Saturday, August 23, 2008

Score another one for rehab--and the power of prayer

We’ve had one member of our immediate family whose addiction has been in full force for the past several months. The situation had become increasingly serious, and it’s been just a matter of time until someone—maybe one of my grandchildren or a stranger in a passing car—would be injured, or worse, as our loved one drove while under the influence.

It’s been difficult to address from a position of strength, since the key person in his life has appeared to be in denial about the depth of the problem.

From other choices he’s been making, we could tell he sincerely wanted to live life differently, but it’s also obvious he doesn’t have all the necessary tools. So we’ve prayed for the right time and the right decisions. And today, the miracle happened.

He’d reached his own bottom and cried out for help, and God put the church’s new pastors and my daughter-in-law (currently in recovery) in just the right place at just the right time. Doors opened and tonight he’s in a detox facility where he’ll stay through the weekend, before going into the Salvation Army’s six-month rehab program next week.

He started using, and probably drinking, at a young age, and needs help to know how to live sober and clean. I’m grateful that this program is available to him and while it won’t be easy for the next six months, pray that everyone will understand the value as we see the changes God will bring about in his life.

That makes three family members of my immediate family engaged in active recovery at the same time. Wow.

Tonight, life seems good.

What an inspiration!

By now, you’ve probably heard about 21-year-old Henry Cejudo, who won a gold medal at the Olympics this week in freestyle wrestling.

He holds many distinctions—among them, he’s the youngest to ever win gold. But if you haven’t heard the rest of his story, check it out. He’s the son of illegal immigrants, raised most of his life by his mom after his dad bounced around in the jail system, no doubt a result of his substance abuse problems.

Henry spent his high school years in my new hometown, Phoenix. And despite the hardships and all he had going against him, Henry persevered, won two Arizona state titles at the high school level, and went on to capture his dream.

He’s a real inspiration to me, and certainly can be an inspiration to kids whose families have endured pain and suffering from a loved one’s substance abuse problem.

Thanks, Henry, we hope to cheer for you as you achieve even more in the future.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lower drinking age—an academic issue?

There’s just no easy answer to the binge drinking problem on most college campuses today. And now, the presidents of 100 major colleges and universities are urging a “discussion” of lowering the legal drinking age from 21 to 18.

They seem to think the current age limit exacerbates the problem by pushing the drinking “underground” and making it more dangerous. But some are accusing these officials of wanting to shirk their responsibility to enforce the laws.

Then there’s the problem of a young person’s brain not being fully developed until 25. Whether the legal age is 21 or 18, the risk-taking behavior will be part of the equation.

So what do you think? Would lowering the drinking age alleviate the binge drinking on college and university campuses?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My first exposure to huffing

A recent episode of the “Intervention” series on A&E highlighted a young woman who was addicted to huffing. Since we’re accustomed to seeing needles, powder and pipes or massive numbers of bottles on this program, it was strange to see her affinity for everyday aerosol cans.

Although her drug of choice was different than those I’m more familiar with, the resulting chaos in her life looked just the same. As her loved ones watched her life waste away before their eyes, they experienced the same pain as does the family of an alcoholic or meth addict.

They felt there wasn’t much time left, and they had to take action if she were going to stay alive. It’s the way most families feel when a loved one’s addiction to alcohol or illicit drugs has deepened and the addict’s life has become a train wreck.

It was truly a case of “life or death.” Thankfully, we saw this young woman move from a position that was seriously resistant to going into treatment, to a patient who was learning and growing, more committed to the next steps in her recovery.

It gives me hope when I see the transformation that can occur. I trust you’re encouraged by these programs too.