On the OTHER Side of Addiction

We hear on the news, internet, and other media sources about addiction, the addict, what the addict did, etc. Addiction is ugly and deadly. But I’m on the OTHER side of addiction, I’m his mom.

What seems like a million years ago, I was married to an addict. Saw it all with my own eyes…and so did my kid.

Every day I wondered if this was going to be THAT day. Will I find him dead? Will he crash his vehicle again? Is he in jail again? Will he come home? Will he hurt us again? Again and again, over and over…I waited for the other shoe to drop. It’s a surreal thing watching someone slowly commit suicide with drugs and alcohol and be completely helpless.

And every day of this marriage my young son watched and was witness to this daily chaos. As parents we want to protect our kids and home, but when you are married to an addict you’re too busy dealing with the addiction than trying to keep a home and family and a job. And for that I have begged God for forgiveness that my sweet child had to see this horror when all I had to do was just leave. I had to find out many years later that the cancer had spread.

The last day I saw him was 25 years ago, TODAY.

I won’t go through all of the gory details, that’s for me and God to know. But I do want to address what it’s like on the OTHER side of addiction….because that addiction spread like a cancer to one of my children.

Unlike a very bad marriage, you can’t just ‘leave’ your kids. An addicted adult child is much harder to understand and deal with because they are forever your children, not a bad marriage. I truly thought that after seeing with his young eyes how bad addiction was that it would be the absolute last thing that would happen to him. The cancer spread anyway and without any fanfare…yes, I was totally blindsided because I was never a drug user. Remember this the next time you think your kids aren’t paying attention to what you are saying or doing.

About thirteen years ago, I gave my life to Jesus and eventually became ordained…all before I found out about my son’s addiction. Now I have different eyes to see through and a different heart to love with. The hard thing for my kid to do was confess his addiction to me, the hard thing for me to do was accept the fact that it happened.

Just like with my ex-husband, I have to deal with codependency and enabling. I don’t want to make his addiction worse, I want to make his recovery extraordinary! But isn’t that just like a Christian, wanting to give the devil a great big ole black eye? Then what does a person do, on the OTHER side of addiction? Every day for me I struggle with wondering if I’ll get THAT phone call and every day he struggles with the real pain of detoxing. It’s harrowing, it’s hard and it’s exhausting.

Certainly I am NOT alone, although for the rest of you I wish it were just me. But as people on the OTHER side of addiction, we have to band up with the LORD and each other to face that precious face of our addicted adult child. This is a love I never knew I had but God is GOOD! He gives us this supernatural strength to see our kids with His eyes.

If there is one thing I would say to ANY addict, it is this: YOU HAVE NOT BEEN FORSAKEN. You are NOT an accident or mistake. Your life is NOT over. You are important to GOD! And here’s why: The Bible says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” This scripture says that we are all known by God since the beginning of the world with a purpose and path already assigned to us. There is no mistake or accident, God does NOT make mistakes! God cannot lie! We are all His, and He is ours. 

If there is one thing that is foremost on my mind about my addicted adult child is that I never want him to feel hopeless or worthless. That kind of desperation paralyzes me; and if it does that to me, I cannot imagine what that does to him.

As a mom, I have said that I would die for my child if it meant saving theirs. I’m sure you’ve said the same thing. But One mightier than I has died for him, and died for me! Jesus is the only way to true salvation and restoration! I could die for my kid but that would do nothing for him when Jesus can give him the true love that will save his life!

Addiction is forever, so is Eternity. And for as much as I LOVE my son, God loves him even MORE!

Every day I wake up giving my kid to Jesus and trusting God to heal and restore him from drugs, then I ask God to keep my heart full of love and understanding with the right balance to help my kid, not hurt him. After that I thank God for a husband who cares for and loves my kid and me. I can’t imagine my life without either of these guys.

Recovery…restoration is one day at a time, for all of us, even on the OTHER side of addiction.

“To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

TRUSTJESUS

 

The Day After Mother’s Day

You may have noticed that I did not post anything for Mother’s Day. To me, Mother’s Day is not what it is for everyone else.

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I have learned a long time ago not to wait by my telephone on Mother’s Day. Sometimes it rings, sometimes it doesn’t. This is why my husband and I usually take a day trip that day. We really love to get out and drive the countryside, see and hear God’s creation, give Glory to God….because sometimes, my telephone doesn’t ring.

