Covid19: A Real Danger for People in Recovery

Covid19 is a real danger to those in Recovery.

I believe this and I am concerned. It’s not exactly what you may think. It’s not that I think that this group of people are at any more risk than me for catching this virus and reaping its havoc to our health. We are all on equal par for that and I hope we are all doing what we can to stay healthy.

The danger I am concerned about is this:

the level of fear and anxiety this pandemic incites

can create an emotional side-kick that has no mercy and would revel to boot someone right off the wagon.

Though circumstances were different, the emotional overload was similar. My son, in early recovery, fell to relapse after the emotions of dealing with a friends overdose death; it overwhelmed him with hard feelings. Emotions are hard and many use substances to numb feelings; this is a known fact. And this is my concern for those of you who are in recovery. This is my check-in with you all.

Don’t know me, that’s okay… consider me an messenger, sent by the Highest Power who reigns above all others.

I am not a person in recovery, so I cannot speak into your life as another one in recovery can. But, I am a momma who lost her son to an overdose, after relapsing. From here, I want to speak into your life.

I beg you to do two things.

ONE: Stay in community and keep your focus despite your fears and feelings. Keep your eyes on the prize; the prize is your life. Fears and negative feelings lose their power if you talk them out. Don’t stuff them. Don’t ignore them. Don’t give them power over you, causing you to give-in to your drug of choice – remember ALL substances lie. Walk away. Call your mentor. Call you mom or dad or someone you know who loves you. You cannot do this alone – you need to stay in community any way you can.

TWO: Seek the Highest of Powers, truly and for real. It’s not a what…. It’s a who. This who, the Highest of Powers is the living God: the One who created you and me, the One who makes the sun rise and moon shine everyday, the One who loves you and sacrificed Himself for you – His life for yours; this was His choice and His gift to you – no lie here. So take the gift – its free!

I urge you to make this choice to seek Him out. He will give you all the comfort and assurance you need to stay on the path of recovery, especially during these uncertain, stressful times we live in.  Walk into a virtual church service (most are closed right now). Get a Bible and read it like you read the AA/NA manual. Call a Pastor – call my Pastor.  And Pray – it’s just talking to God Himself, and most of all, know that He loves you.

My heart speaks truth and hope for you… therefore, I speak to you boldly.

I have dear friends in recovery. I desire each of them to stay and seek. Will you do the same?

 

 

My Sons’ Death was a Springboard: Part Two

PART TWO:  As, I said…my sons’ death was a springboard into the deeper understanding of three important things:

  1. The human condition,
  2. The power of relationship,
  3. The gift of a day

Today I share with you #2… Open my eyes, to see people as you see them….

Because of my son, Caleb, I am privy to see a lot of people in the realm of recovery, people affected by the pain of a loved one struggling with addiction, and those who mourn the loss of loved ones to overdose, and the more people I listen to and talk with, the more backstories I hear. When it all boils down … when I look past the backstories full of weeping pain and wounds and hurts… I see vulnerable children of God, whom He created in His image. I see people who need love and care and who have need to be wanted and feel like they have a reason to keep going… just like me… just like all of us; these are basic human needs.

This involves commitment to relationship. Relationships take time and effort and sacrifice, but we all need them and even more so because of our human condition. Relationship can be as simple as a good word spoken to encourage another, or as generous as an invitation to supper, or as deep as being there for someone when you are needed no matter the time of day or night. Croix, Evan, Mike, and others are family to us because we see them and they see us; each of us has needs that we mutually fulfill. I see these friends in recovery doing this for other friends too. Because of my sons’ past involvement in the recovery community, I feel drawn to be in relationship whenever I can, with whoever is put in my path, because in this way, I am the hands and feet of God. The power of relationship begins to heal brokenness; seeing the human condition, it seems clear to me, that I need to do something about it.

I choose to deepen my relationship with Jesus, the One with the nail holes in his hands… and I do what I do because of Him.

What will you do?

 

 

 

 

When the Person in Recovery is the Frog in the Pot

One year ago today, my son, Caleb realized he was the frog in the pot.

