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It’s Time for an Intervention–Be Prepared – Part 2

In “It’s Time for an Intervention” pt 1, we discussed how to prepare for a formal intervention. An intervention is an intentional time to sit down with someone we love and express love and concern. For many, their intervention is a precious memory of something hard, but also something that put them on the path to change. There are so many things that go into having a healthy intervention day. If you missed it, check out pt1 here, and learn how to best prepare yourselves for the journey.

Ok, so now you are prepared! You have 3-8 people who love your loved one. You have learned all you can about their addiction, and about how to help without enabling. You have prayed and shared and made plans of action. Everyone has agreed to the ground rules. It’s time to do this thing!

 

Come up with a creative way to get your loved one to the intervention. Very few hurting people will show up if they know what is going on. Plan a family dinner, game night, party, or other engaging event. Have someone designated to pick up your loved one or to make sure that they come. Have a planned start time, plan out where each person will sit, and have every single detail worked out before your loved one arrives. Place people of high influence closest to your loved one. One of our friends shared that having his daughter right beside him during his intervention made a huge impact!

When your loved one starts to realize what’s going on, they may start to think “Oh great. Here it comes.” However, the idea is to shower them with love and to show them Jesus through your words and actions. The greatest thing they need to take away is that you care deeply about them and so does God. Nothing else you say or do will matter if they don’t first hear your love and the Lord’s love.

Have the designated facilitator open up and share why you all are there. Everything communicated should be said with respect. Avoid any temptation to talk down to your loved one. It’s very important that we help them maintain their dignity through this process. They are already telling themselves all the worst things, and believing all of it too. Your goal should be to see them as Christ sees them, and then to treat them that way.

Go around the circle one at a time and read each letter. No one should interrupt anyone else, and no one should speak unless it’s their turn to read the letter. This is harder than it sounds! As emotions rise, the temptation to jump in, defend yourself or your loved one, or to react to manipulation will be strong. You want to do your best to keep everything calm in a situation that could easily become a jumble of emotions and reactions.

At this point, introduce the options for getting help, and be prepared to address any excuses that your loved one gives. This is scary for them! Their addiction is their comfort zone, and leaving it behind is terrifying. Let them know who their support team is. A support team is the group planning to come by and check on them, clean out unhealthy items, be with them, and pray with them through this process.

Have the facilitator review the consequences laid out in the letters. Make it clear what life will look like if your loved chooses to get help and what it will look like if they choose not to. Everyone will need to be prepared to follow through on their consequences. Having your own healthy boundaries is the most loving thing you can do to encourage your loved one to get the help they need. By trying to love and care for them in the past, you may have been enabling their behavior for years. Change can be just as scary for us as for them! Have the facilitator collect the letters and save them for your loved one. They can be a great reminder down the road for your loved one as they pursue recovery! If your loved one chooses the path to healing, it’s time to put your plans into action to get them the help they need.

Some things to remember after the intervention:

•   Don’t forget to pray. Every day, over and over. Nothing that we can do for our loved one is more powerful than prayer!

•   The intervention team should keep meeting so that the loved one can’t manipulate anyone. It also helps keep everyone in the group accountable.

•   Continue to educate yourselves after the intervention, and to seek help and support for yourself!

•   Do not give your loved one money. If you have to, go and buy or pay for the specific need yourself. However, its better to never give financially to someone in any type of an addiction.

•   When you are enabling a love one it causes stress an anxiety in your own life. Codependency often means that your life and well-being depends on that person’s life and well-being. Don’t ignore that! Get help for yourself too! Attend meetings, join online support groups like Refuge for Families, and/or start seeing a Christian counselor or phycologist that specializes in codependency.

•   Most importantly – Their identity, and yours, is that we are children of God, made in His image and with a purpose. He/She/You are not your addictions or hang-ups or pasts or hurts. Getting out of denial and accepting the problem is important, but we cant stay in the “I’m an addict/alcoholic/codependent/etc” mentality. We have to see who God calls us to be in order to move forward and to heal.

