the Way News and Blog

the way

Being Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

David WilbournMy whole life I’ve used anything I could to cope with the feeling of being uncomfortable. I hated the feeling of being uncomfortable. I’ve had multiple ways to escape the feeling in the past. Being around a lot of people I don’t know, dive head first into my iPhone and get lost in social media. The thought of letting someone in too close, hit them with that Heisman stiff arm. Catching myself in a situation where I’m supposed to act professional, become a jester. And sometimes I would do it without even thinking. Shutting down emotionally, jumping into my favorite Apple Music playlist, coming across as super arrogant (Kanye West didn’t have anything on me), isolating from the rest of the world, making excuses why I can’t come through on a commitment I’ve made to someone, and my number one go to for many years, Oxycontin and heroin. Not only do opiates kill physical pain, but they also eliminate emotional and mental pain.

One thing I heard early on in my road to recovery was you have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Yea, no thanks, I’m good on that. I mean, what does that even mean? I didn’t have a clue at the time, but I think those words stuck with me because it sounded like such a paradox. Then things started to happen around me. A buddy from church, Carlos, invited me to a cookout at his house. There were about fifteen other peers from the church there, all of us engaging with stuffing our faces with burgers and side dishes. Eventually everyone there made it to the living room, and Carlos realizing I was the newb to the group said, “David, why don’t you share your story, your testimony, with everyone”.

Wow, nothing goes better in regards to a first impression than sharing with a group of sold out Jesus followers that you had just ended a long, serious relationship with heroin.

My mind was paralyzed by the feeling of being uncomfortable. It was deeper than that though. What was at the the root of that was fear? Fear of judgement, fear of rejection, low self-esteem, low self-worth. All of those things were what created that feeling of being uncomfortable. And it left me in the same place that I had been for so long, paralyzed while life passed me by. I got to a place in my recovery where I was tired of letting fear of judgement, and rejection keep me in a place of idleness. I wanted to, and was ready to break free from that mental slavery. And the thing about the prison that I put myself in inside of my head was the prison door inside my mind was not locked. I had the choice to walk out and leave that place. Freedom was on the other side. I just had to kick the door in. Kick the door, ya dig?

So I made a choice, a choice to embrace the uncomfortable feeling, to take it head on. To not go to anything to cope with the feeling, but to wear it. To let it pulse through my veins, and dance throughout my mind. And in doing so a new boldness came over me. I realized that I could take on the feeling without fear. That it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. Because you come out the other side a little braver. A little more confident. And each time the feeling of being uncomfortable came over me I was able to walk through it a little easier. Slowly the fear disappeared. That root that was so deeply running throughout my heart and mind was being uprooted, until it was no longer there. What I learned was that taking on those feelings head on is what made me grow the most. That in that doubt, in that fear, in those moments, I grew even more. That’s life.

David Wilbourn

David is a graduate of His Way, and a current staff member. To read more from David, visit his personal blog:

Facing Addiction in America

The United States Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, unveiled his office’s long-awaited report, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, last week. The report finds alcohol and drug misuse and severe substance use disorders, commonly called addiction, to be one of America’s most pressing public health concerns. Nearly 21 million Americans – more than the number of people who have all cancers combined – suffer from substance use disorders. “Alcohol and drug addiction take an enormous toll on individuals, families, and communities,” said Dr. Murthy. “Most Americans know someone who has been touched by an alcohol or a drug use disorder. Yet 90 percent of people with a substance use disorder are not getting treatment. That has to change.

This report provides an in-depth look at the science of substance use disorders and addiction, calls for a cultural shift in the way Americans talk about the issue, and recommends actions we can take to prevent and treat these conditions, and promote recovery.

Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, Executive Director of NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, adds “This is a watershed moment. The U.S. Surgeon General’s report validates everything experts have been saying for years and adds an influential voice to the public discourse about the overwhelming substance use disorder crisis in America. This is the number one public health issue and we need to pay attention. We have the opportunity to transform lives and strengthen communities by addressing our country’s addiction crisis,” said Dr. Murthy. “There could not be a more important time for us to act.

For the full report and executive summary, visit


“Lessons From Drug Court”

drug-court-pictureI escorted one of our residents to “Drug Court” this morning and witnessed something awe-inspiring. It’s a program to screen, educate, rehabilitate, & monitor convicted defendants in lieu of criminal prosecution.

