My husband and I began to see unexpected things happen with our 19-year-old daughter, Renee, after we received a very unexpected phone call. One of the safe people in her life called to tell us he and a few of his friends had her in their care. She was safe. For the first time in a long, long time her life was not in danger. A lifestyle of alcohol, drugs and self-harm had been slowly destroying her and we were powerless to do anything about it. Every night when I went to bed I was tormented by the fear that I might be awakened by a phone call of another kind – telling me she had died, either from an accidental overdose or from suicide.
Out of great love and compassion, this friend of my daughter’s felt compelled to try and help her. He gathered a few trusted friends and basically did an intervention. To our surprise she agreed to accept treatment. What shock and relief. This wasn’t her first rehab, but this time it was because she wanted it. This was for the right reason. I couldn’t believe it was really happening.
You can read more about what took place over those five days by reading the moving story posted on To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA).
On the TWLOHA site click on “Vision”, one of the upper tabs. Scroll down to read the story. The title is in blue. This was written by the founder, Jamie Tworkowski, about those five days that changed my daughter’s life. This small group of caring individuals lovingly and bravely helped Renee detox so she could be admitted into rehab. Addiction specialists do not recommended people do this. It can be very dangerous for the addict’s welfare depending on what they are detoxing from.
Since those five days we have watched a miracle of transformation unfold. Today, six years later, my daughter shares her story through writing, speaking and most recently, singing and song-writing. The tables have turned. She is now the one trying to offer hope to those who suffer as she has.
My daughter has come home.
Many ups and downs have marked this path, but we keep moving forward, trusting for each tomorrow.
God has brought unexpected outcomes. To my amazement He brought beauty out of ashes in my daughter’s life and in mine. Here are four ways I have seen this:
1) Renee’s personal outreach – She has shared her story with thousands to give hope and encouragement. There IS help. Their lives can be different. If she can make it, then with God’s help, they can too.
2) Renee’s book – Purpose for the Pain – A collection of her journal entries. A collection of handwritten, poetic journals documenting her journey from addiction to sobriety and pain to hope. It can be ordered through the TWLOHA website. There is some profanity in it so I wouldn’t recommend it for a younger teen.
3) The worldwide impact of Renee’s story. This was the result of her story morphing into the non-profit, To Write Love On Her Arms. Thousands, maybe millions, around the world have found hope and sought help, or been inspired to reach out and help someone they know, as a result of reading her story. This non-profit raised over a million dollars in 2009 alone to help support programs dealing with depression, suicide, addiction and self-harm. We are still in awe over this. Watch this link to see a special segment NBC news aired about it.
4) Hope for Hurting Parents ministry. My husband and I started this outreach to encourage other hurting parents like ourselves who were suffering alone. Check out our website: hopeforhurtingparents.com It is full of resources to assist families who need help and hope. I also started writing this blog for the same reason.
I give all the thanks to God for these four unexpected outcomes from our pain. He is good at ALL times and in ALL ways. He alone could bring so much good from so much bad. I never could have imagined it. I still wish none of these things had happened to my daughter, but the positive things that have happened as a result have greatly eased my pain. I pray it will give you hope for your journey. Unexpected outcomes can happen to you, too.
“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places (Isaiah 45:3).”