Tag Archives: recovery

Grace Beck’s Story

I was born April 4, 1995, to Robert Klingensmith Beck III and Elizabeth Beck in Phoenix, Arizona. The day after I was born my dad took off for a love affair with the bottle. This would be indicative of what most of my life would be.

My earliest two memories involve my father. First, I remember my mom holding me while talking to police officers when my father went missing. The other memory is building a snowman family with him. I made each snowman anatomically correct to show him how “smart” I was. I adored my father and constantly sought his approval. Every time I made a point about something happening in a ball game or something outdoorsy, it would follow with, “Huh, Dad?” He would always reply, “You’re right Gracie,” even if I was completely wrong. My life was filled with extreme highs and extreme lows with my father.

When I was in middle school I was a troubled kid. I talked back to teachers, didn’t do homework and had conflict with mean kids in class. Things at home made me feel as though I was not important, that I needed to act out to get attention. My father was, what seemed constantly, going on binges. Every few months it would get to the point of taking him to the hospital so he could detox. When he was on medication he was reserved to his bedroom all day, every day. A child living in this environment begins to ask questions like, “why does he choose drugs over me?”  “Am I not important?” “Does he not really love me?” “Am I the cause of his alcoholism?” None of that is true.

My father’s childhood was filled with one tragedy after another, but the worst part was that he had no outlet to deal with his deep wounds and suffering. The only thing that helped ease the pain was drugs and alcohol.

My relationship with my father was rocky and sometimes nonexistent. I distanced myself from my father because I loved him and it hurt too badly to be around him.

As I got older, the only time we talked was when the Steelers were playing, the Diamondbacks were doing well or anything college football. But he never owned up to the way he damaged our family and never was truly repentant for being an absent father.

Last year, I experienced some things that gave me a perspective on what my father dealt with. I didn’t want to feel or think, I wanted to escape, I wanted to die. God allowed me to feel a fraction of the pain my father felt, that same pain that led him to drugs.

People told me growing up, “Be careful, alcoholism is in your DNA.” I am destined to be just like him, right? Wrong! There is a commonly believed lie about addiction; that it is an illness, an incurable disease. This is a lie that releases people’s responsibility for their actions and condemns them to a life of affliction. Addiction is an emotional disease, perhaps. In its purest state, addiction is selfishness, pride and sin. Addiction may end with physical dependence on drugs, but it starts with loneliness, insecurity, guilt, suffering and more. All of us tend to use things to escape reality.

My father bought into this lie and died because he felt trapped. Robert Beck died on October 13, 2016, from an overdose of several different prescription medications.

After my father died I went into shock. I started going downhill, fast. I was unable to process or put into words the feelings I had. My grief was not just for my father, but for the relationship, I would never have with him, the one thing I wanted my whole life. I used alcohol, extreme sarcasm (being a jerk), Netflix binging and partying to numb the feeling of my heart being torn out of my chest every single day.

However, God began showing me that the things I turned to only made me hurt more. I’m sure if my father could tell me one last thing, it would be that he regretted the path he took in life, he wished he would have dealt with his issues instead of hiding behind addiction, and life is meaningless without faith in God.

I share my father’s story with you because it is my story. Everything my father did when I was growing up has shaped me to be who I am, good or bad. I know my dad would want me to express to others that the only way to truly heal your emotional wounds is to reach out to God, the only One who understands ultimate suffering.

I used to dread waking up in the morning. Now when I wake up, I am hopeful for the future.

Hope For Addiction saves lives, mine included.

I have learned that addiction is not different from the sin with which I struggle. The only difference is that addiction is ugly to society and Christians. Jesus sought out the outcasts. He loved them unconditionally. To me, that is the most poetic and beautiful way God works. I was the outcast, but God’s promise to His children is He will never leave us or forsake us. I have experienced that promise in my life, even through the suffering.

For more information, please visit our website at myhopeforaddiction.com

If you would like give HOPE to someone in need, please view the needs HERE 

Is Addiction A Disease?

