Don’t Give Up – God’s Promises for the Addict (& Their Family)

To anyone who feels hopeless , I say to you “Don’t give up.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:5 NIV)

To anyone who has given into temptation for what may be or seems like the 5,347th time—Don’t give up.

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 The Msg.)

To anyone who feels like they can’t get up and go on just one more day – Don’t give up.

Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; He won’t leave you (Deuteronomy 31:6 The Msg.)

To anyone who is ashamed of who they are – Don’t give up.

For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. (Isaiah 50:7 NASB)

To anyone who has been abandoned by people they love – Don’t give up.

You’ve always been right there for me; don’t turn your back on me now.
Don’t throw me out, don’t abandon me; you’ve always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me, but God took me in.

Point me down your highway, God; direct me along a well-lighted street; show my enemies whose side you’re on.
Don’t throw me to the dogs, those liars who are out to get me, filling the air with their threats.

I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit!!
I’ll say it again:  Stay with God.
(Psalm 27:10-14 The Msg.)

To anyone who things thinks they aren’t strong enough – Don’t give up. You are stronger than you know.

I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. Phillipians 4:13

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Psalm 46:5

To anyone who has no way out or feels like they don’t. – Don’t give up. Look up. Help is closer than you think.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121: 1-8 NIV)

To anyone who isn’t convinced they are loveable or loved, I implore you: Don’t give up! That’s a lie. You are worthy of being loved and are always loved by God who created you.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)

Have you been an encouragement or loved an addict, or their family today? We are fighting the good fight with everything we’ve got! Our hurt is helped by your love!

Addicts, like us, are not beyond redemption!

Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. (Galatians 4:14)

Don't Give Up

 

 

Advertisements

Not Like Them

Have you ever said these words?

I’ll never do that. I’m not like them.

Or maybe you’ve said these words to your kids:

Over my dead body! Like hell you will! I don’t care if EVERYONE ELSE is doing _____ or going _______, you’re not– you’re NOT LIKE THEM!

Oh these bitter words, how I’ve eaten them, choked on them, and even had my share of second helpings.

I used to think if I was a good enough mother, a “good enough” Christian (not possible) or worked hard enough, my kids would turn out A-OK!   I did it all: work, raised my kids, did a zillion activitities that were a testimony as to how I was involved. You see, I was like you. I cared. Oh, how I cared.

I prayed over them. I loved them. I discussed right and wrong with them. I gave them freedom to make their own choices but didn’t hover over them to a point they couldn’t think for themselves. I made mistakes and got other things right. Like every other parent I know, I was far from perfect, but together with my husband, along the path of mistakes and triumphs, we did the best we could.

But our lives changed irrevocably a few years ago. Something happened to our family that is sadly enough taking America’s youth by storm right now.

It’s not something that happens to families “like” ours. After all, WE’RE NOT LIKE THEM!

Addiction. Heroin specifically. It nearly killed our son.   The legal/psychological/logistical/financial drama that ensued felt like it would kill me on many days. Oh, so many many days. But failure is not an option, especially when you’re kid’s life literally hangs in the balance.

There is still work, finances, other children, parents, activities, responsibilities that don’t go away just because you’re in crisis mode. Still….

I can’t afford to be silent anymore!!

I’ve lived through too much. We’ve lost a lot. But I’ve gained a perspective, and above all a compassion for those that walk this journey with us. We are all fighting so hard. And right now it feels like we are winning (8 months sober!)  But looks and feels can be deceptive. Because for every daily battle that feels/appears like a victory to us, another family loses the war and has to make final arrangements.

Tonight in my weekly support group something SNAPPED inside me. A fifth child of a parent passed away specifically from opiate addiction. We all grieved collective tears while internally, perhaps selfishly thanking God it wasn’t us this time. But it shouldn’t be ANY of us!

And like AIDS in the 80s, SILENCE = DEATH.

I wanted to wait until my son gave me permission to tell the story.   I don’t want to diminish his dignity in anyway so the parts that belong only to him won’t be discussed.  But this is BIGGER than just his story, it’s our story, perhaps it’s yours or someone you love, and it’s rapidly becoming America’s story!

Addiction is a family disease. And it is a disease that kills when left in the closet.

I plan to write more as I feel the Spirit prompt me that this part is okay to tell,but I (along with several dozen friends in my family support group) as well as my best friend who has written a book on the subject of addiction have decided it’s past time to go ALL OUT.

Our children and our loved ones are too precious to lose.

We used to have routine. Stability. Financial peace.   All that got scrambled up a bit. But it’s all good.

God is so merciful and definitely in control. I seek his wisdom daily and on most days, have his peace. I am grateful for my addict, and love him with an endless love that knows no bounds! I’ve come to appreciate our somewhat unpredictable life. Perhaps our neighbors have manicured lawns and squeeky clean lives. But we’re not like them.

We are also your neighbors, your friends, your family members, your people beside you at church, and who chat with you in the store or LIKE what you say on Facebook!   We’re real, with real problems, but are fortunate enough to have a REAL GOD who has shown us nothing but REAL LOVE in so many ways.

I’ve decided it’s time to share what I’ve learned and am learning about addiction (from the perspective of “someone who loves an addict” because silence equals submission. I will not be quiet as addiction (particularly opiate addiction) is spreading across our country like wildfire right now and devouring our children.

