My Moment

“We do not remember days, we remember moments” – Ceasre Paverse

It was a normal morning. It started off just like almost every other morning had the previous three years.  I woke up blurry eyed, hungover, jonesing for something to take away the pain.

My legs were kicking and my stomach was aching. I took my time getting ready for the day, stopping every few minutes as my gut rejected all the previous night had forced upon it.

It was miserable, but it was normal.

With a hand full of pills in my pocket and a few more waiting for me in my top desk drawer, I headed out. A couple Red Bull pit stops later and I made it into work about 9:45.

Locked inside my office, my day began. Chopping, smashing and lining up 3 beautiful rails that would be my breakfast. A mixture of Oxy’s and Lortabs flew up my nose, at about the same time I heard a pounding on my office door!

My life changed in this moment. It was at this precise moment that everything began to change. It was April 6th, 2011. 5 years ago today. (click here to read exactly what happened)

I often ponder what God must have been thinking the days leading up to this moment. Was He excited? Was He smiling? Did He wonder what choice I would make when given the opportunity? Or did He already know? What did God think about this moment?

Of all my experiences the past 5 years, it was in this moment where everything stood in the balance.  I could go and open the knocking door, face the truth and begin to change. Or I could open the door, continue living in denial and run from reality like I had done for so long. This moment offered two distinct options. Freedom or continued bondage.

I’ve often said that what changed for me in that moment was the choice I made to finally confess. Instead of arguing over details or trying to manipulate my way out of it, I just admitted the truth that everyone else already knew. I was caught and it was time to get honest. It was my moment.

Since that moment at roughly 10AM on April 6th 2011 nothing has been the same. Life has truly been magical.

That magic moment brought so much truth into my life. I learned that confrontation breeds change. That God is not, was not and will never be, mad at me. I realized that He had a plan for my life. I began to see that my life was worth living and living to the full. I chose freedom and I’m so glad I did.

That moment changed me forever.

I believe moments like this happen every day for so many of us. I believe God provides “a way out” of pain, divorce, addiction, guilt, shame and resentment all the time. Sometimes it’s through people and sometimes it’s through circumstances. But the moments of change are always present. Freedom is always one moment away.

The question is, “What will you do with the moments God gives you today?”

Could it be that the life you’ve always wanted hangs in the balance of the choices you make in the moments God gives you today?

My life is proof that that is possible.

So make the most of the moments God gives you. Choose to embrace challenge, step into confrontation and as often as you can, confess you baggage.

Life is meant to be lived free. May you step into the moments that God gives you today and find the freedom you deserve.

Hope is Alive!

 

What Comes After Rock Bottom?

Last week we talked about how to find that elusive rock bottom all loved-ones of addicts are so often searching for. Today I am going to discuss some steps for those of you who have a loved who has find that magical place and now are wondering what to do next?!?! Unfortunately, one of the main struggles I have in our family support groups that our ministry hosts, and even in writing the Finding Hope book, is getting the idea across that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

There is no clear-cut, step-by-step approach to handling your loved one’s addiction. Anyone who tells you so, who guarantees “success”, is lying to you or deceiving themselves. Each addict, although they have similar traits and motivations, is vastly different, just like your family is different from other families while still having some universal traits you all share.

While I can’t offer you a line-by-line transcript of the process you should follow, I can give you a template, based on my own personal experience and the education I’ve received. I can also offer you the hope that comes from seeing hundreds of addicts’ lives changed as they’ve followed this template.

Before we go any further, let me encourage you with this: if your loved one has hit rock bottom and is wanting to make a change, that’s huge! The road ahead is incredibly difficult, to be sure, but making it onto that road and being pointed in the direction of sobriety is a major victory.

Congratulations!

First Base: Detox

Drugs and alcohol introduce a large level of foreign chemicals into the addict’s physical system, and those chemicals have to be purged before anything else can happen. This is the time period called detox, and it is the worst. I’ll never forget my 10 days in a detox facility, eating horrible food, living in green scrubs, having my vitals checked four times a day, and only seeing the light of day for the occasional smoke break. It was horrendous, and not just for me, the addict—it’ll be hard for you, too. Seeing your loved one go through so much physical pain as the drugs leave their system, can be debilitating. Both of you just want it to stop. But, fortunately, it always eventually passes, and then they’ve done the first difficult part of scoring in baseball: getting on base.

Second Base: Residential Treatment

Once they’ve rid their body of all the toxins that their drugs or booze have put into them, your addicted loved one can head over to second base: residential treatment.

This is a period of time where the addict lives at a treatment center and their entire existence is overseen by a staff of professionals. Here, your loved one will learn an entirely new language, and be given new terminology to help them learn about themselves, about their disease, and what a way forward looks like.

I cannot state this loudly enough: learn that language. This is another thing Chuck Robinson taught me, and it’s is so crucial because that new language is going to be their new lifeline, the thing that keeps them on track, and the mandate by which they live their new, sober life. By learning that language as well—by digging into the incredibly dense new vocabulary they’ll have—you’ll be able to encourage, support and understand them.

They will also begin to learn to love themselves.

So many people turn to addiction because they don’t love themselves, and turning off the addiction isn’t going to change that. Residential treatment provides a means for them to start the lifelong process of accepting who they are, and learning to love that person they see in the mirror.

