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Copyright © 2017
By Don Mingo
Published by Faithway Publishers LLC
Springeld, MO 65807
Faithway Publishers is a publisher dedicated to publishing books with high family
values. We believe the vision for
Faithway Publishers is to provide families and
individuals with user-friendly materials that will help them in their daily lives and
It is our hope that this book will help you discover truths for your own life and help
you meet the needs of others. May you be richly blessed.
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Book and Cover Design: Lee Fredrickson
Printed in the United States of America
Introduction ................................................................................... 7
1. Heres the ing About Dragons .......................................... 19
2. Matt and Mattie ................................................................... 25
3. e Porn Dilemma ............................................................... 35
4. Addiction or Bondage .......................................................... 53
5. Setting Up Training Camp ................................................... 61
6. B.A.C.K.S. BOUNDARIES ........................................... 73
7. B.A.C.K.S. Accountability ............................................. 91
8. B.A.C.K.S. Confession ................................................. 105
9. B.A.C.K.S. Knowledge ................................................. 125
10. B.A.C.K.S. Sorrow........................................................ 139
11. e Essential Ingredient: Prayer.......................................... 155
12. Renewal ............................................................................. 167
13. e Bottom Line ................................................................ 177
Conclusion ................................................................................. 181
About the Author ....................................................................... 186
Endnotes .................................................................................... 187
o the many people in my two pastorates struggling with
addictions, thank you for the privilege of opening your lives to
me. I’ve done my best to keep your identities condential. Your tears
and victories nd themselves in these pages of Boundaries – 5 Steps to
Getting Your Life Back.
To my son Donald, for your participation in the formative
thoughts of writing this book. ose many conversations over
three shot extra hot Venti Toee Nut Lattes nd coee stains on
many pages of this book. Someday, perhaps, we will deal with our
coeeholic addictions. Someday.
To my son Daniel, Media Pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church,
your thoughts and information about media, apps, and internet
technology nd their way into Boundaries. Our many conversations
together aiding and guiding me in writing this book encourage a
father-son relationship both rich and gratifying.
To my son Dennis, Youth Pastor at Twin Cities Church in
Grass Valley, California, your guidance in the challenges our youth
face today helped provide urgency for writing and developing this
resource. e struggles youth face today seems almost unprecedented.
Oh, and thanks for the coee too! You and your older brother are my
caeine enablers!
To Keith Bassham, thank you for encouraging me to write. Your
encouragement that day, sitting in your oce, was a cool cup of
water during a parched and thirsty time. Resourcing and editing
Boundaries – 5 Steps to Getting Your Life Back is much more than just
To the men who asked me to speak on this subject in a breakaway
session during their Mens No Regret Conference more than three
years ago. at day, God touched me to write after men listening to
my presentation pressed me to put into print that which I put forth
in words.
To my sweet, supportive, lovely wife. “Oneness” describes our
many years together. Our many years together are years of oneness.
Kathy, within these pages you will see your essence and presence. If I
had to do it all over again, I would do life with you.
To God, my Father, who, through His Precious Son, forgives
and heals us from our many aictions. You enable us to live better
lives. May it be so!
“No man knows how bad he is until he has
tried very hard to be good.
C. S. Lewis
y breakout session title for the conference was “Purity in
Your Digital World.” I felt the title would reduce the at
tendance. Men dont want to admit their crossing over a boundary
into the presence of this dark world. ey fear discovery.
To my surprise, with more than 20 other breakout sessions being
oered simultaneously, at least 30 men either attended my session
or spoke to me afterward about their addiction struggles. ose who
attended the breakout heard my BACKS presentation. BACKS is an
acronym for Boundaries, Accountability, Confession, Knowledge,
and Sorrow, a spiritual mind renewing process to help people break
out of their addictions. BACKS centers itself in a cognitive, spiritual
truth renewal process taught in Romans 12:1-2,
“I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has
done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrice—the kind
he will nd acceptable. is is truly the way to worship him.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God
transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
en you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good
and pleasing and perfect.”
