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Discovery

A few months ago, I wrote a story about a place in Texas that I visited called Natural Bridge Caverns. 61 years ago, Clara Wuest from New Braunfels, Texas stood on a spot on her farm and asked God to help her raise her 2 little boys alone after her husband died trying to milk a cactus, sort of. Little did she know what was underneath.

This story was similar to this newer cave that was discovered, recently in another country:

https://fb.watch/6UoAZvH75E/

The reason these hidden treasures appeal to me- other than normal treasure hunting curiosity- is because one day we are just walking around with certain elephants on our shoulders, or the opposite: not a care in the world; & the next minute our world drops out, literally, from us.

“They” say – whoever “they” are- that we are all one paycheck away from homelessness or one argument away from divorce. I could apply this to substance use and say “one h..¥¥ or one bottle away from losing everything & ruining family cohesiveness and family functions, but my sarcasm isn’t even funny today. So ignore that comment.

Yesterday was my son’s 35th birthday. For one year, I have prayed he would make it to 35. I even made all my passwords reflect that hope. So imagine that I woke up to his continued “missing in action” in Las Vegas of all places, and had the feeling to call the Clark county morg.

Yup, that’s where we are. I’ve called Emergency Rooms once before, and the booking report is on my home screen, but never this. As the answering service paged the mortician on call, I find myself wondering like Brandon Novak states repeatedly:

“How did we get here?

Luckily the very nice mortician, who must receive worried mom calls alot; informed me there was no John Doe’s in the last 24 hrs.

This debilitating fear.

Addiction loves to shroud us in it’s victimhood and make us go dark with brooding thoughts of death and destruction. I mean, we really don’t even need the thoughts- we can SEE the devastation. But we don’t have to stay there.

So how do we turn this fear into hope or at least some sense of inner peace?

A recovered addict had this to say about us Moms:

Shared with permission

Disclaimer: I do not agree with the word enabling as it has negative, guilt-inducing connotations AND it means different things in different situations, so I cut out the middle part….

“I see so many mothers in this group with broken hearts and it honestly kills me. I was in active addiction for 15+ years and have been in recovery for 8+ years. One of my biggest regrets, through it all, was the heartache I caused my parents and my daughter. My brother still struggles with addiction today and I wish I could help him! I wish I could bottle up how good it feels to be in recovery and pass it on to every struggling addict. Recovery can only be received by a person that is ready. No amount of begging, screaming, talking, crying will ever work unless they are doing it for themselves. We can place our loved ones into treatment by court order or they can be placed there as part of their sentencing, but until they want it to stick, it will not………….. Love yourself as much as possible. Live and enjoy the life that you have left. You are killing yourselves for ones who will not save themselves. Let your children know you love them and when they are ready for treatment, you will be there. This is a battle only an addict can win. You can be a part of their addiction or their recovery, but not both. Also, We DO recover!! It takes some longer than others.

My prayers are with you all and if I could be of any assistance, please let me know”.❤️- Tamika Watts


I want to highlight the take care of yourself part. Hold onto hope and live in your peace despite the chaos around you. Just like the caves in my story, you never know when that moment will come that your life will be changed. You could be standing over a GOLD MINE while worrying about how the ground looks or looking at all the weeds. They say complaining brings about more of what we don’t want and gratitude brings about more of what we do want. The challenge is trying to find that gratitude in the middle of dire circumstances.

Where is my hidden cave of gems? Is it gratitude waiting in the darkness for me to discover it? Am I losing diamonds because I see too many stones? Am I unable to see the blessings of strength & perseverance because the prize isn’t in front of me, all shiny and being worshipped?

I’m in darkness regarding my son’s illness.

I don’t know the outcome, yet as of right now – there’s hope because I haven’t been told otherwise. If I can get out of my head & not jump to catastrophe thinking, I might have some moments of peace for my gratitude to expand.

It is in gratitude that we find true happiness. 
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Walking on the Wild Side of Parenting

From Faith Gateway.com

Gary L. Thomas

Gary L. ThomasJanuary 20, 2021

Parenting

In our enthusiasm to celebrate children (a good thing), we are sometimes tempted to overlook the key Christian doctrine of original sin. A child can be raised by godly parents, yet still choose to live an ungodly life:

A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.  —Proverbs 13:1

Some sons can bring great honor to their home and their parents; others choose to bring shame:

He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.  —Proverbs 10:5

Some children will bring anguish rather than joy:

A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.  —Proverbs 15:20

At times children can even steal from their parents (Proverbs 28:24) or drive their mother from her own house (Proverbs 19:26). In this regard, the Bible is more honest than many contemporary Christians. In the Old Testament, God gives us accounts of children who do all sorts of heinous acts.

