This broadcaster has 794 podcast archives available on-demand.
Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.
July 7, 2020 2:00 am
Johnny Baker, a pastor of the highly effective Celebrate Recovery rehabilitation program, offers insights and encouragement for helping listeners overcome addictions and negative habits. He discusses his own battle against alcohol addiction and suggests practical strategies for achieving positive and lasting change.
Podcast users, find today's related broadcast resources here: https://dbx.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/healing-the-hurts-behind-your-addiction
Your feedback would be really helpful to us. Please visit http://www.focusonthefamily.com/podcastsurvey to take a brief survey (less than 5 minutes). Thank you!
My mental illness I was going out. I didn't really understand and she didn't ever have a diagnosis until I saw a lot of things happening in my childhood that I had Odyssey which is always a comfort for me and always something that I could go back that I helped make my world makes sense.
Lori had a tough childhood, caring for her mother pretty much on her own but she found comfort and hope through Focus on the Family's radio program for kids why I like my head of what and without God and without a dark place on Jim Daly. Together we can encourage more children like Lori gift today and your gift will be double. Visit Focus on the Family.com/strengthen families and I think in the in the Christian world.
We can do some to service will just say all just prayed away. You know, I think finding a therapist finding some counseling and medication if that's something that you need some help. That way, that will and people to talk to about it and find I'm not alone. I'm not the only one who feels this way. This isn't what God has planned for me so I need help to find healing from Johnny Baker joins us today on Focus on the Family and he's got insights on some healthy ways to deal with hurts and bad habits in your life. Your hostess books president Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller for John we did a quick Google search to find out what some of the most common coping mechanisms are for stressful situations.
Here are some of the top results. Drinking too much caffeine sleeping too much, over eating under eating numbing out with social media or TV one really I don't spend a lot of time clicking around ways of dealing with stress well you know what those things are bad in and of themselves, and those are all kind of modest things before turning to material things instead of God for ultimate comfort were ultimately setting ourselves up for disappointment. And that's how we are wired in relationship with God. That was the experience of our guest today when he was a teenager he began using alcohol and cope with that anger and pain and it spiraled into an addiction that isolated them and threatened all of his relationships and it's powerful. I appreciate someone like this because they had to go through some really tough valleys and the Lord has given them the testimony and you can hear great one today and even if you consider your bad habit or hurt to be less serious than alcoholism. You start making a comparison thing Johnny story of finding freedom will give you that. Hope that you can find true freedom through Christ.
That's the key.
Johnny Baker is Saddleback church as pastor of celebrate recovery will hear him mention that I'm sure today it's a 12 step Christ centered recovery ministry that offers hope and help to those dealing with an addiction or with trauma. Johnny is also a husband and dad of three and is written a book called the road to freedom. Healing from your Hertz hangups and habits we have that book at her website you'll find a link in the episode show notes Johnny, welcome to Focus on the Family's family got some great have you so excited to be here is been a long road right it has been that you make the claim that most of us, if not all of us have some unresolved pain or unhealthy coping mechanism. It's kind of the curse of humanity as we cover the it's the fig leaf right we start covering up and hiding it just part of who we are as human beings and the sinful world. But what are some signs that we should take a second look at when were looking at our behavior that you've learned to be cautious about. I think it's what you said when you you know that election there. When you're talking about the different coping mechanisms that we have the Bible says we've all sin and fall short of the glory of God, which means we will hurt other people with our sin.
We've all been hurt by other people in nursing and that's all of us. None of us escape that.
Like you said it's the curse of humanity and so I think we need to do when we start to think, is this something that I need to deal with is to really just take an honest and open, look at it and so you know somebody is doing one of the sink sleeping too much drinking too much caffeine, which is what I don't want to look at right now.
The light ones right exactly. But you know I think it's funny because we want to be able to say well at least I don't run the blank. I'm not as bad as my neighbor are not as bad as whoever I think any of those things that use like you said that are in the position of Christ in our lives are things we need to take a look at and say how much is too much and when doing the window at what we need to do with this. That's exactly right. That's why you know lay the comparison thing at the doormat today… Talk about what hooks us and what keeps us from that deeper relationship in crisis, the overarching thing they understand that your personal struggle with addiction, alcohol was the I think the core thing but you can set me straight. Start about 14 describe force, the environment, not get teen boys yeah and for all of us listening that have those teenagers that are twentysomethings, even when what were some of those things environmentally for you that were pushing you in that direction. Sure soap my dad, John Baker is the founder of solvent recovery. And so, that right there is amazing yeah and and and so we can talk about that before.