Choosing the right treatment center is a tough process as well. Treatment is not a one size fits all type of scenario. Different facilities have special focuses, disciplines and therapies of choice. Some work well with mental health components, while others focus primarily on the drug and alcohol abuse. Some use experiential therapy while others use traditional approaches. Some have strict guidelines; others provide a looser environment. Treatment facilities are just like any other business; they will do some things really well and others not so well. So understanding what facility best suits you’re loved-one is a road you need to walk down with someone else. It’s a crucial step in the process and a choice that shouldn’t be made flippantly.

Our organization, Hope is Alive Ministries would love to help you down this road. We work with hundreds of families every year helping them understand the best options for their loved one. We would be glad to visit with you, discuss your situation and present you the best options for your loved-one. In addition, we have a page on our website now that provides a listing of our Trusted Resources. Theses are organizations that we know, trust and believe in.

Third Base: Sober Living

This is a base that a lot of people try to skip, but my experience has taught me that sober living is critical for lifelong sobriety. Once your loved one leaves residential treatment, it is often impossible for them to reintegrate into normal society. Unfortunately, they do not tend to have all of the tools necessary to manage the transition, and a huge statistical majority of them will wind up back in rehab at some point in the near future if they try and skip this base.

What can you do to mitigate that recidivism? Sober living. Don’t tell the addict in your life this, because it will freak them out, but if they’ll commit to spending a year in a sober living home, they’re far more likely to achieve lifelong sobriety. In fact, my recent experience tells me that eighteen months is really the best scenario.

Most of the addicts I encounter are young, so I always put it to them this way: they have probably 60 years left of their lives, give or take. I tell them that if they’ll give one single year to sober living, they’ll have a great chance at having the other 59 years be great ones. If they don’t, they’ll probably have a lot fewer years, and they’ll be miserable for all of them. Hope is Alive provides sober living homes for men and women in Oklahoma City, reach out to us if we can help you with this step! Call: 405-242-3704

Home Plate: Continued Meetings

After a year in a sober living home, most addicts are back on their feet. They’ve learned how to manage their lives, they’ve learned how to hold down a job, how to stay organized, how to maintain healthy relationships, and all the other stuff that normal living entails.

But they aren’t done.

I recommend that they still attend regular meetings. This is the overlooked aspect of maintaining sobriety, but it’s an imperative part of it. I’ve been sober for years now, and I still go to (and run) meetings all the time. I need to be reminded of who I was, so that I never lose sight of who I am now, and who I want to be in the future.

And one more thing: there’s nothing that says YOU (the loved-one)) can’t get involved in recovery, too. In fact, I recommend it! If you’re successful in getting your loved one to get help, it would do you well to get help yourself. Get involved in Al-Anon or Hope is Alive’s Finding Hope classes for family members of addicts. Learn the language. Let it change you. Give back.

Parent’s Perspective: Wendell Lang

I knew so little about addiction when we got involved with Lance’s recovery process. God graced our family by providentially getting us in touch with people who directed us to Rob’s Ranch, a recovery facility that God used in a mighty way. The detox process is horrible for both the family and the client, but the necessary pain is essential for healing. Recovery is paramount to a computer refreshing, the old need to go away to get a clean screen.

Detox is necessary to rid the body of impurities and toxins, because these poisons must be removed before recovery is possible. The Bible uses a word for the detoxing process: purity. The meaning is to be utterly sincere, honestly transparent. Purity means to be clean. The word Jesus used was katharizo, from which we get our word “catharsis.” Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure…” A better meaning of purity means to be unmixed or undiluted. Pure gold doesn’t have any mixture of other metals. This spirit of undivided loyalty will allow our body to operate as intended.

Lance going to treatment was a time of anxiety, fear, and yes, hope. Hope has become the mantra for our family, and the first shred of hope began to crystalize throughout the treatment process.

This chapter has me thinking about two words: “no shortcuts.” Lance made an attempt at a “short cut” approach to recovery and it simply did not work. While God can use any method in the healing recovery process, I am convinced that long-term accountability is the most effective and will yield the highest results of recovery.

Throughout my years of pastoring, I had always been the one doing the counseling and had never participated in personal counseling. The times of meeting with our counselor were unbelievably revealing and helpful to bridge a huge chasm in our family. It became apparent to me that not everyone views an event or circumstances through the same lenses. Each person brings a unique experience to a conversation.

For us we found that talk, time, and a lot of tears brought about healing and hope.

Treatment comes in many forms today, but I am convinced that a holistic approach to treatment is essential. A good treatment center deals with the head. This enables the client to think the right thoughts.

A good treatment center also deals with the hands. This allows the client to work in a constructive manner in service to others.

And finally, a good treatment center deals with the heart. This allows the client view his or her situations from God’s perspective.

No one treatment center is right for everyone, so ask and research. Finances and faith in the institution are vital in choosing the right option.

Resource Recap:

Trusted Resources: www.hopeisalive.net/resources/

Finding Hope Support Group Classes: www.FindingHope.Today

Treatment Center Lance Attended: Rob’s Ranch

Lances Books: www.LanceLang.com/books

For more help on parenting an addict or what to do when your loved one is ready for treatment pick up my new book, Finding Hope.

4 Things Drug Addicts Are Not

I will never forget the first time someone asked me, “What’s wrong with you?!” I had stolen some pills, okay, a lot of pills, from someone who had just had surgery. I didn’t even think about what I was doing at the time. All I was thinking about was getting high and not getting sick. It was a means to an end for me. Basically my thought process was… (more…)


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