Monday, August 22, 2011

Remembering the Promise

Many times, in order to keep perspective on what addiction recovery is all about, I think of myself as being married to someone with a medical condition. For instance, if my husband, whom I love dearly and have committed my life to-- in sickness and in health-- had had a stroke, I wouldn't have up and left him saying, "I didn't sign up for this! Hmph!" While stroke and addiction are very different, strokes are debilitating, unfair and therefore a kind of painful betrayal, and while you will  never be the person you were before, it is often possible to recover almost completely with years of patient, hard work. It would be heartbreaking and immeasurably difficult, but if I made that choice to stay, I would have to remember that this is the life I'd chosen to take on. And the person you become as a result of the struggle and fight to recover might even be a person you like better anyway.

This last week we had a situation. A friend invited the kids and I to an overnight at a beach house with her family. One of my first thoughts, admittedly, was that I can't stay trapped at home forever by my husband's "problem"... aaaand things have been feeling more "normal" lately so we should be fine-see-you-on-the-flip-side-bye-bye. He went to work, I went to the beach, end of story.

If only.

I have signed up to be the main helper of  a man with a debilitating disease, and I just left him for a weekend without preparing, without making a plan for his care in my absence. Loneliness swept in with full force and before he knew what was happening, he was slipping.

I'm not saying it's my fault, or that he's not responsible for his own choices and actions. But both of us have a longing to be "normal" (whatever that means), to have a break from the arduous work of recovery. Sometimes, when the work has become a normal part of life and everyone looks healthy, it's easy to forget that we are healthy because we are doing that hard work. If you throw something different into the day, you have to compensate by changing your recovery plan, or "changing your meds" as I like to say. We should have made a Relapse Prevention Plan*. Being active in recovery affords us the freedom of being apart, or doing things that are otherwise triggers to us. So when loneliness comes pounding on the door, my husband would be prepared to answer. And I, instead of secretly worrying like a codependent, could enjoy my time at the beach more fully.

What the Locusts Have Eaten...

There have been years and years-- generations in our family history-- that have been eaten up by an army of locusts...

What the locust swarm has left
the great locusts have eaten;
what the great locusts have left
the young locusts have eaten;
what the young locusts have left
other locusts have eaten.
Joel 1.4

...and I forget that this isn't just a clinical disease that I can control and fix with educated, strategic choices. I forget that a promise has been given to me. I forget what my husband once said that I had to write on the wall because it was so profound it had to be our family mantra: It's not just a fight to survive, we're serving God! It's the promise; the promise is why we're doing this. I saw it again this morning, in Joel:

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten--
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm--
my great army that I sent among you
Joel 2.25

Over and over again the Bible tells the same story: the people don't trust Him, they rebel and find their own way and end up leading themselves into destruction. God helps expediate their destruction because He is in a hurry for His people to return to Him. And then the promises: I will repay you... you will have plenty... you will know... because I am faithful... never again will my people be shamed (2.27).

I am not JUST following doctor's orders. I am living out a promise! What the locusts have eaten, God is restoring...and  I will praise the name of the Lord my God, who has worked wonders for me!

*Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan helps you to remain 'sober' and offers you a way to escape when tempted. I will work on posting a more detailed description of a Relapse Prevention Plan in the future.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Personal Transformation

Someday I want to explain to you the layers upon layers that are in this sermon, and the reasons it absolutely rocked my world, and is still rocking my world today. The Word of God. Man... It does not come back void. A promise He gives you one day, will still be true and alive later. To look back on this sermon from -oh my goodness- FOUR years ago and to know how God has been keeping and has yet to fulfill even more His promise to transform us for His glory is nothing short of the most humbling, amazing realization. I know without a doubt, I am seen and loved by God, because of how much He cares about my story and what He can do with it.

Near the end of the sermon Rick (the pastor) talks about a woman who sent him an email about her husband's adultery... well, that was me! I hope you have time to give this a listen.