He was the founder of sub recovery was a practicing alcoholic and that was the environment I was raised in when I was about 13 my parents got separated. My mom said either deal with this. Go to counseling with me or get out and tie off our surprise, my dad left and it was during that time that I began experimenting with drugs and in different things. What was going on. Though I really want to be crystal-clear for the listener is that 1314 Euros Your Way.
What pushed you in that direction. What was lacking. What could've To such a question, because I think part of it is I've always been somebody who kinda wanted to rebel.
I've always I've always had that sort of urge to be wild and kinda do do my own thing. Don't go with the flow yeah and it was it was during that time that I found my excuse. My parents are separated and so I've I was able to act out and do things that I want to do and nobody was going to say oh you shouldn't do that I had I had this perfect excuse at home and at the same time as my dad was out of the house.
He began his recovery journey he began attending alcoholic synonymous and got sober there and so our paths were starting to kinda go in different ways.
As he was turning find sobriety. I was starting to act out a little now. Thankfully, although I did act out at that time I was also able to kind of that was plugged in at our church and I was plugged into different things and I had some really good mentors who helps get me straight for that time. And so when my parents started celebrate recovery is able to attend and help them set up and do all those things but then later on in life I moved to LA was open just about 21 moved LA and started drinking started going out pretty much every night and really fell into depression, and serious alcoholism that took me away from everything that I loved. I stopped going to church.
I stopped having some key relationships in my life. Thankfully met my now wife at the time at our church. I went to college ministry event in and met her head my drinking from her and so really it was my own choices in my own character that really led me down the path that I ended up going where's the balance between acknowledging that were at risk. To repeat those patterns but not feeling destined to.
I'm sure some listeners thinking themselves maybe right now they're struggling with alcoholism just or maybe drug addiction. Whatever might be in their dad was in that same place and they're saying it's you know it's fait accompli. I can't find it right. You might've even said that at one point but I actually thought he did know how to do it right now is to show them the right yeah well I just thought you know he he got trapped and he didn't know how to handle and I was. I learned from his mistakes and I was gonna be fine on you I was going to do about it. He never arrested and I did you know you do lots of different things, but I also have teenage children and I terrified sometimes about alcoholism and about you know the culture of you know recreational marijuana in our culture and all those things and so it is scary and so I made a decision a long time ago to talk to them openly at an age-appropriate level. When they asked me questions about things. Johnny let me in the book the road to freedom. You had a great story and there you know, and in so many ways people can relate even though the nouns might be different or you had to make that really hard phone call when you get pulled over, arrested for DUI and how old were you and who did you call. Yes, it was December 1999.
So was in my 20s and I I'll never forget I I called my dad so I was terrified because I wasn't just calling my dad but is also calling the pastor and founder of celebrate recovery. This world like Australia help so many people. But here's his own kid calling and saying I'm I've made this mistake. But he was so gracious.
EP picked me up in the morning and he said on the way home on every it is like me because I'm not a lecture you made some choices. I think you need to look at your actions. That was it and he really let me go and figure out my own thing. I love to say all manner was from that moment on I never drink again. Just not my story. I didn't drive after I drink again. But I I continue drinking because I made the decision that it was the driving that was the problem. The drinking was fine and I so appreciate that.
And I think the reason I wanted to hear that story is because your dad's reaction. Yeah, I mean he that's a great father reaction.
Even if you didn't head up, celebrate recovery, it's okay because you know the lecture could have just made me angry. Your guy no doubt whatever it is and instead it really it.
It resonated with me and haunted me for a while because it was so gracious and's and so gentle and you know thinking as he had his own recovery to lean on to know not to really put you in rehab or input these things on unite the next guy to make.
When I got home was to my fiancé and I thought for sure she was gone just you and she thankfully she just said okay am coming over. She was at work she left work and came over and hung out for little while and talk through it and then we got married in 2000 and I ended up hiding my drinking from her for a number of years before I finally checked out going for a long period of time. You see, there are three main reasons that we don't admit to having a problem outline those forces to remain reasons. Yeah, you know.
