Judging people for their style of dress, behaviors, and lifestyle choices was a regular pastime for me. A homeless person hugging a street corner, holding a “Hungry. God Bless” cardboard sign provided a cornucopia of criticizing fodder.
If I give him my hard-earned $1.00, he’ll just buy alcohol or drugs with it. I’m not giving my money to an addict.
That attitude changed when I discovered my son’s addiction. How could I, a good Southern Baptist girl, college educated, hard worker, loving mother, devoted wife, have an addicted son? That question was never fully answered, but the non-answer didn’t change the facts of the situation.
I held the secret close. No one knew. Until they did. I worked for a Circuit Judge, member of the praise and worship team at church. My husband was a corporate executive. This couldn’t happen to people like us.
But it did.
Now I was the one being judged. By friends. By family. It was like I carried a cardboard sign, “Mother of an Addict” to proclaim my shame and guilt.
Some lessons are hard learned. Judging came at a steep, painful price. God had my full attention as I read Matthew 7:1-5.
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. …” Matthew 7:1-5 (MSG)
I can judge others—or not. On the journey through addiction, I realized looking beyond outward behaviors to the pain behind them, led me to empathy rather than judgment.
I needed a resource to get me through the turbulence of my son’s addiction. I wanted a Christian worldview but not a textbook approach. I had to know that another mother made the journey and survived. Unable to find what I longed for, I wrote a 90-day devotional based on Jeremiah 30 and 31, Praying for Your Addicted Loved One: 90 in 90. Each day shares a snippet of our family’s journey through addiction and how God brought my son home. The daily readings have a journal page and meditation prompts tied to each day’s theme. The book is an offering of hope to families crushed under the weight of addiction. I know too well the utter helplessness and hopelessness a parent feels loving an addicted child. The desire of my heart is to proffer hope and restoration to other families.
Josh entered treatment on February 18, 2010 and remains clean and sober to this day.
For those interested, you can find Sharron’s book Praying for an Addicted Loved One on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or any bookseller.
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