Addiction: Part I

kaitlyn stephens + joshua stephens + suitcases and faces + gospel-center recovery + marriage recovery + marriage reconciliation

Written June 26, 2017:

You know how we tend to say, "Well, it can't get any worse" and then, it gets worse?
June 12, 2017 - it got worse.

That was the day I found out my husband of 2.5 years was a drug addict. At this point in time (June 26, 2017) I'm currently sitting on the floor in an empty 1,020 square foot loft. Our furniture has been moved to a storage unit a few miles away from my parents' house in Prosper, TX. A 40-minute drive north of the Deep Ellum loft we moved into in the spring of 2013. 

In only two weeks time I've found myself in a whirlwind of life changes whilst riding a rollercoaster of emotions. We'd built a life in this home, been a part of the community of artists, dreamers, and doers and have enough memories in this borough to last a lifetime. And now it's all changing. 

Sure, we'd planned this move before his big news dropped like a ton of bricks and shattered my perceptions of the life I'd dreamt. But now, I've been left to handle it all on my own. The move, the dogs, the bills, the insurance, the phone calls, the questions asking, "Where's Joshua's been?", and the deafening silence of people we thought were closer than family, not to mention I'll be traveling to a family wedding in a few weeks time where I'll surely be forced to answer questions about his health and why I didn't know what was going on underneath my nose... This is definitely a rant. Don't post this, Kaitlyn. Go to bed. 

**** 

Looks like I'm posting it anyway! Why?
Because it was real.
raw.
unedited.
gritty.
ugly.
shameful.
hurtful.
pain-filled.
broken.

I started this blog back in June. It's now January 2018 and I've come back to read the words I wrote... those were some pretty raw emotions up there, huh? But, that's addiction for you: real. raw. unedited. gritty. ugly. shameful. hurtful. pain-filled. and broken.

Addiction isn't a topic many people like to discuss, much less read or talk about. But, we/I have to. I've searched for months to find someone, some book, some blog about someone discussing what it's like to go through addiction recovery as a Christ Follower.

Spoiler Alert: There isn't much out there, folks! So, if others aren't talking, I'll start and we can all see where this goes. And while I'm still working on what it looks like to navigate these waters, I have picked up on a few things here and there. Here's what I've learned so far: 

  • We all have the same name.
    • Those who struggle with addictions are by definition, addicts. BUT that is NOT their name or title. They, like the rest of us, are children of God. They are heirs. They are Sons and Daughters. They are seated at the right hand of God! Do not strip them of their birthright by labeling them by worldly standards. 
  • Satan Will Not Win.
    • The enemy cannot, and will not win. We MUST cover our loved ones in prayer! 
  • True freedom comes from Jesus.
    • From daily asking Him to show us what it means to submit. To daily, actively, seek to discover the depth of of true surrender. Surrender accompanied by peace, not performance.
  • Love.
    • Love like Jesus would.
    • Always ask yourself if you're treating your loved one with the grace, compassion, and tenderness as Christ.
  • Show up.
    • Prayerfully, physically, and emotionally. You cannot carry them, but you can actively support their recovery by taking an active role and interest in their recovery! 
  • Encourage.
    • Speak LIFE over your loved one battling addiction. Speak it out loud, through your mouth - make an audible sound that all the spirit world will hear! Let that devil know, NOT TODAY!! 
  • Ask Questions.
    • Ask the tough, uncomfortable, and scary questions. This isn't fun, but it's healing for both of you. 
  • Listen.
    • Listen to their stories if and when they're ready to share. Remember not to judge or pass blame. 
  • Seek Counsel.
    • Get a counselor you trust and let them walk you down this road to recovery.YOU are important in this process, too! Do NOT neglect your own health!! 
    • Couples, I highly recommend going separately first and following the guidance of your counselor.
  • Do not judge. 
    • You'll want to because you're human. Your humanity is okay - just the same as their humanity drew them into active addiction. Remember this when you're struggling to understand. And in those moments when you don't know what to say, remind them they are loved and encourage them to go back to the Word and wait on the Lord. 

Like I said, I don't have it all figured out but this is what I've learned so far, and what I try to do every day. I don't always succeed - Joshua will attest to that. But, we continually work towards recovery side-by-side - in our own ways. 

I've been really silent the past few months and now you all know why... thought it was time to share a little bit of the road we've walked for anyone out there who may be struggling. I don't have all the answers. We haven't done everything perfectly but we aren't giving up fighting for surrender in the area of addiction or any other area of our life. 

If you or someone you know is battling active addiction, or in recovery, and seeks a gospel-centered recovery i highly recommend the following resources which have helped us: