If you had to guess what the two hardest words for a recovering addict are, what would you say?
I’ll give you a hint. It’s not bar and room. It’s not old and friends. It’s not even drugs and alcohol.
The two most difficult words a recovering addict must deal with are these: what now? What now is the turning point. It’s the axis. The mark in the road. The line in the sand.
You are fresh out of rehab. Motivated to maintain your sobriety. But you are facing the daunting task of what to do now.
Too often, we set down a list of rules and guidelines that we tell ourselves we’ll follow. Don’t go to so-and-so’s house. Don’t stay out past 10pm. Etc. But what do we do? We stay out late, we go to so-and-so’s house, and we end up doing Etc.
Rather than living by a list of rules, what if we decided to live what we can call The Great Exchange? This for that. The ultimate tradeoff. Let me explain.
Being fresh out of rehab, you basically...
Have you ever heard a word so often that you almost forgot its meaning?
Some words are tossed around and used in so many different contexts that it becomes easy to lose sight of all the ideas wrapped up inside of a single word.
Additionally, words also have implied meanings. Consider, as examples, terrible tragedy, future plans, and true facts. These words are redundant because the elaborated meanings added by the additional words are already contained within the words. Let me explain.
A tragedy is terrible. No need to call it terrible. Plans are for the future, no need to call them future plans. And facts are true, no need to call them true.
You see, words have meanings contained within them already. And taking those meanings away would actually change the word. For example, if we took “true” away from facts we’d no longer have facts, just opinions.
But what does that have to do with helping someone we love who is dealing with an addiction?
Actually, a lot.
Consider how much easier it would be to love an addict through their addiction without ever losing peace again.
That sounds like a bold statement, but it is actually very possible.
We sometimes think peace is based upon external circumstances. But really, peace is based on what’s happening inside of us.
Let’s look at a promise God gives us regarding peace. In Isaiah 26:3 (NLT), the Bible tells us that God “will keep in perfect peace all who trust in [Him], all whose thoughts are fixed on [Him]!
That’s a promise that keeping our thoughts fixed on Christ will give us peace through hard times. When addicts we love tell us they’ll quit but use drugs again, we can still have peace. When they use our household money to buy drugs instead of groceries, we can still have peace. When addicts accuse us of “making them” use, we can still have peace.
And here are 5 ways we have that peace based upon the promises of God’s word.
1. Think More...
Have you ever flown on a plane and noticed the safety instructions to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting someone else with theirs?
There is an obvious reason for this. If you yourself are not healthy, you cannot help someone else get healthy.
But ask any mother what she would do if the plane starts going down and the masks drop. Would she put her mask on or her child’s mask on first?
Inevitably, she would put her child’s mask on first. In spite of being told not to. Even though doing so actually harms both her and her child more (because if something happens to her, both her and the child are harmed). It doesn’t matter. The tendency when it comes to helping people we love is to put them before ourselves.
The problem with this, however, is that if we aren’t doing well, we really aren’t much good to those we love.
But we are told to love them. We hear that not doing so is selfish. We feel obligated to love them. The truth is that loving...
The only thing worse than losing a basketball game is losing it by one point at the last second.
The reason is that that score is final.
All throughout the game, each team suffers setbacks and enjoys comebacks. It is a back-and-forth journey. But at some point, finality hits.
Loving someone with an addiction is sort of like a basketball game. We experience wins along the way, but we also experience setbacks.
And it is easy to view those setbacks as final. But if the person you love is still alive, the final buzzer hasn’t rung. Setbacks may set you back, but they are not final.
There is, however, something that is final. Something that will never end. Something that will last forever.
That is hope.
Check out this promise from Scripture:
“Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love…” – 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)
When we refocus after a broken promise, an argument, or a relapse, we see that beyond the setback is a fresh hope to cling...
How to Hope Again after Losing All Hope
Imagine how great it would feel if, after swimming under water for a full minute, you came up and gasped fresh air.
The new oxygen of which you had been deprived would refresh you as a cool sprinkle of rain on a hot summer day.
Prefer to listen?
Even though oxygen is essential, we usually use it without realizing it. The only time we truly notice it, is when it’s gone.
Hope during hard times is like oxygen. It is absolutely vital. We cherish it. But we feel it most when we lose it. That’s when we realize how important hope really is.
And when someone we love uses and abuses drugs or alcohol, we start trying to help. At the beginning, we have hope. Our love and trust for the person give us confidence in their ability to change. But when change doesn’t happen, promises get broken, and we pay the price for someone else’s decisions, hope can abandon us to face the trial without it.
But going through a trial...
Hello. My name is Hector and I'm from Ponce, Puerto Rico. I am 52 years old and have lived in Harrisonburg since 1999.
I was one of the happiest children. I had everything: my mom, my dad, grandma, sister and brother - a big family. I went to a good private school, but they kicked me out every year until I was in the 4th grade. I went to public school when I was 9 years old. By that time, I already drank, smoked pot and cigarettes. That's when I shot heroin for the first time in my life. After that, everything started to get out of control.
At age 21, I got married and moved to Miami & Ft. Lauderdale. In Ft. Lauderdale, I overdosed and they pronounced me dead. They covered me and everything, but for some reason I came back to life.
I was doing so many drugs and somehow was able to keep a job, but I was soon busted for heroin and coke and was sentenced to 8 years in prison. And then again, doing the same things, but even more.
One day, I...
"My name is Kyle and I am 19 years old, from Sterling, Va. The past 5 years, I have struggled with depression, addiction, and control issues. Growing up, I never had a relationship with God. We went to church, but it was more about religion than a relationship. I didn't pursue Him because I didn't believe that He could change what I was facing in my life.
Since I have been here at Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge, I have made the most important decision of my life - accepting the Lord into my life.
I was so focused on the dissatisfaction of myself and consumed with shame and self-pity, but I have learned that in the moments where everything is about us, failure is inevitable. With Him, I can do anything! He has been working in my life so much since I have gotten here. Christ's power is perfect in human weakness! Every weakness I have has allowed me to be more than a conqueror. I may be scared or discouraged, but I will never be alone. With Christ in me, I am loved,...
What an amazing time we had celebrating Miranda's Completion of the Shenandoah Valley Adult and Teen Challenge Program.
Check out the Facebook Live Stream of the service below.
It's through your prayers and support that the ministry of Shenandoah Valley Adult and Teen Challenge is able to help those struggling with addiction.
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"My name is Ben and I am 38 years old, from Blacksburg, VA. I'm a father of 3 beautiful girls. I grew up in a Christian home and attended my Grandfather's church. At age 13, my parents divorced and I became very bitter and angry. By age 15, I stopped going to church and started smoking cigarettes, drinking and smoking marijuana.
I continued to smoke weed and party through high school and by age 20, I was totally hooked on painkillers. At the age of 24, I was arrested for the first time and charged with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute meth. I was sentenced to 26 months in Federal Prison Camp in Beckley, WVa.
After being released and living in a halfway house, I fell off a ladder and broke 2 major bones in my wrist. Before I knew it, I was strung out on pills again. I never thought that I would be anything other than a drug addict.
In Spring 2015, I overdosed on heroin and fentanyl, almost losing my life. After 18 months in jail, I was ordered to come to Teen Challenge,...