A little story about freedom

Our sneak peak of summer starts with a Memorial Day at the end of May. Some get a day off work, the kids get a day off school so we pack up the minivan and go to an overcrowded beach or theme park. We fly our flags, march in a parade and salute our veterans and sing let freedom ring.

Less than two months later we have the biggest freedom bash of the year celebrating various sacrifices made to find freedom. More flags will fly, God Bless the USA will permeate the airwaves and when darkness falls, the skies will be ablaze with fireworks bursting in red, white and blue.

Freedom will be celebrated and I wonder what we really know of freedom.

We’ve celebrated from a boat in the ocean watching fireworks set off from a barge further out in the waters.

We watched from lawn chairs of a friends driveway as their neighbors put on a loud exhibition for the neighbors.

Last year we gathered in our son’s soggy front yard in Indianapolis, thankful the rain had stopped and hoping the fireworks were still dry to enjoy their annual street party.

Big or small, the celebration of freedom is always a grand display.


Every month we celebrate birthdays, program completions and individual sobriety. The men and guests are served a feast of steak and shrimp, baked potato, green beans with ice cream or cheesecake for dessert. No one leaves hungry. No one.

What we are celebrating is freedom. It comes one layer at a time, one day at a time.

I wish there was a magic pill, magic cure, or even a singular cause for addiction.

Are they clinically depressed because they drink or drink because they’re depressed?

Which came first, bi-polar or addiction?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. There is only management.

It’s kind of like triage when they come to us. First, we feed their bellies. Second, we let them take a shower and get clean clothes. Third: a clean bed inside an air conditioned building.

Freedom has to start somewhere.

They carry a heavy load working for their freedom. We have expectations and rules and consequences. We also have fun and give heaping portions of grace and mercy.

Any freedom seems hard fought and those fighting for sobriety often bare the scars. It’s a daily battle, one made of small victories that turn into weeks and months and years. But it always starts with now. This moment, this decision.

In the New Testament the apostle Paul talked about freedom and slavery. (Romans 6) He reminds us that we’ve all been held captive by whatever we choose to obey. Ouch. That gets a bit personal. But it’s true. In the lingo of Celebrate Recovery, we all have hurts, habits or hangups. Some of us have become slave to the hurts of our past. We obey the harmful habits and our minds are hung up on unhealthy thoughts.

Where is freedom?

I wish freedom could be found in the fireworks that light up the night sky.

I wish freedom danced in our lives like the piccolo part on the patriotic march The Stars and Stripes Forever.

But freedom is fought for. Daily. Daily we decide to say no to the bonds of slavery and yes to the freedom found in Jesus Christ.

If you’re free prove it!If you’re free prove it!
If you’re not loose the chains on your soul!
Come, freedom!

Prove It – David Crowder


  1. Lesley said:

    I love all the work you do with these men to help them on the road to freedom. It is always inspiring to read about. So true that we all have things that have held us captive and it is not usually an easy victory but a daily choice- definitely something worth celebrating. I loved your comment about The Stars and Stripes forever too- I played it a couple of years ago with my band and I enjoyed listening to it as I typed this reply!

    July 4, 2017
    • Debby Hudson said:

      My dad was a bandsman. His main instrument was trombone and I grew up with him playing Salvation Army Brass band music in our house (as well as playing a brass instrument myself at one time) so I can appreciate a good march, Leslie. Glad you enjoyed it too.

      July 4, 2017
  2. sarahgirl3 said:

    Freedom has to start somewhere. Yes! What amazing courage these men have to pick up and try again!

    July 5, 2017

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