One is that we you were afraid to admit that we have a problem because it makes us feel like were weak and so you know, if we don't admit we have a problem. It feels no not emitting a problem. It makes us feel like a well where we can find that I'm I have a problem and I think that we need to be careful for that because it's when we met our problems that actually God is able to work at our last kisser when we are weak he is strong right now this feeling that we just were just gonna put it together and hold it together. You know, working to make it work. And so another reason is we don't trust God, we don't trust that he really cares about us and that he really can that really wants help us and then we don't believe he can help us. Or maybe we can't be helped.
And when those things happen. It's like you said earlier, some his listeners in the struggle with their own issue they might think me. I can't.
I can't tell anybody about this. Look at judged or are you all get kicked out of my church, my small group, whatever it is and you know the Bible says that we need to confess our sins, which other pray for one another so that we can be healed or forgiven. When we tell God, but were healed. In this way, when we tell each other because we have a saying recovery that were as sick as our secrets a while and so that thing that I can't talk about relisting this right now you thinking that I could never tell somebody this struggle are this thing that I'm dealing with that thing owns you and I can't talk about it that's you know the urge to go back to something asked earlier. What's a sign that something is out of control my life.
I can't tell anybody about why I'm afraid to tell somebody about. And because my friend gave judged or or and or maybe I just feel like I'm doomed. I just can't type V.
So many nights of asked God to take this from your so many times I've said you know I II want to stop this. I don't know how and so it stops us from getting the help that we need and if you are resonating with what Johnny Baker sitting right there that you just don't want to tell anybody or you're not sure who you can tell, give us a call here at Focus on the Family we have curing Christian counselors. We've heard a lot of secrets over the years and there absolutely trustworthy and dependable and ill get you pointed in the right direction toward resources and help and maybe an ongoing counseling conversation as well.
Our number is 800 the letter a in the word family or check the episode notes for more hey Johnny, you talk about secrecy and the importance of and I think that's critical and I really appreciate those analogies that your secrecy or your secrets are really who you are. You can't express and say them. What finally woke you up in your journey. How old were you what what got you and my wife got pregnant and so my oldest daughter chattering of my oldest daughter Maggie and I remember because my DUI.
Like I said I never drove after I had anything to drink ever again and end. By the way, that was stubbornness because I got a bunch these classes and they told me, you'll get another one and so it wasn't what it was. A line would you really think it's that you know and most people do and so I just like not me. I won't be that guy. It wasn't out of the goodwill of other drivers on the road and it was just purely like me. I'll show you, you know, so I remember we just spent out she was pregnant and I just had that moment of thinking.
If she were to go into labor. After I had a drink which I was hiding from her. We have to call her mom or my mom or somebody to drive us to the hospital. Writer's preview burrito and so it was this moment of even those weighing the beginning of her pregnancy begin will be up. I would be exposed and so I decided not to wait for that I can have this moment of clarity we call it in recovery and I thought what I really need to make a change and so the next morning I told my wife I said Jenny I think think I'm an alcoholic and I told her that a number of times before so she comes like 1/2, you know, and I said no but this time I really want to do something about it. I called my dad and I said that I think I'm an alcoholic and he was like yes you are what I do is get to a meeting so I be eight began attending recovery for myself, but really it was her getting pregnant with Maggie. I don't want to bring this in my family. I don't want to repeat those things and have my kids see me this way. And thank God this you know by his grace date they never have. That's not a part of the story that they know they know the story for me telling them what they haven't seen you with your wife. Do you think she really didn't know did you really could you keep it from her. I thought years, five teen years. I will not.
I was hiding, I thought I was doing a good job. I didn't know until she went to recovery for herself for codependency and she actually wrote her testimony she was reading it to me one night and has heartbreaking to think about, but she told me that she knew, but she was afraid to talk to me about it because she was afraid I would leave and I was afraid to let her know because I was afraid she would leave some for the first four years of our marriage. We were afraid that the other person was going to walk out that door hiding from yeah and so she was if she was angry she was upset and sad but afraid to talk me about it because she thought I go you know it I'm out here and I would just leave and I was afraid of the same thing with her and so no I and that's the thing about denial.
We talk about denial a lot in recovery and that denial is that thing that says you're getting away with that you're fooling everybody.
Nobody knows. And I thought I really thought I was gonna schooling her and she knew the whole time and so it's it's a great source of shame for me. How did you mean again you are pregnant as a couple and that start you thinking differently. What was that first conversation. Like when you spoke to her and you both move toward each other.