Abimelech, the son of Gideon, provides one such example. We don’t know a lot about Gideon and his parenting style, but we do know that God’s hand was with Gideon as He used him to free Israel from the control of the Midianites. After Gideon’s great exploits, the people tried to make Gideon king:

Rule over us — you, your son and your grandson – because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.  —Judges 8:22

Gideon refused, demonstrating a noble and humble character:

I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.  — Judges 8:23

Gideon lived a post-military life of blessing and had many children. After Gideon’s death, one of his sons, Abimelech, burned with ambition to rule the nation. Desperate to establish himself as ruler and remove all pretenders, Abimelech murdered all his brothers, except for one. By the providential judgment of God, Abimelech died when a woman dropped a millstone on his head. The Bible tells us that God lay behind this attack:

Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelech had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers.  —Judges 9:56

God apparently didn’t have a problem considering this child a curse. In His providential plan, He sought the death of this wickedly ambitious son.

Sometimes a wayward son or daughter results from a poor upbringing; the parents may indeed have to assume some of the blame (Proverbs 29:15). But a child can receive many spiritual advantages and still choose, with the freedom God gives him, to become a wayward son. Jesus loved Judas as a son, yet the betrayer still opted to turn against Him. Adam and Eve had a godly son (Abel) and a murderous son (Cain). Was their parenting the only factor leading Abel to offer worthy sacrifices and Cain to turn into a selfish, jealous, and bloodthirsty sibling?

President John Adams had one son  —John Quincy — who followed him into the presidency and enjoyed a prosperous career. Two other sons had shameful lifestyles. Charles Adams became an alcoholic – his mother described him as a “poor, unhappy, wretched man.” One relative described Thomas Adams as “one of the most unpleasant characters in this world… a brute in manners and a bully to his family.” John and Abigail raised one remarkable son and two disgraceful ones. Was their parenting the only factor that determined each boy’s character?

I suspect I’ve probably raised more than a few eyebrows by now. I can even imagine some condemnations: “How dare you suggest children aren’t a blessing? I bet you also favor abortion, don’t you?”

No, I definitely do not. I am ardently, passionately, and unequivocally pro-life. But I’ve also had enough life experience to know that parenting – even sacred parenting – comes with no guarantees, and I grieve for the good, decent, and godly parents who get treated like pariahs because a kid of theirs goes bad. They weren’t “perfect” parents, of course, and in that sense they may share some of the blame. But tell me – just who is a perfect parent?

Show me one father or one mother who didn’t, at times, spoil their child, just a little. Who didn’t, out of fear or weariness or ignorance or overcommitment, fail to confront something that needed to be faced, at least one time? I’ll let that parent cast the first stone.

Some of us got away with it; some of us didn’t. In my travels I’ve met far too many godly parents who live with a gaping wound. Not only do they face the pain of watching their deeply loved child self- destruct, but they also live with a judgment that the child’s abhorrent way of life stems from their failure as parents.

Godly children are a tremendous blessing; this is a precious biblical truth. But Scripture is honest, and we should be as well. Wayward children can, at the very least, feel like a fierce curse.

How sobering to face the vulnerability that someone could make our lives absolutely miserable – and yet we would lay down our lives on his or her behalf without thinking about it. Just such an amazing spiritual transformation takes place in the journey of parenting. Once again, Paul models our call to this ministry when he writes,

Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?  —2 Corinthians 11:29

For many of us, however, the difficulty of parenting comes not in facing betrayal but in enduring a very tiring occupation. Today’s Christian usually prays for relief, for comfort, and for healing – but that’s not always what Scripture teaches us to do.

For example, the apostle Paul prayed that the Colossians would be…

…strengthened with all power according to [God’s] glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.  —Colossians 1:11

Instead of immediately asking for their deliverance, Paul prayed that the believers in Colosse would grow in maturity. If you think about it, how do we grow in endurance and patience? Only one path exists, which we’ve already mentioned: to have both our endurance and patience sorely tried, even past the breaking point, until we learn to rest in God’s “glorious might.” You’ll never develop your biceps if you lift just one-pound weights; you have to stress the muscle beyond its normal routine. The same principle holds true spiritually. If God gives us situations we already have the strength to handle, we won’t have to grow in order to deal with them.

The crux of the issue is this: Our first and natural inclination in any trial is to pray for God to remove the difficulty. But God’s first priority is often to strengthen us in the midst of the difficulty rather than to take us out of the difficulty. That’s because He can see the treasure that lies at the end of the trail.

