The ripple effect of addiction has affected just about everyone in this beautiful country of ours. I know first hand the depth of sickness, despair, internal chaos, shame and guilt that goes with drug and alcohol addiction. Story here.
For thirteen years I wore the invisible chains of drug and alcohol addiction. I lived as a slave trapped in a maze with no exits. Pills, alcohol, and just about everything other drug had me wondering through life like the walking dead.
After three rehabs, countless arrests, too many hospital visits to recall, a botched suicide attempt and an overdose, it was clear that my way of living wasn’t working. But the terrifying uncertainty of admitting defeat and asking for help was nearly as scary as continuing in that lifestyle of addiction.
I had no idea had to live a normal life. I had no idea what real hope was. As far as I was concerned hope was an empty wish, it was an unfilled dream, and up to that point the chances of anything good happening in my life were about the same as me winning the lottery.
The isolation, the warped thinking, the haunting memories of the endless acts I wished I hadn’t committed, the fake display of a joyous life outwardly mixed with the real feelings of death inwardly had me so lost and confused you could have hit me in the face with a 2 x 4 made of hope and I would have missed it.
It is in those dark places that Jesus, The Great Physician, has such brilliant ways of entering into the story.
My last arrest was over a decade ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was so tired and defeated that I gave up and told the officer all my wrongs as I handed him my expired license. In that moment it was a mustard seed of faith that produced a desperate cry for help, and God used that to radically transform my little life.
From the age of thirteen to twenty six my personal culture consisted of hopelessness and darkness. On a good day I might have described hope as, wishful thinking. I was wrong, as
God began showing me that hope is a posture of the heart. Hope is the joyful expectation of God’s promises becoming real in my life.
God slowly but surely reached into my small and broken world and began pumping me full of hope and life. God began extending grace to me through the hands and words of people all around me. I began to see that something bigger than me was hard at work restoring hope in my life. All it took on my end was saying yes to Him and the life He had prepared for me all along.
There were days in early recovery were I felt like I was being harassed by hope. This heavenly harassment soon won me over, it infected me, and I began harassing the world around me with hope.
You see, hope can be found in the random act of kindness. Hope is in the unexpected encouraging phone call. Hope can be found in the unexpected act of generosity. Hope can be seen in the unoffendable countenance that is anchored in acceptance and love.
Hope is in the kind and graceful word of correction, just as much as the life giving words of encouragement. Hope changes the lens through which we see, and empowers us to see the treasure buried under the trash of the human heart. Hope sees the lazy boy recliner that Jesus wants to sit on deep in our hearts.
That’s what it felt like as God used a village of people to flip the script on my dark world and turn it into a life filled with a hope, hope so real I could taste it and see it.
Our radiant King is called the “Hope of Nations” for a reason. Everything he is is what every addict truly needs. We all need a King like Jesus.
The person caught in addiction wants and needs God’s forgiving grace to flow freely in their life. They need the grace that transforms them from old to new. The addict desperately needs someone to save them from the deadly quicksand they can’t find a way out of, that’s where our Savior does His finest work.
All around us in this wonderful country people are suffering from addiction, or people are suffering from the poisonous ripple effects that a life of addiction causes.
God is calling out to those caught in the depressive darkness of addiction. The question is, will you let Him use you to do it?
Will you take this season where we celebrate this Living Hope and be a living hope to those that are hurting, addicted, lost, and hopeless?
A seed of hope can sprout a harvest of goodness, just look at me. I was as bad as can be imagined. I am now a trophy of grace as I am happily married to a beautiful woman and we are raising two amazing sons. I own my own business and am very active in the community. Read more about that here.
It was the “Hope of the Nations” that entered my heart and completely changed my life. It was His Living Hope that came at me like heavenly harassment that kept me on His glorious path of life.
We all know someone that needs this Living Hope, and what better season than the season in which we celebrate our beautiful Savior's birth to share His heart of hope.
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