It doesn’t ring for everyone else, either. I know too many moms who have been rejected by their adult kids. I have grown accustomed to the disrespect and hate, I can’t change them. So, I have to change ME.

As I mentioned a bunch on times during the 30 Day Parenting Prayer Challenge for our adult kids, parents have to not look back but blaze a trail FORWARD. If we are forgiven by God, then who are they to keep us in THEIR subjection? That, my friends, is being held hostage. And I won’t live like that….anymore.

There are other victims of Mother’s Day: post abortive women, women who miscarried, mom passed away, kids in foster care, adopted kids, the brokenhearted, etc. A victim stays a victim until you escape. A holiday does not identify who we are to God. We are His, we are forgiven; if our kids can’t forgive, then too bad. I can’t live in the memory they have for us for the rest of THEIR lives.

My husband honors me for Mother’s Day. He always has. He knows that this day is really about MOM, they one who gave life, the one who loves unconditionally, the one who is there when she’s not needed or wanted. I have made mistakes just like every other person in the world, but I certainly don’t need a holiday to remind me of it.

Happy Day After Mother’s Day:

v16 Thus says the Lord: “Refrain your voice from weeping,
And your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.

v17 There is hope in your future, says the Lord,
That your children shall come back to their own border.”
Jeremiah 31:15-17

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 30

As I wrap up this 30 Days of Parenting Prayer, I am inundated with so many emotions…most of which I brought up during these 30 days. If there is one thing that I can’t say enough [well, maybe two] is that we are parents to our kids forever. They were our children since the beginning of time [Jeremiah 1:5] and will be even into Eternity. The second is that prayer should be the FIRST thing we do, not as a last ditch effort to save the day.

Being a parent is has been the one thing that people take for granted as if it’s a right rather than the privilege that it is. I am PRIVILEGED to be their mother, whether they give a darn or not. It is I that has to answer to God for being their mother, it is I that will ultimately bear the day when I have to answer to God for my parenting.

We take advantage of the system by allowing our own dreams supersede those of our kids; once we do that, we fail. When you hear “You’re pregnant!”, your private, comfortable life is over and a new life is about to embark. We are but vessels, not God.

Secular/worldly feminism has no room in motherhood, but a God-intended feminist does. It’s true: there is such a thing as a God-intended Feminist. She was profiled in the Bible, Proverbs 31. She wasn’t perfect, in fact Bathsheba FAILED…but she was used mightily by God and was blessed to be the intended mother to Solomon.

Bad women do not have to be bad mothers. In other words, I have failed, you have failed…but through the Grace of God we are given chance after chance after chance to do it right. God knows our kids depend on us so He is quite willing to help us to be better. And, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO BE A BETTER PARENT.

v17 “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; v18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 1Peter 3:17-18

Pray for BALANCE. It’s been a great 30 days of reflection but I certainly see how I can do better, even after all these years. God Bless you all.

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 29

With our adult kids also comes their significant other, and there are times we know that we know that we KNOW something is not quite right. And just because we think we raised our kids right doesn’t mean the significant other’s parents stepped up to the plate. In this instance, they didn’t bother showing up to the game.

Nothing angers me more than a person who pretends to be a Christian to the point of being quite the actress at it. I will never understand how anyone can deal with the bondage of being so deceitful. It’s quite the heavy bag to carry. I am so glad God gave me the gift of discernment. I saw right through her at the onset but hoped for the best that maybe I was wrong…this is one such time I wished I was.

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25

So much happened that I will not go into, but suffice it to say that it was TWICE I let my guard down to be burned again. When someone hurts one of our kids, his or mine, I nearly come unglued…momma grizzly here. I will never understand how people can be so evil to each other, especially other Christians. It makes me question their salvation, although I cannot judge it, that is for God to do.

So then I pray. And pray. AND PRAY that God will convict her for how she is trying to destroy our son. He’s got this, He is in control. God wants our son to be victorious and He will get His Glory. So for all her effort to hurt our son, God will gather his sheep, especially the ‘one’. She has no idea that God is working extra hard to help him, not her:

“v12 If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? v13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. v14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 8:12-14

Pray today that the one will come back to the fold and be victorious. Be a parent, not a friend…I assure you, they want their moms and dads when all seems so hopeless.

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 28

Divorce is an awful thing. I can’t see how divorce really solves anything except put everyone involved into a tailspin. The events that come from divorce aren’t good, usually bad, and sometimes detrimental. A divorce can change the lives of our children forever. I am one such offender.

