On Nov. 20, he pleaded guilty to the charges against him and entered a voluntary rehabilitation program for treatment of alcoholism and drug abuse.
“My recovery is under way and ongoing,” he said. “I have and will continue to build a support system to rely on for the rest of my life. While in a voluntary rehabilitation program, I began a step-by-step process that will aid me in recovery one day at a time.”
He said his main struggle is with alcohol.
“To be clear, alcohol is the problem for me,” the Florida Republican said. “It was selfishly fun, but became an issue when it led to poor choices and missed opportunities.”
While he made it clear in his Facebook post that he plans to remain in office, Florida Republican leaders have said they want Radel to resign.
At least two Republican candidates have said they are ready to run in a special election if needed.
“What is your dream?” It’s the one question they never expect.
You can see their eyes widen when we ask them. They suddenly look up as if to say, “Did I hear you right?” Most of the time, when a homeless family arrives on our Los Angeles campus, they’ve lost just about everything. They have their car, whatever they’ve been able to cram into it, and nothing much else except the clothes on their backs.
Someone on our staff takes them into a room and sits down with them. They’re expecting all the usual questions they’d get from most social workers. But we don’t do that kind of intake here. We have a different first question, and it almost always takes people by surprise.
“What is your dream?”
The question stuns them. Then often their eyes narrow a little with a flash of suspicion: Is this a joke? What is my dream? Are you kidding me? Coming here isn’t about dreaming! It’s about surviving. It’s about staying alive and keeping body and soul together.
I didn’t show up on the front porch of a place like this because I’m chasing my dream. I’ve ended up here because I don’t have anywhere else to go. I want to keep my family together. I don’t want to live with abuse or threats. And I don’t have the energy any longer to fight the alcoholism, the drug abuse and the prostitution that are all around me. And you ask me, “What is your dream?”
But “What is your dream?” is no idle question. It pertains to life and death. Think about Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no revelation [or vision], the people cast off restraint” (NKJV). In other words, without a dream, people don’t exercise self-control. When men and women have nothing to live for, they “cast off restraint.”
So right up front we ask the people who come to us, “What is your dream? What do you want to see happen in your life? What do you want to achieve? Where do you want to go?”
“Well,” they may say, “we’re just trying to survive.”
And we answer, “But what if we took survival off the table? While you’re here, you won’t have to worry about that. This is a safe, clean place, and we will give you the food and shelter you need. So let’s start thinking about your potential.”
The fact is, when you’ve been disappointed again and again, you become afraid to dream. How could you bear another disappointment? But in the power of Christ, you can begin to dream again.
Even in marriages, there comes a point at which people lose hope. A husband and wife may be committed to staying together for the rest of their lives, but as they imagine the years ahead, it looks to them more like running an endurance test or slogging along on an endless marathon.
Asking people “What is your dream?” is almost like lifting them to a whole different plane. We’ve found that most people really do have something in their hearts they would love to do or pursue, but they have suppressed that dream for so long that it doesn’t seem like a possibility at all.
Maybe the dream is getting free from addiction. Maybe it’s finishing high school or going to college. Maybe it’s being trained for a certain occupation or specific career. The desire is still there, but it’s buried so deep beneath their setbacks, pain and loss that they’ve forgotten they ever had any aspirations.
Once we hear their dream, we tell them, “We’re going to help you get to your dream”—and they can hardly believe their ears. Maybe they expected to have to prove themselves first or completely clean up their lives before we would start talking to them about their future.
Belonging and Believing
This “What is your dream?” interaction is based on a concept that the Lord has impressed on us through the years as we’ve worked with people in crisis. We call it “belong and believe.”
Think about it. In the Gospels, Jesus said to a number of men, “Come and follow Me.” At that point, they were in no way ready to be disciples of Christ. They were just regular guys. But Jesus called each one of them, inviting them to walk with Him and to serve Him. He allowed people to belong first, to see what He was doing, find themselves drawn to Him—and then believe.
For some of them, coming to faith in Jesus took a long time. Two disciples didn’t believe until after the resurrection, when Jesus directly confronted them and said, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25, NIV). He didn’t justify their lack of belief or make excuses for their behavior while they were learning, but He allowed them to belong to believe. They didn’t have to clean up their lives first.
Manuel Ramos was 17 when he came into our teen discipleship program (a major program at the Dream Center in which teens who have been kicked out of their homes and kicked out of school are raised in a Christian environment). Manny’s father was an alcoholic, and as a young boy, Manny became heavily involved in alcohol and drug abuse. He has been hospitalized more times than he can remember, he once accidentally burned down his home, and he drifted from trailer park to trailer park staying with friends until he ended up on the mean streets. He was probably as lost and broken and lonely as a young man can be.