One of the men asked, “Why dont you write a book about this
BACKS thing? I’ve never quite heard anyone teach on this quite like
you did today. It was very helpful to me. I mean, I’m doing a lot of
things to help me with my addiction, but something like this might
help. I’ve struggled with an addiction for a long time.” During lunch,
several other men approached me on the subject. One man said, “If
I cant deal with this thing, it’s all going to be over – my marriage
and life.” at comment pierced my heart like an arrow. As I left
the conference that day, a voice seemed to say to me, “Don, you are
going to write that book!”
is book, Boundaries – 5 Steps to Getting Your Life Back, is a
result of years of trying to help Christian men and women for the
past thirty years deal with their addictions. Boundaries is also my
own personal survival growing up in a family riddled by too many
addictions to discuss here.
Rarely a week goes by without a desperate people sharing their
struggles with addictions. Boundaries – 5 Steps to Getting Your Life
Back, presents ve key transforming steps to changing your attitude,
heart, and mind about your addiction. Changing the way you think,
helps change the way you act. BACKS is the 5 Step transforming
approach oered. BACKS is my safeguard as well. Developed over
the years, it helps prevent me from falling and becoming what the
Apostle Paul called “a castaway.
Stories of healing, restoration, and fullling relationships seem
few and far between these days. ose suering addictions in the
church, often experience only partial victory at best. Many are angry,
bitter, confused, and unaccepted in churches today. Unable to escape
the clutches of their addiction, they become castaways. Probably
the most damaging of all realities. Reeling from guilt and failure,
they too often give in and give up. Lurid addictions, base practices,
and habits take them far beyond anything imagined when they
rst ventured into the alluring world of addiction. Later, unable to
think about anything else, addiction becomes their constant dark
companion ruling their lives. What once seemed a generous friend
now is a menacing dragon seeking to destroy their very existence.
rough the years, I grieved watching many ne people standing
on the decks of their once hopeful and beautiful lives, only to slip
into the deep, dark, icy waters of ruin. e damage is catastrophic to
spouses, to children, women, men, churches, and communities.
In 35 years of ministry both in South Africa and the United
States, in every people group we assisted, addictions in one form or
another aicted all our churches. Pastoring ten years in the United
States, and serving as a Fire-Police-EMS Chaplain, witnessed the
same tragic consequences.
A young man, buckling to peer pressure, tried Spice. e synthetic
marijuana opened the dragons door leading to Joshs destruction.
Witnessing his alarming rapid downward self-destructive spiral was
a traumatizing experience for many involved. e pain and misery
inicted upon parents, family, and friends were, well quite honestly,
beyond description. Josh will never recover to what he once was.
Personally, raised in an alcoholics’ home, both mom and dad,
addictions of every kind aicted and wounded us all. As I look back
over the years, trauma lled all our lives from the youngest to the
oldest. My sweet wife of thirty-eight years shares a more egregious
Whether opioids, alcohol, illegal drugs, porn, gambling, or social
media, addiction pushes many into untold misery and destruction.
Most addictions, not all, begin with a single decision to cross over a
boundary into unknown horizons of intrigue. Of the many encounters
with individuals, many reach for additional helps to ask for one more
life preserver to hold their heads above addictions’ cruel waters.
Boundaries – 5 Steps to Getting Your Life Back, is such a preserver.
Why Addictions are Such a Problem
During many sessions of listening to Christians struggling with
various addictions, several common factors emerged. ese factors
are partly upon which BACKS is based.
First, few boundaries preventing access to their addiction
functioned well. If barriers existed at all, they were porous at best.
An extremely high percentage of people gained access to whatever
addiction was ailing them. A sliver of availability always appeared
when temptations urge presented itself. “I tried.” Or, “It wasnt my
fault.” Or, “I just couldnt resist,” often waited on the other side of
addictions availability. Defenses constantly proved inadequate. A
conditioned mind always provided paths to access.