Yeah in this hidden, yet was secret that I love to say it was his big, beautiful moment, but really it was another one of these times where you know it in the past I would go out. Maybe I'd get a little more drunk and I would come home and feel guilty. Such a hot babe you have a problem, just a kind of pacify and make her think I was going to do something about it.
But this time I think so's a little bit of the boy who cried wolf situation in some ways of her like you have heard this before, but in other ways it was like okay will what it is such a great question, what are you going to do about it. And so we began working on that and as I began my recovery.
At that point it really was focused on my behavior on my habit. And I think for a lot of people in this situation the addict or the person acting out of the person with the issue, it can feel like that it's really on my shoulders like to do something and it's true you do. You have to find that recovery or that freedom or that change and then once we begin to change other people in our lives begin to see it.
And so my wife as I you know went to recovery that began working at the church and began doing those things. She started to see it and we had by this time three kids. So, as is a mom staying home and taking care of our kids supported me as I went through recovery by then. She was eventually able to go through for her own issues and now what so beautiful is we don't have secrets from each other and lets her go right to work because there's still that part of me that says you should hide this so that part of me that says hey, maybe you should get home for the Amazon package arrive so she doesn't know.
And that's so silly really, really, you know, and so we work through those things.
Both of us being in recovery lots of counseling together and separately as well. But there's been such this change in our family now because we speak. Recovery in our household well in night.
You know I so appreciate that.
And people again this is just the, the affliction of humanity and this is just a big part of so many people story and it may not be called to whole host of things that we haven't even said but your recovery as you describe it you know it's a process it's healing that takes many years many layers to one thing you learned was that the importance of small steady improvement in how key it is and you know sometimes we want the whole enchilada thing goes I want to get from point a to point Z quickly, but you had a story about running. I think the kind of nailed this for you. What would happen so I I'm not a runner. I hate running time with you. I really wanted to love it and so again part of my addictive personality. I decided I was going to start running out. I have a brother-in-law who is seven years younger than me and he called me a reason he let's do 1/2 marathon together and he's in shape and a runner in the whole thing is like Ellis do that so he email me a running plan running plan set on Monday. Run a mile Tuesday take a day off Wednesday run a mile. So on so forth. So I did that for the first week, but I think you know 10 to 12 minutes to simply feel like a workout. Maybe this is maybe I'm more advanced than this planet. So I started running if it said 2 miles I ran 3 miles of it said 4 miles I ran five and so about halfway through that training is about six weeks in and went to my longest run. I ran for 9 miles.
I never run that both that far before, and I'm running in and I'm sorry to feel pain in my knee, but all the running books because I was reading books and blogs, and in.
I was podcast the whole thing. You know, because I'm a runner now as I got the barefoot shoes. The Fanny pack with the goo tablet so he knows I'm I minute is out everything I read said yeah run through the pain, so I kept running through the pain in the my right where my left foot started hurting my right knee in my left foot are hurting. I'm kinda well I'm almost there was gonna run to the spot. My wife is going to meet me she's going drive me back the path I was on didn't have lights or it was a running path so I just could keep running but then about 1/4 mile from where is going to meet her.
I had to stop and I did that runners jog. You know where you stand there the crosswalk and check your pulse. I don't I don't know what I'm checking for, but I'm just doing that you know the thing in and then as the light turns green for me to cross the street.
I step off and pain just shot through the ball of my foot like out through my head. My knee seized up and I had to do this like limp walk for the last quarter mile literally sues my wife saw me she was your going to the doctor and I said no way does little ice and some Advil.
Be fine. Couple hours later of the doctor's office because she's smarter than me and he said what you was going so well last six weeks have I ran 120 miles so how many miles did you run in those six weeks before that. I said oh, zero and he said what is I am run mile since high school and he said so in the last six weeks you went from zero to hundred and 20 miles. I said yeah maybe I should also tell you am a recovering alcoholic and I'm not kidding you guys. He took the sheet of paper crumpled up through it over shoulder, so we have start all over with you and I went to this process of having to heal my IT band and this bone bruise in my foot in this whole thing.
And for about six more weeks. I couldn't run I was I was sidelined I was grumpy and I kept I wanted to run.
I look at my running shoes by the front door and it's soon you know and it's hard to do it.
