Dr. MacAfee explains, The word saint used in the context of addicts is controversial, but there’s an important distinction to be made between recovering addicts and those who are abstaining from drugs. Abstinence is the beginning, the time when the addict puts down the drugs. Recovery is a transformative process when the addict moves, step by step, into living a life of truth. Recovery happens when the addict leaves the hell that he has been living and moves to a place of belonging, of contribution, of coming alive. His defensiveness goes down and he knows that honesty is his only way to health. With this transformation, his humanity starts to emerge.
My reflection: When Dr. MacAfee told me that addicts were saints in the making, Jeff was still sick and had been sick for 14 years. What I heard in Dr. MacAfee’s words was hope. Hope that Jeff would recover and grow to be the person he was meant to be.
Today’s Promise to consider: When our loved one is in active addiction, life is suffocating. But when he decides deep down to recover and takes the diligent steps healing requires, he comes back with a burning desire to be of service to others. He regains his humanity and chooses a life of truth and purpose. In this transformation, he is, to me, a saint in the making.2902
Dr. MacAfee is a wise person. The transformation process the Dr. speaks of is truly a miracle to witness. I feel most of us want to know when they can expect to see this miracle in their own child and I have a answer. The transformation begins when the disease of addiction finally wears itself out and this will occur much sooner when we get out of the way of our addicted children. And I have a different perspective on the “choice theory.” I do not believe our addictive children have a choice. Addiction, as a disease, controls their every thought. They have no choice but to follow addiction but eventually the disease wears them out and they have no other path to take but recovery. It’s not that they choose recovery, it’s simply that their was no other path. Once they follow this path the transformation begins to take hold and the God of their understanding becomes their Savior and Guide. Now the doors of recovery begin to swing open and they become embraced into a new reality. One that leads them back to their family and a life of purpose. So, my suggestions to my fellow parents is to try and be very, very quite and very, very patient as our children discover their eventual new life in recovery.
You’re so right – the transformation process is a miracle to witness.
A great thought about the ‘choice’ theory. The addict loses the ability to choose and he chases the drug until death or until the consequences of his addiction become too heavy. You’re right – the disease wears them out and we pray that they get ‘the gift of desperation.’ For Jeff, he says he didn’t want to die, so he chose to live. When I had breast cancer, I didn’t want to die, so I chose treatment.
Your point is really interesting. I’ll talk with MacAfee about this. Thanks!!
Praise God for there is hope .. for addicts and others. We are all works in progress and need each other to reach our potential. Love your reflection, Libby .. as always, very insightful. Mary
thank you for posting, to the both of you.
Thanks, Pat and Mary, for your good comments. Mary, you’re right – we’re works in progress and aren’t we all meant to be ‘saints in the making?’ I agree – we need each other to reach out potential. You, Mary, have been an inspiration to me with your faith. Love you!
I talked with Dr. MacAfee this morning. First, he thanks you for your comment and is touched that you understand addiction is such a deep way. Next, my summary of his response is,
“There is no choice in developing the addiction or in using. Addiction is not a choice. They can’t stop. Incomprehensible demoralization is the gateway to recovery. In that moment of clarity or that moment of grace, the addict sees the condition of their using. This is a moment when the denial drops and they see their life in context. They choose at that moment to continue to use (not take action) or to choose recovery. The recovery must be meaningful to them, a spiritual awakening.”
Thanks, Pat, for staying close to all of us here.
Thanks so much Libby for following up and sharing Dr. MacAfee insights.
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