3 Things Needed for Best Success in Recovery

National Recovery Awareness Month; right here, right now.

What is there to be aware of?

Three things…

Be aware…

Three things are needed for best success in Recovery according to three of my friends who are in active Recovery and succeeding well.

One might think it’s money…

a place to live…

keeping busy with work…

or maybe a really good counselor.

BUT, it’s none of those things necessarily, though each of those things are good to have.

My sober friends Croix and Evan both say it’s LOVE & FELLOWSHIP and they both found this in local AA style groups; being with people who understand and accept you with all your struggles and flaws. Evan says, “…the relationships that I’ve acquired in this program have been amazing…”

There is strength in numbers, as the old saying goes; Coals stay hot when piled together…. a lone coal fizzles out. SO if you want to succeed in Recovery, the advice is: don’t go it alone. Come into the fold of those who know your struggles, of those who support you and accept you, and find the love that makes it all work.

Beyond that, My sober friends say WILLINGNESS is key in turning a life around and keeps you on the path of continuous sobriety.  It’s the willingness to be reminded and to be helpful to others who are in the early recovery stage. Another friend, Travis, tells me, “I need reminders… reminders that only newcomers can give… reminders I get of someone working the steps and just getting honest for the first time.”

Evan adds to that : “I am able to be sober and available to show others that there’s another way to live. When I was out there in active addiction I couldn’t do anything without looking for something in return. These days I live my life doing selfless acts of love to help people find the road to recovery.”

To be honest, I am humbled by my sober friends. The commitment I see and observe is amazing. I know that each of my friends would do anything to help someone struggling with addiction, find sobriety; I have witnessed them taking phone calls at inopportune times and making it a priority to be a listening ear and give words of encouragement; I know they have driven old cars into the ground to gather people from wherever locations to get to nightly meetings, or to include another recovering friend in a fun sober excursion.  These men walk the talk with passion!

Croix ties it all together, “What I needed and need most for recovery is love, community, and the willingness to continuously share those things that were given to me, with others.”

I am not in recovery,

… but I met these dedicated and passionate men during my son’s struggle to stay sober; unfortunately, my son did not fully latch on totally to the fellowship of the sober community and he made one mistake, one night, and died of an unintended, overdose after 5 months of sober living.

I choose to love on Croix, Evan, Travis, and others in recovery and support them in any way I can. I urge you to do the same if you know anyone who struggles with addiction, or struggles in early recovery; encourage them toward love, fellowship, and willingness.

It could save their life!

Loving, accepting, and helping others is exactly what God calls us to do in all areas of living – it is what He did for us. God, in the form of Jesus Christ, loved us so much, he sacrificed his own life, in order to bring us into the family – the community – of God, the Father.  And He commands each of us to love others, as we love ourselves, and help others toward the understanding of  the Lord’s love for all people.

Today, right here, right now, is the day to be passionate about people and Recovery!

Be aware and do what you can to support those in Recovery in respect & honor of National Recovery Month.

 

I have connections with all of these groups that support those struggling in addiction and seeking sober living; Please, consider making a donation to any, or all, of these life saving helps and ministries:

Hampshire Hope (DART program)

Honest Beginnings (SOAAR / The Nest Recovery Center)

Northampton Recovery Center

Teen Challenge 

 

 

 

 

Plainly Speaking to my Son, who Relapsed & Died

There are moments in life when you gotta cut to the chase,
speak your mind,
and get rid of the filter.
No side stepping allowed,
or in through the backdoor,
and no pussy-footing around.

So, I am going to say it plain,
Get ready,
I am going in through the front door:

You have broken my heart.
You have destroyed your life and mine, never ever, ever, to be the same again.

There it is … like a dump truck offing it’s load.

How come I don’t feel better?

Here is something else I will say just as plain…
I would do it all over again to have just one more chance to give you a hug,
make you an omelet,
and tell you I love you, so I could hear you chuckle.

I wonder if I would feel better?

Sadly, I don’t think I would,

because I fear you would still break my heart and destroy your life and mine, never ever, ever to be the same again.