Next, Accountability plans and partners were porous too.
Oh, they enlisted accountability partners. Prepared plans to prevent
addictions accesses existed. But, their lifeboat continually took on
water due to its lack of integrity. Doctors’ instructions were regularly
ignored. “What did your doctor say,” I asked. “Well, they said to do this
or that . . . but, I dont agree with them.” Prescribed medications were
misused, abused, or not taken. Also, accountability partners proved
weak, inconsistent, and at times enabling. Often, accountability
meant sitting with another equally struggling person, suering the
same malady, both together excusing each others decits.
When it came to the Bible, many Christians participated in a
haphazard practice of Scripture reading, if they read the Bible at all.
Studies show a high percentage of Christians rarely read the Bible.
Amazingly, with Scriptures readily available on varieties of media;
Bible illiteracy is extremely high. Sadly, one of the most powerful
weapons in a persons arsenal to overcome addiction is ignored. “For
the word of God is alive and powerful . . . It exposes our innermost
thoughts and desires(Hebrews 4:12).
Also, Confession, one of the highest attitude-changing
disciplines of the Bible, was rarely practiced. While regrets were
plenteous, confession didnt exist. “I’m so sorry . . .” accompanied
many tears. Yet, one of two extremes often prevailed. Self-loathing
or self-victimization became the mantra. Either, “I hate myself—I’m
worthless,” or “Its not my fault—I cant help myself,” was the tag
many identied themselves.
e art of biblical confession is little understood today by the
Church. Its transforming power is rarely attempted. Often seen
as merely penitence and punishment, its transformational power
is experienced by marginally few. Confessions are usually weak
attempts of prayer to an unknown Person. “God, you know I’ve
got this problem. I cant help myself. Help me help me. Amen.” Or,
conversely, “God, I’m such a crumb. I’d be better o dead.” Neither
extremes examples biblical confession and its renewing purpose. In
Confession is Renewal!
Also, Knowledge and understanding of the far-reaching
tentacles of their addictions consequences were unexplored.
Many explaining their plight, simply did not understand the costs
of their bondage. Little understanding existed of the process taking
place in their addiction by their addiction. Clueless to the damage
done to countless people around them and themselves, ignorance
was not bliss, but rather blistering.
While Self-loathing, excusing, guilt, or victimization
abounded, few showed true “godly sorrow” for their decisions,
habits, and actions. Godly sorrow is the nal key to getting your life
back. Godly sorrow is dierent from guilt. It ensures victory. When
one feels the way God feels about their addiction, transforming
recovery is within reach.
Getting Your Life Back Depends on Understanding and
Applying ese Principles
is ve-step BACKS approach oered in the following pages
emerges from assisting countless people over the years. During 35
years of pastoring in South Africa and the United States, initially,
many early attempts to help people were met with little success.
Repeated failures occurred regardless of the accountability tools,
ltering tools, and accountability groups utilized.
Ten years of serving as a Chaplain in two re departments and one
police department in Minnesota provided perspective and training.
My heart often went out to the many suering from the results of
their addictions. Often thought, “What a shame. What might have
been if . . .
rough sorrows, struggles, frustrations, pain, failures, and losses,
I oer Boundarieshumble approach; BACKS. Its a ve-step process
that can change your life! Its practical. It’s understandable. Its mind
changing. It’s transformational. Its a spiritual, ve-step guide to
assist you in gaining control of your life once again. BACKS, while
containing Bible principles is not exclusively Christians. BACKS
presents a spiritual, cognitive, soul renewing process to help you
in conjunction with your current approaches. Boundaries – 5 Steps
to Getting Your Life Back is not intended to replace your doctors,
therapist’s, or leader’s guidance. For the Christian, Boundaries adds
an additional layer of help enabling you to defeat your Addiction
rough a spiritual truth mind renewing process, Boundaries
helps change ones spiritual and cognitive thinking about issues
driving many towards their addictions in the rst place. rough
the Holy Spirit’s help, renewing of your mind, and changing your
practices can freedom be grasped.