When Manny finally came to us—thanks to the help of a concerned family friend—dreams were the last thing on his mind. All too real was the horrific nightmare from which he’d just emerged.
“I had no idea I even had a dream,” he says. “I shouldn’t even be alive! At one point in my life, I was so messed up I thought it was all over. I couldn’t remember what I had done that week because I had never been sober. I was homeless, no one cared about me, and I didn’t care about myself. I didn’t take care of my body or try to stay clean. I just didn’t care.”
And Manny had become an alcoholic by age 13. “Addiction doesn’t really say it,” he recalls. “It was more like affliction. Something awful. I was so lost—but nobody cared. If I had been dying, no one would have heard my screams.
“So dreams? I never had time to think about dreams. I’m only 17 years old, but I’ve gone through stuff in my life that no man should ever go through. I’ve felt pain that’s so painful you want to throw up, but I had to go on.
“So I quit sobbing and wiped my eyes. I hid the pain in the corner of my heart where no light shines. That’s where it stayed, and I forgot it was even there.”
Once in our program, though, Manny learned that he had to re-encounter all of that hidden pain before he could catch a vision for a new life. Jesus helped him do exactly that. Soon after Manny met Jesus, the Lord walked him over to that corner of his heart where he had buried all his sorrow—the still-raw, jumbled up, jagged-edged, poison-tipped blades of pain that had torn into his young soul again and again.
The Bully in the Room
That hiding place in Manny’s heart reminds me of an article I read about storing nuclear waste out in the deserts of eastern Washington state. In a process known as vitrification, radioactive liquids and sludge are turned into large glass logs that are stored in vast vaults somewhere deep under the soil—where they will presumably remain for the next 1,000 years or so. But Jesus doesn’t allow hidden vaults of crystalized pain and deep-rooted anguish. He wants to throw those vaults open. He wants to take that pain on Himself.
“Jesus showed me my despair,” Manny remembers. “I found out right then that I had a Father and that He was a Father who actually cared about me. Without Him, I would have no dreams at all. I guess I had been just too proud to let God take care of me.”
Sometime in the midst of Manny’s discipleship program, somebody taught him Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33-34: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
As Manny began to seek God first and release all his stored-up pain, he found something he hadn’t even been looking for. Manny found his dreams.
Pain is like the bully in the room that chases a person’s hopes out the door and sends dreams into hiding. That’s why people in crisis who come through our doors are so surprised to have us ask them, “What is your dream?” Their dreams have been overshadowed by their disappointments and sorrows for so long that they may have forgotten they ever had any.
But the Lord doesn’t forget anything. As we ask God to reveal His dream for our lives, He may first have to roll up His sleeves and help us work through some interwoven layers of heartbreak that have hidden His desire and purpose for us.
Jesus did exactly that for Manny, even after all that young man had been through. I encourage you to believe that Jesus can do the same for you and the people God has placed in your care—both in your church and in your community. See what happens when you ask the people in your path, “What is your dream?”.
Written by Matthew Barnett
Matthew Barnett is the senior pastor of one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States, Angelus Temple in Los Angeles. He is also the founder of the Dream Center, a ministry that demonstrates the love of Christ by rescuing people out of poverty, homelessness, addictions and human trafficking. Excerpted from God’s Dream for You with permission from Thomas Nelson for use in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Ministry Today.
For every 1 addict or alcoholic, it is estimated that 2-4 family members are also directly and adversely affected.
I am one of those family members directly and adversely affected by the alcohol addict in my life.
Behind Closed Doors
I grew up in what looked like a perfect home from the outside. My father was a successful lawyer, pro-tem judge, constitutional law professor, and pastor in Orange County. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, and I was the youngest of four children. What no one knew from the outside was that my mom was an alcoholic.
I remember as early as second grade walking into a dark living room to say good night to my mom only to find her passed out. When I was little, mom would pick me up from school or a movie with friends, and she would be drunk behind the wheel. Looking back now it was a miracle we were not killed or injured in an accident. I remember walking into the front door of my home and, without even seeing my mom, I could feel almost a demonic presence if she had been drinking.
As in most alcoholic homes, there was also a lot of yelling and arguing between my parents. I remember many nights trying to go to sleep with a pillow over my head to block out the shouting.
At 18, vowing to never live in an alcoholic home again, I left for college and never did move back home. But like so many people who have grown up with an addict in the family and have not gotten help, I married one.