Consider how many times you have broken your promises once offered fervently and earnestly to God. Consider on how many occasions you have said or thought or even done vile things in full sight of a holy and perfect God. Consider God’s eagerness to forgive you, the persistence of His grace, the limitless supply of His understanding and patience and mercy  —all offered without condition on your behalf.

Without difficult children, we might take this patience and mercy and forgiveness for granted. That’s where difficult children become a rare gift – they show us a side of God we might otherwise miss.

Parenting may not be an easy journey, but in this it is truly a sacred one.

Please go to original post and read the comments. Very helpful.

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My Son is Healed

He Just Doesn’t Know It Yet

Normally on days like this, I have many triggers regarding my son and the damage his addiction has caused, not only to himself but our entire family.

But today is different.

Today, I choose faith. Not HOPE, but pure faith. I’m not dissing hope. I’ve relied on it for months, year’s even. There’s nothing wrong with hope. Hope that things will get better, is what keeps people from sinking into an abyss of depression at times.

I’m going to get very vulnerable here. When or ‘because‘ hope hasn’t seemed to give me relief lately; I’ve been begging and bargaining with God to take my life in exchange for my son’s complete recovery AND my family to be healed especially for my son’s relationship with his kids to be healed.

(I know, I’m always trying to squeeze in an extra wish, but I figured I could get a 3 for 1 since they are all inter-related)

I also know this sounds very extreme. Before you suggest I go to a meeting and do self- care, thank you for the suggestion. It is what it is, I come to this place with much love and clarity have done a lot of self work. I’m not very well versed spiritually, or even strong in my faith but I believe in asking for help.

So, today I asked a prophetic dreams group that’s run by a lady I met; what prayers I should be chanting to facilitate my desire to fruition.

If this STILL sounds too weirded out, sorry. Desperate times call for desperate measures. My son is in jail on for his longest time ever- 6 weeks. As stated in my previous whining posts, its been a roller coaster ride. And not the new flashy, sexy roller coaster, but the old wooden, creaky, break-down-at-any moment roller coaster (where they would casually say: “You knew the risk” if you were to get hurt).

So putting my question to a group of potentially spiritually-in-tune people was a desperate measure also. The answers I received, however, changed my perspective. This is a summation of what they said:

STOP trying to make deals with GOD! STOP immediately because deals are only made with the devil.
God ONLY wants Love & faith from you that he already sent his son to die for all our sins.

You can’t pay or bargain with God!

If you ask for healing you have to believe you have it, whether you see it yet or not, that’s the true test, do not confess what “is wrong with them” instead speak that they are healed.

Thank God that they are healed by his stripes, that he bore their sickness, thank him OUT LOUD for each promise, it could take a few months or sooner but stick with it everyday, do not let other people confess so called diagnosis over your loved ones in distress, either.

I start now.

I start calling my son into healing. I’m through letting him slide back into an excuse to blame the devil or some other entity. Evil can be fought. And if he can’t see it or say it, I will be his voice. He still has to be the one to do the work and to first DECIDE to do the work. So through the jail message system I sent my first born incarcerated son this message of not only HOPE but of FAITH.

Happy Fathers Day Son. You WILL be an influence on your kids' lives again. They WILL love you again. There will be no confusion or shame because you will teach them about things that take dads & moms away.

These 3 years do NOT take away all you have done before then. Don't believe the shame mongerers. You have just been trying to survive yourself & in that regard you did amazing! You were an excellent provider & u were a loving fun dad. You can be again. 3 yrs is nothing out of a 60-70 year life.

You are loved.

I love you son, and soon, when you see the understanding in your little kids' eyes & feel their forgiveness, it will ALL be worth it.
Enjoy your day the best you can.

HḀṖṖẏ ḟḀṮḧḕṙṠ ḊḀẏ

To those fathers everywhere who are the wonderful hallmark version, to those who are stuck in their own struggle of survival and pain- and all those in between.

You are seen, heard and loved.

Your potential is not measured by your surroundings in the moment, but by the quiet moments of your heart. Where you ache deeply for your family and kids. Where your shame has pushed you into places and spaces that smothered you into numbness.

Whatever it is that pushed you into isolation, whether it was a society who said you wasn’t worthy of being amongst them; or your own spiral into self- defeat; you can come back.

Anytime, come back.

You’re needed. You’re wanted.

It might not seem like it.
We might be scared and worried at first, but it’s only because we care. We have been conditioned to fear the worst. So have you. That’s why it horrifies you to think of being that person you were before. After all – those were the days you needed to escape from. The stress and pressure of expectations and disappointment were off the charts some days.

