I am thankful for what addiction has taught me. It sounds weird to say and even stranger to type but I really consider our experience a blessing. Today I am looking back at the road we have traveled down and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Yesterday my husband and I had one of those moments where you look at each other, nod and say “we really have it good “. That doesn’t mean its perfect or what I imagined. It just means that we aren’t in control and it is well with our soul.
Addiction has been an good teacher. It has taught me how much we need God. I am a weak person without the Holy Spirit to guide and convict. With addiction you learn to be radically dependent on God and the strength He provides us to endure and battle through.
Addiction has taught me to be empathetic to people who struggle with dependence. I use to look at people and think “just stop doing it.” But now I realize that it is a matter of the heart and not willpower. The substance abuse is just a band aid to cover what is really ailing underneath. Abuse is a mask to hide what you don’t want to go through.
Addiction has taught me that I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know why alcohol is so accessible and acceptable and why other drugs are illegal and frowned upon. I don’t know why people who drink in moderation look down on alcoholics. I don’t understand why the face of alcoholism is a homeless person living under a bridge. I want to know how Doctors, who consistently prescribe drugs to people and don’t give alternative options, live with themselves?
Addiction has taught me to be honest with myself. I use to be really good at saying I was fine. I use to be great at highlighting the good and stuffing the bad. Well, I’m not good at it anymore and I’m glad. Hiding the bad is exhausting. I never realized how tired I was until I just stopped being “fine”. Its liberating to be honest with yourself about who you are, who you are married to, and that bad things (addiction especially) happen to good people.
Addiction has taught me to how to be strong. You think your a strong person. You think you can handle anything. You think you have control of your life. And then it all goes away. Your willpower, the control, the love, the empathy. Then you have to pick yourself up off the floor, dust yourself off, and learn how to let go. When you learn how to let go, you learn how to be strong. Being co-dependent was my addiction. When I finally let go of what I thought I needed to do for my husband, he got sober…and I was free, strong, and a new creation. Amazing.
Addiction has taught me to ask for help. I was a pretty independent person. I always have been. But people who are this independent don’t like asking for help. Its in their nature. Asking for help makes you appear weak, dependent, and shamed. The most humble day was calling my parents to ask for help. It was the hardest phone call I have ever made. It was admitting that our life was wreak. I was admitting that I didn’t have it all put together. I was at the end of the rope. But I did it. And we are here. A living testimony to Jesus, that you can be healed. The greatest moment of courage was picking up the phone and its a decision I have never regretted. I learned to ask for help.
It will be 4 years on February 22, 2014 (1,460 days!!!) and in those 4 years I have learned more from addiction about myself than any class could ever teach. You can learn plenty from books, but that’s just head knowledge. You can walk around with pretty quotes and sound intellectual. You can talk about your philosophies of life and what you say you believe. But go through the fire, come out the other side, and people will actually start believing in the Faith and philosophies you have proclaimed. Addiction has taught me about what it really means to have Faith because I didn’t know what the outcome would be of going through this, but I finally believed that I wasn’t writing the story anymore. It was a leap of Faith to give it all up. The Great Author has the pen now and I look forward to each chapter ahead.