After graduating from college, I married my high school sweetheart, who at the time showed no signs of drug or alcoholic addiction, but told me later in a moment of sobriety that he began drinking heavily in high school.
Addiction either gets better with treatment and sobriety or it gets worse, there is no middle ground. And denial is very powerful. I knew something was wrong in our marriage early on, but never saw him drinking or taking pills. He was very secretive and was often gone from home “traveling on business” or working long hours at the “office.”
When I was six months pregnant with our third child, I found 10-15 empty bottles of vodka in brown paper bags hidden all over the garage. At that moment I knew what I was up against: alcoholism.
I remember on the night I went into labor, my husband was so drunk I had to drive myself to the hospital. In the course of our 20-year marriage there were numerous DUIs, emergency room trips for overdosing on drugs and alcohol, car accidents, and four in-patient treatment programs including theBetty Ford Center. It was a nightmare, and I was emotionally drowning. For those of you who have lived with an addict, you know what I’m talking about.
“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9,NIV)
Through all the pain and heartache, God was so faithful. I had lived for 40 years with alcoholism and addiction in my life, first with my mother and then my husband. That can really take a toll on your emotional health and I needed help as much or more as the substance abuser. God provided a wonderful family, Christ-centered, 12-step recovery program which gave me encouragement, strength, and hope.
My life today is nothing short of a miracle. Without God’s help providing me with a Christian recovery group, my life and my children’s lives would not be the same today. In the midst of a lot of pain and yet another crisis, in August 1999, Jesus gave me a promise verse:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13, NIV)
Today, my life is filled with peace, joy, and hope. Something I would never have dreamed possible.
I wish I could say we all lived “happily ever after” and that my now ex-husband found sobriety. Unfortunately, he did not. Today, the children and I don’t know where he is and have not heard from him for many years. But I have been blessed with 18-years of recovery through Christian 12-step programs, including Celebrate Recovery. My children are doing great and the Lord has brought a wonderful Christian man into my life, who is an amazing husband and father to my kids.
It hasn’t been easy. After living so many years with a family member suffering from substance abuse, recovery has been a long process. It has required a commitment and a willingness to change on my part. But God has been there through it all, and I am so thankful for my new lifetoday.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)
If you are suffering with a loved one who has an addiction or substance abuse problem, there is hope! God created us to be in relationship with him and not go through the struggles of this life alone. There is tremendous power and healing in meeting together with people who are going through something similar and understanding each other’s trials. Jesus wants to give you encouragement, strength, and hope for your journey.
Day after day, Aniij came home from work completely drunk and he beat his wife and two young children. Jeevitha and Kamboj, 11 and 12 years old, had not always suffered under the drunken, angry hand of their father. Their home had been safe and happy before Aniij had become addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Jeevitha and Kamboj were cared for by staff members at the Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope center they attended, but once they left the walls of the center, there was no peace in their lives. Not only had substance abuse taken over their father, but also every time there was a half or full moon, evil spirits controlled him.
When the Bridge of Hope staff members heard about what was happening to the children and their mother at home, they visited the family to share Christ and pray with them. In answer to their earnest prayers, God delivered Aniij from the bondage of demons and his addictions.
Aniij is now building a small house for his family, and the joy and safety that will surely fill it are from Jesus Christ.
“My life is changed because of my two little children who attend the Bridge of Hope center,” Aniij said. “They prayed for me, and I see that their lives have been transformed through Bridge of Hope. I want to see my children growing in the knowledge of God.
“I will live my life as a good father so that my children can follow me in the days to come.”
Most parents of adolescent children will identify with the fact that it is a time of change and challenge for all involved. Due to hormonal changes in their body, an adolescent mood may swing from admirable behavior to a despicable show of rudeness at home and in public. A great number of problems encountered with parents and teens are attitude problems, underage drinking, drug abuse, drunk driving, bullying, rebellious behavior, smoking, peer pressure, body issues and lying.
These problems can be overwhelming for many parents. To nag, yell or threaten are definitely not the best approaches to addressing a troubled teen. Because modern day parents are extremely busy, other productive strategies have to be used to deal with children. It helps to exercise an unbelievable amount of patience and be able to think practically and strategically. It is understandable though that parents become confused and frustrated and at a loss at how to react to these problems. We as parents may become irrational and emotional; the first instinct is to lash out negatively. This in turn results in verbal or even physical abuse between parent and child; and if these scenes for one reason or the other continue to escalate, then a parent would be forced to admit that a losing battle is being fought without a victor.