What if you fail again?
Oh but my son, what if you don’t?
What if the last half or more of your life is filled with unbelievable joy? What if your kids and grandkids are gathered around you to hear your war stories? Not real war, but your days of the drug war. You won’t glamorize it, like alcohol is. You will tell the cold hard truth. You will tell those precious souls that evil starts small. With a thought. A nudge. A risk. A desire for something more. You will tell them not to be afraid or embarrassed to admit their concerns. If they are in over their head, it’s the right thing to do to seek help.

Come back.
So much love awaits you.
-© Samantha Waters

Sometimes society isolates people who are in pain into good old fashioned shame. We’re interconnected for a reason, we need one another and a perspective outside of our own in order to see the limitations of our own.-James Robertson
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One Direction

I realize why ONE DIRECTION picked this name for their band . It’s Genius! Yesterday I went to a meeting in a room where there was one of those butcher block wood tables. It immediately took me back in time, 20 years ago, when I wanted one in my kitchen for my little family. I looked and searched and saved. It seemed like it took years but I finally got it. Then it was on to the next project or “thing”.

Although tables are just things… it the MOMENTUM that I’ve been thinking about since then.

The seemingly mundane tasks of buying a piece of furniture, or clearing out weeds are couples making their dreams a reality. At the time it seems stressful. It seems like one more thing to do. It seems as if you will never have the money to do everything you want. It seems as soon as one child gets a bigger bed then the washer goes out.

But all these THINGS are LIFE… they are what keeps us going. It’s what keeps us accomplishing things- the HOPE of making things just a little better for those we love.

When you have NO DIRECTION, what do you do? You tread water. You’re a saddlebag-just along for the ride.

It’s called survival mode..we all do at it certain times in our life. When we are grieving, when we are healing from an accident, an illness, a divorce-we go on automatic pilot. But there are people who, for whatever reason: poor education, poor social skills, or addiction to alcohol or a drug…. seem to live in survival mode…. 😦

My parents were in that survival mode. I wasn’t raised to plan ahead. I wasn’t told that there are endless upon endless possibilities out in the world. There was no internet. I didn’t even know what existed outside of our little town of TURKEY LAND. I had to learn it all as an adult.

I wasn’t given the confidence to conquer the world or my demons and insecurities. I was taught ( shown) to be a victim- always less than. The tone was “you are a bypasser-someone who watches-watches everyone else move forward.

But I knew there was a better way. I wanted to feel better. I wanted to feel in control of my life. I wanted a perfect love, I wanted “perfect” children; like all the “other” families. (When you are in victim mentality, everyone else has it better).

And I worked hard for all that. I did my best. But the years that I prospered were when I had momentum. When I had a goal, a plan. Nursing school is one example. But the other seemingly mundane years of daily life, that’s where the real magic lies. We dont see it until later sometimes, when we are ailing, confused, or just wafting through the muck. We see the real benefit of knowing where you are going and how each daily task will get you there – or how it won’t.

My son is the perfect example of Momentum. In the middle of his senior year in high school, he was told he couldn’t graduate and didn’t have enough time to make up the credits. So he did every public educations commercials’ poster of “stay cool- stay in school”, and he dropped out. He went to work- and he went to work hard. He busted his butt, proved himself. He hooked up with people who eventually believed in him and he went to town. He has had momentum- he HAS momentum big TIME, and he accomplishes truckloads of stuff. From one end of the state to the other- building, planning, mentoring, budgeting. Creating a life of purpose. Building a beautiful new home for his family, Running his own business & being a fantastic foreman for a huge company. (that’s what he tells me anyway).

How does he do it? Momentum, passion & surrounding himself with the right support. He has a beautiful wife who fully supports him because they are LOOKING IN THE SAME DIRECTION. One definition of love is not gazing into each other’s eyes but looking FORWARD in the same direction.

My personality.. although at times I may seem to be a free spirit and sort of a gypsy, I do come alive when I have direction, when I feel safe, loved, supported. When people recognize the potential in me and appreciate my efforts and my uniqueness.There is NO BETTER FEELING.

When we are in a midst of chaos or confusion (& sooo many things contribute to chaos or confusion: gossiping, poor health habits, messiness & disorganization) ;that is the time to stop and ask ourselves, “Is this what I really want & will this help get me there?


I wrote this 5 years ago.