How to use this book
Boundaries oers several components of spiritual discovery,
recovery, and healing. e components require time and thought. I
suggest you start journaling your thoughts, musings, and meditations
as you read each chapter. Every chapter concludes with:
Key Essentials
Scriptures for Reection
A Prayer to Pray
Key Essentials
It is only through mastery, repetition, and prayer that your mind
is renewed to live above addictions clutches. It takes six months of
repetition for an action to become a habit. Good habits change how
one thinks. Changing how one thinks changes the way the person
acts. Changing how a person thinks changes the person. Changing is
what it’s all about! Master the following pages. Repeat each step every
time you struggle. rough continual prayer and transformation of
God’s Word, victory is yours should you choose to grasp it. “ank
God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus
Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57 GWT).
Victory is yours should you choose to seize it!
Scriptures for Reection
Reect on all the Scriptures at the end of each chapter. Study
them. Learn them. ink about them. e Word of God, the Bible,
contains power towards changing your mind into a rethinking
healthy way. As you change how you think about your addiction, you
will gain control, with Gods help, over your actions and thoughts.
Spend considerable time on the Ponderings. Write your thoughts
down. Write out your answers. I beg you. Please do not skip over
them. Talk with yourself. Meditate, think, ponder, and muse.
Working through Ponderings helps you battle the war going on
in your mind aecting your thinking and actions. When you are
tempted, go to Ponderings. Write. Replace thoughts pushing you
towards your addiction to thoughts oering an escape.
A Prayer to Pray
Pray each prayer with your whole heart. Pray the prayers
repeatedly. Pray them each time you are tempted. Pray them each
time you feel a leaning towards your addiction. Learn to approach
God during your times of deepest need. Experience God’s love and
acceptance. God wants you to win over your addiction too. Hes your
biggest supporter. rough prayer, you will nd God’s availability
in your times of deepest failures and fear. Learn to lean on Him
experiencing his love and concern for you.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. ere we
will receive his mercy, and we will nd grace to help us when we need it
most” (Hebrews 4:16).
If the written prayers dont suit you, write your own prayers.
Keep the prayers with you. Use them often. Eective targeted prayer
is one of the secrets to victory.
e Heart of the Book
Most of all, master Chapters 6-10 that presents BACKS! Within
these chapters are your blueprints for victory. ey may provide
all you need in the battle against your dragon. e step-by-step
approach oered is geared towards changing how you think. With
this approach, you can nd a new mind and heart. e BACKS way
of thinking is where you will nd change.
Use Notes and Bible References
ere are many websites, resources, and Bible verses in the end
notes at the back of the book. Go to the websites. Get knowledge about
this issue. Understand it. Read and study all the Bible verses. Many
struggling with addictions grasp very little of the Bible. Speaking with
recovery groups and small group leaders, I am constantly reminded
of biblical illiteracy today in the church. e very book the Church
claims to believe, the Bible, is practically unknown to many sitting
in the pews on Sunday morning. God’s Word possesses the power to
transform your life. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is
sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and
spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts
and desires” (Hebrews 4:12).
Begin a Journal
A psychologist friend of mine often requires his patients struggling
with trauma to journal their experiences. He says, “I’m not quite sure
what it is about journaling, but writing is therapeutic and healing.
Write, write, write! Writing and journaling will assist you in learning
to think dierently about all that plagues you.
Most of all, the goal of Boundaries is to guide you into submitting
all of you to God under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer
that this intensive work will give you hope, the vitality of relationship,
and fulllment. It is only in and through Jesus Christ that we have
our life, hope, and breath. May you experience victory in Him. is
is my earnest desire and expectation for you! Be blessed.