Apparently, if you put a frog in a pot of cool water, and set it on the stove and slowly turn up the heat, the frog will not try to jump out, it does not realize he is in danger, until the water is nearly boiling, then it’s too late, the frog is boiled to death and can’t jump to freedom.

One year ago today, after a time of contemplation at his accident site, my son, Caleb, realized he was in trouble; he felt the heat of the flame under the pot increasing; He had relapsed after five months of clean time. What began as medicinal use of weed during his last month of recovery, under the guise of keeping him from using his previous drugs of choice, in reality, led him directly back to old friends and old ways — and he knew it.

He knew he was in trouble; he wanted to change.

  • Earlier that day, Caleb met up with his brother and they made plans together to get back on track at the gym; previous to addiction, Caleb was an exceptional athlete.
  • Later that day, He met up with his friend from the Sober house and admitted his relapse, shared his feelings, and wept at his predicament – the water was getting hot and he was scared!
  • And yet, at 8:21 pm, he was frantically looking for his jar of weed.

A person in recovery, who is scared, is in a very precarious and potentially dangerous position. Emotions can be triggers for people in recovery – hard emotions can be the impetus for whole hearted change, or they can be the thing that drives them back to using cuz it hurts too much to make the change – fear, false confidence, and pain are a lethal mix; addictions’ claws grip deep and the power overwhelms. Helplessness and hopelessness are double whammy accomplices alongside addiction.

Deep inside, I knew my son had the heart desire to change his course and the ability to jump out of the pot… and I believe he thought he could too. Every person in recovery has a deep desire to be free of addiction and stay clean… no addict wants to be an addict.

Do you know someone in recovery who is relapsing and not listening, not acknowledging, or too afraid and is paralyzed in the moment and feeling the heat of the water increasing?

Stay close, if they will let you…

Do what you can to encourage them and take the time to meet them where they are at and do what you can to keep them out of the pot.

Are you in recovery?

Do whatever it takes to jump out of the pot – please!  Seek out a supportive family member or friend, go to a meeting… run, hike, bike, … take a long hot shower… eat spicy taco’s(!)… do anything to get out of the pot… just,

Don’t be the Frog in the Pot!

 

 

 

 

That Dreaded in-the-Middle-of-the-Night- Phone Call

Hello?

Mom, is dad there?

Hello?

Where are you?

Where is your car?

Who is bringing you home?

Are you okay?

Why are getting into a strangers car?

What time will he be here?

Should we get dressed?

Is he okay?

Did he say where he is?

Did he say anything about his car?

Is that them?

What happened to your head?

Does it hurt?

Do you know you have an egg on your head?

How did that happen?

What town were you in?

What intersection?

This street?

This way?

How many tow trucks are there?

Is this your son?

Is he alright?

Should we call the ambulance?

Where is his car?

Down there?

He came from which direction?

Missed this pole?

Then that pole too?

How fast was he going?

Airborne?

How did he live through that?

He shouldn’t have?

Angels?

What were you doing?

Why were you even in this town?

How did this happen?

I can’t believe he did this?

Who will follow the ambulance?

 

***

All parents dread the phone call in-the-middle-of-the-night.

That was the night we realized just how deep our son’s addiction was and how dangerous it was becoming. It was the night we hoped would have scared him out of his denial.

Sadly, it did not.

If you have questions and wonder if your son or daughter is using a substance, seek counsel at your local Recovery Center or police station’s D.A.R.T program; do not let stigma or shame or fear hold you back.

 

 

What the Church has over the AA/NA Meetings

PART TWO:

Following up from What AA/NA has over the Church ….
To be fair,
there is something the Church at large has over the AA/NA Meetings; there is something the AA/NA meetings can learn from the Church…
But,
they need to come up from the basement fellowship halls and enter the Sanctuary, to see and hear it for themselves.

