I am sending this out to anyone who might be struggling with watching someone you care about make choices that you believe are harmful or destructive for him or her. I hope this will provide you with some comfort and/or encouragement.  It is taken from a book titled Through God’s Eyes by Phil Bolsta.

“Peace comes when you understand that you can be caring and supportive while respecting that your loved ones have their own path to walk, their own lessons to learn, and their agendas, values, and priorities that may diverge widely from your own. … Detachment is not apathy or indifference. It is the prerequisite for effective involvement. Often what we think is best for others is distorted by our attachment to our opinions; we want others to be happy in the way we think they should be happy. It is only when we want nothing for ourselves that we are able to see clearly into others’ needs and understand how to serve them.”


another excerpt from When Therapy Isn’t Enough:

When God designed our bodies, he instilled in us a natural healing process for when we get injured or sick. Just watch the way a cut heals for an example of this.

The healing process doesn’t always happen in the way or the timing that we want, though. This is because we are not in charge of our own healing—God is. The healing is God’s choice, it’s always God’s choice. For example, God may choose not to heal the physical or mental illness. He may choose, instead, to give us the inner strength, peace and resources to cope with the illness.

When it comes to emotional and spiritual wounds, however, I believe that God wants to heal us. I believe he wants to heal us so we can be effective instruments in furthering his work in the world in the specific way he has chosen for us to do that. In his book The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren states, “Before God created you, he decided what role he wanted you to play on earth. He planned exactly how he wanted you to serve him, and then he shaped you for those tasks. You are the way you are because you were made for a specific ministry.”

In case you might be interested in purchasing it, here’s the link:

Excerpt from new book:

When one is struggling with emotional and/or spiritual wounds, destructive habits and/or crippling hang-ups that are impeding one’s life and are most probably rooted in toxic shame, three available avenues for healing are psychotherapy, secular recovery and Christ-centered recovery. Though therapy and secular recovery undeniably help people to change for the better, it has been my experience that neither one can take you the distance. Only God, personified in Jesus Christ, can love with perfect, unconditional love, and because of this he is the only one who can heal toxic shame. Therefore, a program such as Celebrate Recovery that acknowledges God as the healer and is continually pointing people toward God for their healing is the most effective at healing toxic shame.

John Bradshaw, in his book Healing the Shame that Binds You, states: “Twelve-step groups literally were born out of the courage of two people risking coming out of hiding. One alcoholic person (Bill W.) turned to another alcoholic person (Dr. Bob) and they told each other how bad they really felt about themselves. I join with Scott Peck in seeing this dialogue coming out of hiding as one of the most important events of this century.”

I join with John Bradshaw and Scott Peck in seeing the dialogue between Bill W. and Dr. Bob, in which they each came out of hiding and gave birth to 12-Step groups, as one of the most important events of the 20th century. I believe that another important event of the 20th century, a building block on what Bill W. and Dr. Bob did, is what John Baker and Rick Warren did. John Baker understood the vision God gave him for a Christ-centered recovery program and acted on it, giving birth to Celebrate Recovery. Rick Warren gave John Baker the needed permission and support to establish and build Celebrate Recovery at Saddleback Church in Southern California and then take it to the world.

In case you might be interested in purchasing it, here’s the link:



My new book is now available on amazon. For those who are interested, here’s the link:

If you are experiencing difficulty discovering or living your purpose, I encourage you to work a Christ-centered 12-Step recovery program. You very well may have hurts, habits or hang-ups that are impeding you from discovering and/or living your God-anointed purpose.

You may believe that you only have to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior for your life to be complete and satisfying. The proclamation that “I am a born again Christian, my past is washed clean, I am a new creature, and Christ has totally changed me” is true. Our Spirits are born again. Our flesh, however, is holding on to a lifetime of hurts, habits and hang-ups. The likelihood that you have no behaviors, thoughts or attitudes that need to be changed and/or wounds that need to be healed is small to nonexistent. I believe that it is impossible for anyone to grow to adulthood without accruing some hurts along the way and developing some destructive habits or hang-ups.