Today, this ‘momentum boy’ I spoke of, sits in solitary confinement for 12 days now, all for feeding the cravings of his disease and for possession of a substance that his body & brain decided long ago was necessary for LIFE & survival. It pushed out everything else. It took his momentum away from all the good stuff. He has lost ALL of what I mentioned: home, car, business, family & most of all, his drive, his hope, his humor.😢
He’s let out for his hearings for you twice a week so that the judge & the ex’s lawyer can berate him for his “choices” & lack of fulfilling his obligations.

It’s the saddest story of my life.

My family fractured, my grandkids kept away.

Oh, what was/is this supposed to teach us?
Don’t be too proud?
Always be grateful?

Life’s pressure to succeed is not more important than the body’s need to rest and refresh with the simple things.

And never take anything for granted.

Oh and never lose Hope.

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Blessings Beneath Our Feet.

Photo by author at Natural Bridge Caverns

61 years ago, Clara Wuest from New Braunfels, Texas might have stood on this very spot where I took this picture today and asked God to help her raise her 2 little boys alone. It was her ranch where her & husband raised goats & cattle.

As stated in this article: Every family goes through trying times, and the Wuests have had their share. In 1956, Grandfather Hilmar Wuest died when his prickly pear burner exploded. He’d been burning thorns off cacti that he was feeding his cattle during the drought. The accident left his wife, Clara, on her own to raise their two children and run the ranch.

But just a few years later, the family’s fortune would change.

In March of 1960, four college students from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio discovered the Caverns after receiving permission from the family to explore what was thought to be a small cave. Clara Wuest Heidemann took the gamble of her life and risked all the family had to secure a loan to develop the cavern passages into the attraction that it is today. 

So, what if she would have given up when standing right above her families future for generations to come?

As I went through these amazing natural caves today, I saw the huge dome ceiling that took millions of years to form. At one point over several 1000 years or more, an earthquake caused the ceiling to collapse, making the way for the stalagmites and stalactites to form. Before that, water-filled the caves for millions of years. If you had witnessed the water or the earthquakes, you would think all is lost, that nothing good could possibly come from those catastrophes. But amazingly beautiful natural wonders grew from those disasters.

How many times have we said we are done with something? That it’s too hard, too much work? Or the big one:

"Nothing I'm doing is working."

How do you know it’s not? What could have been around the next corner or the next tunnel? Clara’s family were not cave people, they were farmers. But they soon adjusted! Adjust your sails.

We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.

Dolly Parton

It’s true, if we are miserable, something must change. It’s up to us to find that power inside us to bring about places and spaces that serve us well.

Our limited view of time is nothing, compared to eternity’s view of time. We have to be patient, find our peace, and love 💕 love 💕 love those around us.

Our pristine clear emerald water is waiting. Our beautiful hidden tortured soul waiting to bloom. The depth and breadth of the expansion of our character to reach up in love like these stalagmites as they are fed by slow drips of water & the right mixture of oxygen.

Our treasure might be right beneath us, waiting…..waiting for just the right conditions to break out. Everyone’s treasure is different. It might not look like you imagined. For some it might be personal peace. For others it might be an awakening in their loved one or a “cure”. Others it might be an understanding of the process of time & respect for someone else journey. Or a re-uniting with a fellow hurt family member who’s views & attitude seemed unreachable.

Whatever your miracle, keep reaching UP like the stalagmites. Drink from your water of hope.

Who would think a bat cave would hold so much wisdom?

Our Story

Dome Pit Expedition Discovery

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Butterfly Beauties – Caterpillar Crankies

Contributing post by Kenzie Brown

“Today if you are using drugs know that those choices are not who you are. The guilt you feel is from within yourself because you know the real you. You know how capable you are in life. If you are using it’s okay. But don’t beat yourself up for those choices. There is always tomorrow to start new, and beautiful things don’t happen overnight. A butterfly isn’t always a butterfly. And some die along their journey, that doesn’t stop the other caterpillars from going for the goal of a butterfly. Sometimes to achieve the beauty and light we are capable of we have to go through the muck and grime and darkness. The darkness doesn’t mean you are done growing. Some of the most beautiful things in nature come from the darkness. Remember that today if you feel like a failure, the the darkness is pressing down around you. You are in your cocoon and eventually you will emerge from the darkness a beautiful butterfly. Enjoy the chaos, embrace it, scream to the darkness you are being held down by, feel that pain. Let it burn your mind and dissolve your flesh, so you can reach your ultimate beauty.”🖤🖤🖤-Kenzie Brown

Sometimes the caterpillar brain isn’t ready to hear about the future.

It feels safe in the here-and-now. EVEN IF – it’s dangling off of a branch. EVEN IF a tornado is coming.