AA/NA books containing the 12-Steps allude to it, but don’t quite come out and stand boldly with it, because it might keep some people in recovery away from entering thru the doors of a Meeting.
And yet…
As I was privy to listen to so many heart stirring stories at the meetings, I could not help but think about the one thing that the Church and it’s Book has over these meetings and their 12-step support book, even though similar themes run throughout – both books encourage:
• Surrender
• Personal inventory
• Humble repentance
• Call to making amends
• Call to living peaceably
• Engagement with prayer
• Sharing the way that works , with others
• Believing in God
Admittedly, I am surprised at how many similar themes there are between the two books. One might be as good as the other…

Except, Jesus.
The Jesus factor is the one thing that the Church has over the AA/NA Meetings.

I have witnessed the speaking about God in the meetings and in the Serenity prayer that is often a closing ritual for these gatherings. I understand that the majority of people in recovery are referring to God as an entity who is a power greater than themselves, an acknowledgement that they are not in control. And this is so very great!
God is in control. HE is all powerful, all present, all knowing and is the Creator of our very beings.

BUT,
it is not the whole story and I am afraid that this is where some people in Recovery are missing out.

Except Jesus; God’s Son, Jesus.
The Jesus factor makes it all personal and where victorious living begins.

I can tell you so, because I know, because I am personal with Jesus.
Did you know that when you believe in the name and person of Jesus and all He did for you, you are:
• made a new creation
• given a new identity
• given power over death

How is this possible? What did Jesus do for you and for me?

Like a regular hero – He jumped in front of the bus and pushed us out of the way!
Jesus was born, in order to die; He took the punishment of each of our sins upon himself and willingly sacrificed His own life for ours by dying a criminals death on a cross.

But that is only half the story!
He then was buried in a tomb, typical for those days…… but not typical,

God, the One who has all power, caused an earthquake to open the tomb and Jesus rose from the dead and spoke to his women friends, telling them to tell his other friends that he is alive, just as he foretold them days ago.

Best of all, and the key point here: Jesus then rose to heaven and now sits at His father’s side… well, that would be God… the one we all mention in the Serenity prayer

These events are known as the Good News, and we, church-going Christians, who love Jesus, are here to proclaim and share it with everyone who will listen.

Just like Step # 12 in the 12-step book mandates, share with others the way that works.

This is my moment to invite anyone in Recovery to consider the Jesus factor
He is the Way that works the best.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life… John 14:6a

I believe true and full recovery is possible and sustainable through the power that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ power is stronger than addiction of any kind.

I heard someone in a meeting say, anything can be your higher power,

…“like that rock over there”…
I am here to tell you,
the only Rock that has higher power over you to aide in the full and final defeating of your beastly addiction is
Jesus Himself – the Rock of your Salvation.

SO, I invite you, who are in Recovery, if you have not already, please come up from the basement fellowship halls and enter the Sanctuary; local? Visit my church.

Not Talking about Plums, Just Drugs

Have you ever heard of William Carlos Williams?
I mean what kind of a name is that anyway?
A fun one I suppose…

red plum fruits on round brown wooden plate

I had not heard about him until his poem became a prompt for the writing group I attend. The assignment was to mimic his style and write a This is Just to Say poem; Here is what I wrote, but I warn you, it is not very fun.

This is just to say…
I went in your room while you were gone and I cleared up all the dirty dishes and moldy food scraps, I gathered your smelly clothes, and made your bed ‘just so’ because I was searching for whatever it is you were hiding and I found it and I threw it out.
You know what it was I am sure,
…Forgive me, but I love you too much and hate what you are doing.

Yup.
Here I am to talk about something not very fun: being the parent of a child who became addicted to drugs, right under my nose. TODAY, marks 9 months since my son died of an overdose.

Practically speaking, this is my creative hook to share with you fellow-parents some items you might be seeing, or items to look for, if you suspect at all that your son or daughter may be into stuff he/she should not be into. I list them in a rough order of how I found these things in my son’s bedroom and in my home, honestly, the timeline is now blurred.

