Week 13: And a Mother Rejoices!
Having talked to my Mom already, she knew what type of picture I was going to put up this Easter!
These are the Azalea's that are planted outside our building. I remember them, I planted them for our landlords. Each year in spring they bloom and they seem to get fuller. They are beautiful and for a few weeks we have a splash of color around our neighborhood, the Azalea Trails goes on and we get a lot of visitors.
So I know for the past few weeks I have had some intense pictures. Addiction is intense. Each picture was motivated with these things in mind, to spark conversation and to save lives. Those who have lived in it can place themselves right in those pictures. It is why I used myself as the model. Most addicts see themselves as the evil one. Yes, the addiction photos were scary and yet I make no apologies. But now, just as the blooming of the flowers for spring, comes a new season. I could just leave those pictures as is, but I want to show another side, recovery. Of course my Mom got a sneak peek today on some of the ideas I am looking to put on my blog in the coming weeks.
You see I will not lie that recovery can be hard. Especially when it is so easy and I do mean so easy to fall back into the pit. One decision is all it takes. But just like hard work produces hard earned rewards, so hard work in recovery can produce some amazing rewards. Recovery is not the product of a lone wolf. I have made some life long friends who have walked along during the highs and lows of life. That started by getting started, early, in a support group. Look, it may be AA, it may be Celebrate Recovery, it may be a Bible Study, a Men's group (or Women's group), Community Group. but they all have one thing in common, coming together for a common purpose. Yes, taking that step is scary. You make yourself vulnerable when you admit you have a problem and begin peeling back the layers of why you used. It's like an onion. And each of those groups above, well, each had a place in my recovery. It wasn't just one. And as I peeled back each layer, there was a group of people to help me feel. Because in recovery the scariest thing to me was to feel again. I mean after numbing them for so long how do you feel again?
Well, to answer that question I give you the answer that is probably the most important part of my recovery, God. Let me make this clear. I believe in God. I believe Jesus died on a cross to save me from my sinful life. I make no apologies for this. My faith is an integral part of my recovery. I have seen God put people in my life, speak to me through His word, and mend relationships that I thought could never be mended again. I live by my namesake's mantra, the apostle Paul who said I am the chiefest of sinners. But by God's saving grace He took a wretched alcoholic/addict, a lost cause and turned him into what I am today. I made a choice early in recovery, God I will follow your way if you will lead. I have not been perfect. I have rebelled at times. But God has been gentle and has always led me back to the straight path. And most times it is through people He has placed in my life. Not judgemental people. I have had enough people tell me how I am either going to hell because of how I lived or that I need to do this or that to get in good graces with God. I don't need people like that. I have friends who have tattoos. I have friends who believe differently than I do and that have a different lifestyle that I live. Seems to me, as I read my Bible, that those are the people that Jesus spoke mostly too, had the most compassion for. I believe it was the religious leaders that Jesus had the most contempt for. Those that used religion to control or use as power or shun those that they didn't feel measured up. Well, I would have been in that category, the outcast. And they tried to make Jesus an outcast too, but He laid down His life, got on that cross and died for my sins so that this outcast could have life. And now I try to live my life with gratitude for what He did for me and show others that there is indeed hope, because that is what Jesus did, He gave people hope.
So whether you are in recovery now, just starting out, or maybe your not even thinking about it. If you are a loved one who has a person suffering from addiction, let me tell you this, there is hope. Oh but you do not know this case, you may say, this person is too far gone. I promise you I do know, I am a walking miracle and not many were father gone than I was. But today, well, today is a glorious day. I celebrate that my Savior rose from the dead and the new life He has given me. Recovery is wonderful. And in the coming weeks I hope to inspire with photos that show recovery and flowers. Because my Mom and Ginger really likes flowers and not scary pictures....