 

If you or someone you love is in need of recovery,
please reach out and let us walk with you.
We are here to help you through this process!

I want to be Sober for the Holidays

I have been struggling to write this piece for a while now.  I wanted to write about how to deal with the Holidays as a someone who is newly sober and while writing that, I realize that I am still VERY new to being sober and that this holiday season, even though It will be my second sober one, is going to be my first “Out of the Bubble” of being in rehab.  Don’t take this as me being afraid to face the Holidays, I’m just simply stating that I have not had to deal with this season as my new sober self and am confident that I will be able to get through this without any slip ups.  I am simply going to take the holidays, just as I have been through out my sobriety.  One day at a time.

The holidays have always been a struggle for me as I fell deeper into my addiction.  A time that was supposed to be full of love, cheer, and thanks had turned more into a time of depression, shame, and the sense of being a burden to anyone and everyone that I was around.  When you are addicted, you lose grasp of what is really important. Not even my family or friends could get in between me and my pursuit for getting my fix.  My focus as an addict was more towards knowing if there was going to be alcohol at the party I was going to, how long church was going to be so that I can make sure I drink enough to get me through the service, find out what time the liquor stores were closing/opening, etc.  Everything was about my chase for the drink.  My family, friends and loved ones were always an afterthought.  It was all about my needs and wants; I was selfish.

As an addict, one thing that shames me (I’m sure if you currently are, or have been struggling with addiction can relate) is that I was never able to get anyone gifts for the holidays.  The fact that I would spend the money on a bottle of vodka instead of getting my Niece or Nephew a toy for the holidays is still something that bothers me to this day.  The sad thing is, the shame of showing up drunk, not getting gifts for anyone, being a burden to hosts, never seemed to outweigh the need for the alcohol.  Alcohol never judged me.  It was my safe place for a long time; somewhere I could go to hide and numb my fears and anxieties.

One of the worst fears for an addict is being judged, especially at large gatherings, weddings, holidays, etc.  I always scoffed at the one person to show up at gatherings that people secretly were praying would not be able to make it.  I became that person that I looked down on my whole life and I knew it, I just didn’t care.  Denial is an addict’s favorite weapon, and as with most weapons, it eventually runs out of ammo.  That’s when the denial turns into realization and shame.

When I went to treatment last year, it was right at the start of the Holiday season.  I finally hit rock bottom and actually wanted to try to get help.  A lot of people think “Wow that is so terrible that a family will drop off their loved one at a facility during the holiday”, kind of as if they were taking the easy way out and handing off their problem to someone else.  This is exactly what I was thinking when I came to S2L Recovery.  The thought that “Wow, my family doesn’t want me home for the holidays, that’s so selfish of them” was embedded in my mind.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Being in Rehab for the holidays was actually the best thing that could have happened to me at the time.  At S2L, I was in a safe place, surrounded with people who understood me for the first time in a long time (if not ever), and at the same time, my family was able to celebrate the holidays without having to worry about me.  They did not have to worry about getting a call at 2AM Christmas Eve saying their son is in jail, dead, or has been in an accident.  It was a weight lifted off of everyone’s shoulders.

Now being home for the holidays, and no longer in treatment, I can honestly say that I am very excited about the Holidays coming up.  I have a new appreciation for the holiday season and what it is about.  This is the first year that I am actually anticipating the holidays instead of dreading them.  Being able to face this season with my newly found Christian faith, I have much more appreciation for what the holidays are all about.  I am not only celebrating sobriety this season, I’m celebrating Life, God, Forgiveness and second chances.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction please seek help.  Even though it may feel like it at times; remember that you are NOT alone.  We’re all Gods creation; we all have a purpose and are all here to love each other.

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

 

Feel free to reach out to me via e-mail

Robert Jasinski

Robert.jasinski86@gmail.com

God Bless and Happy Holidays!

Home from REHAB, No More Bubble!

