Well, here we go...I'm receiving not-so-nice email and comments from people who feel they need to attack my faith. I do believe that I tried to be kind, compassionate and non-judgmental. I did not use profanity. If you feel a need to bash me, or to use profanity of any kind, please don't do it here. If you don't agree with my beliefs (which I don't think I'm shoving down anyone's throat), I'm happy to address them, if you are courteous. Otherwise, I will have to delete the comments.
Dear "Doomed" (Anonymous):
I want to address your very moving comment to the best of my ability. First, let me say that I feel your pain. While I do not know what it is like to be an addict, I am living with one and I love him very, very much. As you know, my son is the addict. He has vented at me and to me, often enough. Sometimes his feelings are very raw, and he has tears in his eyes.
So, while I do not know what it feels like to have an addict's brain, I am one of those folks who believes that addiction is a switch that has been flipped in the brain. I do believe that there is a D.N.A. correlation and I do not believe that addiction is a choice. I feel that way about alcoholism. This, by the way, contradicts what one of my favorite pastors preaches. I love you, Greg Laurie, and I know you were raised by an alcoholic mom. But, I do not believe that addiction is a choice someone makes.
So, let me try my best to address your pain and honesty about how you feel about. I am going to try my very best to not preach to you!
I adore your blog but my question to you is what will you think of your God if your son relapses and just decides to go on a all out rampage. Does that mean God stoped answereing your prayers?
Me: Thank you for the praise. I pray that my blog can be a ministry to others. If I have touched you in any way, I am thankful. To answer what I would think of God if my son relapses... My son has relapsed three times in one year! He went on an all out rampage last November. While he was in rehab, it seems, his roommates were using OxyContin in the room! These young men were there because their parents "made" them go. All the while, these two guys and my son planned to leave before they were completely detoxed. My son, who did not know San Francisco, learned all the connections to buy Oxycontin and black tar heroin. The three of them got my son's roommate hooked on it. She was a mother one a young adult woman, an alcoholic who had been clean and sober for six months.
I did not find this out until right after Christmas, when my son moved back with us.
Did I blame God? No, not one little bit. I blame addiction. I blame evil. I blame the Dark One's sly and dirty ways. I blame my son-- who returned to rehab "for me". He didn't go for himself.
Why would God let my kid die of a overdose but let another kid get his or her life together and they prayed even harder then you.
You ask a very logical question. I once felt that way, too. The thing is, it doesn't matter how hard you pray. Now, I'm going to try and explain this in a very oversimplified way. I hope I do okay-- you see, prayer is both talking to God and allowing God to talk to you. It's a two way deal. By the way, I don't hear God's voice audibly, like some people say. When I feel God speaking to me, it's more of a strong urge to say or do something. I cannot tell you how many times I've thought of someone I haven't spoken to in ages-- and that very day, they will either call me or I'll bump into them! Sometimes, I get a "brain storm"...an epiphany... a sudden sense of knowing what I should do or say. I give that glory to God. I think that is how He speaks to me. He gives me wisdom and encouragement. Sometimes, I have vivid dreams-- almost prophetic dreams, like when I dreamt my son was using. I was 100% right, and I saw it in a dream (like the story of Joseph, in the Old Testment). Some people mistake prayer as a list of things they want God to do. God doesn't need our lists. He needs our faith and trust in Him. People do, mistakingly, assume that God will answer prayers right away. I prayed to God about a particular issue for ten long years, before it was answered! In the meantime, God made me wait. I wasn't ready. I had a lot to learn, and I had to forgive myself for somethings and let go of others. Once I reached that point, he set me free from that issue.
I digress...because I want to stick to your question, though. Sorry. In order to have God hear our prayers-- and answer our prayers-- we need to be right with Him. You see, sin separates us from God. Until we confess our sins, to God (I don't believe in confessing to a priest, like my former Catholic ways taught me) we are not right with Him. Here's a bitter pill to swallow though...and this one took me a long time to understand...
Let's say that my son dies of an overdose. "It's God's will" sounds pretty heartless, doesn't it? No doubt, I'd be devastated. I might even be tempted to blame God. But, you see, if my son died of an overdose it is because he chose to use drugs. I would not blame this on God at all. My son's need to use was totally driven by his brain calling out to him. That comes from the Dark Side. This does not come from God. Sometimes, it is a tragedy in our lives that is God's opportunity to use us to help others. Take Adam Walsh, for instance. He took the tragic kidnapping and senseless murder of his son, to start "America's Most Wanted". How did MADD (Mothers against drunk drivers) get started? The tragic death of a child.