What if I told you that I didn’t think that addiction was a disease? Would you think that I was crazy or uninformed? If so, maybe I can change your mind. I believe that there are people on both sides of the fence that benefit from addiction being classified as a disease, both those who suffer from addiction and those who do not. Let me explain…

“Addiction is defined as a disease by most medical associations, including the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Like diabetes, cancer and heart disease, addiction is caused by a combination of behavioral, environmental and biological factors. Genetic risks factors account for about half of the likelihood that an individual will develop an addiction. Addiction involves changes in the functioning of the brain and body. These changes may be brought on by risky substance use or may pre-exist.” (Addiction as a Disease 2016). These are some very strong words and may prove to be quite convincing. When something is classified as a disease, it is owned by the medical profession, by doctor’s, psychologists and drug companies. If addiction is a disease, then it would be a disease like diabetes and cancer, one where there can be no permanent cure, because relapse could happen at any time. It would be a disease that is managed, with medication and psychiatric care.

Classifying addiction as a disease is beneficial to the person who is addicted, in a way it lets them off the hook for their addiction. A person addicted can now say, “hey, addiction isn’t my fault, I have a disease. Blame big pharma, it’s all their fault for creating the drug I abuse”. This is exactly where we are today, people blaming drug companies for creating medicines that have a legitimate use but are abused by some. The addict is let off the hook at every turn and is not held accountable for their part in the equation.

Society benefits from having addiction classified as a disease as well. You see, by classifying addiction as a disease, parents of addicts can remain in relationship with their children blaming the disease rather than the child. Social programs can be created to fight the disease, rather than to hold the addict responsible for their behaviors. Addiction as a disease creates an abstraction so that it is a disease that is being targeted and not the actions of individuals.

The lines are blurred daily regarding addiction as a disease. When the news comes across a story where a child is put in harm’s way because the parents are on drugs, it is totally the parent’s fault, but when a story is presented where a person is down and out because or an addiction, it is the addiction that is vilified.

What if addiction is not a disease, but a choice. Yes, it is true that the body becomes used to having certain chemicals in the system in order for things to function properly and this is the physical effects of addiction, but once the drug is out of the system, the body can once again function properly. This process is called detox and it required by anyone who has taken a substance for an extended period of time. This is no different than someone who has used caffeine for a long period of time when they go off of caffeine, they suffer from headaches and other physical symptoms. Once that phase passes, it is as if they never consumed caffeine at all. It is the same for other substances as well, once a person is weaned off of opioids, the body begins the process of repairing and restoring processes that were interrupted in the presence of the drug. Once the physical desire for the drug is concurred, the only thing left is the individual’s choice to go back to the drug. This is not the case with something like diabetes or cancer, a person’s actions cannot affect the symptoms of the disease.

Addiction is a disease today because it makes it more palatable to society and to the medical profession. We live in a time where personal accountability is waning and blame should be placed on something other than individuals. This epidemic will continue until we are willing to throw away the moniker of disease and to treat individuals as responsible for their choices. If we choose to ignore this call, there will be generations of people who will suffer because of it.

Lonnie Clardy,
Guest writer and “Hope for Addiction” group leader

If you need help battling addiction, please contact us. We can help! There is HOPE!

THE GAME CHANGER NEWSLETTER

Being a teenager in today’s world brings heartache and challenges that most of us never had to face. The realities of the ugliness of the world, the busyness of our schedules and the decline in our knowledge of God has created a mess for our children.

Why do teens use drugs?
Teens turn to drugs and alcohol for a variety of reasons, but the main reasons are coping with pressure, numbing their pain, boredom or rebellion. The availability of substances makes the problem even greater. For decades the government has tried to address teen drug and alcohol use with campaigns like

“Just say No,” “This is Your Brain on Drugs” and other fear-driven approaches. The new trend in anti-drug messaging is trying to relate with teens and an attempt to offer “something better.”

Why aren’t these approaches successful?
There are many well-intentioned people truly trying to make a difference in the world, yet positive affirmations and nice words are not enough. Words alone cannot fix the problem. The only words powerful enough to change someone are God’s Words (Hebrews 4:12). This is what makes Redeemed2Repeat different.

In July 2016, we began a teen support group called “Fighting for Hope” in response to a number of hurting teen girls needing help. These girls have experienced much pain and suffering in their life. The pain caused by addicted parents cuts deep and without the correct help, kids medicate their pain with destructive behavior.