It thinks it’s safe. Nothing can harm it. Nothing is required in outgoing effort.

It can JUST BE itself among the other labile caterpillars.

Sure it crawled into the cocoon on it’s own free will, but it didn’t really think about getting out.

The thought of soaring gracefully free and strong among the flowers is not in it’s field of vision.

It doesn’t matter how many perfumed flowers you wave under it’s spiracles. You can flash neon billboards throughout the night. It won’t see or smell what you want to to.

What it wants is acceptance.

Acceptance of its current state of affairs.

Something like: “Hey Mr. Wormy worm. I know you feel safe in there because you don’t have to deal with life’s barrage of feelings and emotions. You can do what you want & it seems like you’re not bothering anyone. I get that. When you are ready to come out, I’m here for you.”

Notice the non-shaming. Not trying to tell them how many people are affected by their decisions. ( their worm brain can’t comprehend that right now- it’s in survive mode) not trying to change their thinking.( How has that worked for YOU – when someone tries to change your mind? Aka opinion.)

It’s hard enough to figure out why other people think the way they do & have the opinions that they do. Yet we continually TRY to convince a hijacked brain of the damage they are causing and of the ‘obvious’ solution. I am continually reminded that everyone deserves the dignity of believing what they do -EVEN when it’s hurting others…why? Because you can’t MAKE them change anyway.. You may can physically restrain them with a variety of ‘tools’. In nursing we call it a chemical restraint if we’re using medicine. So why do even us nurses forget that addicts are under a chemical restraint mist all the time?

All we can really offer is HOPE that there is a way out……

They just need a little bit of HOPE.

My heartfelt prayers to those who have lost their butterflies and caterpillars along the way.💔🦋🐛💔

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Trust And Patience

This week has been brutal in the spiritual warfare battle.

The score at the top of the 6th (66) appears to be led by Mr Satan himself. The bases are loaded and I’m up to bat.

I’ve already struck out once this inning and it has taken the wind outta my sails, the bounce outta my ball.

Addiction has a way of flowing its evil lava into every nook and cranny available and using any tool possible to fracture families and communities.

The battle between good and evil has a long history.

I can understand if you are a non- believer. I respect that any reference to good and evil may -in your opionion- be simply a product of free will. People either choose to do good things or they don’t. Seems pretty clear cut. Until you start digging into why a human would continue to make poor choices despite bad consequences.

With children it’s easy to train them not to do things which may harm them. By repetition in the brain that if they touch something hot, they will get burned.

So why are our jails full of people who have suffered great losses from their choices? And yet keep re-offending.

Different reasons of course. I stick with my mantra of one size NEVER fits ALL. Some people are slower to learn. Some feel the benefits of addiction such as the CONNECTION with other addicts and that lifestyle outweigh having to deal with the judgement and pain of their old life.

We know now that humans crave connection – good or bad.

Massachusetts has seemed to figure out how to combat the revolving door of minor drug offenses with their outreach program:

It’s based on the idea that, for many drug users, a call to the police — for a nonfatal overdose or a drug-related crime such as theft — is the first time they get on the radar of any authority. So after the immediate crisis is over, officers follow up and offer help. That could be a warm bed for the night, a referral to a recovery coach or needle-exchange program, a ride to detox. At the very least, they’ll give out the overdose-rescue drug Narcan and talk about how to stay alive.

So there’s usually a lot more at play in what people choose, than to just say free will. It’s already been established that Purdue & big pharma was a huge incentive for a lot of physicians choices and ultimately our addicts choices. The draw of connection when other relationships are falling apart due to strict tough love with hurting family member. Most addicts in recovery agree that some form of darkness & evil came into play also.

We can make small changes in the system and fight for stigma change. We can recognize the draw of evil to pull struggling people astray. WE- the strong ones have to have the strength to combat that and BE their light!

Here is some amazing advice from first an addict in recovery then a mom/wife in recovery from her addicted loved one.

