Like the wolf in the picture, I was isolated in the wilderness, crying out for help.
The disease of addiction that lived inside of me, encouraged me to push away the
people that I love, especially my family members. Getting the addict isolated and
alone is a primary goal of the disease, because then there is no one for the addict to cry
out to when the inevitable crisis strikes.
Addicts feel loneliness and desperation that is super charged in its intensity.
I believe that many addicts die of loneliness and a broken spirit devoid of hope.
There was a time while I was homeless and living outside on the streets of Denver,
Colorado, when I could feel the loneliness in my bones, like a dull aching pain that never
went away. This loneliness was with me when I closed my eyes to sleep, and it was
waiting for me at every sunrise.
A miracle happened this past weekend. There are four brothers in our family and
All four of us brothers met up in the North Woods of Wisconsin. This was the first time in 30
years that just the four of us got together. For 28 years, I had been a raving lunatic carried
away by my addiction and there was only one brother who had the courage or the desire to help
me survive those storms. I am very grateful for him.
I was remembering my brothers as young men in their twenties and thirties, but here we
were, all of us in our early fifties. The young men had grown up and were full of
knowledge, wisdom and grace. They welcomed me back into the fold like the prodigal
son that I am.
We talked for hours as we sat around the kitchen table, reminding each other of
memories past, laughing and feeling grateful to be together after such a long time.
We were talking about a book titled, “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and discussing
How multi-tasking is actually impossible and ineffective.
When I sensed a lull in the conversation, I spoke up, called each one of them by
name and I said, “I Love You”. I thanked them for their support over the painful years
of my addiction. I immediately sensed a window in their hearts opening up, and they each
proceeded to tell me how much respect and admiration they had for me, to have survived
the hell of addiction and to have achieved 18 years free of chemicals.
They began to share tough times they had in their past lives, and they even shared
some emotions. They told me that they loved me, and I felt years of bitterness and resentment
melt away, One brother admitted that he did nothing to help me and he described how he
had just buried his head in the sand and pretended my addiction did not exist..
The other brother said that he was terrified that I was going to die and he felt powerless to do
anything for me. Receiving their perspectives helped me to understand what they went through
and why they kept their distance.
Most of this was my fault. After all, I had pushed them away while holding tightly onto
my addiction and running away to Colorado and other places. They saw me, at a distance,
going to 13 treatment centers and they heard that I had spent time in several county jails
and that I was homeless for one year. I definitely hurt them in my using days by my
reckless behavior and I believe what I went through scared them.
The five near-death experiences I had shocked them and they must have felt powerless
as I spun out of control.
Jesus brought us back together for good reasons, and now we have a window in
time to be the brothers that He wants us to be. The brothers are back in town!
Never give up hope in your relationships. God does His healing in His time, not ours.
Miracles can and do happen in the lives of addicts every day. Thank God!