The people battling pain-pill addiction are represented by every walk of life. I have heard from pastors, missionaries, attorneys, doctors, physical therapists, teachers, stay-at-home moms, nurses, CEOs, actors, musicians, songwriters, accountants, marketing VPs, political advisors, politicians, lobbyists and bankers. You name a profession, I can almost guarantee someone from that field reached out to me.
Everyone seems to ask the same two questions: “How did your husband get clean?” and, “How did you two stay married?” The answer for both is summed up in a song by Matthew West. The song is called, “Only Grace,” and it epitomizes the love of Jesus. I would play this song over and over and over when I was at my lowest point.
“There’s only grace, there’s only love, there’s only mercy and believe me, it’s enough. Your sins are gone without a trace, and there’s nothing left now, there’s only grace.”
My taste in music varies from '60s bebop to '80s genre to the great lyrics and music of Matthew West. Because of my varied music love, I do not often tell people, “Go download this song now,” but when I tell you, “Go download the song, Only Grace' by Matthew West now,” I mean it. This song will comfort and remind you of God’s grace.
Back to the addiction side of our story. Those of you who are addicts — or are married to or love someone who is one — know all too well about the horrible side effects of addiction. The lying. The dancing around the topic. The hiding. The guilt. The anger. The shame. I used to be very naive. In fact, my husband nicknamed me, “Ellie Mae” when we were dating.
I am no longer that wide-eyed, naive girl. Lies pour out of an addict’s mouth so easily. Even though they know they are lying, it is almost as if they believe the lies as soon as they mutter them.
“No, I don’t have any pills.” (There’s a pill bottle with their name next to their wallet and keys).
“No, I didn’t crush and snort those pills!” (There’s white residue on the counter, next to a credit or business card).
“I would never lie to you or hide getting pills from you.” (There is a prescription hanging out of a wallet).
Most addicts believe that their addiction and their lies define them. They don’t. Just as a cancer patient is not defined by their type of cancer, addicts are not defined by their drug of choice. They must, however, get help. This is where tough love and God’s grace enter the picture.
One night, curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor, I found myself weeping, begging God, "Please change my husband. Please change my husband."
As I sobbed, I felt God whispering to me, “Let me worry about him. Let’s focus on changing your heart.”
I wasn’t the addict, though. Why would God be telling me to change my heart? Simple. Because I was consumed with anger and rage. I was plotting instead of praying. I was plotting ways to leave my husband, rather than praying for ways to love him, deeper. My love alone couldn’t save him.
I would love for you to read my open letter to addicts, which was a reminder to everyone. Don’t give up. Addiction does not define you. You can get better. It was only grace that saved us.
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