mark 14:38 
Jesus knew Peter would fail; yet He encouraged him to victory knowing that the resources are found in watching and praying. If Peter woke up (both physically and spiritually), and drew close in dependence on God, he could have kept from denying Jesus at the critical hour.

Jesus found victory at the cross by succeeding in the struggle in Gethsemane. Peter – just like us – failed in later temptation because he failed to watch and pray. The spiritual battle is often won or lost before the crisis comes.

So, the point of this mouthful is to share with you the VICTORY and to elaborate how I got there. I share with you because it is not what the devil would like to see. I'm expecting a spiritual battle ahead. The proverb I have on a note card right now is Prv 24:27 "Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that build your house" reminding me to continue to work on the foundation (the outdoor work and fields) of my recovery so that the house (the going and being used to share with others) will stand firm and steadfast. And am expecting push back from the ruler of this broken world cause he would love to see our house not stand in Jesus. But alas "me and my house we will serve the Lord". 

Thank you for letting me share,

Ben Ledford
Assimilation Asst. Coach
Believer's Church Celebrate Recovery

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Holiday Relapse Prevention

The holidays can be a difficult time for a lot of people. Relapse is an option but isn't mandatory for your holiday season.

Time to start preparing your HOLIDAY RELAPSE PREVENTION PLAN.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Daily Review: “I have found journaling at the end of each day a key to my “relapse prevention plan.” Thank God, I haven’t had a drink in over 27 years, but I can’t rest on past victories. That is just what the enemy wants me to do. After all these years, I still write down my daily inventory in my journal. I can see the areas where I have fallen short and missed the mark. I can see the daily victories God is giving me.
When I sin (not if I sin), I write it down and do my best to make the necessary corrections. Over time I can see unhealthy patterns develop, and with the support of God and my accountability partners, I can put together an action plan to get me back on track.” (Life's Healing Choices, Pg. 241) John Baker
2. Pick up the phone: Call your accountability partners and/or sponsor regularly. Notice what your struggle is, name it, honor it, and then invite God and your team into your struggle and pain. Process it together and then devise a plan of action to help move forward healthily.
3. Meditate and/or memorize bible verses. Allow Gods word to penetrate your mind and heart. What are the promises of God that you need to remind yourself of today?
4. Attend your meetings during the week. We can’t work recovery alone. Find a group near you on our website:
Don’t listen to the voice that says, “You don’t need to attend a meeting tonight.” Remember, if we wait until we “feel” like going, it will never happen. We all need to be in community so we don’t isolate ourselves.
5. Gratitude List: Write down at least one thing you are grateful for each day. “I am breathing.” “I had food to eat today.” “I have forever family to see at CR.” “I am not alone ever.” Give God thanks for what you discover.
Add to your plan as you see fit. The important thing is to have a proactive plan to help us through the Holidays.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Enduring Storms

"Enduring Storms"
By Rodney Holmstrom, National Field Director, November 18, 2019

"Righteous people will rejoice. They will jump for joy before God. They'll be jubilant with great rejoicing." Psalm 68:3

Those that live in the NW Arkansas area know how incredible the colors are right now with the leaves changing colors. Experts say that this year the colors are brighter and more vibrant than they have been in a long time because of all the rain we had earlier in the year.
This got me to thinking about what those trees endured thru the year. Strong winds, heavy rains, scorching heat, and more. The heavy rain poured down on these trees were a big part of making them what they are today.
I find great encouragement in this today, being reminded that seasons of rain bring great beauty. Looking at the beautiful colors, it's as if the trees, in all their weather tested beauty, are shouting praises to the Creator.
Praise Him even in the storm, change is coming.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

You are Invited...

