"Be kind to each other,tenderhearted, forgiving one another,just as God through Christ has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32
Oh my heart. As I sit down to write this,I struggle to type through the tears.
May is mental health awareness month & a topic that goes hand in hand with addiction, something that has deeply affected mine & my families life. This is a topic I have avoided sharing to the masses, simply because its just HARD. I'm not sharing this for content purposes or pity, but to encourage and give hope to those who may be in similar situations. Also, to serve as a reminder to ALWAYS BE KIND because you never know what battles people are fighting.
I come from a loud, crazy family of four siblings ( 3 girls, 1 boy) with great, hardworking parents, raised in a christian home,big Sunday dinners & holidays- the whole she-bang. Addiction & mental health was something I heard about growing up in a "Just say no, kids!" way, but never thought in my WILDEST DREAMS would EVER affect my family.
That all changed about 5-6 years ago. My little brother, Christian, the baby of the family,only boy & former all star athlete, was injured and became addicted to pain medication during his recovery from surgery. His addiction quickly spiraled out of control. I'll spare the details ,but life suddenly became like a never ending episode of Intervention.
I'll never forget when my mom & dad first told us that he admitted to having a problem and would be going to rehab. I remember thinking "No way. Why? How? He's 20! What could possibly be so wrong with his life? Why doesn't he just stop? This can't be real." But I thought, surely its just a fluke- a little midlife crisis, he'll get help and that'll be that- life will be normal again. Right?!
Well,years of recoveries,relapses and rehabs later...and I wouldn't wish the emotional purgatory on my worst enemy. A dark place filled with so much sadness,love, shame, confusion and anger, that I could never fully explain.
To hurt beyond belief for my parents,who have NEVER given up on any of us. Not being able to even fathom if that was my child. To ache so deeply for the little brother back, the one that as a kid ran around in cowboy boots and football uniform, all the time. To have to justify feelings of being comforted by the fact that he was in jail because atleast, there he was safe. To fight the tears, everytime my kids see him and show him nothing but unassuming, non-judgemental, pure love. To try and come to terms with death at times, as I've turned the ringer up on my phone before bed,expecting "that call."To keep praying so fiercely, that this time will be the time it changes for the better and for forever.
I cling so tightly to my faith, ya'll. Jesus said if you'll just have the faith as small as a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible. So I HOPE & pray, and continue to believe that recovery is possible. I don't know WHAT the future holds, but Glory to God- I know WHO holds the future.
I'm also happy to report, that Christian is sober now.
So I want to encourage you, if your in a similar situation,addict or not, to not be ashamed to speak up and get help or reach out to me/ a friend/family member/group etc. There is comfort and power in knowing that you're not alone and its never,ever too late for a new beginning.
"What you do today can improve all your tomorrows."-RM
And to my baby brother:
I love you. I believe in you. I have never, not even for a second ever stopped loving you. I know things aren't easy and life hasn't gone as planned, but hang in there, fight the good fight. God has a bigger purpose for your life.