The Redeemed2Repeat teen meeting helps girls who have deep wounds to understand God’s love for them, His ability to heal them, take away their shame and give them a new life. The meeting is real, raw and we don’t shy away from the realities of their pain. But we don’t stop there. We identify their pain, acknowledge it and connect them with scripture and practical application for their life. We teach them how to fight for hope in the darkness that is their life. We provide a safe place for them to share honestly about what they are going through and help them to understand how the Bible, God’s very Words to us, can help them, can heal them and can give them hope in the darkness of their suffering. We don’t talk about details of what has happened; rather we talk about how the things that have happened in our life affect us, how we feel and think about these things, and how we can have hope and healing through Christ.

What does this look like and is it enough?
I’d like to tell you about 14-year-old Brooke. When I met Brooke she was afraid. She had been so hurt that she had trouble having a conversation and couldn’t look me in the eye. When we began the teen meetings, most of the girls could not openly share and mostly answered shallow questions. They were afraid to trust because they have been so deeply wounded by people who should have protected them. In our very first meeting, we talked about pain, about suffering, but we also talked about hope and how to find hope in the midst of our pain and darkness. The girls didn’t talk much but they began to see a life-changing connection to God.

One of the things we do to help both adults and teens understand and apply God’s Word is through growth assignments or homework. Change doesn’t happen in the meeting, it happens when they take what they have learned and engage with God through the everyday situations in their lives. One of the growth assignments was to read Psalm 139 and write down how God’s Words spoke to them personally.

 

Here is what Brooke wrote:

Psalm 139:5, You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
“This stood out to me and I thought that I am all put together and He knows what is going to happen to me in my life and He knows from today to the day I die and go live with Him in eternity. Also, that He will always help me through the journey that He has set up for me. It says to me that He’s looking at us from all sides and watches and leads us to follow Him. Another thing is, He will sew up our life that was in the darkness and help us get through life even if it is a hard life and road.”

This young woman, with all the horrible things she has endured in her short 14 years is learning how to hear God, how to believe God and how to trust God. Isn’t this the very struggle we all have? Redeemed2Repeat helps people who have been conditioned to think that they are different than “normal people” to see that we are all the same and our greatest need is met in Christ.

Brooke has great support in her life now and Redeemed2Repeat is just a small piece of that. She doesn’t have to hide or pretend. She has grown so much in the past year. She smiles. A lot. She is more comfortable with herself and others. She continues to learn about God and how He loves her and helps her.

The leader of the teen group, Chris Harris, has done an amazing job in bringing deep truths to a very practical level. She purchased journals for the girls just for use in the group. They write notes during the meeting, and when we ask questions that might be too scary to answer out loud, they write the answers in their journals. Over the past year, I have seen these girls grow, become more comfortable with who they are and open up and share. The girls are learning how to go to God with their pain instead of to other things like cutting or drugs or alcohol.

How do we reach teens?
The best anti-drug message we have is God’s Word. But I’m not talking about clichés or “Bible band-aids.” I’m talking about helping people truly understand Who God is and what He has done. Their greatest need, as is true for all of us, is a Savior to rescue us, a big God, the creator of heaven and earth, who loves us, and has given us everything we need to live this life (2 Peter 1:3).

This journey takes time. A long time. This is what Redeemed2Repeat does. We walk with people. Sometimes we have to get in the darkness with people and walk with them there for a while so they see the light of Christ. John 1:5 says, The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. This is what Redeemed2Repeat is all about. This is why your prayers are so needed and appreciated. Thank you for standing with us. Lives are being changed.

For more information, visit us!

Help us grow our teen program! We desire to expand our reach with teens.
We would love to be able to offer these girls a weekend retreat, movie night,  or coffee time to talk. If you would like to help us with this, you can donate here. Thank you!

President and Founder of Hope For Addiction, Inc. Liz Beck

We recently featured our support group leaders on social media so you could get to know them.
I asked my co-worker Tracy to help me write something about our founder Liz. This is the result.

Liz has experienced sufferings and trials in her own life and has trusted the Lord as he has made beauty from the ashes. Liz loves the lost. She isn’t afraid of the messiness of people’s lives and sacrifices her life to love and helps those who struggle with addiction. The Lord has revealed the plans he has set before her and with the hope, she has in Jesus, she carries the burdens of others. She sacrifices her time to meet with countless people and brings hope into their lives.

