le-piu-belle-immagini-damore-per-san-valentin-L-eOtgPz“WISDOM BORN OF PAIN”

I interviewed a young man, who has been sober eleven years, and asked him what he’s learned from recovery:
He said: I think that alcoholics and addicts in recovery are some of the most beautiful people in the world.
Libby: Why do you say that?
He said: Because they’ve been through the depths of hell, and survived it, you know?
Libby: I once said to Jeff, “Jeff you have more wisdom than I have.” He said, “It’s because I’ve come from a place you’ve never been.”
He said: And that is the truth.

My reflection: Addiction is complicated, and drugs are dangerous and illegal, so it’s easy to give up on addicts and to see them as a menace to society. Jeff once told me, “Society loathes addicts and addicts loathe themselves.” Once addicts find sobriety, they often become a force for beauty and good.

Today’s Promise to consider: Listening to a recovering person is a gift. They emerge from hell with a wisdom born of suffering and a desire to contribute to life. Today, I will listen to a recovering addict with compassion and an open heart. I might have something to learn.

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9 years ago

I love the picture of the heart for this week’s meditation. It depicts the open heart needed to understand an addict. I have a story to share:

One day, I was getting ready for work around 5:30 in the morning. My son gets up and sits on the step of my bathroom and says “Mom, I’ve got a problem”. He told me that he was seriously addicted to dilaudid. He had been injecting 14 of these opioid pills every day. He was beginning to withdraw from the medication and he couldn’t get anymore because he was out of money. He was tired of stealing and doing the drug.

He asked me if I would take him to the hospital to detox. I said, of course. Back then, we had good insurance, and he was covered. He spent two weeks in the psychiatric ward locked up. He was detoxed by the same drug he was on, only the nurses would put the drug in orange juice so he wouldn’t know how much he was getting.

My son came out of the detox a renewed person. He was healthy, handsome, and himself again.

He stayed sober for almost a year and then he relapsed. He relapsed over and over and over.

Libby is right, addiction is so very complicated. It must be very difficult to stay sober once you are an addict. Jeff knows. Jeff knows the hell my son was in.

My son went to hell and back, over and over. But, he is in heaven now.

God Bless all the addicts and the parents who love them.

9 years ago

You will recognize this day’s message as the de profundis theme we see often in literature. It appeared often in African-American lit when I was teaching that course: Rising from the depths to greater strength, love, life. The corollary is that one who is sinking must hit bottom before rising again can occur.

John Whitford
John Whitford
9 years ago

I think that addicts and their families each have their own ‘hell’. To watch helplessly while someone you love destroys themselves and damages those they love and who love them because of a drug (I watched my cousins families destroyed by alcohol)gives those a unique insight and perspective. That pain that addicts inflict on their families can either destroy them or move them to some positive action. It is important for the ‘sober’ party to make responsible decisions and turn that pain towards a positive result. My heart goes out to both the addict and to their loved ones…

Dave Cooke
9 years ago

Spot on. For those in recovery – parents and the addicted – the lessons we learned in addiction have delivered the gift of humility. We all fight to avoid facing our fears and our weaknesses. We go to great lengths to avoid change and let go of selfish desires. Recovery changes all that. For to improve, grow, change, and succeed you need to learn to love, listen, encourage, and give to others. Addiction and recovery are a hard road and a wonderful gift. Honor to those who have learned to appreciate it.

9 years ago

The addicts and alcoholics in recovery that I know are beautiful people. They are spiritual, giving, deep, and full of service. Unfortunately, my son has never reached that point. He was sober 5 months but has never embraced recovery in the full sense . He is an ill person, and yes addiction is so very complex.
Barbara, you have such an open heart. That is truly recovery. Addiction breaks one’s heart over and over again, but as we work toward recovery the pieces do come back in place, but never the same. Life altering/ life changing
God bless
Thank you Libby and Jeff

9 years ago

Dear Jane, thank you for your kind words. You and your son are in my daily prayers. I pray that one day he will experience true recovery. My heart bleeds for you. You are truly a wonderful person, here in cyberspace. I feel as though I know you well enough to say that.

Dear Libby, you are so right when you write that addiction is complicated. It’s one of the most complex illnesses in the world. I wish there were more research monies spent on this, but, I’m afraid that society just doesn’t want to realize that the addicts aren’t a menace to society. They are real people with an illness.

Dear Pat, if your reading this, I wish you well.