I have been home for almost three days now.  While I was a student at Spring 2 Life one of the things I heard most from staff and alumni was how difficult it is to stay diligent once you leave “the bubble”.  Already I have found this to be true.  Inside the Lost and Found Recovery in Christ curriculum there are seven simple principles taught at Spring 2 Life. Inside of this are 4 pillars: pray, read your Bible, fellowship with good people, and serve others.  I should say these are simple in principle and harder in application.  Not because we do not want to stay in these four disciplines, but because distractions come at you exponentially upon departure from a rehabilitation program.

If you ask students who have been through a program repeatedly what they were lacking when they went out into the real world the answer is almost unanimously, lack of diligence (not lack of desire).  So, I ask myself, how do I maintain my discipline in these areas?  How do I avoid or sift through the distractions and prioritize things?  Before coming to Spring 2 Life I would often ignore details in my life.  However, when we brush the small things off that require our attention, often the more important things in our lives begin to crumble.  Indeed, the big things are often held together by the smaller things.  Not just metaphorically, but literally.  It is the cement between the bricks that hold a house together.  You can’t have a piece of fabric without string.  Why shouldn’t this apply to the tasks in our everyday lives?

If I am aware of what I need to do on a daily basis in order to continue on in a life with Christ and without drugs and/or alcohol, but I do not implement those things (prayer, read, fellowship, service) even though I have a desire to, then I need to take a look at my priorities.  I need to tend to the details of my life.  To do lists are helpful, but only if you do the things on the list.  Personally, I need more than a to do list.  In my own life, it becomes more and more apparent how many bad habits I had and still have apart from drugs and alcohol.  I never made my bed.  I would wake up and scroll through social media and news headlines.  Even my hygiene suffered!

Tending to the small things in my life now starts with making the bed when I wake up.  As the director of Spring 2 Life says often, “If you make your bed when you get up, you have already accomplished something for the day”.  It is a small detail, but it is a small detail that can set the tone and pace for your entire day.  Now instead of laying in bed all morning I am up, with a made bed, and I have the motivation to pray to God and to read his Word.  Believe me, if making your bed can set the tone for your day, talking with the Lord can transform your day.

If you’re struggling to do the big things in your everyday life, then pay attention to the details that you have prioritized.

We want each of you to stay diligent until the very end, so that your hope may be fully assured
-Hebrews 6:11

It’s time for intervention–now what? Part 1

What to do when it’s time for the dreaded “i” word.

   Intervention. One simple word, but it can evoke such a huge range of emotions. Fear, anxiety, hurt, pain, and bitterness can all keep us from taking this step. “What will they do? What will they say? What should I say? What if I screw it up? What if they hate me?” This mental narrative can prevent us from taking action. Each recovery story is unique, but for many, an intervention is exactly what got them to the place where they were ready for change.

  You may be thinking, “Great! An intervention! Thats what we need to do!” But also, “How in the world would I even get started?” I had those same questionsI So I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Kevin Parker, a recovered addict and former ministry leader of Celebrate Recovery at Rock Point Church in Crawfordsville, IN. His own journey of recovery started when his wife, children, and a few good friends staged an intervention that ended up saving his life and all he held dear. Since being in recovery, Kevin has been able to walk through the healing process with many others, and he has been kind enough to pass on some wisdom to us. When I asked him if I could share this information with you all, he quickly agreed and said that “all the credit belongs to God!”

  So, you may be asking “What is an intervention exactly?” A formal intervention is when a small group of people prepare a time to sit down with the addicted loved one in order to: express concern and care, share love and hurt, and to set up expectations, boundaries, and also consequences if the loved one chooses not to get help. Choosing who to join you is key! A group of 3-8 people is the most ideal, and each person should love and care about the addict. Avoid inviting anyone who is angry or bitter. They may use this as a time of retribution, and this should be a time of deep love and care.