Liz has brought many people into her home to live, to be an instrument in their growth and new life of change. She shares Jesus, hope for freedom from substance abuse and new life in Christ. She walks alongside people and helps to connect them with mentors, counseling, gives rides, attends court hearings and takes late night phone calls.

Liz attends countless meetings with city and state officials on new committees who see the need for different programs in the valley. She talks with parents of addicts and works with sober living homes. She has started a monthly support meeting for teens. With the wide range of those affected by addiction, she is working hard to reach children, parents, and families.

Redeemed2Repeat started with an idea a few years ago and now has weekly meetings in multiple locations and over thirty people regularly attending. Several Christ-centered churches are interested in starting programs in their cities. There is not a single program out there like Redeemed2Repeat. Where the only step you need to take is one, of faith.

A team has been built to help lead meetings and we are so grateful for the people God has brought to this ministry. Liz lives her life to honor the Lord and help others know Jesus. She juggles the ministry and is a mom of two amazing kids. She seeks counsel for her own life and desires to be an example that pleases the Lord. Her foundation, faith, and pastoral care are evidence that Liz desires to bring the truth and hope that set people free.

Liz, thank you for your love, care, and sacrifice! We are grateful for you and we praise the Lord he has used your life and experiences to reach hundreds of people who would have otherwise been stuck in the identity of the addict.

We are no longer slaves to addiction, we are FREE!

Click here for more information about Redeemed2Repeat, to get help or to partner with us.

When your mom is an addict: A daughter’s story of survival

I don’t exactly know when the addiction started? It seems like it was always there. I don’t remember a birthday party or Christmas where I didn’t have to explain what was going on with my mom and why she seemed so ‘’tired’’ or “down.” Growing up it was always just me and my mom at home. It’s not that no one else was around because there was, but she quit her job when I was 9 or 10 and my dad was supporting us with one job and my older sister was in high school. It was just me and momma, taking care of one another. I just remember my mom was having a hard time but I was too young to understand why.  I had no idea what addiction even was.

Not too long after, both of my older brothers went to prison at the same time. It was really hard on all of us. Instead of turning to each other for a shoulder to cry on and finding comfort in one another, my mom found comfort in those little devils, we call medicine.

That’s what I remember the most. From then on everything got a lot more drastic. She cried every night and would never come out of her room, barely ate. Coming home to her sleeping just became the new normal. There were years’ worth of little incidents like that. But they were more than little, they were as often as the heat is here in Arizona and they built up so much tension and emotion in the family.

 For some reason, these things happened when it was just the two of us, so of course, I would care of her and do whatever I could to make her present again. Being a kid, barely in your teen years and having to take care of someone who should be caring for you and making you dinner and making sure that you’re ready for bed, is something I became accustomed to. That was definitely the hardest thing for me because I had to not only care for myself but for my mom, and doing that means having to grow up a lot faster and having to mature faster than a kid should. It was almost like she was never there. She was there physically but emotionally in a totally different place. 

The last episode, I remember so vividly. We went to church early because she was serving coffee and she asked me to help her. As an hour or so went by I started to notice the usual signs: shaking hands, drowsy eyes, slurring words. You know, the whole nine yards.  I asked her if she took her medicine and of course, she denied it and became angry. She started yelling at me, telling me that I was embarrassing her. She didn’t even know that I was the one who was embarrassed. My aunt took us home and we had a big argument. She was falling all over, tripping off of pills. I was so angry and sad and scared and overwhelmed. I couldn’t take it anymore. I called my dad to come home from work or I was going to call an ambulance. We all knew she had to get help. Our family was falling apart.  – We all needed help!

Then my mom found Redeemed2Repeat… 

My mom has been clean and sober for almost three years.  Today, she enjoys helping other women who attend the Redeemed2Repeat meetings. She has come a long way and has been working hard to remain sober. My mom continues to work to restore relationships within our family. I have my mom back and she takes care of me.

 

We have a great relationship. It wasn’t always this way. Addiction almost destroyed our family. It has been a long journey and our story continues…

If you are struggling with addiction and need help, contact us today! There is no charge for our services.

Connecting the desire to change with the Power to change!

