Response To Tragedy . . . .
I'm very fortunate to have a wonderful Pastor who I
can go to and talk to about these problems if I need to. He knows my
daughter and he knows what we're going through.
A while back, we had a tragedy occur that affected
several members of our church ..... a young child was killed in a
terrible accident and many of our members, obviously, had a hard
time dealing with this terrible event.
The following week, our Pastor's message was "A
Healing Response to Tragedy", based on the book of Job. As I
listened to his sermon, I thought about the tragedy of the young
child being killed .... the tragedy the very same week of a young
sherriff's deputy being shot down in the line of duty ...... I
thought about the tragedy of just a few years ago, getting a phone
call that changed my life. My Mom, who was seemingly very
healthy, had an aneurysm and died before I could get to the
All these things were tragedies .... terrible things
that happened suddenly. But as I listened to his message, I realized
that tragedies aren't just terrible things that happen
suddenly ..... tragedies can also be terrible things that happen
over a period of time, such as the tragedy of addiction. And, just
like the person who is trying to deal with a sudden tragedy ..... so
also do we have to deal with this tragedy of addiction that has
happened to our loved ones over a period of time.
I want to share with you, my Pastor's message
(entertwined with my thoughts, of course) and hopefully you can
receive a blessing from it, just as I did. Actually, the
more I've read over his notes today, I've realized that not only
will these truths heal us as loved ones of an addict, but that this
is also where an addict MUST BEGIN in order to find their own
Our healing begins when we face the truth
about what is happening inside us.
So many times,
we as parents refuse to believe what is actually happening to our
loved ones. For a long time, as I said earlier, I tried to hide it.
We refuse to believe that this is happening to someone we love .....
we refuse to believe that this is happening to our family. Until we
actually look inside ourselves and face the truth, healing cannot
begin. We have to escape from the denial of the problem.
FOUR STEPS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
- I will be honest about my pain.
- I will ride out the waves of emotion.
- I will allow myself to ask the tough questions.
- I will resist the lies of the "accuser."
remember back 18 years ago when I first started suspecting a
problem, I wasn't honest about it at all. I wasn't even honest with
myself at first about how bad I was hurting. I used excuses to
myself ... "she's just being a teenager" ... and for a
while that helped me to cover it, even to myself.
Then, I had to finally face it (after finding pills in her room)
.... "Yes, my daughter has a drug problem. Yes, I'm hurting
terribly inside because of this."
And then .... the "blame game" began. "Oh, if only
I had watched her closer" ..... "if only I had made her
stay at home more" .... "if only I had done this"
.... "if only I had done that" .... "if
only" .. "if only" ... then this wouldn't have
happened to my child. I was listening to ... and believing .... the
lies of the "accuser" (Satan). He had me so wrapped up in
believing that it was all my fault, that I began to look at myself
as the problem, the enemy .... and my daughter .... as the
It took me a long time .... years even ... to get over that. And
even now sometimes, the "accuser" attacks me with this
"blame game." Don't think something is wrong with you if
this is where you are in dealing with this problem. Believe me,
sometimes I'm still there. In fact, just a few nights ago, I was
attacked by this very thing .... and I started to cry. Usually, at
this point, is when my husband has to jump in and say, "STOP
THIS RIGHT NOW! THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT!!!!!" Then I'm usually
able to "get a grip" on the situation again and fight off
This has been one of the hardest battles I've ever fought.
Without much prayer and support .... I would not have gotten past
UP: Our healing depends on how we choose to respond to God.
Seven Reminders That Help Us Regain Balance
- Though I may not like it, God has every right to do as he pleases.
- No matter how I feel about Him right now, God is still worthy of
- Though I may not see or feel Him, God has NOT forsaken me.
- God wants to communicate with me in my pain. I
have to let him.
- My heavenly "Advocate" is praying for me.
- One day all will be made right. We
have to believe this.
- An unseen audience is watching my response.
- I can choose to turn away from God and faith, fight this battle
alone (a very dark and hopeless path.) ..... or .....
- I can choose to trust God no matter what.
Most of the book of Job
is dialogue between friends.
Our healing is accelerated by frequent POSITIVE contact with other
- A certain amount of privacy is helpful; isolation is not.
TWO SIMPLE REALITIES:
We need others.
- They need us.
His recovery began to
accelerate after Job
had prayed for his friends.
- Job 42:10 -
I said before, I tried to hide the problem from everyone. I felt
that telling people what was happening, or seeking help for this
problem was a weakness in me ..... that maybe I wasn't a good enough
parent to handle the problem. Not only did I hide it ..... I
isolated myself from people. This way, no one could ask me about it,
and force me to face it ... force me to talk about it. I even
isolated myself from my husband. I was in a private place, a private
hell, alone with my private grief, and for a long while, I refused
to let anyone invade my private place. Had I remained there, healing
could never have begun.
I finally chose to leave "that place" and seek help.
This is when I started talking to people, seeking organizations such
as Toughlove, Nar-Anon, and family programs sponsored by the
rehabilitation centers. I remember being so shocked when I attended
my first Toughlove meeting. These people were telling "my
story." How did these people know what was happening in my
life? How did these people know what was going on inside the walls
of my home? How did these people know how I felt inside?
That's when I realized .... I'm not alone. There is help
out here for me.
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