In Nigeria, adolescents react to rapid changes to the environment. These changes affect the society in major ways as 43% of the Nigerian population comprise of adolescent children (Bamgbose, 2002). When adults are not properly educated or morally sound, these characteristics are usually always passed down to the children. Adolescent children can be said to be relating to a person who is in transition to acquire biological features peculiar to the adult population group. This period of life between childhood and adolescents refers to teenage children between thirteen to eighteen years of age. This period is described by specialists as a turbulent period of overwhelming stress. There are physical traits associated with adolescents such as profuse perspiration and body odour (if hygiene is not prioritized), enormous appetites, skin problems that can be acne related, social awkwardness, curiosity about sexuality, self-consciousness, feeling lazy or lethargic and disruptive and sometimes aggressive behavior.
With these barrage of problems, it is paramount and necessary for parents to enlighten themselves on issues that maybe plaguing their children and interact with them as much as possible; or as much as time will allow. Many parents mistake for example doing homework or going to the church/ mosque as interacting optimally with their children- this is not the solution. Interacting with your children by participating in activities that they enjoy such as football, swimming, movies etc. is so much more productive to both parties. Engaging your child in a project they find interesting will bridge a strong foundational bond that will serve as a lasting understanding even in times that you or them become frustrated. Some parents feel utterly lost as to how to tackle adolescent children; especially if the aggression or hostility being shown by them is not related to physical abuse or an alcohol or substance abuse problem.
At this point its very important that parents distinguish between the “normal” teenage mood swings and rebellion from signs of actual depression. Even though depression may occur at any age, it can affect adolescents more than it does younger children. These depressive symptoms can appear at the age of 13 but more often 16 and 24. Unfortunately, depression is very difficult to detect in adolescents; especially due to the fact that they don’t open up so easily due to insecurities. Dr Michael Miller, editor in chief of the “Harvard Mental Health Letter”, says experts have identified certain characteristics that distinguish mood swings from depression in adolescents. They are:
Severity: The more pronounced the symptoms (changes in mood, behaviours, feelings, thoughts), the more likely that the problem is depression and not a passing mood.
Duration: Any deterioration in behavior or mood that lasts two weeks or longer, without a break, may indicate depression.
Domains: Problems noticed in several areas of a teen’s functioning- at home, in school, and in interactions with friends- may indicate depression.
The first step to helping your child is to recognize and accept the fact that they even have a problem. Encourage your child to to also identify what is happening to them; so that you may assure them that they will not be alone in tackling the issues at hand. Educate your child in ways to cope with problems; model appropriate behavior for them to follow. Support them towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle; for example enough sleep, exercise and eating proper balanced meals. Adolescents should also be motivated towards taking preventative steps through creativity and being involved in interactive activities. One of my traditions has been to make children socially responsible by giving them practical lessons. Teach your child to feel empathy towards the less privileged, orphans and disabled. I embark upon community service with my daughter, nieces and nephews from their foundational years; to ensure they develop a high level of empathy for the less fortunate in the community. I often point out almajiris that walk under the basking hot sun without even slippers on their tiny worn feet or any proper clothing. Engage them in interactive problem solving, “If you were President, what would you do to ensure that all children are safe and properly cared for?” Or “How many different policies would you suggest to ensure that child trafficking stops and all children have an equal opportunity to go to school?” This question can be posed to the older children.
While teenage mood swings can be very difficult to deal with, it is important that parents give support to their children. Do your best to understand what that child is feeling; take a mental time travelling machine to remember how strange many things may have seem to you at that age. Most teenagers find it excruciatingly difficult to talk to their parents about their feelings. Focus on the fact that your priority should be to help shape your child into a productive and self-sufficient adult.
It may take the last drop of patience you have but resist the temptation to address temperamental mood swings by lashing out in anger or annoyance. Do not take any negative behavior personally by being a bully instead of a parent with great inspiration and advice. Be observant of your child’s mood and ensure that when they are upset or in pain you are there for a shoulder to lean or cry on. When you child does well reward them with love and recognition instead of material gifts for many parents are unwittingly guilty of showering their children with too many gifts. You time and attention is far more valuable in the long run than the latest ipod or PS3.
The fact that you are raising a young adult is challenging but should not have to be a nightmare. Do the best that you can like many parents; and it is a guarantee that the impact of your influence will shine like a bright light through your child. One day the thought of growing pains will be a distant and fond memory.