Lasting Change for Addiction, the Long Journey to Rebuild Lives

lasting-change

The destruction that happens when someone is in their addiction takes years to sort through. They are learning life skills that were neglected, rebuilding trust with family that was lied to and hurt, addressing legal and financial issues and learning to live life in the open and in the light of truth. This process does not happen overnight. For family members, they have seen “change” before only to be disappointed time after time. It takes a long while for the walls to begin to come down and for family to be ready to trust and tackle their issues. For the person who is excited about their new life and ready to move on, this reality can be discouraging and many people relapse at six months or a year because of this. This is why Redeemed2Repeat works with people to be ready, to be patient with their family and remember that their loved ones lived this roller coaster for years. We know this is a journey and we are committed to walk with people and help them rebuild their lives… for the long haul.

Where are some of the people whose stories we have shared over the past three years? What are they up to? You may read their stories and think, “Wow, this is amazing, there is no more work to be done.” The reality is, they are just beginning. We wanted to update you on a few people so you can see that they are continuing to do the heart work required for lasting change. God began a good work in them and He promises to complete His wwe-have-the-priviledgeork (Philippians 1:6). We have the privilege to be a part of God’s ongoing work of transformation.

Tracy: Tracy is more than two and a half years sober. She continues to serve on staff with Redeemed2Repeat and is a vital part of ministry to other women coming for help. Tracy’s family was almost destroyed by her addiction and she continues to face the difficult task of owning her sin against her family and working through reconciliation with them. She has made her marriage a priority and in recent months deeper healing is taking place. I am so proud of Tracy. She has looked at some really harsh realities, and with ttracy-marchhe support of her discipleship team, is working through the next level of healing with her family.

Michelle: What a miracle Michelle is! She is one month shy of two years clean. Two years ago, she could hardly articulate her thoughts, was filled with anxiety and was headed to court for a divorce. God has changed Michelle and after eighteen months of hard work and consistent faithful heart work, she has been reconciled with her family. She was excited to learn how to cook and clean and serve her family. She volunteers in her kids’ classrooms at school and is an example to the new ladies coming to Redeemed2Repeat. Michelle’s life shines with hope for others. Everyday tasks used to overwhelm Michelle. Now she calls or texts with celebration in the everyday, mundane duties. Recently she sent a text with photos of her teaching her kids to cook. What a joy!

Jason: Jason just celebrated twelve years! Although Jason came to Redeemed2Repeat sober, he was unfulfilled and felt that something was missing. He discovered that Jesus is what was missing. How Jason has grown is remarkable! He desires to lead his family and is learning to be the husband and father he always wanted to be. He has men who are helping him to know what this looks like in everyday life and working through the challenges. Jason is also one of our disciplers, working with men early in their journey.jason-march-newHe also serves as the Redeemed2Repeat representative on the Town of Gilbert Behavioral Health Task Force Crisis Team Training Sub-committee.

Tracy, Michelle, and Jason continue to work diligently, growing in their relationship with the Lord. They exemplify the meaning of our name, repeating in the lives of others what they have been given; a new life in Jesus Christ, free from addiction!

 

We are thankful for our donors who are a part of God’s miraculous work through prayers and financial partnership! The partnership makes it possible for lives to be changed and for us to walk this journey with people who were once without hope. Prayer and faithful giving brings hope for addiction!

pray-give             event-newsletterh

did-you-know

Want to learn more about Redeemed2Repeat? See why we are different at myhopeforaddiction.com

RX Matters Presentation | Jan 24th 4:00-5:00PM

REDEEMED2REPEAT IS HOSTING AN INFORMATIVE SEMINAR ON PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION

 January 24th from 4:00-5:00PM

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, drug related deaths in adults over 55 years old increased annually from 94 in 2003 to 351 in 2013.

In response to the statewide prescription misuse and abuse initiative, AZ HIDTA, and Mercy Maricopa, The Area Agency on Aging, Region One, developed an education presentation to address the medication misuse that is happening in our older adult populations in Arizona.

The goal of this presentation is to help older adults to understand why this is an important issue that they need to pay attention to, and teaches tools to help individuals to avoid medication misuse and abuse.

rx-matters-advertising-flyerSome important points in this presentation are:

• Definitions and consequences of Rx misuse and abuse
• How to talk to your doctor and pharmacist
• How to talk to your doctor about pain
• Realistic pain management expectations
• When you can’t afford your medication
• Safe storage and disposal of prescription medications
• Tips and ideas

 

Please join us. Invite a friend!
Resources | Refreshments | Giveaways

Cottonwood Phoenix Room
located at 25630 S. Brentwood Dr. | Room A-9

Please RSVP to Melanie with your name by calling 480 744-1544 or email us at connect@myhopeforaddiction.com 

myhopeforaddiction.com

The Prodigal Son: A Biblical Model

 

The issue of addiction hits home for many, even those in the church. Christians can both struggle with addiction and love those who struggle. So what do we do when someone we love is ensnared by addiction? Or what do we do when someone we are caring for is unwilling to change?