You are invited this October 29th...  we're having movie night at CR.... come enjoy a wonderful story of redemption and recovery... and some great popcorn!

check out the trailer!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Relationships are saved by doing this

Hi everyone, 
Some of the wounds we cause others can be good, such as the pain we cause by confronting people when they are wrong. We do well to be honest with others when we see them making destructive choices. If they are making decisions that are hurting their family, they need us to tell them. If they are blind to a character flaw that will cause them to lose a job, they need us to lovingly point the flaw out to them. It would be unloving to remain silent and watch them fail. 
As iron sharpens iron, we need confrontation and truth from others to grow. No one enjoys hearing negative things about themselves. But in the long run, it may be good. While it can hurt, admonition from a friend can be helpful. So it is our responsibility to be open to and respond to feedback from others, especially those who have our best interests at heart. It is a gift and often those who do not really care about us are the very ones who tell us how wonderful we are. Sometimes our critics are the ones who truly care. So we need both the courage to speak into others’ lives and to hear it as love when others do that for us. 
Until next time … 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Sept 2019 - Suicide Prevention Month

Suicide Prevention Newsletter
September 2019 - Suicide Prevention Month
Suicide Prevention Week: September 8-14, 2019

During Suicide Prevention Week, Month, and all year long, The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is encouraging everyone to learn about the actions that can help save lives and #BeThere for their communities. The Action Alliance is partnering with several organizations to engage communities to learn how to take action to help friends and family feel more hopeful, engage in help-seeking behaviors, and experience recovery.

There are many ways to get involved in Suicide Prevention Month.
  • Check out the Suicide Prevention Resource Center's ideas for action to learn 15 ways to get involved during Suicide Prevention Month.
  • Use the #BeThere hashtag to engage your followers on social media and provide information on the actions they can take to support someone who's struggling.
  • Join The Action Alliance's Partner Page to show your organization's commitment to suicide prevention and #BeThere efforts.
  • Check out resources from Action Alliance partners- like the #BeThe1To campaign from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the #BeThere campaign from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Attend one of the many suicide prevention trainings or events in your community that are listed in the calendar section of this newsletter.

National events hosted by The Action Alliance include:
  • September 6-8: National Weekend of Prayer for Faith, Hope, and Life. Faith communities across the country are invited to pray for those who have been touched by suicide and to learn more about how faith communities can play a role in suicide prevention. Click here to learn more.
  • September 10: National American Indian/Alaska Native Hope for Life Day hosted by The Action Alliance's AI/AN Task Force. Professionals and organizers working within AI/AN communities are encouraged to host culturally relevant events in their communities to promote hope, life, and cultural resiliency. You can learn more and access a toolkit here

Talk Saves Lives Facilitator Training

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Talk Saves Lives is a one-hour, introductory suicide prevention training for community members. A facilitator training will be held from 10 AM to 3 PM on Thursday, September 12, in Oklahoma City. Before you can present Talk Saves Lives, you need to have received some type of gatekeeper training (e.g. QPR, Mental Health First Aid, ASIST, etc.). Capacity for this workshop is limited, so act fast. You will need to bring a blank flash drive with you so you can leave with the presentation materials. Email Megan at to register.

