With this piece, we begin a series called, “From Another Brother”. As ministers and clinicians working in the field of addiction therapy, we can speak all day long about the process of recovery. We can passionately share what the Bible says about recovery and can powerfully detail the latest understandings of how the brain and biology impact addiction and what can be done to achieve freedom from it. All those things are critically important and valuable to read.
MORE important, however, are hearing the stories of men (and their loved ones) who have walked the road… gotten stuck in the mud… fought their way out, and climbed the mountain. Herein we find the richest truths, deepest emotions, and most thrilling testimonies.
Literally, as I opened my laptop to begin writing this post, my phone beeped and the verse of the day from my Bible app popped up. ”For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Another Brother Shares His Story…
“It’s been two years since I was a resident at HopeQuest. Prior to that time, I had relapsed multiple times. I was a prisoner to my addiction.”
For this brother and so many others, including the author of this article, our addiction of choice becomes habitual anesthesia for the pain we grew up with and the resulting wounds that warp our self-image. Of course, that doesn’t excuse poor decisions but it goes some distance to explain them… especially to we addicts as we learn to overcome what seems to control us.
“I was a serial liar who never fully came clean to anyone, and I was a full-time passenger on the ‘shame bus’, with no intention of getting off or any vision as to how. When I entered HopeQuest, my wife was pretty much done with me and my addiction. I had hurt her so deeply and on so many occasions with my acting out. I created deep wounds and deep distrust. If you would have asked me on the day I came to HopeQuest if I thought my marriage was salvageable… I’d have bet a lot of money on the NO WAY line. I sure wanted it to work but I had to be realistic, right.”
The Hard Work of Recovery
Almost all the married men who come to this campus would bet in a similar fashion, and the truth is not all the marriages do make it. We must, however, BY FAITH do the hard work of recovery and let God write our stories. When He tells us in the book of Jeremiah that He has plans for a future and a hope for us, we can count on that, but it may not end up looking exactly like we think it should or want it to at the beginning.
“So, again, it’s been two years since I achieved at HopeQuest and last night my wife said. ‘I’m glad you’re here’. Those words might sound awfully simple but the power they held for me is incredible! Words cannot capture how thankful I am that God works BEYOND what we can imagine.
Of course, I am still a work in progress as I continue to learn how to accept and receive God’s love and my wife’s love. Shame doesn’t just give up trying to hang around our necks. And my marriage is still a work in progress. It wasn’t two weeks ago that she was extremely triggered. I acted defensively because I hadn’t done anything, but I also couldn’t prove it so she was back in a place of distrust and I was back in a place of resentment. We were far apart.
Thankfully we have our support groups, and we worked our way through it… but it sucks to have to face those times. Just sucks. It’s especially hard for me because I struggle with the fear of rejection, and it raises massive insecurities when I have to deal with that aftermath. Did I mention that it sucks?
I’m Glad You’re Here
But then last night she said those simple four words… I’m glad you’re here.
I guess I share this because I still wish that recovery would be a straight line up and to the right. I wish it was a matter of always getting better day after day without those painful dips, but that hasn’t been my experience. My recovery, and from what I have learned, everyone’s recovery has been a roller coaster of some severity or another.
“Truth is, I’m at a much better place now than when I first chose to get on this ride. So is my wife. Today… I’m grateful we are here…”
Thank you for sharing a piece of your story brother!