First, we must recognize addiction for what it is: a sin. Jesus did not come, die a brutal death and be resurrected three days later for sickness or disease. He died for sin. All sin, including addiction. Our culture has taken responsibility away from people by identifying addiction as a disease and most recently as a “disorder.” This idea leaves people without hope for real change or the option to have a completely new life. When you take away a person’s responsibility for their choices, you take away their motivation and their hope for change.

At the core of every sin is the idol of self and addiction is no different. Jesus’ death and resurrection is good news for people caught in a life of addiction. His shed blood is enough to set them free of even the vilest addiction. Taking away our responsibility for sin leaves us lost. Scripture tells us that if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Only confession of sin and repentance before the Lord brings forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:8-10). It is so hard to do, yet so simple. This does not, however, dismiss the very real physical effects on the body and mind. In order for someone to even begin to heal and change, they must have sobriety. Time is needed, and in many cases, in-patient treatment or detox is necessary and helpful.

Now that we have established the biblical view of addiction, how do we help someone trapped in the sin of addiction? Our hearts break and we can’t imagine allowing them to be in a bad situation. They indicate a desire to change, but over and over there is no real effort toward that end. We do everything we can to “make things better,” to help them and hope that “this time will be different.” The world tells us we should have “tough love.” Tough love is not love. Tough love is usually an angry response to bad behavior that says I am done with you. The Lord in His mercy does not do this to us. Psalm 86 tells us that the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 86:15). This does not mean that we are free to continue in sin or allow someone else to continue in sin. So where is the balance? How do we love appropriately?

You all know the parable of the Prodigal Son. We are going to use it as our model as it relates to addiction. There are many things we can learn from this parable, so lets unpack this passage and take cues on how to relate with, care for and love those in our lives who struggle in active addiction. prodigal-son-601

Luke 15:11-24

What are the characteristics of the son? Like all of us, the son was entitled. Verse 12, he tells the father, “give me the share of property that is coming to me.” He was selfish, not considering that everything he had belonged to his father. The father in his wisdom allowed the son to leave, to pursue his way.

Why was this wisdom? Because sin is only pleasurable for a season. When we try and fill the emptiness in our souls with the things of this world, we will be empty and unfilled.

Let’s see what happened. Verse 13 tells us that the son squandered his property in reckless living. This is an accurate picture of those pursuing a life of addiction; they are selfish, reckless and irresponsible.

In verse 14, we learn that when the son had spent everything, a famine arose and he began to be in need. Grave circumstances caused him to see that he had a need. He got to the end of his resources. He was in a pig pen, hungry, alone and empty. This is an important part of the process. If people are continually cushioned from the consequences of their choices, they can not get to the point of need. We look at where people are and there is no way we can understand how they don’t want change. And many times they DO want change, but they want their mess also. Until we all get to the end of ourselves, we will not submit to God’s plan and purpose.  Isn’t this all of us? Every person has their own journey. Buffering this process for people will only prolong them coming to this place of need. The struggle here is that there is a very real possibility that someone we love will die. This is the hardest step of faith and trust. We must literally trust God with the life of those we love or are caring for.  We can identify with the father as he watched the son he deeply loved go headlong into a life of destruction. But he did it. He knew this process was necessary for his son to be saved.

After a time of reckless living, verse 17 tells us that the son “came to himself.” He saw his need. He was hungry and alone and in this moment of despair realized what love the father had for him and that the life he had once enjoyed had led to a bankrupt end. As caregivers, we must allow people to see their need. They have to hate their life of sin enough to do the hard work to change. There must be motivation to change.

Verse 18 shows us the action taken toward change, humility and repentance. “I will arise and go to my father and say ‘I have sinned against heaven and before you.’” He shows humility by being willing to return as a servant. This process of realizing our sin against a holy God, repentance and humility is necessary. It is necessary for all of us, and it is necessary for those in addiction. The path to freedom always begins with humility, a recognition of need and repentance.