Key Essentials
BACKS with God’s help can aid you in getting control of your
life again. BACKS may assist an addiction suerer regardless of the
addiction. While a single addiction is dealt with in the later pages of
Boundaries, apply BACKS to your struggle. BACKS, as an added
tool, may help you immensely to nally gain victory over your dragon.
Scripture for Reection:
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for
living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know
him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous
glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3).
“I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that
raised him from the dead” (Philippians 3:10).
1. What encouraged you to begin reading Boundaries?
2. How do you view the idea of a “Boundary?”
3. How has God given you everything you need for a godly life? Do
you believe this? How do you believe the above verse true or not
4. Describe your relationship with God.
5. If you were completely free from addiction, what might your
life look like? How would it be better? How would it be more
6. What changes do you need to make to improve your life in this
7. What changes can you make right now, today, this very moment?
8. How does this oer you hope? Or, little hope, Or, perhaps, no
Dear God,
You are everything I need for living a godly life. is is what Your
Word says.
I struggle to understand this.
Help me know that Your strength and power is greater than any
addiction I am experiencing.
Help me experience Your presence. is is a gift that I can receive by
coming to know You.
Help me to know You, oh God. Let me see and know Your glory and
May Your presence shine upon me and dry up the desires that destroy
so many things.
Help me to know and experience your Son Jesus Christ – through the
same power that raised him from the dead, I can be delivered from my
And, God, You have given me Your powerful holy Word. Wash and
scrub my life through the renewing of Your Word.
So Be It! – Amen
Chapter 1
Here’s the Thing about
“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations
if you live near him.” Gandalf
J. R. R. Tolkien – e Hobbit
n addiction sort of resembles a dragon. At least to me. Drag-
ons are not real, of course, but lets pretend they are for a few
moments, and you will soon get the connection. is chapter is not
long, but you dont want to skip it.
A dragon, when rst acquired, is like most infant animals: theyre
cute. My step-dad once acquired a cute puppy that grew into a huge
mammoth beast. e half German Shephard-Doberman once ripped
his custom van to shreds after only leaving the dog alone his the
vehicle for fteen minutes. e dog did $6,000 worth of damage to
his beloved vehicle.
In the beginning, in infancy, most animals appear as great pets.
Dragons are like that too. Young dragons are not that much trouble,
not that much trouble at all; at rst. ey are easily kept hidden
away and taken out when you want to play. ey are so small you
barely notice. ey understand your needs. A newly acquired dragon
is there for you. It heeds your every call. Controllability is a major
advantage of owning a young dragon. You can take it out and put it
away at the most convenient of times.
A young dragon provides many benets. eyre mythical, or so it
seems, taking you to fantasies never imagined. A dragon takes you on
exciting voyages. Exciting, deep, dark, exotic places await you – places
you didnt know existed. Your young dragon oers unconditional
acceptance, too, at least in the beginning. And this little fellow will
take you just about anywhere you want to go, when you want to go,
and whenever you want to go for as long as you want to stay.
Acceptance is a young dragons greatest virtue. Your dragon
accepts you just the way you are. ere are no conditions. ere
are no responsibilities. You may present yourself any way you like.
Whether in a bad mood and a bit grumpy, youre accepted. Are you
happy and excited? Perfect! ere’s no nagging, no fault nding, no
conditions. Yes, you can just be you.
ere are zero entanglements! None of the problems that plague
relationships present themselves in the beginning. No fuss, no mess,
no problem – whatever you want. Your only responsibility is to you
and your young dragon. Once you gain access to the dragons world,
it’s free sailing from there! No arguments – none of that “my needs,
your needs” stu. No “my time your time” – none of that. No! Its
a no-hassle relationship! No arguments! No in-laws! No family! No
problems! Its up to you. Total control! It appears perfect in every
And why not? It’s all about you. Your dragon can thrill you with
its magical powers beyond your wildest expectations. Its somewhat
of a shape-shifter, too, a transformer if you will. Your dragon will
be anything YOU want it to be. It appears in any form you conjure
up! And, it’s so much more! It’s sort of like the starship holodeck
H  T  D
from Star Trek. Remember those Next Generations episodes where
the captain and crew could escape the rigors and stress of running the
Enterprise? Just a few decks away the holodeck oers fantasy-based
getaways. A young dragon is such a place—at least in the beginning.
