**I can’t tell you how many times I edited this essay. It still seems a little jumbled to me, but life is jumbled. So whatever…
My nights are pretty tough now.
First off, I must say that I really want this blog to be a positive space, but more importantly, it’s a real space. I am a happy person in general, and I will certainly put as much humor and positivity on here as I can, but I will also be honest if I’m not feeling that way, because I know there are some people reading who can relate. Sometimes we just need to know that someone else understands our pain and feels similar feelings as we do. I’m writing this post to reach those people, to try to relate, and spread some hope. We have to go through pain in order to grow, and that’s what this place is about: growing.
I’m going through the archives of Momastery.com, and yesterday I read one of Glennon’s posts that had a picture of a quote written on a chalkboard: “Trust Your Struggle.” That is so true, because it helps us to grow. We learn. We prepare. We grow.
I’m living with Struggle now. But I trust God, I trust my struggle.
A physical result of my struggle is my severe eczema. Sounds small, but it wakes me up in the middle of the night. I itch like mad crazy. I scratch my fingers so hard that I can’t breathe while I’m scratching, because the only thing I’m focused on is the temporary relief of the itch. When I finally remember to breathe, I’m nearly hyperventilating. Still scratching, huffing and puffing, moaning, nearly crying… by the time I put a cream on my hands (I rotate between homemade natural cream, intense eczema cream, and extra strength Benadryl), they’re throbbing and oozing. I’m back to sleep by the time my breathing is normal again. (I’ve been to two different doctors, three times. I’m sure I’ll try a fourth time at some point.)
As I’ve said before, I’ve been around addicts my entire life whether or not I was aware of it at the time. It bothers me that I feel like there isn’t enough awareness out there, or at least not public awareness. There are no “Walk for Recovery,” no “Fight Addiction” campaigns. There are AA and NA meetings, Celebrate Recovery, Step Studies, and other resources to help addicts who want it, but they’re all kept quiet and seem so secretive. There aren’t many advertisements about these things, you have to seek them out. Why is it that addiction can’t be talked about? It’s understandable why so many people are in denial about their addictions; too many people keep it swept under the rug. There are functioning addicts all around us – does that mean they don’t need help? That they’re fine?
Well, they can keep a job, so…
But what about their life? Are they really living? Can they really do the work they were put on this earth to do? What about their families? Are their families really happy with them? Sometimes they are… many times, though, we aren’t.
I think God has put me around addiction so much for a reason. I think I need to be a part of something to help. But what? How can I help someone who doesn’t want it? It’s a dangerous spot to be in, wanting to help an addict, because they’re very fickle people. They go in and out of denial about understanding they need help, and they also go in and out of acceptance of that help. And when you get them on a day they decide they most definitely do not need help, you better armor up, because they could get ugly. Addicts feel beaten up when they’re consistantly confronted by someone who loves them and insists they need help, so they feel the need to defend themselves, and you are their target. Watch out. The words that could fly out of their mouths can be very harmful, and it can be hard to remember that it isn’t the person talking. It’s the addiction.
With me, sometimes the words coming out of my mouth aren’t me talking, they’re my anger. Anger towards addiction. Anger caused by a life nearly surrounded by addicts. I’m working on that.
The anger and the addiction need to die. Only then can the two beautiful souls inside come forth.
Back to the point, I know the only way I can help is to let addicts be until they are ready to change. Take a step or twenty-five back. That’s a relatively easy thing to do if you don’t live with them. But if you live with them, and they spend all their extra money on the addiction, and then need money for essentials, it puts the non-addict in the role of enabler if you give them what they need, and they’ll continue to depend on you for that. They get money, spend it, you give them what they need until they have more money. They spend it, you give… they’re benefiting all the time, and you’re sucked dry, not only of money, but of hope. It’s a horrible hamster wheel and this hamster is exhausted.
And that’s what gets me mad.
…which is why I need to step back.
Having said that, love is not missing in my life. As I read through Glennon’s blog, I was reminded that God is love. So I am so grateful that no matter which humans walk in or out of my life, Love will always be there. I’m also grateful that Love has brought me more friends recently. I was seriously lacking in the friend department. Not the online friends, but the call-me-whenever friends and the come-over-anytime friends. Those are my favorite kind of friends, and Love knew I just needed a few of those. Thank you, Sir.
I often struggle knowing whether or not I’m doing the right thing regarding The Situation engulfing me right now.
I just came across Matthew 18:15-17, which helped me to know I’m trying.
I do still need to work on my tone, though.
It says, “If your brother or sister in God’s family does something wrong, go and tell them what they did wrong. Do this when you are alone with them. If they listen to you, then you have helped them to be your brother or sister again. But if they refuse to listen, go to them again and take one or two people with you. Then there will be two or three people who will be able to tell all that happened. If they refuse to listen to them, tell the church. And if they refuse to listen to the church, treat them as you would treat someone who does not know God or who is a tax collector.”
I’ve done all of these steps, but it’s hard to know what Jesus means when he says, “treat them as if they do not know God or as a tax collector.” Does that mean treat them gently? Patiently? Ignore them? I tend to do that with collectors…
Then Jesus tells Peter a story about a king forgiving a servant of his debt, and that same servant refusing to forgive another of the debt to him. Jesus says that because God forgives us, we must forgive each other. “This king did the same as my heavenly Father will do to you. You must forgive your brother or sister with all your heart, or my heavenly Father will not forgive you.” …even someone who repeats the same offense over and over. Even if it’s seventy-seven times.
I have a feeling that much tougher battles lie ahead because I feel God preparing my heart. Sending real friends my way, giving me armor, giving me peace, a sense of calm. I know something major is coming, but I’m accepting it – because I know the more I get roughed up, the shinier I will become. The more humble I will become, the more relatable. The more I’ll be able to help others who have or will have to step through the same battle grounds. I’m going through basic training right now. It’s not fun, but it’s necessary for the battles ahead.
This training is slowly teaching me to have peace within myself. No matter what happens, Love gives me strength and peace.
Thank you, Love.
Thank you, friends.
Much lighter post coming soon. Have a peaceful Friday.