How To Find Hope After Addiction
Addiction reaches every aspect of a person’s life – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It affects family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. No one is left untouched by this disease. Addiction Campuses’ focus in the month of April, turns to a four-part series with an esteemed author and colleague, Dr. Jason Brooks, who will share insight on faith-based rehab, and focus on hope, forgiveness, freedom, and acceptance.
Recognized as one of the most prominent emerging voices in personal and organizational transformation, Dr. Jason Brooks is also likely to be one of the most authentic, transparent and “real”. Viewed by many as the “youth pastor of personal growth and success”, his life mission of “bringing hope, healing, and inspiration to everyone he meets and leading on the journey for change, growth, and success” provides the foundation and focus where his purpose and passion are fully unleashed.
As a bestselling author, inspirational speaker, and Chief People Officer of Addiction Campuses, Dr. Jason brings a heart for helping others to achieve their greatest potential and success…one step at a time.
The first step…Hope revealed.
“I don’t even know where to go from here”, Frank said. “There’s been so much pain…so much I’ve done wrong. I’ve hurt my wife. So many nights of her wondering where I was…if I was dead or alive. She doesn’t trust me anymore and our marriage is basically over. I’ve hurt my kids. They’ve seen their dad drunk and high yelling at them, saying things that a dad should never say to their children. I’ve hurt my parents. I have nothing to do with them anymore because I know I’ve disappointed them and can’t even face the hurt in their eyes for the life I’ve thrown away. I’ve hurt my friends. I’ve kept this life hidden from them and not reached out for help. I’ve shut them out and created a wall in my life. I’ve hurt my boss and co-workers. They’ve counted on me and I’ve let them down. We’ve lost deals because I’ve missed work, not carried my share, or come in hung-over and not even able to function. Basically, all the people I have cared the most about in my life I’ve blocked out…built a wall to keep the addiction in my life hidden in the dark. I don’t even see a way. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel for me.”
This story of Frank could be the story of almost every client I’ve seen who has struggled with addiction. As a psychologist, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work with countless folks who are held captive to the chains of various forms of addiction. Without fail…at the point where change comes….they have a sense that all hope is gone, there is no way forward for them, and everyone and everyone they love is about to be gone.
Christian or non-Christian, it doesn’t matter. We all need hope. We all long for a sense of optimism for tomorrow. The devastating part of addiction is that hope is replaced with alcohol, heroin, meth, prescription pain meds, or whatever is the drug of choice. But there is a better way…a way to ultimate hope. Christian treatment is about finding hope, experiencing forgiveness of yourself and others, embracing freedom and acceptance of the past, and stepping into a new life and a new future. Everyone is welcome, just like everyone is welcome to God.
I could see and hear the pain in Frank’s voice as he shared through tears of regret about the pain he had caused and the relationships he’s destroyed from his addictive choices and behavior. “Wow, Frank. There’s a lot of hurt with some folks you care for a lot. What would it be like for you if you could find the hope you’ve been looking for?”
“It would be more than I could ever hope for…but I just don’t believe its possible,” Frank said.
“I know you shared with me before that you grew up in a Christian home, right?” I said.
“Yes, but I kinda turned away from God when I started using,” Frank said. “I guess I just figure that with everything I’ve done, I’m pretty much alone now.”
“So many people are looking for hope today. They think they find it in a bottle or a bong, in an affair, in money, in things, in idols of all kinds. But, ultimately, hope is found in God. Psalm 39:7 says ‘But now, Lord, where do I put my hope? My hope is in You.’”
I continued. “More than anything, Frank, God wants you to put your hope in Him. He is just waiting for you to take that first step back and He will come the rest of the way. He’s waiting for you to stop running to the drugs and alcohol to try to find peace…peace that will never come.”
“But, there’s so much,” Frank said with tears in his eyes. “So much I’ve done and haven’t done. I’ve been a horrible husband…a terrible father…How can I ever make up for all that.”
“You don’t have to make up for anything Frank,” I said. “God doesn’t want your perfect life, He just wants you. John 3:17 says ‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him’. Jesus did not come to condemn or to place blame…but to bring hope and freedom. Because of this, we’re not going to dwell on what you did, but on the promise of forgiveness God has given through Jesus and how you can take that promise into your life.”
Romans 5:2-5 says, ‘Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us’. I know the choices you’ve made in your life have caused you pain. There’s consequences to our actions…both good and bad. But this scripture promises that God can bring beauty from the ashes and build endurance, character, and hope.”
“But, why did this happen?” Frank asked. “What did I do wrong?”
“Frank, as much as I could guess, that’s really a question between you and God. I believe with all my heart as you take the next steps, He will reveal those things to you through our time together, through prayer, through scripture, and through the wisdom of others in your life. Our natural human tendency is to try to figure out the ‘why’. For now, instead of asking ‘why’, I want you to focus on ‘who’. Do you believe that God loves you, regardless of what you’ve done? Do you believe through Jesus you can find forgiveness? Do you believe God wants you to live a full life? Do you believe God stands ready to forgive you, regardless of what you’ve done? It’s these first questions that you settle with God that allows you to find hope for today, hope for the future, and begin the process of restoring those relationships in your life that have been torn apart by your addiction. So, ultimately Frank, the choice is yours. What are you going to do with Jesus? Are you going to accept the hope he offers freely or stay a prisoner to a world of your own making apart from the love that God brings….”
With tears in his eyes, Frank said. “I’m tired of running. I’m tired of hiding. I’m ready for a change…a radical change to turn from my prison and accept the hope that’s right in front of me. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m willing to consider the possibility that someone who loves me holds the future.”
“That’s the first step Frank,” I said. “Can we pray together?”
“Yea…I’d like that.”
Dr. Jason is an expert in leading life change. As a gifted speaker and life success coach, he is available to speak at your next conference event and would love to connect with you on social media on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Dr. Jason can be contacted through the public relations team at Addiction Campuses.