The beautiful picture of restoration comes in verse 20 when the prodigal returns to his father. The father saw him from a long way off and had compassion. Then he ran and embraced his son and kissed him. The son was received with love, not an attitude of “I told you so.”

The heart of humility and repentance continues in verse 21 with the confession of sin again toward God and toward the father and a willingness to submit as a servant. There is no entitlement, or conditions on his return. He is willing to do whatever he needs to do. For those we are caring for, they too, must get to this place of submission. An attitude of humility to do whatever is necessary. The biggest barrier to freedom for people is their pride, their  strength, their  plans, their goals and their agenda. Until they become completely aware that their way of doing things has not worked and be willing to listen to and submit to the wisdom of another, they are not ready. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

Complete reconciliation is seen in verse 22 when the father responds to his son’s humility with undeserved mercy. The Gospel Transformation Bible Commentary says, “God is a patient and compassionate father who welcomes our repentance with great rejoicing.”

If we are to model our loving God to those who are active in their addiction, our response must be the same. Welcoming a repentant heart with compassion, celebration, love and reconciliation. In our sinfulness we tend to respond with pride or self-righteousness rather than compassion and mercy. This is NOT God’s heart toward us!

How can we model this loving God when someone is living in full rebellion to God?

1) Recognize that we, too, are prodigals. Our path of rebellion may not be as outwardly extreme or destructive, but it is the same heart issue.

2) Loving those we are caring for does not mean we embrace or condone their sinful behavior. They know their choices are wrong – we don’t have to constantly remind them. Conviction is a gift from the Holy Spirit. Only God can bring change. Romans 2:4 tells us that God’s kindness leads us to repentance. How can we be a part of this in someone’s life? We are to model Christ’s long suffering with people. There is a point where people must choose. Err on the side of grace. After attempts have been made to walk with them, if a continued pattern persists, a loving conversation that leads to a decision is appropriate. We will be there for them, love them, etc  but we must also allow them to get to a place of need. They must get to that place of humble willingness. This will look different in each person.

How? What does this look like?

1) Pray! Ask God to help you see where He is working, what your role is and what next steps need to be taken. While there are guidelines, we always want to be guided by the Holy Spirit as we participate in God’s work in people.

2)  Keep an eternal view: The goal is for their souls to be saved not for them to act the way we want them to act. God knows just what needs to happen in order to see their need for rescue. Let them get there. Paul addresses an issue of sexual immorality in the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 5.

He instructs for the person to be handed over to Satan to be sifted so his soul may be saved. John

Piper explains this concept of Satan being an instrument of God’s work,

What seems to be in view is something like what happened in the book of Job. The only other place in the Bible outside Paul’s letters where “handing someone over to Satan” with these very words occurs is Job 2:6, which says, literally, “And the Lord said to the Devil, ‘Behold I hand him [Job] over to you. Only spare his life.’”

So Satan became the means under God’s sovereign control of purifying Job’s heart and bringing him closer than ever to God. This is not the only place where God uses Satan to do that. In2 Corinthians 12 Paul describes his thorn in the flesh as a messenger of Satan which God appoints for Paul’s humility and Christ’s glory. Verse 7: “To keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me—to keep me from exalting myself!”

When Paul prayed that Jesus would take it away, the answer he got was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Notice that the one who is in control of whether the “messenger of Satan” stays or goes is Christ. This is why it is so significant in our text (v. 4) when Paul says that handing someone over to Satan is “with the power of the Lord Jesus.” We don’t have the power or the authority in ourselves to do this.

Jesus is Satan’s ruler. And he uses Satan, our archenemy, to save and sanctify his people. He brought Job to penitence and prosperity. He brought Paul to the point where he could exult in tribulation and make the power of Christ manifest.

And Paul hopes that the result of handing over this man to Satan will be the salvation of his spirit at the day of Christ. In other words, Paul’s aim—our aim—in handing someone over to Satan is that some striking misery will come in such a way that the person will say with Job, “My eyes have seen the Lord, and I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

I asked the question earlier, how do we love appropriately? This is the delicate balance of love. Allowing them to experience misery so that they can ultimately be saved. We will have times when we will need to draw a line and ask people to choose. They cannot have a different life (kids, home, etc) and their old way of life. It does not work. Revelation 3 speaks to being lukewarm, preferring hot or cold. And while we may have conversations that lead a person to choose their path, we never walk away from someone. Just as the father watched the prodigal son walk away, we can lead someone to choose and by choosing they may walk away. God does not walk away from us, neither should we walk away.

