Category Archives: Addiction/Recovery

And Now For Something Completely Different

This is going to be an outlier from my usual blog posts. I definitely don’t have the majority view, and it’s definitely going to be a Christian view.

Recently, a little rural farming community skyrocketed into local news. It wasn’t for the good they do for the homeless or the poor. It wasn’t because of the latest sports or movie star that used to live there. It was because of a scandal involving a teacher and alcohol on school property.

I could respond as Kittie, the awkward recovering ex-teen nerd. I could decry the system that creates easy targets for bullies through rewarding students and teachers alike based on schmoozing and popularity and ignoring (perhaps even ridiculing) those who have strong intellectual and technical skills and those who have artistic or musical talent and those whose sole talents are compassion and mercy.

I could respond as Kittie, the outraged community member. How dare they hire someone so dysfunctional? How dare they wait so long to notify the parents? Why should the administration be trusted to deal with this openly instead of turning a blind eye and sweeping this under the rug?

Instead, I am going to respond as Kittie, the very weary and tired working Christian mom. I am going to share exactly (well, almost exactly) what I have shared with my children about this situation.

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I know this is all very hard for you to understand. I’m going to try to explain it for you. Then I want you to go away and think about it at your own speed and at whatever time God tells you to. Our God is not the Author of confusion, but in working all things to our good, He helps us bring order to the chaos.

I know this teacher made some unwise decisions.  The good thing is he was caught before any other students or faculty were harmed. I can’t tell you why he made the unwise decisions he did; maybe there’s some dark part of his past he can’t talk about or process, or maybe he has a family member who needs more help than he can give.

The reality is we all make unwise choices in this dark world. We are all broken, the world is broken, and sometimes, we make broken choices that break us and our world even more. Some people never get caught in this life by their unwise choices; they either never know their choices are unwise, or they get to learn from their unwise choices without anyone they know ever knowing any better. Others get caught in the consequences of their choices. Unfortunately, some have to deal with very real and public results from the consequences of their choices.

Regardless of the choices of others, this teacher included, we need to work together as a community. We cannot hide unwise choices in the darkness and pretend that they don’t happen. Instead, we need to snuff out the dark light of gossip, slander, and judgment, even when they masquerade as prayer request or small talk required by social rules. We need to squelch the noise of public attention and interviews to focus on the good we do as a community without ignoring the good we fail to do and still need to.

Then, we need to choose to serve the Light of Truth. We need to stop hiding behind our denominational pews and choose to live a life of authentically following Christ. This includes disciplining our tongues to avoid the quagmires of gossip, slander, and judgment and to ardently and passionately seek prayer.

In this case, I think the following things are probably pretty wise, reasonable prayers that our Heavenly Father would find acceptable:

  • That the Father’s Will be done in this teacher’s life
  • That the teacher’s family is strong in the Father and strongly supported by the community
  • That this teacher’s co-workers hold no shame or guilt for unintentionally missing any warning signs and that they would choose to bring good from this situation by learing new skills and ideas to be applied to the school and community at large
  • That all the leaders of spiritual homes in the community begin to work together to share resources and contacts, not only for this issue, but for all the issues facing this community
  • That all community members remember all the addicts in their social networks, both those addicts not yet ready to begin to heal and those addicts struggling for recovery each and every day of their lives
  • That the community shrugs off gossip, slander, judgment, bickering, and self-absorption; puts on the agape love of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and prayerfully notices the broken and hurting around them, not to shoot the wounded in the foot but to circle the wagons and strengthen the hurting and broken
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Keeping It Real

I’m a little overdue for a post. I’ve had one of those lives lately… it’s a whirlwind within a whirlpool (or whirlpool within a whirlwind). I’ve been cleaning out the attic and struggling to stay healthy and trying to get three kids back in a school groove and dealing with the second child having food issues (intolerance not allergy… both a blessing and a curse… blessing in that an Epi-pen is not required… curse in that there’s no proof and all the burden rests on my subjective efforts to be consistent and long-term). My to-do list gets longer each day.

