Today I am featuring a guest blogger. I thought it would be good to hear from a variety of parents who are on this journey of experiencing great pain in their parenting experience. This blog is from Sharron Cosby. We met at a writer’s retreat this past fall and discovered we had much in common. Sharron’s passion is offering hope and encouragement to parents reeling from their children’s drug addiction problems. Her family is in recovery, along with her 33-year-old son, after many years of his drug and alcohol abuse. She’s recently completed a 90-day devotional book for families with an addict in their lives.
Sharron and her husband, Dan, a Certified Addiction Professional, formed Recovery Church in May of 2012 to provide a safe, non-threatening environment for people in recovery to experience God’s grace.
Dan and Sharron have been married 38 years; have three grown children and five grandchildren.
And now let’s hear from Sharron.
Since it’s a new year, I’d like to challenge you to give up something you love: food, drink, or an activity that brings you extraordinary pleasure. Why? To help you gain perspective on what your addict faces each day.
My 33-year-old son, Josh, is a recovering opiate addict/alcoholic. We’ve fought the war for 18 years and lost many of the battles, but I discovered a powerful weapon in the middle of a sleepless night—God’s Word.
On October 8, 2009, I read Jeremiah 30 and 31 and finally realized that God is a purveyor of promises. It was my “aha moment.” My light bulb flashed on. In these two chapters, Jeremiah is speaking God’s Word to the children of Israel. He forewarned of impending tough times but, in the end, he promised the children of Israel would return home. God promised it, and I believed it. I had to believe it; his promises were all I had left.
The intervening months were horrible. I wanted to cancel our family Christmas celebration because my heart was so broken. I came to my senses, decorated the house, and we had a beautiful family time. Our oldest daughter became engaged right in front of the Christmas tree I almost left in the box. God blessed us smack dab in the middle of pain and chaos.
The New Year brought no positive change. I continued reading and believing the promises for restoration in Jeremiah 30 and 31. After a long weekend of dealing with Josh’s addiction fallout, I decided to fast processed sugar, something I enjoyed. I wanted to feel the struggle of desiring delicacies I craved and loved. The fast would be a glimpse into the life of an addict and an opportunity to draw closer to God. I committed not to eat processed sugar until my son was clean and sober for one year. If it took him ten years to reach the goal, then I would be sugar-free for ten years. The fast began on January 13, 2010.
Each time I encountered a sugary temptation, I had a choice to make: eat it or walk away. My son also confronted daily choices about his addiction: use or walk away. Each confection nudged me to whisper a prayer for him, asking God for strength to make right choices. The fast was a constant reminder to pray for Josh.
One of the happiest days of my life occurred on February 18, 2011, when Josh and I shared a chocolate cake in celebration of his one year clean and sober
Could you give up a food or hobby for at least a year, maybe forever? That’s what we’re asking of our addicted loved one. My year’s fast showed me a side of addiction I had never thought of before: the daily emotional and mental challenges addicts face. The respect for the addict in my life grew every time I said, “No, thank you.”
Are you up to the challenge?
Here are a few of my (Dena’s) favorite passages from Jeremiah 30 and 31:
“The days are coming, declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them . . .” (30:3)
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt.” (31:3-4)
“He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd. For the Lord will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they. . . they will be like a well-watered garden and they will sorrow no more. . . I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. . .” (31:10-11, 12b and 13b)