Love Wins!

Love WinsWishing you all a very blessed Easter.

I know it doesn’t feel blessed to many of you. Five years ago today, at this time (7:15AM), I was in a police station learning that my boys had been using heroin at a party.  It’s amazing to me that Easter is the anniversary of this journey for me. No wonder I’ve been tense these past few days.

But now – I’m off to church. Know you are all in my prayers. Know that Love Wins – if not in this life, then in the Great Beyond. Easter is our reminder that there’s more to life than what we can see. And that death holds no power over the beautiful spirit of life in all of us. LOVE has already won. Amen.

 

Entombed

closed tomb

I once read that the stone which covered the entry to Jesus’ tomb would have weighed 1-2 tons.  Let’s be cautious – let’s err on the light side and imagine it was just under one ton.  Let’s, for the sake of argument, say it only weighed 1,750 pounds.

One thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds.

Addiction.

Entombed.

The effect of addiction on me, on my children, on my whole family…
on your child, on you, on your whole family…
this is the weight of a stone that we cannot roll away in our own strength.

Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
 29
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
 30
For my yoke is easy
and my burden is
light.

Matthew 11:28-30

Take this cup…

Have you ever wished you could blossom into your beautiful life without first being planted into the cold, dark ground?

Have you ever wished you could blossom into your beautiful life without having to break through the shell that surrounds your heart?

Have you ever wished you could blossom into your beautiful life without having to feel the pain of the push up through the heavy soil?  Without suffering?  Without ever being so fully human?

 Then, accompanied by the disciples,
Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives.
There he told them,
“Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”

 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,
“Father, if you are willing,
please take this cup of suffering away from me.
Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. 
He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit 
that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.

Luke 22:39-44

Telling Our Stories & Public Policy Changes

storyI haven’t done any formal research on this, but it seems to me that there is a pattern to creating public policy changes: It starts with telling our stories to whoever will listen.  If you are anywhere near my age, you remember when the word “gay” or “homosexual” would rarely be spoken in a whisper. Now we have states passing gay marriage legislation. Why? Because brave people stood up and told their stories.

How about child abuse and sexual assault? I remember the days before the term “date rape” existed…days when people would barely say the word “sex” and any kind of talk about incest or sexual abuse or rape was hushed in families and communities as if speaking it would make it spread like a disease.  Now we have laws prohibiting these crimes and, recently, commercials with celebrities speaking out against sex crimes. There’s a long way to go, but we’re making progress.

Same with drug use and abuse and dependencies.  We’re learning. How many people have to die of heroin overdose before we all stand up and speak. We are learning. We are starting. And some laws and legal processes are changing – like “drug court” systems surrounding people with services for recovery rather than condemning them immediately to jail.

I’m not lecturing any one person to stand up to speak – because it all depends on where you are in the process whether that’s a role for you or not. I’m just bringing up the issue.  People are learning and those of us who are ready and able can speak out.

Here’s the article that brought these thoughts to my mind. Take a look and see what you think. I’d love to hear your views: http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/addiction/lets-get-serious-about-treating-addiction

Blessings and prayers to all of you…

 

Rest? In peace?

rest in peace

A friend’s son committed suicide today.  I heard about it through a facebook message from my mother. The lady is not a close friend; she is an acquaintance from childhood.  But our boys are  … were … the same age and when they were little, we stumble upon each other unexpectedly at a park in another state and we caught up while the boys played.  We are friends on facebook and I sent her a note saying how very, very sorry I am.

Facebook and death – maybe it’s an appropriate thesis topic for some of the random dynamics we now have due to the proliferation of social media.

The point is, I got to thinking about how quickly people hear news – no matter how personal; so much more quickly than before.  And then we respond. I thought out my response – really feel the message I sent was appropriate and that a fb message – in the context of this relationship – was also alright and would be sincerely accepted when the time comes that she checks in and reads it.

Then I got to thinking about how often we see posts: “R.I.P. [fill in the blank].”  What empty words those would be to me if I was the mother of one who has passed. At least at first. They are resting – but the mother, right now?  Rest?  Peace?  Really?