That’s that … round and round like a cement mixer mixing its stuff.

Plainly speaking,
it was what it was,
I did my best,
and so did you…

It was all so incredibly hard for both of us to endure.

As plain as plain can be,
it is,
… just as it is:

This grief is heavy on my heart then, and now… 

and I will not ever feel better.

Done … Tandem trailer jackknifed, flipped, and in flames.

 

I will love you forever, Caleb.

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“I have loved you with an everlasting love;…” Jeremiah 31:3b

I posted a paraphrase of this verse above my son’s bed when he came home after detox & living at a sober house; I wanted to remind him…
God loves, and loved, my son into the everlasting realm that even a mother’s deepest of loves cannot fathom.

It is ONLY there, that I find peace, as a grieving mother.

If you are grieving a loved one lost via this drug epidemic, please know that you are not alone; and you too, are loved with an everlasting love.

When a Recovering Addict Mourns

It is morning, but it is dark.
Dark in the sense that everything is just not how it is supposed to be.
Dark, so dark, that I strain to see sense, but there is no sense to see.
This dark weighs like a thousand pound cloud that thunders, waiting to release the torrential rain.
How did it come to this?

Dutifully going through the motions, I slip on my suit coat.
Black. Black as dark as black can be. I feel wound & bound as I enter this day.
Just five months ago he came to the house. I recognized his hesitancy and his lack of admission right away because I had been there myself.
Not that I know it all or have the answers and can say I am free, because, in reality, we are never really free – never free enough to not be concerned.

We all walk a tenuous, tightrope of recovery.

The light begins as a pinhole stream, as hope is recognized and love is allowed in. Gaining steadiness in my walk I can say the brightness of the light grows with each day that I keep my back turned away from the lures that promise things that are not true.

Emotions are hard.
They trigger desires and thoughts to run and hide in the dark spaces and places.

Standing tall I breathe big and my hand slips into my suit coat pocket and feels a single, soft tissue. This suit was borrowed by him who came to the house five months ago. He wore it to his friends funeral. Yes… this was his tissue with his tears dried on it from just a few weeks ago. And now, here I stand, wearing the same suit, needing a tissue of my own. I pull it out and let the soft crumbled mass sit cradled in my hand like a treasure; the treasure of a friendship now lost.

Death is so very dark.
Why couldn’t I have helped him better to see the light more clearly?
Emotions; damn emotions!
Begging, they seductively whisper to me…
the darkness that thunders with the weight of rain, beckons.
That tenuous, tightrope is before me. Can I still walk it?

I am paralyzed in the moment.

Without any more hesitation, I carefully place the crumpled tissue back into my pocket. And my heart weeps a message: Dear friend, I will miss you. I am sorry I couldn’t change your mind.

And so, I step out and balance my footing…
Sober. Yes, sober, I decide on it.
And I leave the dark rumble behind me.

***

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My son was just barely five months clean in recovery when one of his good friends died of an overdose via a medicine laced with fentanyl. He was crushed. He wept and stuffed that crumpled tissue into his suit coat pocket.

Just about six weeks later, it was my son who died of an overdose involving fentanyl.

I cannot help but think about the impact that drug related deaths have on those who are in recovery; I imagine it frays the end of the tightrope.

Emotions are hard. Death by drugs is a slap of reality across the face that forces a hard look at mortality and threatens the recovering addicts ability to keep walking that tenuous tight rope.

As my son’s friends in recovery came to his memorial service, they wept and were crushed too.  My heart feared for each one of them.

For real, just weeks later, I watched these same friends weep over another friend who died of an overdose; It was horribly overwhelming. What bold resolve it takes to keep on going forward in recovery when friends are dying all around them.

How can we help?  We can help by being purposeful in our love and support for those  who struggle every day to keep sober and clean. Acknowledge their strength and resiliency to keep going when fear rises up and they doubt their next day will be successful. Keep reaching out and hoping and be there when they need you.

Most of all, pray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Can I Thank God When my Son is Dead?

