Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Watching and Waking Up to Addiction

 


*Please keep in mind, these posts are my daily "ramblings." Nothing prophetic or wise.  No advice given.  Just my experiences, feelings, and thoughts as I travel the road to Glory.

I got in bed last night with the empty space beside me.  I stared at it blankly.

My two large American Staffordshire pups beside me, each in their own spot, and me on my usual side.  We laid there ready for sleep.  9 p.m. - the usual weeknight bed time and the usual bedtime routine.

But something was missing last night.

There was an empty space.  A space that never seemed empty before.

It was empty now because it had been filled more than it was empty last week.  So that made our mindsets shift (yes plural because I count the pups...).  

It was hard to see realizing that the reason the space was empty was because addiction was engaged.  I tried to roll over and ignore the space.  That didn't work.

I prayed.  That didn't really work either.  I thought, "Well, Lord.  What do you want me to do?  Do I need to get up and read Scripture?"  I was very unsure.

I did what any good family member would do.  I picked up my phone and looked.  Yes.  Addiction (or my perspective of it) was engaged.

I saw my loved one telling our story (was it meant to be shared?) to strangers, a community I didn't know or really appreciate at this point in our lives.  I read the comments where they shared their adoration and love of my family member.  I read the comments (not terrible, mind you) but that were "against" my feelings and thoughts.

Listen.  I've been down this road before.  I am very familiar with this "community," these people, and this lifestyle.  So - no comments made their way through my armor.  However, seeing my loved one put our family's story out there?  That didn't make me 100% comfortable.

As I said, I've been down this road before.  Only "I" was the perpetrator.  I get it.  I know the game.  I know the routine.  I know the deep feelings there.

That's why today's Proverbs 31 devotion is so very important.  It is God speaking to my family member.  

I know they will never read it, but for memory and for whatever-sakes, I'm including the link here.  

Isn't it just like God to show up?

I don't know what today will hold.  Will I share what I know?  Will I backdown on my feelings and stance?  I don't know.  But God does.

So - as usual - I lay my loved one down at the cross and I lay my path there as well.  Because I've been ON the path, dragging my own family down it - but I've never been the dragged on.

Addiction (or what we feel is addiction) are tough roads to travel.  Last night, I watched my loved one.  This morning I woke up and found God holding us.

If you are traveling down a path of addiction, search out Scripture.  Search out YouVersion plans on addiction.  Talk to trusted family members and friends.  And above all - lay your loved on at the feet of Jesus.  He really is listening.

I can't explain the things that have happened to me since Jesus pulled back the curtain for me to take a peek.  Last night being another example.  Did I want to see my life being laid out on the internet?  Did I want to see my loved one crying?  Of course not.

I don't know right now if it is the devil or the Lord saying, "Maybe you should change your mind.  Look at him.  He really loves this."  Is evil trying to trick me and allow something in my home that shouldn't be here or is it the Lord saying, "I'm here."

I don't know.

Friends, if you are reading this and are struggling with addiction or have friends or family members struggling, keep pressing in and forward.  Seek resources.  Seek people.  Seek help.  Seek God.

Empty places are meant to be filled.  Homes are meant to be kept sacred.  Love is meant to be free, not hidden.

Today, this is my walk.  Tonight will be another story and another piece in the puzzle of life.  I love you all.  As always, feel free to write, message, or comment if it helps you.

Happy Tuesday my friends!



Monday, August 15, 2022

Falling Back in Love with the Addicted

 


What does that mean falling back in love with the Addicted?


To me, it means that as I am facing a loved one unable to walk away from something I believe is harmful and addictive in nature, I am turning more to God.  Listening more for God's voice.  Hearing God's voice clearer.  And because of those those parts of the equation, I am falling in love more with my addicted family member.


I read today's Proverbs 31 devotional and thought about this subject.  A few things in today's reading struck me, and I wanted to post them here for memory and for others to read.  I have no idea if they will help you, but they struck a chord with me - and I often find that is God's way of saying, "Write."


At the risk of committing plagiarism, I want to share a good bit of today's reading.  It's just that good.  Let's start with this:


"Suddenly the Lord put everything together. No one stole your peace...you didn’t lose it. You left it, My dear, He whispered gently to my chastened heart."


Wow, so true.  How many times, in past relationships with partners or children, did I lash out.  Seeing only from MY side?  I love this picture of Jesus whispering into our heart, "You didn't lose your peace Debbie.  You left it."


Yes!  As I've gone through this addiction battle, I've witnessed this in myself.  Mostly because I've had to sit at Jesus' feet and listen and find the peace.  Because I am searching for peace, I can more easily see how I left it all those other times.  I don't want to go back to that girl.  I like listening (and hearing) Jesus, and I like the peace He brings my ear. 

 

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you,” Jesus says in John 14:27. “I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”


I love what John 14:27 says, Do not let your hearts be troubled …”  Did you catch that?  I love the BOLD parts.  Wow (again).


