I live in a small rural area in Ohio where the “opioid epidemic” is out of control. I don’t mean it’s a nuisance, or a pain in the side to taxpayers – but, it is of course. What I really mean is it completely out of control. There are families that simply cannot put it down and see the beautiful and tender faces of their children in terrible distress. Parents aren’t even trying to get their children back from children services anymore. In with the opioids, out with the children. The battle isn’t even fought. Parents are waving the white flag and walking away childless without fighting the good fight.
I spent most of my adult life trying to show some grace to those battling addiction. I love and honor the person each are meant to be – free of the addiction. No addict wakes up each day wanting to chase the high or bottle. Addiction is how they have grown accustomed to coping with their own trauma. It probably feels more like the addiction is chasing them.
I have loved many addicts in my lifetime of 40 years. There isn’t anything someone can say to change my mind about that kind of love. It’s raw, painful, innocent, full of grace and absolutely, at times, mostly enabling. It’s a love that believes that love does conquer all. I’ve prayed thousands of hours for their changes, their health and their abilities to overcome the struggle of addiction.
I’ll never forget when my uncle passed away in his early 30’s. With his last breath came the realization that no amount of love can save someone. And it wasn’t until later in life, that I struggled with accepting I cannot change an addict. But, it doesn’t stop me from wishing that ten little fingers and ten little toes would stop a parent in their tracks, to take inventory, to make changes and to give those sweet children the best chance this tough world has to offer.