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

 

 

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The Crave and The Fix

One of my dearest friends in the world sent me King and Country’s  CD recently called “The Crave.”  If every other song wasn’t spectacularly amazing, this one brought it home—

It broke me

        If you’ve ever struggled with addiction or loved someone who has, then listen to this I beg you.  You’ll get it.

See I’m a strong girl.   These are the things I used to CRAVE:

  • Control
  • Stability
  • A Plan (see Control)
  • Having “it” together (family, work, my house, appearance, finances….the list goes on)

And then The Beast came to our home.  To my heart—an uninvited stranger who moved in without warning or permission—and foreclosed on my heart, and mercilessly tried to wreck my life, and that of my family.

We’re still processing and mending.  But above all I’m still believing and I’m still loving.  I’m living through something that nearly took away someone I love so much more than my own life and who all I wanted to do was :

FIX

      Surely, if I craved fixing my addict just a bit more than this person craved a fix, I’d be able to:

  • Convince them
  • Change them
  • Fix them
  • Make it all better

But I failed.  Or at least I thought I did.  Because sometimes human love isn’t enough I was so busy taking on the roles of detective, nurse, lawyer, and defensive lineman often simultaneously,   that it took me a while for me to learn it isn’t all my fault.  And it isn’t all theirs.

Addiction is two things:  A genetic predisposition and a choice.  The choice is the first time.  The addiction is all the times that come after.

I know now it won’t be me that can fix this.  Because THE FIX may be my goal, but it’s not my role.  This is something only God can do as my loved one decides to get extremely intellectually honest or in street lingo: Keepin’ it real y’all! 

“The others”–the ones what have walked this journey of one day at a time for some time now,  through shared experience, accountability, and unconditional love, will have to help my loved one pick up the pieces that I could not.

      This is what it’s like for the addict and the family:  Excruciatingly painful.  Isolating.  Really scary.  Exhausting.  Sometimes you feel judged or are misunderstood by those who haven’t ever been exposed to this.

But the suffering is also something more.  It’s redemptive.  Beauty shines brighter thru wet tears.  Appreciation for now comes when you lose so much and almost lose—well, everything.   Every other problem becomes so small.

And now I know people, too many, that have lost this battle.  People that suffer silently.  And I won’t be doing that any more.  My battlefield is becoming my mission field.

For I am not ashamed of the one I love who is getting the help they need.  I will forever be their:

  • Advocate, but not their enabler.  I will speak the truth, but in love.
  • Cheerleader, because encouragement is the seed that can blossom into confidence.
  • Prayer warrior, because the biggest battles are won on our knees, and the biggest war is fought for our hearts and mind.  If you think you don’t have an enemy bent to destroy both or either, you deceive yourself.

So devil take warning:

  • I am unmoved by you.
  • I am undeterred.
  • Above all I am not defeated—not now, not ever.

Because I have the King of kings on my side.  You have already lost.  For I have tasted The Cure .  His name is Jesus.  He is not just our Saviour, He is also our Saver and Redeemer.  He really does save the lost.  He really does comfort those who mourn and are crushed in spirit.   He does this not only because we first believed, but more importantly because He first loved us. 

Without faith, it’s not only impossible to understand this; I think it’s impossible to see the everyday miracles that God decides to bless us with.  Life is a mystery. It’s full of both joy and suffering, sometimes simultaneously.  Deserving neither, we experience both as a gift of opportunity to question everything until finally we reach the end of our limited human understanding.  That’s where we end, and God can finally begin.

       And to the families touched by addiction?  You are not alone.  You do not have to walk this journey alone.   May you find the courage to find a support group and attend meetings, find a supportive and empathetic church, and/or a close circle of true friends who get it, and may you come to believe and trust in a loving God who already has the power to heal all that ails you.    After all, we could all stand to take a hit of a drop of grace. 