"When you're in recovery, you become close to making a difference in your life or in someone else's your gonna come under extreme attack, you're gonna be tested, you're gonna be tried. The enemy is going to come at you like a ton of bricks. He knows that you're a world changer, he knows you have purpose. He knows that your weakness is your addiction, because he put it there. He wants to destroy you before you can destroy him.
  You kick him square in the f****** teeth! You fight him with every ounce of energy that you have within you.  Pray, he hates that. He can't put you through more than you can handle. Addiction is not greater than you. It feels like it is within your flesh, but its only for a while, and it can be defeated- Foster Chambers
This is how I manage anger and anxiety. First, I understand that I can only control 10% of the life around me. It means 90% is controlled by others, so there will be a lot of offences and goodness to me from others. They are situations I cannot control, so I must be humble in all situations.
So I condition my mind to face the world. I do not make my mind that anybody who does anything wrong did it intentionally. Even if it was intentional, it has been done already, and my anger cannot unmake what she/he had done. Now should I get angry, my heart will pump blood in a rush that can affect my health; then I would have lost two times: first the act had been done and secondly my anger or anxiety can cause me sickness.
Then I understood the Biblical admonition which says, if it comes from you, live with all in peace.
The Bible knows there will be offences so the biggest lesson Jesus left for us was how He comported Himself from the court of Pontus Pilate unto the Cross.
The Almighty Jesus who raised the dead to life, healed the sick etc, was silent when He was being abused, slapped, spat on and whipped. It was this SILENCE that gave Him victory, due to His HUMILITY.
For us due to pride, we fight back and it ends up in violence and fights which give Satan the opportunity to damage us more on our various relationships.
When it becomes a case with the police, some friends who encourage us to retaliate may not take you to the police station, let alone pay the monies involved with you.
Believe God who says, it is up to Him to take vengeance on your behalf.

God is faithful and truthful. Stand by His words and be free, for which purpose Christ came to the World.-Bernice Afi Ndo

Home Base

Mustard Seeds

Don’t forget that it is Satan who roams this earth seeking whom he may devour. For every prayer and every tear, God is working in the back ground to make those prayers happen. We want it instantly.  That’s not always the case. It takes time. And usually our anger at the slowness is misguided when it’s Satan and his fallen ones that should get our anger. He(God) didn’t create this. And He will not force us to follow him. We all have choices in this life. I pray that God will put people in the suffering one’s path that will lead him to Jesus and back to your arms. Praying for his safety.

A Day in the life of the Mom of anAddict

Hope Floats- in The Desert

Photo by author

I squeezed the foam earplugs between my fingers and stuffed them into my ear, leaning my flushed, tired face against the cool airplane window in relief.

As the foam expanded, the sounds of the chattering women behind me slowly faded- thankfully. I wanted silence.

I watched the snow-covered tips of the Oquirrh Mountains get smaller and smaller.

I was headed to Phoenix for a much-needed reprieve/retreat with a group of Moms of children with substance use disorders.

The thought crossed my mind of what I would say if someone asked me where I was headed.

I mean it’s not exactly a proud moment like it would be if I said, “Oh, I’m going to an event for Moms of sterling scholar students.”

If I were going to a childhood cancer retreat, it would likely be met with support and sympathy.

As it is, I usually just say “vacation” if I’m doing anything substance use-related.
Of course, times are changing a little. When vulnerability is exposed in the right circumstances, you will immediately find “someone who knows someone” with substance use disorder.

Some social media recovery Influencers -who reach a lot of people, are helping with their memes on understanding addiction; but the service they deliver is misleading at times.

What others think is not my concern right now. I am in survival mode, hoping to advance to Thrive-mode soon.

Photo by author

As I landed at the Pheonix airport, I was met with several flashing billboards advertising a casino or similar:

Reclaim what is rightfully yours-You do you!” 

Wow, YES!!

That’s what I needed!
I needed to reclaim my peace, my sanity, my sense of direction!

I wanted to feel empowered in my co-dependency so that it turned to healthy pro- dependence, just like the book of a similar name.

I wanted relief from my emotions being based on someone else’s actions that I obviously couldn’t control.

I wanted to feel joy again even as my son is still deep in his addiction having lost everything he worked so hard for.

I wanted to stop this suffocating feeling of disappointment and pain that HE must be feeling.

I wanted to not care so much, or at least act like I didn’t care so much.

I wanted my little family back. I wanted my youngest son to UN- Disown me for “helping the tweaker”. I wanted our family to go on trips and have loud funny parties without there being an elephant in the room. I wanted to be able to talk about my oldest son without tip-toeing on eggshells.

To say his name again.

To say it with relief and admiration at what he’s overcome. 
To just be free of the chains of addiction that not only grab the victim but also everyone who loves and knows them.

Yes, I know that’s a lot to expect from one conference or one weekend.

But it’s a start. It’s moving forward.

It’s meeting women that all have something in common. People who you don’t have to hide your situation from. People who you don’t have to bite your lip or hold back your tears when they talk about how well their kids are doing.

Ah yes.
Sun, water, fresh air, bunnies, quails, even cacti were my heaven this weekend.