  • Lighters and matches
  • Little plastic Baggies, in pockets, in the laundry, crumpled on the floor
  • Razor blades
  • Pens, with the innards taken out of them
  • Straws cut short
  • Cigar innards
  • Weed seeds, weed leaf flakes – it’s not oregano
  • small butt ends of joints
  • Glass or metal pipes, bowls, and contraptions in parts
  • My kitchen box of Baking soda
  • Ziplocs with white residue
  • Foil scraps, and even my foil tube
  • A large propane lighter
  • Sticky-gummy stuff on the night stand
  • Burn marks on the quilt
  • Funny looking tiny papers w/ little cartoon prints
  • Spoons gone missing, found in the bedroom with soot and burn marks on the backside
  • Random colored pills with random letters and numbers, in a Ziploc baggie
  • Tiny vile bottles, unlabeled, with some kind of oil in them
  • Stuff on wax or parchment paper that looks like someone melted a lollipop on it – only it’s a golden brown color and smells bad

809

I did not find them all at once…
It was one item here and there, at weeks or month intervals between times at first…
I dismissed the oddity and believed the excuses from my son, when I asked him about the items:

we use the lighters at work”… “it’s my buddy’s, not mine”….

Repetitive finds began building and then multiple items were found at a time as I went in to clean his room A.K.A. –  compulsively and obsessively search his room, daily after he left the house for work.
Suspicions became confrontations….but by then, it was too late, because I had been too naïve and too afraid to bring it out into the open much sooner; Ignorance never pays.
So…
Once again -the purpose of this post is to alert you and other fellow parents what to look out for – and if you spot one or two of these items – do not think:

Oh, not my child…”
“Every kid experiments, it’s not that bad, I know his friends…”

Remember Parents: Knowledge is Power.

And that doesn’t just apply to our kids.

 

“But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,….” Ephesians 5:13

When it becomes visible and known, then a parent can deal with it and perhaps save their kid before it’s too late. Don’t be afraid to look…

 

Trust God, Clean House, Help Others

My friend, Croix, got his One Year Coin and I was there to witness it!

img_3789 (2)

This young man was my son’s roommate at the local sober house, Honest Beginnings, and the one my son wept fearful tears with just days before my son overdosed and died.

Proud.

Yes, I was so proud of him as he beamed at the podium. We have emotionally adopted Croix and think of him as a son, as we do others we have met while we were on the difficult journey of trying to help our own addicted son in Recovery.

At the podium, my freind clearly declared and shared his testimony as to how he accomplished this milestone:

“Trust God, Clean House, Help Others” is what he said.

Basically, that was his whole speech..

This plan is so simple; it is profoundly awesome!

Trust God: At some point in our lives, we must admit that there is One over us, One we must submit to and trust with our lives.

  • For me, that is Jesus; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

Clean House: No Windex necessary! It’s not that kind of cleaning. This is cleaning out the messes in life that we have created – making amends with people we have offended and hurt – seeking forgiveness and making things right with them.

  • As a Christian, I align this with the concept of repentance, making all things right in relationship to God, first, then with others; “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)

Help Others: This is the profoundly awesome part because it is the key that keeps him continuing on the path of Recovery.  Croix said, when he stops helping others, that’s when he sees himself begin to slip in thought/mind and heart and that’s a dangerous thing… a very dangerous thing.

Helping others is the way to stay focused — talk the talk, and walk the talk alongside!

  • Coincidentally, this is the way to follow Jesus as well, He said: be fishers of mendo as I did love your neighbor. Jesus sought out the broken and made them whole by seeking, serving, and loving. This is key to the mission, no wonder it is so effective in Recovery for one to help the other; it’s essential to passing on the wholeness & healing.

So, in case you are wondering…

or know someone else who needs to know what a good battle plan is…. this is it!

BATTLE PLAN IN RECOVERY:   TRUST GOD,  CLEAN HOUSE,  HELP OTHERS!

BUT DO NOTE:

It’s not a one time declaration, it’s a day by day, moment by moment work.

It’s doable.

Recovery is attainable.

 

PS. This is a good battle plan for every life in fact.

Trust God, Clean House, Help Others: Repeat.