Children of divorce are more likely to get divorced themselves; it is one of those generational sins that get passed down to the next generation. And I believe that children of divorce lost respect and confidence in their parents which puts them in the firing line of divorce one day. We can’t be so selfish to believe divorce only affects the divorced.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22

Divorce is creating a subculture of people, adult kids, that has no respect for anyone much less their parents or a spouse. They’ve been let down, their home divided and subdivided, and are placed with a parent that now has a myriad of brand new problems. They are now programmed to believe that relationships end rather than creating long lasting marriages and relationships with the children they will have one day.

Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband.” 1Corinthians 7:10

Remember, I am one such offender. But you can heal from divorce. I am one such person who healed because I realized that because of sin I was doomed to fail without God….and I was without God. And one day a man who was chosen by God for me finally found ME.

Then, the answer is to wait for your God chosen mate rather than usurping God’s authority to be God. I cannot say that often enough or loud enough for our kids. Life is hard enough…but having your God chosen mate makes it so much better.

v4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. v5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:4-5

Pray that adult kids learn from our stupid mistakes rather than emulate them. Our mistakes creates their ‘out’ to sin.

 

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 27

Is life really that hard or are these adult kids just not getting their way? Has society really slipped so far that they are quite comfortable that everyone sees their pajamas at the mall? Do they hate society so much that they won’t [not can’t] shower and wash their hair once in a while? How has life and parents become so inconsequential until they need something from us? Isn’t it always everyone else’s fault?

It should be apparent that I’m picking on ALL adult kids, not just ours. When I was in secular work, I processed credit applications for vehicle loans. It is shocking how much bad credit these adult kids have, tens of thousands in arrears. Most of them do not pay their cellular phone bills much less other incurred debt. They looked at us in amazement that they could not be approved for a 30K automobile loan. To be fair, I do understand that life can happen and mess up a credit score, but that is not as likely as it should have been. Instead we have heard them say that since they were fired they didn’t have to pay the debt they owed.

We are in the land of ENTITLEMENT. And like it or not, a lot of it started in their own childhood, my kids included. Having never been entitled to anything as a kid or teenager, I thought I was doing a great thing by doing more for my kids. You see, my dad thought that if I wasn’t cleaning the house somewhere all the time that I was being lazy; ‘outside’ was a luxury. So, by doing more for my kids, I mean being a stay-at-home-mom, cleaned after them, cooked and baked all the time so that their time would be free to have friends and participate in sports or activities…all the the things I couldn’t do as a kid.

Balance. While I thought I was more balanced, I was really enabling them to have more free time to do bad things rather than being engaged with school and it’s activities to keep their free time not so free. I sure wish I knew where the ‘middle’ was then. I see now that not being a Christian when my kids were little set them up to be ‘free thinkers’ who depends on everyone else rather than themselves. The economy of God tells us so much, mostly from the book of Proverbs, of how to live, not be in debt, to be better wives/husbands, live within the community, to be a hard worker, and to love God.

“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:

v2 To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
v3 To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
v4 To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion—
v5 A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
v6 To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
v7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:1-7

Pray for this generation, all of these adult kids need our constant prayer and love. They need to learn how to be adults rather than grown up kids. I pray so much for them to come to Jesus…we are nothing without Him!

 

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 26

Many years ago I was forced to leave the area in which I was born to begin a new life. I had to leave my family because of my now ex-husband to do it. My ex, who was raised by hard working never-in-debt church-going family-oriented people, was an adult kid that had a drug, alcohol and gambling problem [that led to domestic violence] which eventually became my problem. I remember so vividly my EX-mother-in-law saying, “You knew him when you married him“. NOT true, I did not know these things…but that really isn’t the point. The point is that SHE knew he had addictions and did not warn me; it was as if she was passing him off to me so she didn’t have to deal with it anymore.

Some of us, who never exhibited addiction, have children who may eventually have an addiction. But should a parent just pass them off? When did they stop being a parent? I have a myriad of cousins that are grandparents already, and they are still battling alcohol, meth, crack, etc. At least half of them are still living with their parents. I know their mothers, not one of them is an addict of any kind.

Dear Mom & Dad: Your children’s poor choices are not your fault. But enabling them to continue their ‘choices’, is. Don’t clean up their messes, pray over them – they need restoration.