  Once your group is formed, set up a time, or times, to meet together prior to the intervention. Take time to get to know each other. Share with each other the experiences you’ve had with your loved one and get on the same page! Know what stories your loved one is telling and who has been helping him out. This will be the best safe-guard against manipulation and will help everyone to have the full picture and stay accountable. Don’t forget to pray together! This journey will not be easy, but it will absolutely be worth it.

  Encourage each person to learn as much as they can about their loved one’s addiction, about enabling behaviors, and about codependency. The more you each learn, the better the group can help support your loved one in a real and healthy way! If you have set up good boundaries, but Grandma keeps giving the addicted loved one money, nobody wins. Plus, many of us have discovered our own hurts and hang-ups as we have searched for answers. Loving an addict well can seem completely counterintuitive to our feelings. We need to take responsibility for our part in the process.

   The next step is to do research. Find a rehabilitation center that has a good reputation, map out group meetings close by, and find the name of a Christian counselor or phycologist who specializes in addiction and recovery. Have a plan in place to make it easy for your loved one to take action and get help! Brainstorm all the excuses the your loved one will use; will they need time off work, to rearrange their schedule, help with their kids, or a ride to meetings or appointments? Make a plan of action and choose who can help with each area of excuse. Be as prepared as possible for whatever your loved one may try to use to say no.

  Now choose people to be their support team! Who can help clean out the loved one’s house or space and get rid of unhealthy items (drugs, alcohol, paraphernalia, etc)? Who can visit with them? Take time to pray with them and be with them? Make a schedule and be ready to share your plan with your loved one. Also, choose an intervention leader or facilitator. For many addicts, chaos rules their life. They thrive on manipulation, high emotions, and trying to be in control. Having one point person to run the time with will keep things orderly and calm. Agree ahead of time to only have the facilitator speak to the loved one outside of the letter reading time. This will NOT be easy! This may mean ignoring pleas, insults, and tears. Remember, the goal is to keep everything as orderly and calm as possible. We don’t want to let our feelings be in control of the intervention.

  The last preparation step will be each person writing a 1-2 page letter to your loved one. This letter should include: ways that your loved one has been a blessing in your life, ways they have hurt you because of their addiction, and the consequences if they choose not to get help. Maybe their son decides that Dad can’t come to his games anymore, or Mom decides that her son can’t have any more help with his bills. Maybe his wife tells him that he will have to move out, or his friends tell him that he can’t come over any longer. Consider holding another pre-intervention get-together where you can share your letters with each other. Practice reading them out loud and get comfortable with what you will be saying. Writing and sharing the letter is hard, and can be very emotional. Take your time, pray for the right words, and remember that the goal is love and restoration!

  Now that you and your group are ready, the next step will be to hold the intervention itself. We will dive into the ins and outs of intervention day in pt 2! In the mean time, continue to pray and seek the Lord, and He will direct you in this process (Proverbs 3:6). Reach out and let us know how we can help! We would love to pray with you and help you along this journey.

 

4 Lies we believe when loving an addict

None of us ever plan to have an addicted loved-one. We don’t go into friendships/relationships/marriages/having children thinking “I better be prepared in case this person ends up with some bad habits.” So, when we find ourselves in just that position, it’s normal that we don’t know what to do. When we add in the spiritual element, the very real fact that we have an enemy who wants to see our loved ones (and us) destroyed, chaos and confusion can take hold in our lives. So many of us have tried to help, wanted to help, even been desperate to help, only to see our best efforts fall flat (at best) or enable (at worst). Here are 4 of the biggest lies that I believed while my husband was in his addiction and recovery:

1. I’m not the one who needs help

“What should I do at the meeting?” I asked awkwardly, “I mean, since I’ve never struggled with being addicted drugs or alcohol?” With kindness, and a little pity, the woman sitting across from me simply said, “Ask God to show you where your own hang-ups are.” Still feeling frustrated and nervous I attended my first group meeting. Not yet understanding co-dependency, and knowing that God was calling us to work with people who struggle with addictions, I sat down in a circle of women who wanted to recover from chemical dependency. Terrified that I would be found out as a “fake” I tried hard to avoid pointed questions and over-sharing. What I learned from being in that group has forever changed me. I got to see the human side of addiction; see moms desperate to be reunited with their kids, women who were willing to put in the hard work to become who God said they were, ladies who loved and laughed and cried and cared about each other. I did ask God to reveal to me where I needed to recover, and he used this group meeting to teach me about trusting him with the people I care about.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done.” Philippians 4:6 (NLT)

