When it comes to addiction, the one with an addiction and the family of the one with an addiction rarely understands how the other feels. As a result, they harbor resentment to one another and find it difficult to communicate with each other. In this blog, I am writing to help the one who has an addiction understand what his family goes through daily. With this understanding, my prayer is the one in addiction will be encouraged to seek help.
So often in addiction, the one with the addiction does not have any understanding of what those who love him go through on a daily basis. In the Story of the Prodigal Son, I want to look into the heart of the prodigal's father, and, in doing so, help the one with an addiction have a greater understanding of what goes on in the hearts of those who have loved ones trapped in addiction.
The prodigal son left home with a pocket full of money. He desired to experience the pleasures of life in the far country. For a season, he enjoyed all the pleasures the far country had to offer. Eventually, those pleasures turned into pain.
The entire time his son was gone, the father wondered each day, "Is this the day my son comes home?". Each night he would lay in his bed thinking about his son, wondering if he was okay...wondering if his son was even alive. Sleepless night after sleepless night, he would think about his son, "Where is he...is he okay...is he alive?".
Every morning he would wake up and say again and again, "Is this the day my son comes home?". Everyday he would look down the long dusty road leading to the far country, hoping to see his son returning home. But everyday was just another day his son did not return home. Consequently, the father lived with sadness in his heart because he missed the son he loved. Daily he lived with worry in his heart wondering if his son was okay. Not one day did his father ever have peace.
Each day the father was filled with emotional and mental pain because he loved his son so much. He remembered back to the times they enjoyed together when his son was younger. The days they played together, fished together, worked together...He wonders what happened to his child.
He begins to question his parenting. What did he as a father do that pushed his son into the addiction. Was there something he missed? Was there something he did? He lives in his own misery of guilt and shame, thinking there must have been something he did to cause his son to set off to the far country of addiction.
The longing in the father's heart was for his son to come home. He hoped that day would come, but somewhere in the back of his mind he wondered if it ever would. Then one morning he awakened from another sleepless night, got out of bed, walked outside, and stared down the long dusty road. However, that day was different. He saw someone walking down the road...he wondered if this could be his son. The closer his son came, the more the figure walking down the road resembled his son. And then he realized, it was his son! The day he had been longing for had come. His son had come home and joy filled his heart!
He was so excited his son was coming home that he ran as fast as he could to greet his son. And greet him he did! He embraced him with a big hug and kissed him. He was so happy his son was home. He was so happy his lost son was now found!
If you are one who has an addiction and is reading this blog, please know God stands ready to greet you with grace if you are ready to come home to him. You know you have been out in the far country of your addiction way too long. Like the prodigal, you are tired, weary, afraid, and full of shame and guilt. You are ready to come home to God. God, in his love, runs to you with grace, love, and forgiveness. Would you come home to him today? He is running toward you!
As you contemplate coming home to God, hopefully what the prodigal's father was feeling about his son gives you insight into what your family is feeling about you. They love you and long for you to come home to healing and freedom. You do not have to hide anymore. You do not have to live in guilt and shame anymore. I know you are afraid to be open and honest, but with honesty comes healing and with truth comes transformation.
When it comes to addictions, not only does the addiction result in misery for you, but the entire family lives in misery as well. Because they love you so deeply, day after day and night after night, your family lives in great emotional pain, wondering about your condition. They experience no peace in their hearts, only pain. They long to have their son or daughter back.
Maybe over the course of time your family stopped giving you money, a place to sleep, food, etc... Because of the lies, manipulation, and continued drug or alcohol use, they have been forced to no longer give you anything. As a result, you may have become very upset with them, holding resentment toward them. Have compassion on them. Your family is in a difficult place. They love you, but can no longer support your addiction.
In the Story of the Prodigal Son, the son did not began to get healthy until no one gave him anything. He found himself in a pig pen in great need, longing to eat the food of the pigs. Because no one gave him anything, his life hit bottom, and as a result, he began to look up to God.
One of the hardest decisions your family has ever had to make in order to save your life was to no longer give you anything. By choosing to give you nothing, they were hoping to save your life as your life finally hits bottom and you begin to look up to God. Rather than holding resentment to them, consider thanking them for making that tough decision.
Maybe you have found yourself in your own pig-pen...empty, lonely, miserable, tired, hurting and hopeless. I want you to know God loves you! He cares for you. He sees you in your pig-pen and is waiting everyday to see if this will be the day you come home to him. He is waiting for you, he is running toward you with arms open wide.
If you are ready to come home to God, if you are ready to leave behind this miserable life of addiction, there is hope. If you are ready to reconnect and restore your relationship with your family, there are many places which can help you. One of these is the Home of Grace in Vancleave, Ms. The phone number is 228-826-5283. The website is www.homeofgrace.org. Home of Grace has both a men's and women's campus. Call them today.
Today is your day to come home to God's grace. You haven't gone too far, you haven't done too much to be beyond the reach of God's grace. God loves you!