There are some parents that have children and practically gift them the generational sin they have. How often have we seen a generational problem with alcohol and claim it’s in the DNA to justify it? Generational sin is passed on through mimicking what we see while we grow up. God has never created one single person that is an alcoholic or addict BUT they are born into sin with the propensity to sin [the sin nature] BECAUSE of the Fall of Adam:

“v1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. v2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

And then:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

The answer is that we NEVER stop being a parent. EVER. Ignoring or passing off a problem and acting unaware is just plain evil. However, I do realize we can’t make these kids do anything. But one thing we can do is PRAY and NEVER FLINCH.

Pray to be an open book to your children, not an open checkbook. They need to hear about Jesus incessantly, they are our ministry!

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 25

We live in a fast food drive-by world. If you blink you missed it. As I mentioned in a previous post, we also have adult kid in-laws and step adult kids. Like tons of families, we are a blended family. And it can become a tangled web, for sure. But never at any time did we dare to replace the other parent or grandparent. We are who we are, we are who we identify with, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold“, [Prov 22:1]

Society has changed so drastically and with it the family dynamic….or rather, a cluster of people that have set aside the true gift of family for me me ME.

God is not pleased. He put us together for reasons only He can provide, but a plan He has! He has knit us together for a purpose.

I know my family is a mess but I can’t imagine changing the lineup would have had a better result:

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Pray that these kids not lament where they came from. God knows where they ARE and will BE. He is in control!

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 24

When dealing with our adult kids, we also deal with their adult spouses….or ex-spouses. Everyone takes a corner in the ring, waits for the bell and it’s been 12 rounds ever since….with every one of them. I lamented in an earlier Prayer Challenge that our grandkids hardly ever see us…but how can they when everyone wants to go to court, sue, take custody, get money, etc. ALL THE TIME. These so-called adult kids are teaching our grandkids how to work the court system rather than play sports or go to camp.

Then, rather than just being a kid, they are taught hate and how to lie. They hear one side bad mouth the other side…on both sides. No child should have to know such information about their parents and family. I distinctly remember my grandmother saying bad things about my dad and I told him what she said. He flipped out, and rightly so. Now, let me explain one thing: She may have been right. But it was not her place to talk over me, at nine years old, to other adults about my ‘lousy’ dad.

We put way too much on our kids when we speak of things that have nothing to do with them. We put the responsibility of knowing such things on tiny shoulders that grow up too fast. They try to understand, they ask questions, and before you know it they are acting out. They consider themselves adults rather than kids.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Even in Christian households we are training up our kids to be lousy adults by keeping them in the loop about things that are none of their business. Christians expect Sunday School to teach their kids about God rather than themselves. Christians aren’t teaching how to be Godly but how to circumvent the system God created.

We have to be the stewards that God made us so that the next generation will have a better chance at making better choices at life.

Pray for the children and their parents; the anger is so great that they don’t see who is in the line of fire. Pray for God’s guidance rather than hoping for the best.

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 22

If you don’t know this about me, I also witness on the sidewalk of abortion facilities. Every day that place is open we see teenagers and young adults coming to abort their precious child. They usually don’t come alone; they are literally flanked with their own parents and sometimes grandparents to see that the child is aborted. As a parent, when I see parents giving their thumb’s up to kill their own grandchild, you really ‘get’ how these kids have gotten to where they are in life at such a young age.

Our adult kids and teenagers are children of this media age. They are coerced every day with constant media stimulation of one kind or another. Video games and online gaming has made real zombies of our kids. In the news recently, one dad smothered his infant son and another allowed his child to starve to death because of gaming. While these are extreme cases, they are just the tip of the iceberg. Our adult kids are still playing games and living in a fantasy world. My grandma always said television would ruin our eyes.

The basics of life are totally ignored. And we wonder why some of these kids can’t make it on their own and blame us for it? We teach them, they look at us like we’re some kind of monster. Because of this media age, they have all the answers, we’re idiots. We want to help them with a Godly hand, we’re told they hate God.

This is a sin problem; for them life is fantasy and selfish and never ending. A self professed ‘pastor’ said that his daughter can get an abortion because of free will. And that is true…but this ‘pastor’ and his daughter still have to answer to God for their flagrant use of His gift of free will. Again, this is a sin problem, not a chink in the armor.

 “I struck you with blight and mildew and hail in all the labors of your hands; yet you did not turn to Me,’ says the Lord.” Haggai 2:17

We will all eventually turn back to God. Being backslidden is a heavy bondage to carry.

Pray for the Damascus Road experience for these kids. Pray that the scales will fall from their eyes, “I was once blind but now I see”, [John 9:25].