He taught me that He is the one who works in their lives, it’s not my job to fix them or change them.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13 (NLT)

He taught me that I wasn’t in control, and what a sweet blessing that really is!

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7  (NLT)

It’s easy to think we don’t need help, but that’s a lie that will keep us from healing and learning what to do.

 

2. What I say doesn’t matter

Anger, tears, apathy, manipulation, begging, and belittling are a few of the ways that we try to talk our loved ones out of their struggle. Words are a big deal to me. I say a lot of them, write a lot of them, and I take the words of others to heart (any other “Words of Affirmation” love-language people out there?). I love using good words to communicate my exact thoughts and feelings. When my boyfriend (now husband) started admitting little things to be about his new habits, I was often at a loss for words. What should I say to encourage him to stop? What if my words push him away? How can I convey my concern and change his heart, but not lose him? Fast-forward several years, we are newly weds and I’m coming home to find him high-as-a-kite more often than not. Concern had turned to desperation. Sometimes anger spurred mean words and accusations. Sometimes hurt poured out tears and I would beg him to stop. I tried threats, I tried shame, I tried anything I could think of to pierce his heart. It wasn’t until I decided to turn it over to God, to really trust Him, that I began to see any change. I know the power of words well, so I turned my efforts to being firm, but kind. I took the words I poured onto my husband and started to pour them out to God in prayer. Instead of begging my husband to stop, I started begging God to move. Instead of crying to get my way, I was crying to my Heavenly Father, who loves me and holds me.

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8 (NLT)   

Instead of anger and belittling, I started treating my husband with respect. Not because he was worthy of it on his own merits, but because God calls me to do it out of my love for Him.

“Respect each other out of your reverence for Christ. For wives, this means respect your husbands as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:21-22 (NLT)

Prayer made all the difference. How I spoke to my husband and to the Lord changed everything.

3. I can’t tell anyone else

“History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

One of the most common lies I’ve seen believed is that we can’t share with anyone because “they won’t understand.” This verse from Ecclesiastes states that nothing we are going through is new, other people have gone through them too! The enemy wants us to feel all alone, isolated, and secretive. He wants us to believe that our loved-one will never forgive us. He knows that if we reach out, if we tell someone whats going on, then we might hear the two best words we can hear – “Me too.” God created us, in His image, to be relational. We were never supposed to walk through life without support and accountability. When we find a person we can trust, and we share what we are going through, we have an ally in the fight. We have someone to pray for us, check in on us, ask about things, and keep us accountable for how we are handle them.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NLT)

We need to seek out people we trust, who love God and who will support you, and to share with them whats going on.

 

4. It’s hopeless

The biggest, and perhaps worst, lie that Satan tells us is that our loved-one’s situation, that our situation, is hopeless. When we believe that things are hopeless, we give up. We stop praying, stop caring, stop seeking help. We may write them off, we may block them out, we may detach, all in an effort to stop our pain. We may feel depressed or anxious, always expecting the next big disaster. When we started visiting St Kitts to prepare for our move here, we would share with people we met why God was sending us to their country. We would talk about starting recovery programs to help people with addictions. Multiple times we were responded to with, “Oh, don’t bother to help the adults here. The adults here are hopeless.” You can see how the hopelessness has effected the culture. There were no recovery programs, no help for anyone beyond detoxing in the hospital. If you believe something is hopeless, then you don’t believe that thing with ever change. Thats why having HOPE means everything in this journey. The best way to find our hope for our loved-ones is by having faith that God can do anything, even change them.

