Who to Love when the Addict I Love Hurts Me

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...

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Hope that Surpasses Setback

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...

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How to Hope Again after Losing All Hope

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.

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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...

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Kyle's Story of Hope

"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,...

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March Graduation Service - Shenandoah Valley Adult and Teen Challenge

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. 

Your donations help us rescue men and women fighting addiction. Give a gift here.

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Ben's Story of Hope

"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,...

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How to Walk With Your Loved One Through Relapse

Have you ever longed for something that was in your power to get but failed to get it?

Perhaps you had the ability to land your dream job. But at the last minute, you did something to blow the opportunity.

Or maybe you played a sport. You had a chance to take the game-winning shot. And missed.

How did you feel?

Would you have wanted your spouse to leave you over the missed job opportunity?

Did you hope your coach would yell at you for blowing the game for the entire team?

Of course you didn’t.

What you wanted was understanding.

What you needed was for someone to be present with you through your missed opportunity.

And walking with your loved one through a relapse is the same.

We must show understanding.

The person wanted sobriety. It was in his or her capability to get it – and keep it. But (s)he blew it. The same way you may have blown the interview, the game-winning shot, or anything else in life that created a missed opportunity.

(S)he needs support at this time more...

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Love – the Great Healer of Addiction

Have you ever asked yourself what is the most powerful force in the universe?

Is it gravity? The laws of motion? Earthquakes?

What would be the most powerful thing in the world? The one thing that would be strong enough to change everything. The biggest, strongest power in all of creation.

If you’ve ever thought deeply about this, you’ve probably considered many options.

But have you ever considered love as one of them?

It is for love that parents run through burning buildings to get their children out of smoky rooms.

It is for love that two people leave their separate lives behind and become one life together in marriage.

It is for love that God created us. And again for love that Christ died for us.

Love is, according to the Bible, as strong as death (see Song of Songs 8:6).

And that is why, love is the great healer of addiction. It digs deeper than psychology, supports stronger than friendship, and heals more thoroughly than medicine.

When your loved one is battling...

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Shedding off Your Old Identity

Have you ever heard the phrase “Once an addict, always an addict”?

If you’ve been around any recovery program, you probably have.

Whereas the intentions of this statement are well aimed, they are still misguided. We’re not trying to criticize those who say this. Nor are we seeking to condemn those who believe it. But we do want to challenge the thought and seek what God has to say about it.

But first, why? Why would we even want to challenge what has largely been accepted as factual in regard to addicts and recovery?

The reason is because of the implications of the statement. If “Once an addict, always an addict is true,” then hope of transformation is lost.

If we will always be addicts, then why even try to change?

The answer is because change is in fact possible, and “Once an addict, always an addict,” isn’t actually true.

In fact, the Word of God tells us the exact opposite – that once an addict, you don’t have to...

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The Importance of Connecting with Others in Recovery

How do athletes increase their chances of winning games?

What do investors do to increase the probability of earning good returns?

The answer is the same for both.

They do the things that have been proven to work.

Athletes, for example, exercise. They practice. And they eat healthy before a game. Why? Because these things have proven to be effective ways to accomplish their goal of winning games.

Investors select quality companies, consistently put money into them, and hold out for the long haul. Why? Because these steps have worked in the past.

The same is true for addicts in recovery.

How do addicts overcome addiction and avoid relapse? By doing the things that have worked in the past for others who have successfully beaten addiction.

One of those things is connecting with others in recovery. Building friendships with people who can relate to your struggle is essential. We all need others to encourage us through hard times. And overcoming addiction tends to be one of those hard...

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