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/