We have an enemy. I am not afraid.

I have an addict. I am not ashamed.

We have a good God who is in control, even when our lives our not. Therefore, we have a hope and a future.

I have something to say. I hope you will hear with an open heart and open mind.

 

PLEASE CONTINUE and read this moving blog from my dearest friend (14 years sober) who “walks the 12” daily with courage and grace and stands in agreement that we MUST MUST MUST get past the shame of addiction, and get to the root of what drives it, so that people can find healing!  http://thebeggarsbakery.net/2014/02/03/skewer-the-stigma-in-the-wake-of-losing-a-star-an-addict-shares-who-we-are/

Bury My Digital Remains in a Yurt in Big Sur

   Mix Tape 1Sometimes I miss my old life.   For some of us, born before the millennium, we miss the old way:

The Analog Way

     It’s true. I miss buttons that lock into position, volume dials that go from silent to ear-splitting loud. I miss big beast cars with loud hemis and stick shifts and without a trace of a menu screen anywhere. I miss TVs in wood cabinets with rabbit ears and UHF and VHF possibilities.   I even almost miss the days when I had an 8-track cassette player and Charlie Rich used to sing “And when we get behind”…..and then it would choke and gurgle, only to finish up with “closed doors” once the song changed in the middle of the track.

Billy Sprague, owner of Sanity Muffin in Oakland, CA says cassette tapes are poised to make a comeback! The hiss and flat tones are part of the “auditory experience” that makes cassettes a superior source of acoustical sound. Well A to the Men brother!

Yes, those of us over 40 remember the thrill of “just push PLAY”, a delightful little analog button with its accompanying crisp click-lock when pressed.   We didn’t just hear music; we felt it with our fingers. Sometimes we even untangled it with our pencils and our fingers, as if vengeful car stereos could scold us for our choice in boyfriends. If and when the music sucked, well we obliviously chucked it out into the pristine environment from our stick shift cars allowing some other sucker the possibility of finding an abandoned treasure.

Another musician just released a demo cassette that his band recorded in a yurt in Big Sur. With that revelation, I immediately Google Image-searched “Big Sur Yurts”.   If you don’t know what a yurt is, well Google it now, because this is where we will all live, if America really does become a Socialist “utopia” or when we all have a collective “nervy B” from all this technology, but I digress.

I’m almost 50; I’m in the middle of the road, in the middle of my life. I use all things digital and it eats up more of my time than I actually even possess. Which actually begs the question, well how does she even do it? I don’t know. Same way everyone else does it. Only everyone else it seems, does even more, even faster than I do.

Why nearly everyone knows how to use Macs, PCs, IPAD, IPODS, laptops, smartphones, DVRs, GPS, programmable appliances, and a variety of even more devices they can control, all from apps on their smartphones. We can secure our home, monitor our dog at day camp, balance our stock portfolios, digitally enhance our pictures via Instagram to make it look Polaroid Retro, blog our opinions, post endless selfies, and stack our digital lives in neat little terabytes both in the cloud and on terra firma here on earth.

But something is missing. We communicate our every thought, opinion, and question with our fingers– tap tap tap– a million times a day. We’re too busy and too shy to talk in person now. We digitize our experience, but do we remember it? And what about the contents of our digital lives? What’s going to happen when we die?

If you think you’ve got it bad because you have yet to organize your parents’ shoe boxes full of Polaroid pictures and yellow-green fading pictures of your childhood, how much more complex will it be for our kids who will receive…..

What exactly? Our 19th and 20th generation phones? Memory cards? DVDs? Thumb drives? Hard drives? Our last used laptop? Our Facebook account? Ancient VHS tapes chock full of family memories?

What if their current operating system is incompatible?

What if our video tapes and DVDs have a close encounter with magnets, or extreme thermal instability?

What if our password changes 456 times since originally revealing it to your children, if you even did at all.

What if an EMP blows up our entire digital existence before we get a chance to get digitally organized?

Ah! The joys of too many choices.   If only our lives resembled the sleek, crisp, minimalist organization of a Macbook Pro. If our homes could actually look like an Apple store. If only we had a time capsule in our own life, where we could just go back to any moment in time, freeze it, and leave it there.   But no, as Steve Miller so adequately prophesied to the mellow stoners of the 1970s, “time keeps on slipping into the future.”

In an attempt to streamline, we’re given more choices than we have time to implement.

Something has to give. We’re not going to be able to learn it all, do it all, save it all, and organize it all. If all we leave are digital remains and memories, then we’re not leaving much at all. We may as well leave nothing. And besides, one little glitch, well, that’s what we’ll be leaving anyway.

As for me? Perhaps I’ll leave my digital remains in a yurt in Big Sur for a really smart future geek to discover and decode.

I think the Sanity Muffin dude and his friends have it right. We need to cozy up in our yurts with our groovy loved ones, pop in a favorite cassette, turn on the lava lamp, light some incense, and just be with each other. No pictures. No phones.  Just two people staring up on a starry starry night, thoughts lost in a semi-ignorant haze, as we dream about, but skip the obsessing part about our unknown futures.

For info. on cassette comebacks see:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9TccPAgvU0

For info. on Billy Sprague of Sanity Muffin:  http://www.sanitymuffin.com/

For info. on Yurts of Big Sur:  http://www.treebonesresort.com/