I laced up my shoes. I finally got the all clear to run. I ran out the front door got about 10 yards for my doors of my doing this I keep this I've never run sent because I tried to do too much too soon and so had I followed that plan right by the way, I didn't get to run the half marathon, so I didn't get to do the race. I had to pull out of that. Had I done that plan, I might still be running today. I might've at least completed that race and for recovery and for like change. We we want the same thing we want wanted to be done now. But that's not as lasting as small steady improvement then change that date compounds over time. And what a great analogy for life and how to do things in moderation. Again, a great biblical prince. I wish that you might know he hadn't had to pay the price that I know it's true. You know, Johnny this is a place to in but I want to ask you about your bouts of depression that enters into this as well. This is going to connect with a lot of listeners yeah because it's just epidemic in our culture right now. There's a lot of things that can get us depressed and I can overwhelm us in a Corsican Scripture saying you know, fear not, and to pursue the Lord and let him be your joy in one place. As Christians, we read that we understand that we talk about it with one another, but to have it in our hearts to actually live.
It is a completely different time right so what was that depression like for you. How did you fight through that yet, so my depression was was really linked closely to anxiety have been a worrier my entire life and I'm just somebody who I mean if you do if you guys told me about something good that happened today. I tell you three things you should worry about you and I'm just I'm good at finding a cloud in the Silverlining and so I just have always worried and and so my anxiety. I think on a chemical level and and in you know my chromosomes lot. I come from a family of worriers and I you know just served that a coping mechanism is the kind of what's the worst thing that can happen so that we are not surprised, and so as I've done counseling and some therapy for that and worked on my anxiety. My depression is gotten better and I think that one of the things that I would encourage people is to find help for those things.
You know I love when the Bible doesn't just say don't do something, but it gives us the antidote for that right so you know more.
My favorite verses in Philippians is don't worry about anything but in everything with prayer and thanksgiving, present your requests to God. I love that because now in my family when I or my kids start to worry will stop will go okay. What's this worrying what are we supposed to do instead says not just don't worry, worry because not worrying is not trusting God's true but not very helpful instead to say let's pray about that was topless turns over to God and so I think for people are struggling with those issues. I think just as hard as it is for somebody struggling with recovery issue to find that help I think some a struggling mental health issue can be just as hard and I think in the in the Christian world.
We can do some to service when we just say oh, just right away.
You know, I think finding a therapist finding some counseling finding medication if that's something that you need and some help. That way, that will and people to talk to about it and find I'm not alone. I'm not the only one who feels this way. This isn't what God has planned for me so I need help to find healing from that now that is good and good advice and Johnny this this whole program has been wonderful for people to rekindle the hope that they have in Christ and to find ways to cope with their addictions, whatever they might be and to our listeners want to make sure you know about her counseling consultations we offer here at focus. Just give us a call.
The session is completely free to you and our counselors will help you make a plan and figure out your first steps in finding healing, yet they really are wonderful, caring people and you can set up your time to talk with the counselor by calling 800 a letter a and the word family or you can request a consultation online. We have a form. Therefore, you just click the link in the episode show notes and I want to let you in on something many people are aware of about focus that we have a special ministry we call our digital outreach.
Our team goes online to forms and on social media may find people who are in desperate need of help and they offer resources they offer an invitation to know Jesus Christ. It's a great thing. Recently one woman posted a plea for help online. She had attempted suicide once and was alone and feeling very vulnerable and one of our digital team members who had experienced suicidal thoughts or self, saw the post and made a connection and that hurting woman responded right away saying the response was her saving grace. Man, that's amazing how God can work as a supportive focus you a heart of the one who opens the door for God moments like that to happen and I first want to say thank you to all of you were supporting the ministry and encourage you so we can help more people in their darkest moment by joining the team, and when you make a gift of any amount to Focus on the Family today will send a copy of Johnny's book, the road to freedom. Healing from your Hertz hangups and habits as I think you and let me tell you butter matching gift opportunity right now.
When you make a contribution to Focus on the Family today that donations go twice as far as we have some friends who made a matching grant opportunity available to limited time offer from them to double your gift so please take advantage of that and donate today. Our number is 800 K in the word family or you find a link in the episode's on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back once more help you and your family thrive and I knew my marriage was falling apart.
I just didn't know how to fix it.
I felt like I would always be alone even if I stayed married at Focus on the Family's hope restored marriage intensively offer hope to couples in crisis so they can have the marriage they always dreamed for the first time I felt like my husband truly heard me. I received some great tools from the counselor said of change my life and my marriage to begin the journey of finding health go to hope restored.com today