Photo by author

The logistics of traveling and inconveniences of housing with no hot water didn’t stop me from sucking in every ounce of strength and wisdom from these women.

Don’t be fooled by broken hearts and contrite spirits. They can do wonders with grief and pain. These women taught me perseverance, grace, love, and faith in the unknown.

Women from all areas of America, from different faiths-and at least ONE with no faith- came together and worshipped in their way, to thank God and accept and honor his will with grace.
Women who have lost a child to substance use, taught ME about hope. How could that be? How could someone who has experienced every mom’s worst nightmare teach about HOPE?

With grace and God’s help, that’s how.
People who have the worst pasts often end up with the greatest futures.

As my weekend ended and I said goodbye to these ladies, the most often phrase was “Let’s keep in touch”.
With social media these days, that’s easy to do. But the reality is, we will all go home to our situations. We will cry and yell and dream and hope. We will feel alone and forsaken at times.

It’s up to each person to find their peace, no matter what they are facing.

As I was leaving, one of the younger ladies, who I felt such a pull to- for her faith and talent; pulled me aside with a piece of paper and said, “I’ve been praying for you and I came up with the color green and the flower lily because I think your heart is PURE and I love you.”

I rushed away, through the  5 hours of security, flying, ubering, and made it to my neighborhood. As I trudged up the driveway, tired and worn out, I looked down at my flower beds lying bare in the cold dirt. There amid such brown barrenness, I see the Green tips of my spring Lilys and tulips braving through the frozen ground.

Hope eternal.

Blessed are the pure in heart. (& we ALL are pure on heart).
Thank you, Brianna.
And God.

Photo by Tonyevans.org
Home Base

A Simple Driveway

ᎳhᎽ ᏆhᎥs ᏢᎥᏟᏆuᏒᎬ mᎪᎠᎬ ᏆhᎥs mᎪmᎪ ᏟᏒᎽ

It looks like just a house.

Some cement.

A fence

A few trees

But it’s more than that to me.

To me, this house represents success. It’s represents hope. It represents forward motion. It gives hope to a sense of normalcy again. It screams “Please validate me even while I’m in this darkness!”

Specifically, I’m talking about the driveway made of brand new cement. This represents the seemingly long lost talent and grit of my entrepreneur son who did a downhill slide into addiction in 2019. And I don’t just mean bunny hill slide. I mean Matterhorn, Revelstoke, and Whistler- Blackcomb kind of slide.

The kind of slide that takes everything you own away. New house, huge business, over 20 vehicles, 2 campers, and last but certainly not least, a 12 year marraige and 2 precious kids.

Why?” You ask? “ Why would anyone ‘choose’ to lose everything?

Of course they don’t.

They only chose the first part. The part about having a drink to take the edge off the day. Ya- know? Like you and I can.

They only chose to lessen some back pain from working 60 hours a week.

They chose to take a pill to finally be able to sleep the whole night through. It was slowly, gradually, until they realized they became sick without it. Until they realized that they were spending more time trying to not be sick than living life. They were telling more lies than they’d ever told in their life, just to avoid being sick.

By the time they started having the negative consequences of their substance use, their brain was so hijacked to get more and more that they couldn’t care. Not didn’t care- Couldn’t care.

As Gabor Mate stated in this article: …The addicted person

“ suffers negative consequences as a result of, and yet has difficulty giving up”.

Dr. Gabor Matè

He won’t even argue the disease versus choice because he believes

Addiction is neither a choice nor a disease, but originates in a human being’s desperate attempt to solve a problem: the problem of emotional pain, of overwhelming stress, of lost connection, of loss of control, of a deep discomfort with the self.

All I know is the devastating effects of this ‘condition’ because my family has experienced them daily. The deep pain, anger and confusion permeats everyone around the addicted loved one. So any, I mean- any -progress, to get back into being a functional member of society, is celebrated with a big sigh of relief.

This driveway and the work involved in prepping it, forming it, pouring and leveling it, is an amazing accomplishment.

Today, I choose to be extremely grateful for this picture of this simple driveway.

It represents HOPE.

Hope for more driveways. More work. More contracts. Less court, less drugs, less shady friends.

Hope to climb out of the darkness of addiction and back to the amazing dad, husband, sun, brother, uncle and friend my son IS!

As this Christmas Day comes to a close, I’m now filled with my usual sense of melancholy and sadness.

I’m so happy my son is alive today. I did NOT want to lose him on Christmas. Yes, there was an empty chair at our parties as I wrote in my blog this week. All in all, it’s another day in the life of a Mother of an Addicted Loved One.

This same Article is on medium with a few minor changes.