  • September 4-5: Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) training provided by the MSPI grant of Kickapoo Tribe Behavioral Health. CAMS is a therapeutic framework for suicide-specific assessment and treatment. CEUs available for LPC, LMFT, LCSW, LADC, and psychologists. Click here for more info. (Shawnee)
  • September 5: Talk Saves Lives training in Harrah. 6-7 PM. Email for more information. (Harrah)
  • September 7: AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk. (Oklahoma City)
  • September 8-14: Suicide Prevention Week
  • September 10: Suicide prevention event hosted by Quapaw Nation featuring speakers, resources, and an awareness walk. 6 PM at the Quapaw Nation Community Building at 5691 S 630 Rd in Quapaw. Providers and agencies are invited to share resources at this event. For more information, email
  • September 12: Talk Saves Lives Facilitator Training. 10 AM-3 PM. See above for more information. Email to register. (Oklahoma City)
  • September 12: Mental Health First Aid (Adults). 8 AM-5 PM. (Oklahoma City)
  • September 13: A Mass of Remembrance in memory of those lost to suicide. Those who have experienced the loss of someone to suicide are invited to celebrate their loved one's life; those who wish to pray for and offer support for families and friends are welcome to attend. Reception to follow. 7 PM at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. (Oklahoma City)
  • September 14: AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk. (Woodward)
  • September 14-15: 2019 Suicide Prevention Summit, a free online suicide prevention conference led by global experts for mental health professionals. Available in real-time on September 14-15, and all the session content is available to stream on-demand after the conference from September 16-29. CEUs available. 
  • September 20: Resource fair for service members, veterans and their families. 10 AM-3 PM at the Springlake Metro Tech Economic Development Center located at 1700 Springlake Drive. (Oklahoma City)
  • September 21: AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk. (Tahlequah)
  • September 23-25: Navigating Mental Health and Substance Abuse through Counseling, Law Enforcement, and the Judicial Process. CEU's & CLEET hours pending approval. This conference is open to any mental health, law enforcement or judicial professionals that are interested. Organized by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. (Durant)
  • September 25-26: 2019 Justice and Recovery Conference. This conference will provide participants with knowledge of specialty court best practices and cutting edge strategies to continue to improve Oklahoma’s Specialty Court network. Organized by the ODMHSAS. CEUs available. (Midwest City)
  • September 26: Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Council meeting at the ODMHSAS Central Office from 1-3 PM (2000 N. Classen Blvd., middle building that backs up to N. Western, 1st floor meeting room, in Oklahoma City)
    • If you are unable to attend the meeting in person, you may do so via conference call. To access the conference call, dial 646-558-8656 and enter code 225 922 833 when prompted.
  • September 30: Mental Health First Aid (Youth). 8 AM-5 PM. (Oklahoma City)
  • October 3-4: Zarrow Mental Health Symposium, a two-day mental health conference. This year's theme is "Resilience. Recovery. Rethink Mental Health." Up to 14.5 CEUs available. More details here. (Tulsa)
  • October 7: Student Success Summit: Drawing the Connection to Hope, Resiliency, and ICAP. Morning Keynote: The Science of Hope presented by Dr. Chan Hellman, The University of Oklahoma Hope Center. Afternoon breakout sessions on effective ICAP implementation, Career Awareness, Exploration and Planning, childhood trauma, hope and resiliency for students of all ages. Organized by the Oklahoma State Department Of Education - Student Support Office. 8 AM-3 PM. (Norman)
  • October 10: Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Train-the-Trainer. This training equips attendees to provide QPR training in their communities. Email for more information. (Oklahoma City)
  • October 12: 22 Too Many Hike to remember veterans and service members who have died by suicide and provide support to affected families. 8 AM. (Oklahoma City)
If you would like to add your organization's suicide prevention event to an upcoming newsletter, please send the event information and relevant web link(s) to Megan Lueck at

The inclusion of the above events in this newsletter does not constitute or imply any recommendation or endorsement of the events by the ODMHSAS.

Trainer Directory

Are you a trainer for a suicide prevention program? Consider adding your information to be included in the new trainer directory coming soon. The purpose of the trainer directory is to allow communities across Oklahoma to find a certified trainer in their area. Please only add your name to the directory if you are certified, willing, and able to provide training. The information you provide will be available to the public so that interested individuals may contact you regarding training opportunities.

Trainers are needed for the following evidence-based programs: ASIST; Mental Health First Aid; QPR; safeTALK; Talk Saves Lives; Working Minds; and Youth Mental Health First Aid. You will be asked to upload a copy of your trainer certificate for each of the training types you select, so please have one available in PDF, JPG or PNG format. You may upload multiple documents at one time, but you will not be able to return to the form after submitting. To add your information, click here.

You are receiving this email because you have participated in an ODMHSAS suicide prevention training or event, or have attended an Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Council meeting.

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