As a result, I find my vocabulary has taken a nose dive. Well, some would call it a nose dive. My euphemisms are getting a little less unicorns and sparkles and cotton candy. “Double dumb donkey butt” is replaced with “j@ck @55 balls,” things start to have the adjective “fricken” every few words, and you catch my drift before I slide into an R or NC-17 rating.

On one hand, I try to make it my heart’s desire to lead a quiet life, work with my hands, and be at peace with all men. I wish to offend no one, and in general, I want cosmic contentment and world peace.

And then there are those days where one tempest after another hits, full of sound and fury and chaos. My hands scream in pain and refuse to take dictation from my mind of the stories and thoughts I want to share, and since I’m racked with pain and without a smart phone and speech-to-text apps, I start five or six blog posts mentally that never make it to the ether sphere. Frustration looms larger than life. And the “be at peace with all men”… well, their chromosomes don’t match, making them incapable of logical thought. Therefore, I shall push the red button, making it all dissolve in a mushroom cloud.

Well, I digress with much melodrama…

In what seems to be a totally unrelated thought (and yet, by the time I’m done, you’ll see how it’s connected…in my mind, at least), I think of all my friends I know in recovery–alcoholics, addicts, etc. I think about all the things I’ve learned from them:

FINE doesn’t mean everything’s all right. Fouled up, insecure, neurotic, emotional… The word “Fine” is the weapon of choice to shut down all communication. People who are FINE usually aren’t; some stressor has pushed them to a breaking point they don’t want to share. The clueless hear the word and think all’s well with the world. Your more sophisticated read the tone and head for the hills.

Accountability means everything. You need two or three people who know you well enough to “call bullsh1+” when you’re using your FINE shield. Without these people, you will eventually believe your own lies. You will lie in a figurative corner, bleeding emotionally just yards from help simply because you’ve used the fetal position to cover a mortal wound that you insist is a superficial nick and you won’t let anyone take a peek. (All right, that might border on melodrama…)

HALT when you need to. Sometimes, when everything’s crashing, we forget to take care of ourselves. We are hungry for physical food or for emotional intimacy or for a spiritual pick-me-up. We are angry because even though we can’t control everything, we continue to try because things simply aren’t going our way. We are lonely, either because we can’t connect to others or our connections of choice aren’t available. We are tired–tired of the storms of life; sick of all the demands on our time, talent, and treasure; weary of the world and our seeming ineptitude at processing all the activity around us. In those moments, stop. Cease. Desist. Halt. Take a break to do some kind of self care. See a movie, get a coffee, listen to a favorite song, phone a friend; do whatever it is you need within reason and morality to give yourself a positive pause.

There is safety in numbers. On every nature show I’ve ever seen with predators and prey, unless the situation is desperate, the predators always pick the stray animal away from the group. It doesn’t matter if it’s a young animal wandering off to explore the world or a sick or old animal that can’t keep up. The predators pick the weakest link to pick off. Find groups with similar interests, and hang out. Meet new people. (Well, the exception may be lemmings. But again, I digress…)

And so, in the interest of keeping it real, I think I’ve just given myself my answer. I need a slower lifestyle for a season (short, I hope). I need some time to process all the change that came into my life with little notice while I was totally unprepared. I will go hang with the flock to ensure I have sufficient numbers to sustain me and protect me from the skirmishes for a brief respite.

I will write more, but first I will get a good speech-to-text app (yes, I’m already looking at the one named for the mythical fire-breathing, wing-flapping creature… ) so my hands can rest a little at the end of the day while I let my mind soar to other realms and share thoughts and feelings from a new perspective in fresh language.

But for now, I will go and try to dream of unicorns and sparkles and cotton candy… And I hope you ponder the necessity of keeping it real…