Six months ago entering the hospital with COVID-19 would have been much more precarious than a few weeks ago. We knew little of how to combat this thing, only that it was a deadly killer and we couldn't slow it down. There weren't enough morgues to hold the bodies.
As I lay in ICU, nurses pumped me with Remdesivir, anti-biotics and steroids and even a little Insulin now and then it occurred to me that they had found something that worked, this was at least slowing down if not eliminating the killer. This was healing me and each day, as I have now at home, things have improved. What those dedicated, trained and always searching for answers medical professionals did saved my life.
As any of us who have dealt with the other strangler - addiction do, we stand before you with the cure. What if I had just lost it there in the hospital, ripped off the tubes and just said the hell with it, I am tired of all these restrictions and not sleeping and constant weird thoughts? Where would I be now?
Our cure didn't need FDA approval, it was approved by the one who loves us, who provided a pathway to freedom for us and then let the professionals write out several types of prescriptions for the pain. The pathway has several options but the first option has to connect with God or we just end up shooting ourselves with placebo's with no real effect.
Ask a patient who can't breathe in ICU, "You want a placebo or something that helps you breathe?" Hope I am not insulting your intelligence with that question, but the answer in this world of addiction I know is more often than not, "just give me the placebo that seems like it works" Cunning and baffling that is what we are.
The Lord said "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest". Matt 11:28
That invitation is an invitation to heal, to learn how to breathe again, to learn how to enjoy life instead of constantly swimming upstream. The pathway to recovery begins in God's ICU - all we have to do is come and he has the rest of what we need - just come!
COVID or addiction, neither one is a match for him.
Six months of success, being back on the front line after the initial COVID shutdown, helping folks get through the other pandemic - addiction, things were going very well and lives were changing. Then it hit me, The COVID Strangler struck with a venomous bite on September 25th.
I have been through war, divorce, death of a son and countless other trials and battles that have built up my faith, my courage and my resolve to fight any life insurgent. But this one took me out. So much so that my family had to do an intervention where emergency crews broke into my place and took me to the hospital. It strangled me, clouded my thought process and made my ability to fight like one who has both hands tied behind his back.
I did not even realize for days I was in the ICU but I knew I had 24-7 care. My oxygen level was so low they had to pump in 60% of it. Then someone with good intentions said 'This is like the flu right?"
I will recount other phases and thoughts on this journey with you in coming blogs, but here is the knot that ties the COVID, addiction and severe hardship of life together - it attacks your immune system, it strikes where it can destroy our ability to think, function properly and act on our own.
Think of this, we say in the Steps, we are powerless, Jesus says without my power you are virtually helpless, and the 35 year old, 98 Lb. heroin addict has worn themselves down so far that there is no immune system left to fight anything. We have become asphyxiated by the strangler, whichever one that is. We need oxygen from a healer.
What brought me through in addition to the incredible care of The Gwinnett Northside Hospital, was thinking about how David, the guy who had it all together, retreated to a cave, where his parents came and did an intervention, his gang of misfits encouraged him through and he realized how many of his people loved him, supported him and were now there for him in his time of need.
God was, but they were certainly there too, and you were there with me. And I thought about you in ICU for 7 days, I felt the love and I felt the strangler have to let go because we were not done fighting those battles that still have to be won together.
Love you guys and thank you for the prayers, calls, texts, posts, cards and love - we will see you very soon!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.