There is no way to sugar coat it, if you choose to be involved with any addiction related organization, you better be ready for the battle. We should stand up and cheer for the founders, the leaders, the ones who sacrifice the "good life" to choose to serve in this arena. Every day they face death and destructive behavior with the heart of a lion!
Bravo I say to you, and as for me, the good Lord prepared me as a Marine in Viet Nam to deal with the battle. Doesn't mean we always win, just means we won't run from it. Doesn't mean we enjoy watching people relapse, or not care to listen for a way to change their lives, it just means that disappointment, young men and women falling down, some dying, that part takes the attitude of never giving up on people, never wavering though at times it breaks your heart.
Wednesday night one of the men Pastor Darryl was working with at Life Church International found a man wandering aimlessly and brought him to our Wednesday night meeting. He slept most of the meeting, you could tell he was in distress. Darryl asked me to speak to him after the meeting and he was responsive but he was forlorn.
His girlfriend had just hung herself and died. They were using heroin, they had an argument, he left, only to find out later what had happened. After several moments of conversation, he finally let it out crying in the pain of maybe it was his fault, and in the reality that she was gone. Fortunately, his Dad was on his way to pick him up and we may never know what happens to this young man, but it only emphasizes that The Struggle Is Real!
When I ask people to volunteer to help at ATB I almost feel like I should read a disclaimer that they should not sign up for the battle unless they realize there will be some good, and when it is good, it is great and almost miraculous. And, there will be some bad, and this is the part where you use tough love, but you never give up on folks. And, then the ugly hits and you must be ready to stomach the disappointment and give it up to the God who is with you in every battle. It is, as I learned in war, next man up.
Choose any Psalm and you will see we aren't the only ones in a battle, and we aren't the only ones who cry out in desperation often to the Lord just to make it to another day. And, those of us who have chosen this battle, who have already gone through it ourselves, truly know that the only way to cope with this, to be ready for the battle is in the wonderful words of AA's promises.
God will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves! That supplies our power to go on, and we will not run from a battle where God is behind us, beside us and goes before us.
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.