Hope.  Love.   Believe.  And you shall live.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

Support possibilities for you or a loved one who suffers from addiction:

http://www.celebraterecovery.com/

http://al-anon.alateen.org/?gclid=CImZo7jw5LsCFa9lOgod2kcAkw

http://www.aa.org/

http://www.narconon.org/

http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/addiction_hijacks_brain.htm

 

       

Sir Thriver

Behance.net Tooth Pain

Painting By Takahiro Kimura – Tokyo, Japan

 

#$&^@(!!!  Rats!  That’s what my brain keeps thinking every five minutes.   For I am a teensy bit bummed right now.    I’ve been up most of the night with throbbing nerve pain on my upper right molars.  I know what it is:  I need an emergency root canal.  Again!  Sixth time, in fact!  God has blessed me with many great things, but sadly amazing teeth isn’t one of them.  And in case you were wondering, I do brush and floss and don’t drink soda.

This unforeseen and unfortunate medical emergency has coincided “perfectly” in its timing with our family vacation trip to Disney World in just a mere three days.  We are so looking forward to our first vacation as a family of five since our youngest son was born seven years ago.

Merry Christmas from Adversity!   Happy Blue Year!  You’ve just been given a citation for exceeding the speed limit under Murphy’s Law.

So as I lay in bed all night in a futile attempt to snatch moments of sleep between these nerve-shattering contractions of the mouth, I’ve had some time to have a few choice words with God.  Primarily this one:  Why?  Or these two:  Why now? 

I winced at what I think may be His reply:    Why not?

Why should I be exempt from suffering any more than the rest of the world? I realize that in some other part of the world, perhaps Cambodia, at this very moment there may be a nearly toothless fisherman who would laugh at the simplicity of my situation.  I can after all go to a dentist.  I do have access to dental care, even credit to ultimately arrive at a remedy.  That alone is worth so much.

Gahhhh!  Even now, the throbbing is fairly insane!  No matter.  I will still write.  I will use my suffering.  I will not let it defeat me.  I am however humbled by it; it reminds me, yet again, I am not completely in control of my own life.

Perhaps one of the most import things we can ever do in life is to learn how to not just survive inconvenience, pain, trauma, illness, and other drama in life, but how to thrive in doing so.  Striving towards excellence in all situations should be our modus operandi.

But it’s hard.  It’s hard when you hurt, be it physical or emotional.  It’s hard when there seemingly is not a person around.  It’s hard when others just don’t get it or are too busy.  You’re going to have to go deep and deal with this with God.    Or you can try and handle it all on your own, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll reach the end of that resource fairly quickly!

      So how do you survive adversity?  How do you go from survivor to Sir Thriver?  (Or Ms. Thriver, as the case may be.) 

      Stop counting your sorrows and start magnifying your blessings.  It’s all about perspective.  You can see your life as a glass half empty or just about full.   Which thoughts you feed will determine the words you say and thus the feelings you carry.  Focus on what is good, pure, true, lovely, excellent, and praiseworthy—you know that already!

       Stop looking to other people for understanding.  I’m not saying stop relating to humans.  I’m just saying there isn’t always a strong enough person available to carry all your burdens.  Remember, they have some too!  This is where faith steps in: when people walk out.  You will not always get what you need from other people.  But you will from God, if you allow your own doubts to be extinguished by a love that knows no limits.

     Stop focusing on FEAR.  Start STEPPING OUT in faith.  Christian writer and speaker Joyce Meyer said the acronym of F.E.A.R. stands for false evidence appearing real.  How true this is!    We let what we are afraid of paralyze us from doing what we know we need to do.  I can’t let fear of pain, finances, or outcome keep me from going to the dentist today.  So in 81 minutes, I’ll have the opportunity to pick up the phone and make the call that can change all this.  What call or faith step do you need to make or take today to make that change?

     All things can be used for good.   Romans 8:28 doesn’t say that all things ARE good, but that they can be used for good, for those that love Him and are called according to His purposes.  It’s easier to see situations and people as “lessons for life” that God uses to grow us, when we look beyond our line of sight, beyond the person or circumstance staring us in the face, and beyond our human understanding.  If you can trust God who gave you life, you have already taken the first faith step to thriving!  Congratulations!  You have accepted that you can’t control everything!

Pain, suffering, death—it’s all part of life.  It’s the part where we want to hit the fast forward button that doesn’t exist.  We don’t get to walk around it.  Through it all, this is the only way.  Just remember, you are not alone.

Pain Wisdom:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.   Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Philippians 4:8

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
   in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  Isaiah 43:2

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

Pain removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.  ~ C.S. Lewis

One Day this pain will make sense to you