DO NOT LET


Let that sink in a moment - do not LET.  Wow.  I've never thought about LETTING my heart be troubled.  It always just WAS - other people CAUSED it to be troubled.  But wow.  The Bible says (a commandment) - "Do not LET." 


GOT IT.  I hear you Jesus.


So, as I walk away from this reading today, I am going to try and do better.  Try to remember John 14:27 and what Jesus is telling us to do.  Guard those hearts.  Guard MY heart.  Don't LET it be troubled.


I don't know about you, but for me?  I'm going to sit at the foot of the Cross, at Jesus' feet and LISTEN.  I'm searching for my PEACE.  It's there for the taking, and I'm ready to embrace it.


Jesus is fighting alongside me in the battle for my loved one, and He's giving me the PEACE to love my loved one even more, despite what I see in front of me that I dislike so much.  I'm falling in love again - and deeper - and I'm going to NOT LET my heart be troubled through this battle.  I hear you Jesus.  I am listening.


Thank you for this reading today and the reminder to guard my heart, sit at your feet, listen, and fight.  I'm standing here, and I'm ready.


Happy Monday my friends.  May your battle be light and your fight strong...


Saturday, August 6, 2022

Addiction: Day 1

 


Addiction:  Day 1

Today, I'm adding a new plan to my studies.

I don't really "need" one more thing on my plate, but I will fight for those I love.

I've been down this road before - It was hard.  It was hard to travel; it was hard to watch my loved one struggle; and it was hard to overcome.

So - I do have a little experience here.  But experience isn't always welcome, is it?

As I shared recently, God pulled back a curtain for me a few days ago and let me take a peek into a loved one's time away from me.  What He showed me was a little shocking.

I say "a little" because it wasn't really shocking.  Just the depth of it was shocking.

Finding out your loved one has been leading a "double life," so to speak for ten months is shocking. Seeing their personality transform - shocking.  Having mutual friends approach you and say, "Well now that you know, we need to share something with you that we didn't share before because it would have hurt you."  Shocking.

But - I am doing the anti-Debbie, anti-Italian temper thing and sitting on my hands.  Keeping my mouth shut.  Praying, studying, asking for wisdom.

I need wisdom.  I need God to lead.  I need that person to lead and come clean (which probably will not happen). Once I am in a right frame of mind, I will move my chess piece - but for right now, I am seeking God's face.

So, I found some Biblical studies to dig into for this moment in time.  Here's what I am learning - and yes, it reflects our family's situation:

  • Addiction affects our spirit, mind, and body.

    • Spiritual effect—An addict ultimately replaces God as the center of their life with something or someone else.

    • Mind effect—Repeated patterns of poor decision-making makes their addiction stronger and disrupts their thinking.

    • Body effect—Consequences from our poor decisions cause stress and anxiety. SPECT and MRI scans show how this disrupts and rewires our brain circuitry.

  • Regularly choosing something other than God is a defect in mind and body and is sin. It becomes an addiction when it becomes a regular pattern.

...a regular pattern.  Yep.

Listen, those of us watching our loved one - we are not FREE from sin.  I am not without defect or free from sin. I sin, I fall.  I cuss; I get angry; I judge; I gossip.  I am FAR from perfect.  

But I do like to think those around me keep me in check.  I do like to think I'm not addicted to anything.  Maybe I'm wrong - maybe there are things I need to examine in my life.  Maybe I caused our loved one to find this "addiction."  Maybe the hole from my lack of attention pushed them to attention elsewhere.

Addiction is funny like this.  You question everything.  Is it my fault?  Did I do this to them?  What is causing this addiction?  Is there an emptiness in their life that they need filled?  How can I swoop in and rescue?  How can I open their eyes?

Addiction is tough and an upward battle.  I'm not relishing the conversation; the ensuing, "You just don't understand!"  I'm not looking forward to the anger, the hurt, the tears.  I'm not looking forward to a possible separation of our loved one.

But, as I said, I've been here before.  I've watched a loved one struggle, and even myself I have struggled - and that is a whole other story.  I didn't struggle with a physical addiction.  Mine was emotional and mental.  So - I feel I have the entire compass of experience here...I can see addiction in all its glory and forms, and I can recognize the brutal ugliness of it.  It's destructive nature; it's trickery; and it's trail of brokenness it leaves everyone with.

One of my all time favorite Bible verses I memorized as a young Christian is James 4:7-8, "Submit yourselves then unto God.  Resist the devil and he shall flee.  Draw near unto God, and He shall draw near unto you."

Pretty simple and straightforward.  I'm glad it came to my path this morning.  Welcome Holy Spirit.  I am here with you, listening.  

Jesus, you led me to the curtain and gently pulled it back to show me what was behind it.  Ouch.  What do you want me to do now?  I'm listening.  Hear my prayer and show me the way.

Addiction SUCKS.  But I won't back down and let evil win.  I'm here for the battle if necessary and warranted.  Amen.