We are a very judgemental society. I am the first to admit that being judgemental is a perennial item on my confession list. God is now giving me a new perspective on this very topic. If I watch TV, I can't tell you how many derogatory references that there are to "junkies". While there is a choice for addicts when they initially decide to experiment, later it is out of their hands. My son is clean and sober. He is working full time. He is struggling to pull himself up by the boot straps. It took a really long time to get this job. Now his roommates might be using again. He met them at rehab. Now, my son is calling them junkies. He was telling me about them and said, "You can't imagine what it is like to live with junkies, Mom". This is where I had to say, "Actually, yes I do". He looked at me a little surprised. "I lived with you for the last few years." "I understand the lying and manipulation that occur when addiction takes over a person's mind". "They can't help it, it isn't personal". You see while my son was impaired, he couldn't see himself as he really was.
I wonder if any of us really see ourselves as we really are, impaired or not? I have thought a lot about why my son would ever even try drugs. Life is hard. Many of us aren't comfortable with who we really are. We have an idea that we don't measure up. Maybe we have an expectation of what our lives should be like that we feel like won't ever happen. Maybe we constantly compare ourselves to other people who are successful at this or that and we only seem to see the things we're not good at. Maybe we think we fail if we aren't perfect at everything. I wonder why we always look at others to define what joy or success really are?
Addiction is a family disease. We are taught in Al Anon that our symptoms mirror the addict. I would venture to go further. I would say that most people that suffer in any shape, form or fashion, have similar symptoms to a family dealing with the disease of addiction. I would say that they become so focused with whatever their problem is so much, that they forget who they are. They forget what gifts God gave them. They feel somehow angry and responsible regardless of how ludicrous that might be. They might be living a life that is unmanageable. I would say that many people who, like the addict, feel like they don't measure up, live a life void of peace, joy and excitement.
Today, I received a letter from a lady who was our neighbor, when the kids were little. She was an angel on earth. She would watch my kids so that I could go to the grocery store. When you have 3 kids, 3yrs old and younger and no family nearby, going to the grocery store alone is almost the equivalent of going to the spa. She was so glad that my son was doing better. She made a statement that was very thought provoking. She said, "I hope he realizes that that kind of life isn't really living, but was just a nightmarish dreary world that only gives him sensations of being high". Well said. I love this statement. But, I think it also extends to you and me.
Anytime we are so busy looking at what we can't do, don't have, think we want.....we fail to see what we do have, appreciate the gifts we have been given, experience the joy within.....I must boldly say that in many ways I am thankful for this cross that we have been given. It has stripped away all of the superficial crap that I previously thought important. I don't care that I'm not an amazing mathematician. I don't really want to be a supermodel...although I would really like to be thinner. I don't care that I'm not famous. I am just grateful for this clarity I've been given. I am so over the moon to learn that peace and joy and simplicity give me the most amazing high on earth. Read that again....no sensation...a real high. A high that doesn't cost money, doesn't make me sick, doesn't tear my family apart, doesn't take away my desires...no it only builds me up, my family up, makes me think so much clearer and makes me want to dance. This high comes only from God. It comes from putting first things first. It comes from a grateful willingness to serve. It comes from faith. It comes from giving.
I'm a little sad that I didn't arrive at this place until now. I'm a little sad that it took this tragedy to find this understanding. But, this is today. Today is the only thing that I have influence over. So, today, I share this with you. Today I pray that you look to God for comfort, peace and joy. Today I pray that you help God to show you the gifts that he has given you in the hopes that you will use them to glorify his holy name. Today I pray that you will find that real high that comes only from God. I pray for my son to find these same things. I pray for all of you that have held us up and I pray for Henry, as always.