Today's post is from the archives is Part 1 of an interview with the mother of an addict. It is our hope and prayer that something she shares will help you on the journey with your child, even if you're not dealing with addiction. (Watch for Part 2 later this week.)
- What signs of trouble did you first notice with your son? I saw emotional fluctuations: extreme highs and lows. He was much more easily angered and increasingly isolated. He wanted to spend as little time as possible with the family.
- Is there anything you wish you had done differently? Yes, I wish we would've confronted him sooner with what we observed and asked him to move out of our home sooner, too. This was a scary thing to do, but in retrospect, he probably would have hit bottom sooner.
- Tell us a little about the journey with your child. Throughout high school, our son was increasingly angry and hostile to us and to his siblings. By his senior year, he dropped out of sports and was barely passing his classes. In his freshman year of college, he flunked classes both semesters and was expelled. The summer after that, he admitted he was addicted to painkillers. At that time we were moving to another state, so we invited him to come.
Our condition for him living with us was that he had to begin a recovery program and stay clean. Immediately, he got involved with NA (Narcotics Anonymous) and began to meet with a sponsor. He was clean for a little over a year, when he began dating a girl and spending time with friends who were using. Eventually, he relapsed.
The next two years, he fell deeper and deeper into his addiction. Although we recognized something was wrong, he continued to lie about his increasingly erratic behavior. Eventually, after a DUI, losing his job and moving out of our home (at our request), he admitted being a heroin addict.
We were beside ourselves with grief and fear. Although he wanted to stop, he couldn't. His efforts failed. His using continued and he eventually overdosed. Thank God, he survived. After recovering, he agreed to enter residential rehab. During two intense weeks, he decided to change the course of his life.
When he left the facility, he entered an outpatient intensive rehab program and began meeting with an addiction counselor. He set up accountability in every area of his life and began to make one good decision after another. Today he's three years clean and celebrates life!
But he also knows that he's always one bad decision away from landing right back where he was. So he surrounds himself with people who are clean and spends a lot of time with our family. It's taken time, but he's slowly regaining our trust. His long-term goal is to become an addiction counselor. He feels this will be the best use of the life that God graciously gave back to him.
- What are the greatest lessons you've learned? I learned that I am not in control. Not of my own life or my son's. God, however, is trustworthy and is far more concerned with my son's well-being than I am. There's no miracle too great for Him to accomplish. His power is infinite.
- What has been hardest for you? How have you dealt with that? It's hardest for me not to worry about what will happen tonight, tomorrow or down the line. It's especially difficult at night. I deal with my worries by spending time in God's Word each day, renewing my mind, focusing on the here and now. The Holy Spirit allows me to maintain a grateful heart for what He's done. I choose to give my fears to God and begin a conversation with Him who loves and knows my son better than me. Before I pray I tell myself, "You do not have to worry about this. This is not your worry."
I love this mom's openness and authenticity. Until next week, may this Bible verse uplift your heavy heart: " For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control" (2 Tim. 1:7).
God bless you with these three things as you do your best to surrender your worries for your child to Him. As this wise mom says, He's in control, He's trustworthy, powerful and cares even more than you do. Amen.
Dena Yohe is the author of You Are Not Alone: Hope for Hurting Parents of Troubled Kids (2017). Co-founder of Hope for Hurting Parents, she is a blogger, former pastor's wife and CRU affiliate staff. She and her husband, Tom, have been guests on "Family Talk With Dr. James Dobson," "Family Life" with Dennis Rainey" and "Focus on the Family" with Jim Daly. A proud mom of three adult children, she loves being Mimi to her grandchildren. Find out more at HopeForHurtingParents.com.
This article originally appeared at hopeforhurtingparents.com.
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