After the first case on the docket was reviewed and the man was confirmed to be following the plan, the Judge clapped (with gusto!) and said “Well done!” Naturally, the rest of the courtroom joined in the celebration. This continued for each individual, and it was clear the Judge truly was honoring their progress.

What a great reminder that each individual is created in the image of the Almighty and is worthy of our respect. And furthermore, when we find ourselves in a seat of judgment over others, find a way to improve their situation instead of dismissing them as a lost cause.

Stuart Whiting

A Father’s Day Gift

We are thrilled and grateful that a local church decided to honor the fathers in their congregation by making a generous donation to His Way this past Sunday. But, more than the financial support was the spiritual vision and partnership expressed in this Father’s Day gift.

Twickenham Church Bulletin

Twickenham Church Bulletin – 6/19/2016

As we share the love of our Heavenly Father with the men at His Way, two very painful realities become evident.

First, many of our men have never known the love and leadership of a father in their lives. The wound left by that vacancy has contributed to the pain that led many of them into self-medicating efforts in substance abuse. Our goal is to help these men discover the healing that is available through our Heavenly Father’s love expressed through His Son, Jesus Christ. And if possible, that they may use this experience to heal the wound between them and their earthly fathers.

Secondly, these men are or will one day be fathers. The possibility that they will be good ones and not pass on the generational curse of their fathering experience is unlikely without their transformation by our Heavenly Father. Allowing the gospel to break this generational curse so that they are truly healed and therefore will not pass on the wound to their children is our hope and dream.

Support like what we received this past Sunday morning is helping that vision become a reality. We pray that the concluding Old Testament vision expressed in Malachi 4:6 will become a reality, “And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.

Thank you for joining us in this effort.

Tom Reynolds

Spectator Sport?

Church Stay at HomeRecently, I missed our Sunday morning assembly due to being sick.  I cannot remember the last time I missed an assembly due to illness.  While I was not feeling well, I still did my personal study during the congregational bible study time and then tried to decide what I would do next.

I turned on the television and began channel surfing through various religious programs.  I settled on a few for five or so minutes until I remembered that my own church live streams their service online.  So I logged in and began to watch.  As the service concluded, I realized that I could not spiritually survive on a regular dose of online or TV church.  To me that would be like trying to satisfy my hunger by watching the Cooking Channel.

That Sunday experience reminded me that Christianity is a participant and not a spectator sport.  Biblically, the only people in the stands watching Christianity are those not of the faith.  We are to live in such a way before an unbelieving world that as they watch, they are convinced.  But Christians are never called to spectate their faith only participate in it.

That being said, maybe our conversations after an assembly should have little to do with the performance of the assembly or class (like, how the music was or how the preacher did), but instead we should discuss how my singing was and what I heard in the message, learned, and will begin to apply this week.

Let us all get out of the stands and begin living our faith and not just try to watch and critique other’s religious performance.

Tom Reynolds

Symptom Suppressants

Tom Head ShotI heard this the other day, “Do you know the difference between a doctor and God?  God doesn’t think He is a doctor.”

I know that I am not a doctor either, but I do have observations of health that have shaped my personal practice.  One is that I avoid symptom suppressants.  Because our society is so pleasure obsessed and therefore pain adverse, there are a lot of over the counter medicines simply promising the reduction of negative symptoms due to illness.  While coughing, sneezing, vomiting, and runny noses are terribly uncomfortable and can hinder one’s life, they are the vehicles God designed in our bodies to get rid of negative influences.  My observation is that to limit that process only causes one to suffer longer with the illness as well as risk secondary infections due to the germ remaining in the body longer than God designed.

Therefore I try to avoid all symptom reducing medicines believing that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God, and that His process, while painful at the time, will yield His intended result.

I believe that this principle holds in the spiritual and psychological realm also.  Suppressing negative emotions such as grief, guilt, and anger will yield longer term emotional illnesses and potentially secondary afflictions such as depression and resentment.  Again, because we are in a pain adverse culture, we are quickly prescribed medications that reduce our symptoms and therefore cause us not to address the core issues of guilt or shame or grief and so on.

The beauty of God’s design is that instead of turning to modern medicine for symptom reducing medications, God has a plan to resolve these issues.  God suggests that if we have an interpersonal conflict with someone we should go to them and work it out immediately (Matthew 5:23, 24; Matthew 18:15-20).  God also gives us an avenue to resolve internal struggles.  I John says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1:9).  So confession to God is His answer, not medications to suppress your guilt.  He also states in James 5:16, “ Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed,  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  There is great, divine healing in confession to each other.