You just imagine it, and youre on your own private holodeck.
e cost of such a relationship, in the beginning, is minimal.
ere isnt a lot of money to lay out. ere is no cost commitment.
ere is no spending on anything or anyone except yourself. But,
perhaps best of all, there are zero relational struggles and hassles.
Also, you can treat your dragon in any manner you wish. Speak
kindly. Speak harshly. Use the dragon. Abuse the dragon. Accuse the
dragon. Neglect the dragon. Not a problem. In the beginning, your
dragon is just happy to spend time, any time, with you. You are
A small dragon is a perfect companion. It introduces you to
other wonderful companions. Your new dragon-friends enjoy your
company. ese new friends appear the most beautiful compliant
people youve ever met. And heres the thing – they nd you beautiful
in every way. In fact, they love you, want you, and accept you just
the way you are. eir only purpose is to serve and love you. Your
dragons missions statement is:
“To Serve You, To Love You – at is All I Do.”
It gives, expecting nothing in return; at least in the beginning.
It’s almost too good to be true. Yes, a young dragon seems perfect
in every way. Its a wonder to behold. Dragons are quite the rage
these days. It seems everybody has one, two, or three of them. en,
however, they start to grow. at’s when trouble starts. at’s when the
dragon begins to take control of your life exacting an ever-increasing
price for its services. at’s when your DRAGON becomes your
ADDICTION growing into an eight-story building.
Key Essentials
e Dragon is so satisfying, so fullling, so promising, and oh, so
deadly. Yes, deadly. Like Satan himself, the Great Serpent, he knows
every weakness. e Beast understands when best to tempt and lure
you away from goodness, happiness, and wholeness. is Leviathan
marks out a path of exciting adventure. Yet, the Addiction Drag-
on, your Dragon, causes much painful, and tearful destruction. Un-
leashing yourself from the Dragon requires a redirection of worship.
rough new worship comes transformation and eventual loss of de-
sire for the Dragon.
Scriptures for Reection
“I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has
done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrice – the kind he will
nd acceptable. is is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the
behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into
a new person by changing the way you think. en you will learn
to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect”
(Romans 12:1-2).
1. Remember how you rst met your dragon?
2. How long have you been together?
3. What was your relationship like in the beginning?
4. Describe your relationship now.
5. How do you feed your dragon?
H  T  D
6. How does your dragon inuence you?
7. Where do you think your dragon wants to take you?
8. What damage is this dragon causing to:
Your spouse?
Your marriage?
Your family?
Your work?
Your intimacy?
Your self-respect?
Your health?
Your walk with God?
Your income?
9. What good thing has God done for you?
10. What do you think of that little word “let” in Romans 12:2?
11. If you were completely transformed as described in Romans
12:1-2, what might you look like?
12. How can you change the way you think about your addiction?
“Dear God,
Help me see my dragon for what it truly is; something that I worship.
At rst, it was exciting, but now it causes me grief.
Help me understand how it seeks to control me.
Show me how I can give myself completely to you, oh God.
Show me how I can worship you.
Help me see all the good things you have done for me. Help me to
realize my new life in you.
Teach me to use my body, mind, and soul as a means of your grace
and glory.
My dragon is not my master. You, God, are my master. I want You
in your grace to lead and guide me. I wish to live under your liberty and
freedom. I want you to be my master.
Show me the way.
So Be It – Amen.