To over-spiritualize the initial work of salvation may be to deny the actual condition of our lives. Giving our life to God, accepting his free gift of forgiveness and entering into a personal relationship with him is step three. Taking this step assures you that you will spend eternity with him in heaven. You can stop there. Many people do. If you want to live a life of abundance marked by internal peace, joy and fulfillment, however, you need to work the additional nine steps. Working these steps is what improves the quality of your life on earth and increases the possibility of your doing what you were created and shaped to do: making your unique contribution to the body of Christ.

My mother-in-law has been living with us for two weeks now. During these two weeks I have come to see how God recycles.

As a child I believed that pleasing others and gaining their approval was the only way I could be accepted, loved and valued. One of the paths to earning love, acceptance, worth and value that I found, or that was laid out for me, was taking care of family members. This is the way it happened: As my father’s drinking escalated, he became less and less available to the family. Over time more and more responsibilities were put on my mother. As the oldest child, some of those responsibilities were delegated to me, and I gradually stepped into the role of Mother’s Assistant or, as others called it, Parental Child. Because of this I grew into a compulsive caretaker.

What is a compulsive caretaker? A compulsive caretaker is someone who is addicted to taking care of people. His or her caretaking behavior is based on compulsion, not choice.

What is compulsion? Compulsion is “a strong, usually irresistible impulse to perform an act.” (

According to Margaret Fiero, “Caretaking can be more insidious than an addiction to substances such as drugs or alcohol, making it extremely difficult to identify and treat.” She goes on to say that “Lefever [Dr. Robert Lefever, a prominent addiction specialist in the UK] defines compulsive helping as ‘the need to be needed.’ There’s nothing unusual about the desire to be needed, but like other addictions, caretaking is a behavior taken to an extreme. This is a perverted sort of caring that, rather than helping, turns out to be both self-destructive and harmful to others. . . Caretaking is being consumed by the need to “fix” others, to the point where you lose—or never develop—your own identity, and you smother the person you’re trying to help so they have no space to work on their own problems.”

Behaviors associated with compulsive caretaking:

 Doing something we really don’t want to do, saying yes when we want to say no.
 Doing something for someone that the person is capable of doing and should be doing for himself or herself.
 Meeting people’s needs without being asked.
 Speaking for another person.
 Solving people’s problems for them.
 Fixing people’s feelings.
 Doing others’ thinking for them.
 Suffering people’s consequences for them.
 Not asking for what we want, need and desire.
 Doing more than our fair share of work.
 Consistently giving more than we receive in a particular situation.
 Putting more interest and activity into a joint effort than the other person.

By the time I was a teenager I exhibited all of the above behaviors associated with compulsive caretaking. I took care of various family members, including two grandmothers, throughout the latter part of my childhood and much of my adolescence, AND I did this without expecting anyone to take care of me (the essence of compulsive caretaking).

The skills I learned as a child taking care of my grandmothers are now coming in handy (God’s recycling program). The difference is that, as a child, I did not have a choice to take care of family members. I was also not acting out of choice as an adult during the years my caretaking addiction was active. Now, I am acting out of choice. I freely chose and/or agreed to have my mother-in-law move in with us. I also chose to have in-home caregivers here a few days a week to help with her care, and am choosing day by day which tasks the caregivers will do and which I will do.

I spent the past week in Ocean City, Maryland writing and walking. I finished the manuscript I’ve been working on since January. Sent it to the publisher. Editing will begin this week.

one more excerpt:

In 2003 I stumbled upon Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12 Step recovery program, and that has made all the difference for me. Through working a program that continually pointed me toward Jesus, I learned how to access his healing power. My childhood wounds were finally healed, not coped with but healed. My habits are being broken one by one, and my crippling hang-ups have evaporated. They have been replaced with faith and trust in my Higher Power, Jesus Christ.

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