Apart from her nametag, she blended in with the rest of the people she worked with. Same uniform, average height, normal build. But when she turned to reach for the Choco Taco I had just ordered, my attention rested on her arms.
They were scarred.
And not just once, but each arm had dozens—probably 50 or more between the two.
They were not normal bump-into-something type scars. They were concentric circles that were obviously obtained from a cigarette lighter. They had been self-inflicted.
When she returned with my treat, I gently grabbed her by the wrist and asked, “Why do you hurt yourself?” Pulling her arms back and trying to hide them from me, she said, “I don’t anymore.”
My experience with Randy was many years ago, but it dramatically impacted me. It was the first time I realized there were young people who actually hurt themselves because they don’t know where to find peace. They are so deeply scarred internally, emotionally and psychologically that they scar themselves externally, trying to cope.
But that is just one of the destructive tendencies adopted by young people to deal with the questions of life that remain unanswered and the issues that remain unresolved.
Randy represents a portion of the teenage population known as “cutters” or “self-mutilators.” But others turn to immoral behaviors and illicit relationships to distract themselves from the pain, or substance abuse to control their emotions. Others simply play games that allow them to lie to themselves and others about the peace and joy that seems to continually evade them.
Their masks sometimes remain convincing until permanent damage is done, leading to major consequences or, on occasion, completely unexpected suicide, which they believe is the only valid option left that allows them to escape once and for all.
At groundwire.net, our volunteer coaches deal with students daily who struggle with these diverse challenges, but one thing we have learned is that these behaviors are just symptoms. Whether they cut or jump from bed to bed, they are just acting on an internal issue that remains deep and painful. Whether they are succumbing to pornographic urges or binge-drinking, they are looking for solutions.
The symptoms are many, but there is only one answer. There is definitely a place for psychology and different types of effective therapy, but I am convinced that the battle for young people is first and foremost spiritual, and the answer to their significant questions of value, purpose and healing is Jesus.
He knows them perfectly, loves them deeply and is the only thing that offers hope and healing.
I want to remind you to look past the scars and behaviors of the young people in your life. Look into their hearts, and allow God to reveal their pain. When He does, pray for them. Then offer them hope. Love them in tangible ways, and then introduce them to the One who loves them unconditionally.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
Written by Sean Dunn
Sean Dunn is a speaker, author and the founder of Groundwire, an organization that exists to broadcast hope to anyone who may be struggling or in crisis. Operating 24 hours a day, hundreds of volunteers man Groundwire’s chat platform, which is available to anyone at anytime who may need help, encouragement or affirmation. Sean and his four children live outside of Denver, Colo.
Riva Tims will host a memorial service Thursday to celebrate the “life and legacy” of her ex-husband, the late Zachery Tims Jr.
Tims made the initial announcement last week on her Facebook page. An invitation flyer she shared reads: “Pastor Riva Tims and the children of Dr. Zachery Tims Jr. would like for you to join them for a memorial service to celebrate the life and legacy of their dad.”
On Thursday, what would have been Zachery Tims’ 44th birthday, Riva Tims posted on her Facebook page, “’What makes greatness is starting something that lives after you.’ ~ Ralph Sockman So today we celebrate the life, memory and legacy of Dr. Zachery Tims, Jr. as his life continues to inspire others to a place of freedom in Christ!”
The public memorial service celebrating Zachery Tims’ life is scheduled for Thursday night at 7 at Pastor David S. Jacques’ Kingdom Church in Orlando.
Riva and Zachery Tims, who divorced in August 2009, founded New Destiny Christian Center together in Apopka, Fla., in 1996. Riva Tims left NDCC after the divorce and started her own ministry, Majestic Life Ministries, in Orlando, Fla.
Zachery Tims was found dead on the floor of a room in New York City’sW Hotel in Times Square on Aug. 12, 2011. News reports indicate Tims, who died at the age of 42, had a plastic bag filled with white powder in his pocket, leading many to believe his death was associated with a drug overdose. By Tims’ own testimony, he was instantly delivered from drug addiction when he was saved as a teenager.
Zachery Tims’ cause of death has still not been made public. His mother, Madeline Tims, has been fighting the city of New York and the medical examiner’s office more than a year to keep his cause of death private.
Riva Tims recently opened up to a magazine about her ex-husband. She told Ebony that Zachery Tims did not have a struggle with substance abuse but that it was his “lifestyle.”
“I thought that was stuff in the past. I didn’t realize it was still current. I found out for sure about the affairs and substance abuse at the same time. When he started telling me stuff, I began to dig and other things came out,” she said in the March edition of Ebony.