When the hopeless reach out for help
A situation that touches too many families and leaves for most nothing but questions? We could begin this dissertation by asking a common question of those whose lives have been directly affected by close members of their families. It once was a “do not mention this to anyone” situation, but it has become so widespread that one could admit they have one or more family members suffering from addiction to one or more substances or habits. It no longer is a hush hush situation and the overflow of anguish these realities cause to their loved ones wreak volumes of shame, mistrust, and where do we go from here?
Those who have recovered completely, statistics prove that the percentage is very low, will be the only sure path to guide addicts away from a certain path to hell. Once an addict has been submersed within their attraction it becomes a fight for them to rise above this hold the life-line has on them. The worst reality for an addictive person is the door remains open and like a kaleidoscope of beautiful colors keeps motioning to come back.
From the Betty Ford Foundation some astounding statistics show that after the first year of treatment relapse from opioids is as high as 80 % to 95%. From Recovery Village indicates relapse from alcohol and opioids runs between 40 to 60 % after the first year following treatment. However, relapse from Heroin is 90%.
With these astounding numbers it is frightening to realize these addictions become the companions to addicts and it is a life-long battle to remain sober. Once substances become the best friend to an addict it treats the abuser as a marriage and the substance always has the upper hand.
My first encounter with addicts was while in Midland, TX with ministry at a recovery institution for recovering Catholics. Working with recovering persons, Catholic and non-Catholics, my eyes were opened to the tragic evil addiction to any substance has on persons who are almost trapped in a world that is foreign to the rest of society. My main thrust was to bring these needy souls the mercy of God. Returning to Pittsburgh I spent three years working with PA Organization for Women in Early Recovery (POWER) in Swisuvale, PA. Of all the different ministries I was involved with these two locations brought me to an understanding that far too many people were in a trap oriented situation that was/is destroying souls and needed our God-given love and attention.
Please do not condemn these children of God. They are the hopeless reaching out for God’s freedom and want to return to normality. It is like a hand reaching through the sand hoping someone will be there to pull them out of the mire of darkness. They may not admit to that; in fact they will all deny their affliction. But each one wants a life that we can at least give a nudge in that direction.
If you are in a situation as this, don’t feel alone. The numbers of families experiencing these realities are staggering and we must seek the grace of God on us and for these hopeful souls.
Ralph B. Hathaway, Hopeful reaching for help.