God has also established a regular opportunity for His people to evaluate themselves in the Lord’s Supper.  In I Corinthians 11:28-30, “Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat the bread and drink of the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.  That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.”  The spiritual and physical maladies that are caused by unconfessed sins are enormous.

So let us not chase symptom reducing practices of denial, blame, and excuse making, but instead confession that we too may be healed!

Tom Reynolds

Mood Mastery

Tom Head ShotA plague has hit Alabama within the past few years…Kratom.  Kratom is an herbal extract derived from a root that grows in Southeast Asia.  While illegal in the countries it grows in, this substance has been imported into the U.S. and now sells in some convenience stores as a “5 Hour Energy” type product called Vivazen as well as under other product labels.

This substance has the pain blocking effect of prescription medications like Percocet and Lortabs yet is available without a prescription to anyone including children who purchase it right off store counters.  It is a highly addictive opiate like substitute.  Opiate addicts are flocking to it as a socially legitimate substitute for heroin or illegally obtained pain medications.

Currently there is a bill in the Alabama State House and another in the Senate to take this substance off the counters and make it only available through a doctor’s prescription.  While we are praying that this bill will pass the legislature and be enacted into law to protect the vulnerable and the innocent, my greater prayer is that the mindset that makes us all vulnerable to these types of attacks can be transformed.

Scripture encourages us to, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1:13)  Unfortunately, we’ve grown accustomed to  attempting to control how we feel by depending upon substances that we intake.  When we train ourselves to wake up with caffeine, boost ourselves with energy drinks, sooth ourselves with alcohol, and put ourselves to sleep with medications, we set ourselves up to become dependent on something other than what God has designed our “fearfully and wonderfully” made bodies to do.

We also face the spiritual threat of becoming dependent on something or someone other than the Lord which puts our faith in jeopardy.  If we are dependent on something other than the Lord, we can become vulnerable to spiritual attacks from the evil one.  As James warns, we can become “a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (1:8)

Paul shares a principle that is a guiding light on this topic.  In I Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23, he states, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.  All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything.”  All things are available to me in Christ, but I must not allow anything to enslave me to the point that it overrules Christ’s in my life.

The way I have attempted to practice this principle is to avoid any substance addictive products such as caffeine or sugar.  I enjoy coffee but I drink only decaf.  And even with that, I take periodic sabbaticals from it to be sure I am not growing dependent upon it.

Let me also add that your body has naturally designed chemicals within it that serve to wake you up or energize you or help you sleep.  When you use artificial means, your body begins to not produce these chemicals, which then automatically creates a physical dependency upon these artificial substances.  Therefore, you not only become physically dependent but risk also spiritual compromise.

You will notice that if you take a sabbatical from the product you will feel the ill effects of your dependency; that is your “detox”.  If you feel detox symptoms like headache, nervousness, low energy, and irritability, it should alert you to your dependency problem and encourage you to steer clear of these products in the future.  I assure you these symptoms will pass in a few days and your body will return to produce these chemicals naturally again.

Don’t risk your physical and especially your spiritual health on these artificial products.  Don’t risk having a divided hope, but become sober-minded and set your hope fully on the grace of Jesus!

Also please join us in prayer for the passage of HB175 in Alabama to rid our stores of these dangerously addictive substances.

Tom Reynolds

Dedicating God’s Child

Tom Head ShotIn celebration of our youngest granddaughter’s birth, we recently attended her baby dedication at my son’s congregation.  They were celebrating the addition of eighteen children to their church family in the past year.  It was a beautifully done celebration.

A special touch was that all the men who led the service were the fathers of the children being dedicated.  During the reflection prior to taking communion, one of the fathers discussed in depth the at risk birth of his son and how for many days after the birth his son struggled for life.  He ended his reflections discussing the sacrifice that God went through in giving up his one and only son for us, a feat the father admitted he could not imagine doing.  What an unfathomable, amazing love God has for us!

While I reflected on God’s incredible sacrifice of love for me, my mind began to drift in a little different direction.  What does this sacrifice say about my value?  God valued me so much that He made a decision that I was worth His only Son.  My Heavenly Father concluded that the giving up of His only Son was worth the adoption price of having me as one of His children.  God prized me that much!

God prizes you that much!

That’s a dedication

Tom Reynolds