So what do we do when someone walks away? We will be tempted (in our sinfulness, speaking from my own sinful responses) to stop reaching out. While it is right to allow them to do what is necessary, we still love them. A continuing pursuit of them as God brings them to mind or loving them when you see them, reminding them that you are here and would love to get together, etc. Keeping open dialog allows them to know you love them and make it safe for them to come to you when they are ready.

Our job is to help people see their need for rescue. Not rescue by us, but by their loving Savior. We need to walk with them on their journey. We want to be there when “they come to themselves” and recognize their need. We have to let them figure it out. We also cannot be the ones to rescue them. They must feel the FULL weight of their decisions. Consequences are God’s way of helping us see our need for rescue. Don’t take that away from them.

We must go to Lord for wisdom on the particulars. This is a biblical model but the application is different for each person. In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fire. God did not take them out of the fire. He was in the fire with them.

The questions to ask yourself:

1) How do I walk WITH them but not FOR them?

2) What is the most loving thing I can do for them?

3) Is this thing I’m doing helping them stay in their mess or helping them get out?

Walking with people with messy lives brings much heartache, much sorrow, reveals sin (theirs and ours) and displays God’s steadfast love.

Ed Welch, “when you spend time with people who have struggled with addictions, they all change you in some way. The men and women I have known have often caused me to grieve, but they have also reminded me that the triune God loves all addicts and delights in setting them free.”

Liz Beck, President, Redeemed2Repeat, Inc.

myhopeforaddiction.com

 

All Things New… What about the broken pieces? Liz Beck

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Addiction shatters lives. Not only the lives of the addict but their families. The chaos, the insanity of loving someone lost in addiction leaves a wake of broken hearts, broken promises, broken dreams and broken lives.

The chaos, the insanity of loving someone lost in addiction leaves a wake of broken hearts, broken promises, broken dreams and broken lives.

After years of living with someone lost in addiction, I looked at my life and couldn’t image how anything good could come from the broken mess. I struggled with Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” How could God take all the broken pieces and make something beautiful? How could He make “all things new”?

As I wrestled with the truth of scripture in contrast to the dark reality of my life, I began a journey that I could not have dreamed possible. Second Corinthians 5:17 tells me that I am a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come. In my mind, I picture shiny, perfect, unused, new. As my children and I have fought to rebuild our broken lives and as I have attempted to share hope with others in Redeemed2Repeat, I have questioned this picture of “new.” The perfect, new image in my mind is not matching real life. So is God’s Word wrong? Or is my understanding wrong? Of course, God’s Word is infallible, so I must be missing something!

So what if “new” is something different? Can God make something new, yet still reveal evidence of brokenness? I believe the answer is yes. Scripture never ignores the reality of life. The Psalmist is raw in his cries of suffering. Paul talks candidly of the struggle. We live in a broken, fallen world. To expect something different is unrealistic.

Then these realities collide in the most precious picture. Jesus. It always comes back to Jesus. He still carries the scars of His suffering. The suffering He endured because of my sin. He took God’s FULL wrath so I don’t have to. And, He did this to make me new! If Jesus still carries scars, why wouldn’t I?

He makes things new. This is true. What if “new” means beautiful, different, unique, not the same? He puts the pieces back together, makes us new, but the evidence of brokenness remains.

There is another promise that gives us hope. Revelation 21 reminds us that there is a day coming when Jesus will return for His children. That day He WILL make everything right. All that is broken will be made new; the shiny, perfect new. He will wipe away every tear, death will be no more, there will be no mourning, no crying, no pain.
No more brokenness. google-image-pot-broken

Until then, we all carry the scars of the brokenness of this life, but with the hope of what Christ has done for us and His continuing work in us. He has made us new. His healing of our broken lives is evidenced by the scars that remain, making us beautiful, new and not the same as we once were. That is great hope! 

Liz Beck, President, Redeemed2Repeat, Inc.

myhopeforaddiction.com