The big problem with opiate addiction is when he is doing well. When he does find that dream job and starts looking good from going to the gym and has a car money in the bank and the shit starts calling his name in his sleep. The problem with opiates is it's a brain disease. Unless he goes to meetings every day of his life or goes on suboxone or even methadone the chances of him relapses somewhere down the line in the next three years are extremely against him.
Me: Yes, my friend. How right you are. I thought my son was doing well, just last month. He had a job. He is well liked by his peers. He is loved by me and he has all of his needs met for him-- food, shelter, medical needs, clothing and some pocket money to have some fun. Our home is peaceful, drug-free and a place that I have worked to create as a sanctuary. Still, my son could not resist the need to use. He blames it on his injured back, from his car accident last year. As you know, my son cannot use prescription pain killers. Hello? He used OxyContin for years. So, he chipped by skipping his suboxone for a day so he could smoke heroin-- just to take the "edge" off. In between, he'd use suboxone to help with the withdrawals. I call that "the crazy cycle". The Dark One (Evil) fooled my son, and he fell for it. We know that my son's odds are only a 3% success rate to get off heroin. He has a 97% chance that he will not succeed. It sucks. He has been using Suboxone, on and off, for a year. This time, he's been legally using it since January-- when I found a doctor that takes his insurance. We pay $400.00 out of our pocket to make sure my son has medical insurance to buy his diabetes insulin and suboxone. Ouch.
You wrote: I'm on suboxone now and will never get off. I know if I do I'm doomed. I just got a settlement from a car accident that should last a lifetime. Can you imagine I start useing again. I'll be dead.
Me: I cannot begin to tell you how sad this statement made me. I feel such hopelessness in this. I am so sorry. This statement, of yours, is why I have addressed you as "Doomed". I wish I knew your first name, so I could call you by that. This is your own perception-- not mine. I pray that your heart will be filled with hope.
You wrote: I love the way you write and your love for your son is so uncondiditional and I so hope he is going to be the few that makes it.
Me: Thank you. I do too.
You wrote: God has no say in this. It's your soon that will be this by his wanting to not by any ones prayers hopes dreams. I really can't stand when people say "thanks to God I'm clean etc. I'm sure the million others said that at one time or another before they were found in a ally somewhere purple.
Ah, He does. In my son's case, I believe that God has played a huge part in protecting my son. My son was yanked out of his truck, beaten and carjacked. The perpetrators were caught and I stood in court while the 18 year old was sentenced. He got 10 months in jail. He will forever have that on his record. Another tinme, my son was mugged at gunpoint. The robber pulled the trigger-- and by some miracle, the gun didn't go off. The robber ran away with my son's wallet...and his friend's. My son has told me times when he was in bad sections of town, buying drugs. He's had guns pulled on him. By some miracle, he didn't get shot and killed. The area where my son was hanging out is averaging 1-3 kills a week. Shall I go on?
I believe where God plays a part in this, is He is waiting for my son to come to Him. Nothing is impossible for God. BUT, like any loving and good parent, He allows us to stumble and fall when we think we can do things on our own. When we do not come to God for wisdom and guidance and we live our lives totally opposite from what God tells us is not acceptable-- He steps back and watches. The bible says the He sees our every tear. I don't know how old you are... or if you're a parent. But I can tell you that I have had to let my son walk into his own disasters, hoping that he'd learn from his poor choices.
The bottom line is-- when we, as Christians, surrender our lives to live according to God's Word (that would be the bible), we become fully aware of evil and good. Jesus is the shining light on a dark world. Our values change. I can attest to that. I did things in my past, that today I am fully aware were wrong. I hurt a lot of people and I degraded myself by my past behavior. Now, I know better. I would never do these things, today!
That is what God does--hoping that we will finally humble ourselves before him. Otherwise, the Devil (and he is real) will lead us down the pathway to hell. I'm talking earthly hell-- misery.