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”  Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

” I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NLT)

This list does not include every single lie that we hear while we are walking on this journey. Many of the things we think come from lies that we have believed most of our lives, how we have learned to cope with our pain, or what the world around us tries to sell as truth. The best way to defeat the lies is by knowing what God says, what the real truth is. If you are in the midst of loving someone who is in addiction, then get into the Word of God. Open your bible every day and ask God to speak His truth to you. Just like light drives out the darkness, the truth of God will drive out the lies.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:5 (NLT)

If you or a loved one needs help, please contact us for support and guidance.

Why does addiction kill some and others recover?

As a man that battled a horrific addiction to opiates and now a pastor and director for an addiction recovery program, I have seen both sides of the question in the title. I have done funerals for men that were not any crazier, wilder, or riskier then I was. They died from doing the exact same thing I was doing when I lived a life of addiction. Why did I survive and they didn’t?

Now I could try and explain these deaths in the direction of how some people get laced drugs (like fentanyl laced heroin) or have unknown medical issues (like cardiomyopathy) but that doesn’t explain the whole story. I don’t write the next words flippantly because this is an extremely hard topic for me to discuss. I have images of the pain and sorrow of mother’s faces that come from burying their children, burnt into my mind. Not only that, I have lost people that I love to addiction.

So the question, “Why does addiction kill some and others recover?”, is a question that I cannot answer completely or to everyone’s satisfaction.  What I can say is that God is Sovereign and we are not promised tomorrow. I know without a shred of doubt based on the authority of God’s word that people recover from addiction.

I have to admit that early on my default position was to shake my fist at God and say why did you not save them? I would even get frustrated and ask God why would you call me to a ministry that is so littered with destruction? This just doesn’t seem right. God revealed to me through His word and other pastors that the feeling I had, “that it is not right”, is exactly what the Bible teaches. God created a perfect place where we could live in perfect unity with Him without the destruction of pain and death. Something did go way wrong.

As you read the creation/fall account in Genesis 1-3, you see that God’s perfect creation was devastated by sin. That death and destruction entered into the world and a curse came upon the earth. We have all tasted the brokenness of a fallen world. I cannot blame Adam or Eve for this curse as a result of sin because I willingly participated in it. The hope that I hold onto dearly is that God promises that one day all this ends for the redeemed. God provides a way out of this darkness and destruction through Jesus. Not only that, God says in James 1 that He can even use this pain and suffering to bring Him glory. He can use the seasons of trial to cause us to draw closer to Him and persevere.

 

God promises one day that the presence of sin will be removed for the redeemed. But he also makes promises for us here and now. God says that He will provide rest from the chaos. He promises that we can have true peace and joy when everything going on around us should cause the opposite.  He tells us that we do not have to worry or be overwhelmed with anxiety. He promises that His children have victory over death, that death has no sting. So even though I have officiated funerals for believers, I can rest assured that Jesus conquered death and one day we will meet again.

I hold steadfast to these promises and they encourage me to faithfully bring the message of hope from the Gospel. About bondage, God lays out in His word that we can have victory from the yokes of slavery and that includes the chains of addiction. When I read these truths I see that breaking the chains of addiction doesn’t have to be a mundane daily admittance of “I am an addict”. No, it’s actually the opposite: I am a blood stained child of the Kingdom; I am made new and I am not defined by the wickedness of my past; I press on to know the Lord; I don’t claim to be perfect but I don’t look back and I press on toward the goal to which Christ called me.

If someone you know is struggling with addiction then step in and have hard conversations. Make it as hard as possible for them to stay in addiction and as easy as possible for them to walk into recovery. If you personally are struggling with addiction, reach out and get help. There are some really good programs out there now that can be the catalyst to launch you into the “new creation” that God has called you to so be bold and act. Press on brother or sister and behold your creator. What you behold is what you will become more like.

I close this blog with a verse that has helped me have peace about“Why does addiction kill some and others recover?”.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“[16] So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. [17] For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, [18] as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (ESV)