Craig Morrisette

Eating Disorders

We are in an image obsessed culture. At a young age most people experience being teased over their clothing, body shape, or physical features. From the first moment we look into a television we see beautiful people, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. The  childhood teasing, the photoshopped magazines and the endless hours of television...the message is clear, you don't matter other than the physical you; there is no identity other than the physical you. We are told that happiness is wrapped up in our physical appearance...our health...and the rudder for all that happiness is food. Yet, the Gospel says that our biggest problem doesn't exist in our physical bodies, but in our spiritual selves...our hearts. Often times we don't want God to change our heart, we just want him to change our figure. 

It is interesting that the Scriptures specifically speak of Jesus as one who "had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him" (Isaiah 53:2).  It seems that the Savior of the World, in physical appearance, was quite unmemorable. 

The slavery of an eating disorder can manifest itself through different behaviors like: self-induced vomiting, the use of laxatives, the obsessive weighing, calorie counting, the avoidance of eating with others, and food rituals...among others. These repetitive behaviors could easily be considered aspects of a self-made religion. The Scriptures speak to our behaviors and exposes our motives.  


...do you submit to regulations - “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”... these have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”
— Colossians 2:22-23

Eating disorders are destructive behaviors. These behaviors can have dramatic influence on a person's body. This is why at HOPE, we insist that counseling be in conjunction with frequent assessments of your physical condition from your local physician. 

Porn Addiction

At 13.3 Billion, the 2006 revenues of the sex and porn industry in the United States is more than the NFL, NBA and MLB combined. Worldwide the sex industry sales for 2006 are reported to be 97 Billion. That’s more than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and Earthlink Combined.
— toptenreviews, 2007

Porn is clearly pervasive in the American culture. Men and Women have described their draw towards it like a drug addiction. At first their porn stashes or their favorite free porn websites cry out to them in the quiet of the long nights or the privacy of a day alone. Before long the cries for porn grow louder and more frequent. They work hard to stave off the cravings at work and other less private venues. But as soon as they get alone...as soon as possible...the images are always calling...always promising relief. Yet, all you ever feel is guilt. Overwhelming failure rushes in. "If anyone knew," you think to yourself. "If anyone saw...". 

Porn promises so much but delivers so little. The road of porn leads to the same dark destination. It leads to men and women with their face in their hands, tears in their eyes and a wake of broken relationships behind them. Eventually, porn addiction feels like imprisonment. It feels like slavery.

But it didn't start that way. It started as an escape, as a way to get relief from the pressures or afflictions of life. Instead of casting our fears, anxieties, and pain upon the strong tower (Ps. 61:3) or seeking refuge from the right person (Matt. 11:28-30) God himself, we have sought relief from our idol of choice - a picture, a fantasy, a feeling of euphoria  - a god to deliver us. (Ps. 115:4-8). 

Women are not immune. 

Pursuing fantasy is not unique to men; women can also be lured by its trap. Porn is a pursuit of fantasy world. The pain, anxieties, sorrows and fears of real life are hard. Sometimes escape is living in an alternate world. Fantasy novels replete with ideal spouses and lurid details can fill a woman's mind. These novels can represent a written form of the visual porn of which men gravitate. Women can spend great amounts of time where they imagine being intimate with various men or living a life with someone other than their husband. 


All my fictional men are strong, successful, sophisticated and enigmatic. I guess it’s hard for any living, breathing man to live up to such a fantasy.
— Jodi Ellen Malpas, author of the trilogy, This Man

If you are ready to reject the lies of porn/fantasy and step off the destructive path of despair ... then we would love to sit down with you. There is hope to walk away from this consuming addiction. 

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse produces a life of hiding, strained relationships, disrupted routines, communication problems, erratic emotional behavior and many other challenges. It feels like imprisonment. It feels like slavery.

But it didn't start that way. It started as an escape, as a way to get relief from the pressures or afflictions of life. Instead of casting our fears, anxieties, and pain upon the strong tower (Ps. 61:3) or seeking refuge from the right person (Matt. 11:28-30) God himself, we have sought relief from our idol of choice - a substance, a feeling of euphoria - a god to deliver us. (Ps. 115:4-8). 

Where does the struggle with substance abuse come from? We can understand the symptoms, but what is the source...what is the cause?  It's helpful to know what you have, but it's more helpful to know where it comes from and how to correct it. The overwhelming metaphors the Bible uses for addictive behavior are Idolatry and Adultery. Scripture also describes people as created to worship. We are always worshipping something. Substance abuse is a form of worship, a form of disordered worship. As sinful beings we exchange the glory of God for an image, an Idol. 


. . . For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”
— 2 Peter 2:19

At HOPE we do not counsel individuals in need of detoxification.

At HOPE we offer counseling after detox. Substances that need medical detoxification would include: Alcohol, Narcotics like Heroin, Morphine, Opioids, Opiates, Codeine, Opium, Tranquilizers (Benzodiazepine, Xanax, Valium, Librium, Tranxene) or any drug resulting in significant medical problems. 

If you have been through detox and you desire counseling please ask yourself some key questions.

  • Are you ready to listen? Listening is tied to your action. Are you ready to remove anything that draws you towards the addiction? Can you identify the dangers? Who are the accomplices (people, places, moods) of your addiction? Are you ready to change phone numbers....do anything that prevents you from drawing closer to the substance? Those who run live. Those who stay risk dire consequences.  If you are not ready to act, then you are not ready to listen.
  • Do you really want change? Pay more attention to what you do than what you say. If you want change and don't want change...then you don't want change
  • Are you ready to admit? Substance abuse is a worship problem and pursues walking in darkness (1 John 1:6-10). If you aren't ready to admit this, then you want behaviors to change without dealing with the roots of those behaviors. 
  • Are you ready to fight? Change will require fight and hard work. All significant change takes work. Are you ready to deny yourself in moments of deep craving? You will have to teach yourself a new way to cope with the pains, sorrows, anxieties and fears of life. Your flesh will not want to change. 

For those who are ready to listen, admit and fight, we welcome the opportunity to sit down with you and walk this long and challenging road to lasting change.

Grief


Twenty-eight and a half years after we were married...I watched as they lowered his body into the ground...I heard the lid of the concrete grave liner drop shut with a loud and decisive thud...
He really is gone.
’Goodbye, my friend. I love you. I’ll see you soon.’
The new chapter - the solo widow and fatherless children chapter - begins.
— Elizabeth Groves, Grief Undone

Grief is a helpless place to be. The experience of loss is powerful. The circumstances around death are individual and unique. A person may experience feelings of separation, alienation, depression or many others. Death reminds us that something is very wrong with the world.  

Ultimately, grievers seek comfort. Someone grieving may seek comfort in memories, material items, or distractions. These things provide a measure of fleeting comfort.  Lasting comfort is found in a Person, Jesus. He bore grief so that all grief sufferers could have hope. All true comfort has its source in the Lord (2 Corinthians 1:3).