I don’t know. I’m not sure what point I’m making. I just got to thinking about my boys and how close I’ve been to losing both of them. And how close some of you out there are to this.  I’m indulging in a little sadness.

Honestly, despite everything I’ve seen in life, I mostly consider life a joyful and blessed experience every day.  But not all day, every day.  So for this moment, my heartfelt tears extend to this friend and her family and any of you who have said goodbye to your child too soon. We will be reunited. But for now, a moment of grief for the loss.

Rest in Peace …

Let Bygones Be…

past futureThere are so many sayings about the past: “Put the past behind you.” “Don’t look behind you, you’re not going that way.” “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery.”

The one that rings most true to me right now is a quip that I don’t see often on facebook posts or memes: “The past is never where you think you left it.” (Katherine Ann Porter)  I may need to read some of her essays and stories – I think she’s hit the nail on the head.

One of the most frustrating things about this addiction/recovery process – about the road paved by drugs and their users – is  that it’s a path not easily erased and left behind. Even when a person has “ceased to be a prisoner of the past” and “continued moving forward one step at a time,” the past can appear without warning, rearing its head and proving that it is harder to dismiss than we want to believe.

Yesterday, one of my boys was arrested.  Apparently, he had attempted to sell something to someone a couple of years ago…

I won’t print the details (as little as I know) at this point, but it involves small-town police building a case over years in an attempt to get to the bigger dealers. I get that. I want those people stopped too. But it’s hard to watch this young man who has been working hard to support himself and his family, to stay clean and live right … to walk the right path … have the past come and spin him around, sneering, “Though you could leave me behind did you?”

We say, “Let bygones be bygones.”  It’s harder than it seems.

One mom talking. Can’t sleep. Thanks for being here. Much love and God’s peace to you all.

FOLLOW UP NOTE: Yes, all will be well. The system, hopefully, will work in favor of (a) stopping the flow of drugs and (b) supporting my son as he continues to build his life and raise his family. That’s the best possible outcome; that’s what we hope and pray for!

Health, Education and Making a Difference

Recently, I applied to a job opening as an Addiction Recovery Specialist.  In South Carolina, there is a certification for this specialty – which I do not have yet.  But I thought that my coaching certification combined with my personal experience might make me a good candidate for the job.  I’m interested in helping people get healthy.  I’m interested in educating the public about drugs and families and recovery.  Where do you turn when all those efforts you made as a parent to avoid this experience slip through your fingers and here you are … wanting to wake from what feels like a nightmare?

I want to tell you there is HOPE!  As long as there is breath, there is hope!  For me, my first focus was the health of my child. And the next focus was education for me and my child. And amidst it all – a constant focus on God and faith.

Every now and then, I spend some time on Google looking for new information or resources. Recently, I came across a recovery center called, “Advanced Health and Education.”  Well – isn’t that on target!  Advanced Health and Education has a truly holistic approach to recovery which seems to be increasingly popular these days – for good reason.  Most of us have learned that recovery is about more than just resisting cravings.  It’s about rebuilding and redefining an entire healthy lifestyle for both the addict and the family.

In the west – states like Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Arizona – I have had excellent experiences with the Valley Hope treatment centers.  They have gone above and beyond in providing service not only to their patients, but to families as well – on the personal side as well as making treatment financially viable.

Now that I live on the East Coast, I’m snooping into what’s available here.  I have a friend who recently went to New Jersey for treatment.   New Jersey drug and alcohol treatment centers abound, but I’m interested to know how many have the comprehensive type of program offered by Advanced Health and Education.  If you are located in the NY/NJ area – a good resource for New Jersey addiction treatment centers can be found here: http://drugabuse.com/usa/drug-abuse/new-jersey/.   For New York (and other states), look here: http://www.recovery.org/browse/new-york/.

I want to follow the lead of Advanced Health and Education by advocating their example of treating the whole person – I’d even say, the whole family.  What should our next steps so that all treatment facilities – from California drug treatment centers to NJ drug treatment centers and everything in between, above and below, continually improve and provide excellent healing service to addicts and to us? How can we help? What can I do to make a difference?