How can I thank God when my son is dead? 

That thought alone sets off an explosion in my head!

It  Can’t be done!” Reason explains.

He is Dead. You are dead. The world is dead. There is no point.

Give up while the choice is still yours!

Can I say it any bigger, any bolder?

Just dead.

Dead.

Dead.

Why am I even going on?

The fact is true as the sky is blue. My son is gone; There can be no thanks in that!

And yet …

Before my son died,

I lingered in bed when the sun kissed my cheek through the window.

My mouth watered in anticipation of a warm chocolate chip cookie.

My heart delighted in silly bantering with my husband  – who is right and who is wrong?

I looked forward to meals alongside my kids,

and their kids,

and their dog-kids.

I loved the sound of rain, especially when I was falling asleep.

Then… I thanked God for every enjoyable blessing.

Of course,

… then, it made sense.

And yet …

After my son died,

I still linger, anticipate, delight, banter, look forward to things, and love.

I am not dead. The world is not dead.

I am alive and creation still thrives with sun and rain and kids, and their kids, and their dog-kids.

And so, even if it makes no sense, I can thank God, even … now.

The choice is definitely mine.

So I choose.

And…

Before my son died,

I loved my son with a deep, sacrificial love – the kind that warmed, and hurt, and forgave, and forgave, and forgave.

After my son died:

I still love my son with a deep and sacrificial love – only now it aches to hug, and hug, and hug. So I do. I hug, and hug, and hug others who need those hugs like my son needed them.

There is a point. A particular point.

I remember how he reveled over  a good barbeque,

a big jump in the pool,

a chill time at the bonfire,

and especially a spirited wrestle with his brother.

His smirky-grin dances in my memory and stitches a stitch in my broken heart.

Stitch by stitch. Stitch by stitch.

All this, a very profitable, particular point; Healing one stitch at a time.

The sun rises, the sun sets.

There is rhyme and there is reason.

“It Can be done!” I say.

There is no if, and, or but.

Joy reaches it’s potential when Sorrow is known in the gut, way down deep…. you can’t appreciate the good without knowing fully, the bad.

This is why I go on.

God is still God, and merciful, and compassionate, and powerful, and the same as He has always been.

God allowed for His own Son to die,

so that mine might live...

not just in my memory, or in my heart, but in heaven eternally.

Yes,

so I thank God for that! 

How can I thank God when my son is dead?

This is how.

Love.

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May you, dear reader, find Joy in abundance this Thanksgiving!

This is as big and as bold as it gets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Battle – Love

Nose to nose,

I can see your sweat balance on your brow just before it drips like a tear down your cheek.
Heat-flares swirl like flames from your words that are so loud, I cannot hear.
Standing still,
I am not afraid of you. I am afraid for you.
Search I do, with a calm desperation, for my soft tender boy, as I stare steady into your eyes…
Where are you (?) I plead, with a screaming whisper…
I Know you are in there…
My heart holds on like a rope to the mast as you turn in a fury and punch the wall with ramped-up rage, storming ocean waves keep coming without mercy and the sheetrock tells all with it’s gaping hole.
Ah-uuuuugh! Vomits your souls guttural plea, from the inside places that weep inside your brokenness.
Hang on…
I see you soft tender boy, caged by the demons that grip, and tear, and lie to you.
Nose to nose,

I know you see that I am not afraid as your sonship locks on my momma’s gaze, again, as the tide rolls out…
I am afraid for you.
Look at me, don’t turn away soft tender boy.

I see you.
Let me hold your chalk dusted hand.

The third thing I learned in the battle is this:

Loving, is the most important action.

As a Christian, my mantra sings:

Love God. Then Love others.

Love is what enabled me to stand in the storm with my son. I did not leave. I did not give up. And neither should you. Do you suffer by watching your loved one suffer in the illness of addiction? I urge you to stand firm – look hard to see the person underneath their addiction – see the lost child you remember and keep loving, even when it makes no sense to keep loving.

Down deep the one afflicted will know, and that’s what counts most…

that your loved one knows that they are loved.

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