Many people do not understand-- or they forget-- that God has given us "free will". He wants us to love him because we choose to. He will never force Himself upon us. It would be like an arranged marriage! But, sometimes, God will set us up to fail hoping that we will finally admit that we cannot live a happy and fulfilling life, unless we submit to Him. That's what God did to me. He took away my marriage, my home, my money and I lived in poverty for some time. I made bad choices in men-- and then I found God. He wiped away my tears and taught me to forgive myself and to love myself. I am a much different person, now.
This, I feel, is one of the top reasons why people shun Christianity, or are unwilling to accept this. We do not want to submit ourselves to our Higher Power-- and for me, it is Jesus Christ-- God-- our savior. We blame God for the suffering in this world, when it is evil that has caused it. Until the prophecy that Jesus will come again happens-- evil is alive and well in our hearts and in our world.
You wrote: I been shot ( twice) stabbed (3 times) homeless, prison (3 times) county jsil (15 times) and I use every time I felt better or got released. That's the insanity of addiction. I got sober because I was ready.
Me:I am sorry that this has happened. Addiction is a crazy cycle. I have watched my son go through this for a year. I read blogs from parents who have gone through this for years. I don't want this to be me! I pray that you are still sober-- but most importantly, I pray for you to find joy in your life.
You wrote: Knowing that money was coming was my chance to enjoy life then to be constantly chaseing something that I had a love hate relationship with. I haven't been high in years because I was doing the shit just not to get sick. I'm sorry for rambling and do not mean to demean your faith in God but it irks me that people think he has a hand in this and I seen so much suffering to people who had such crazy faith in 'HIM" and they suffered beyond any words can describe. Mainly me
I'm sad to read this. However, I don't think you are rambling. You are sharing honest feelings. You are not demeaning my faith. I once felt the same way that you did. I'm sorry that you have suffered. I think of Christ-- the son of God-- who suffered a horrifying death on the cross. Why? Because he took on all of our sins, and became the sacrificial lamb. He did this so that we may be forgiven of our sins-- to be right with God-- and to know that when we die...and we all will... that we will go on to a better place. A place where there will be no more suffering, sorrow, pain or death.
Until then, sometimes we must suffer in our life on earth. Sometimes, others suffer more than we do. Others are blessed with a wonderful life on earth.
Look at Michael Jackson. He was famous, successful and filthy rich. Yet, I believe, he was a sad and tormented person. His mega millions could not bring him happiness; ultimately he spent more money than he made and that left him broke. What was Michael Jackson seeking? I don't think he found it. I know people who are lovely human beings. They are kind. They are generous. They cannot fathom that they will not go to heaven, unless they are followers of Jesus. They believe that they are "good" people, and that should be enough.
Sadly, "good" isn't good enough. By that, I believe that no matter how nice or good we think we are-- we are all sinners. Even nice people fall short of how God wants us to live our lives. That's why He sent us his one and only begotten Son to redeem us of our sins.
What separates Christians from any other religion, is accepting that we can have a direct relationship with God only through Jesus. Period. This is where Christianity and Judaism part ways. There are many different sects of Christianity, too. My faith is non-denominational. I stick to what God's Word says. I learned how to read and study the bible by finding a small group. I knew zip-- nothing, about the bible for most of my life. In fact, I found reading the bible totally boring and hard to understand-- until I found a church with a pastor who could break it all down to a language I could understand. Now, I find that I enjoy the bible and I relate to so many of the key people-- King David, King Solomon, Ruth, Joseph and all the disciples. I find wisdom in reading Psalms and Proverbs. Now, I find the bible to be a fascinating book in history and prophecy that nobody can disprove!
I know heroin addicts who have been saved by Jesus. I have heard their testimony. These are people who have been in prison, stabbed and overdosed. These are folks who've lost everything. These people make my heart feel hope. I can see that they have found strength, peace and love in knowing God.
I highly recommend the book by Rick Warren, "A Purpose Driven Life" (see my Shelfari icon on this blog). It's an easy read, and can explain a lot of what you've expressed far better than I can.
Thank you, for your candor. Thank you, for giving me thought provoking questions for me to answer. I hope that I have helped you to see my perspective on things.
Now, my friend, I pray that you will feel the love of God in your heart, right now. I pray that you will come to really know who God is. He is a God of Love. May God be your sword and your shield against the forces of evil that call your name.
If there is a "Celebrate Recovery" in your area (check their website) in your area, maybe you can check it out.
In Christ's Love,