Posts Tagged ‘substance abuse’

*Welcome today’s guest blogger, Betsy Bradshaw. I believe you will find much encouragement and hope as she shares her story with honesty and openness. She’s learned some valuable lessons and even found  joy on the journey.

This has not been an easy journey for me these past few years. Our older son was making poor choices where we were serving as missionaries winding pathoverseas, so we returned to the U.S. a year early for our furlough, to get him some counseling. When he continued abusing substances, we thought we might need to take him to live in a homeless shelter when he turned eighteen.

My husband and I decided that if he hadn’t stopped his substance abuse by his birthday, we wouldn’t allow him to live at home anymore.

But God answered our prayers, and today he is doing much better. It hasn’t been easy, though. He’s been through two rehab programs and three counselors. Except for two small slips, he’s been clean for almost a year.

Has he come to the Lord? No, not yet. (more…)


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Are you a parent in pain? Have the destructive choices and behaviors of your son or daughter left you an emotional wreck? Is their struggle support groupwith mental illness pushing you to the edge? Do you isolate because you don’t want to “lose it” in public? We’ve been there. We get it.

If you said yes to any of these questions, then I have a word of hope for you. After my eighteen-year-old daughter left home to pursue a life of substance abuse and self-injury, I fell headlong in a pit so dark and deep I wanted to die. I just wanted to escape the excruciating pain.

I found a way out of that pit of despair. You can get out, too.


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Parents love their sons and daughters regardless of their behavior. From the day they were born we were smitten. As we watched them grow up our love for them grew stronger and stronger. Then things began to change. They began to rebel and disobey. We caught them in lies. We had to discipline and enforce boundaries. Then the day came when, to our sadness, we found ourselves being the bad guy- the enemy, insteadattitude of their hero. Sigh.

Sometimes we don’t like the person they’ve become. They’re rude, selfish, disrespectful, and even hateful.

Alcohol and drugs changed them.

Depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses changed them. (more…)

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powerless2Let’s be honest – sometimes parents of troubled sons and daughters grow weary. The years of rebellion, substance abuse, mental illness and out of control behaviors take a toll. All the trauma and drama starts to wear us down. Crisis after crisis drains us. We run out of faith things will ever change or improve.  We see no solutions on the horizon. Everything looks bleak, impossible, We begin to lose heart and before we know it we’ve lost what we need most – we lose hope.

It’s a slippery emotional slope. It’s happened to me. I liken it to the feeling of falling – falling into a pit of despair, into darkness, into a valley I couldn’t climb out of on my own. Depression usually accompanies hopelessness. Everything felt heavy. My legs and feet felt like lead, weighted down. My spirit was broken. The sense of loss overwhelmed my soul.

Hopelessness. It’s terrible to admit you feel this way about your own child. You don’t intend for this to happen. It gradually sneaks up on you. Like the proverbial frog that sits in a pot while it slowly comes to a boil. In the beginning you’re full of confidence things will improve – full of faith things will turn around soon, the craziness won’t last too long, Your son just needs to grow out of this phase. Your daughter just needs to mature a little more. They need time to wake up and realize what they’re doing. You’re sure they will. You’re absolutely certain things will change. Faith is strong. Confidence is in abundance. Prayers are strong – for a while.

If you’ve lost hope, then you need to hear this acrostic.

H.old      O.n      P.ain      E.nds

This won’t last forever. One day it will end. Keep your eyes on Jesus and he will give you his peace.

Keep reaching out to those who understand who can help you keep putting one foot in front of the other and not give up.

Keep taking care of yourself, doing what refreshes you.

Read things that are uplifting. Make a list of your favorite promises from the Bible. Read them often.hopeinhand

Rest, exercise, simplify, laugh and take it easy.

And pray, pray, pray.

May this Bible verse encourage you – “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”   (Psalm 27:13-14)

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The Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman trial is over. Many people all over the country are upset about the outcome. There have been riots in some cities. No matterpain what your opinion is, one thing is true: George Zimmerman’s life will never be the same, neither will the family of Trayvon Martin. They have this in common along with brokenhearted parents. These parents have children who are abusing substances, are in and out of jail, live with a mental illness, cut or burn themselves, have an eating disorder, and on and on.  Like the Martin and Zimmerman families, they feel like they’ve been living in a nightmare. They’ve been deeply impacted by horrific experiences. Hurting mothers and fathers have also been changed forever. Does that describe you? It describes me.

What has changed us? Shock. Grief and loss. Shattered dreams. Fear and anxiety. Ongoing stress and strain. Many pain-filled days. Sleepless nights. Condemnation of others. Seeing your child turn into a stranger before your very eyes, changed into a person you don’t know anymore. Standing by helplessly watching your son destroy his life. Being powerless to save your daughter from hurting herself. We sure are different from who we once were. But it doesn’t have to be all bad. Surprisingly, some of the changes can be good.

My experience has been that now I am stronger – emotionally and spiritually, wiser, more informed on issues I previously knew nothing about, more compassionate, more empathetic toward others who hurt, closer to my family members, and I have a new focus for my work – to encourage other hurting parents (along with my husband).

What is the main thing we all need?  Prayer.

Lots of prayer.

For inner healing.

To still offer unconditional love.

For Hope.






To take one day at a time.

O God, please help us all. We need you so much. We can’t do this without you. Thank you that with You, good can come from all the bad we have experienced. Indeed, our lives have changed forever, but  . . .

“. . . in all things God works for the good of those who love him . . .”  (Romans 8:28)


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