Relapse and Redemption


You’ve heard deaths from drug overdose are rising at alarming rates. These are our statistics. This is our county.

The sad reality of recovery is that even those who’ve experienced a year or more of sobriety relapse and sometimes, it’s fatal.

*Scott finished the program and left on his own. He came back earlier this year when a good friend of his, another graduate, was beaten to death in an alley known for drug deals and use.

*Roger came back for his third time. He had done well. He’d kept the same job over a year. But he’d left the principles of recovery and, as so many do, was doing it on his own. Then he and his girlfriend overdosed. He was resuscitated with Narcon but she couldn’t be revived.

Last year we noticed the rise in fatal overdoses from men who’d been in our program. The recovery community is close and word spreads quickly about relapses and ODs.

As the year came to a close we printed photos of those lost to addiction and put it on the Christmas tree in our chapel. It was a time of deep sorrow looking at the faces of men, some barely 30, lost to what many don’t see as a disease.

Earlier this year we attended Mike’s funeral. He was several years in recovery. Mike counted being part of his grandchildren’s life as one of his greatest gifts of recovery. He was in his late 50’s at the time of his death, a death contributed to from what is commonly referred to as wet brain. It’s a type of dementia caused by long-term alcoholism. The medical name is Wernicke-Korsakoff.

Whether it’s long-term or immediate death from substance abuse, friends, and family are left to mourn their loss.

Pat is 3rd from left

Alex in back

There’s a David Crowder song that makes me think of Pat. And it’s hard to get Alex’s dimples out of my mind. Some days I forget we won’t see them again. But the sting of death returns and my smile turns sour. Too young. Too soon. Too sad.

It’s tempting to think about the maybes and what ifs. If we’d kept him on restriction or maybe we missed something.

We could never continue in this ministry if we allowed those false thoughts to take space in our minds. Each person is responsible for their own recovery.

Good love has boundaries. But it’s grace is without limits. Perfect love, God’s love,

Perfect love, God’s love, is beyond our understanding. It’s a love that never fails.

“I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Romans 8:38-30 the Message

6 Comments

  1. Linda Stoll said:

    Ah … this is a great grief, a tremendous sorrow, Debby

    October 13, 2017
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      It is, Linda. It’s helpful when we grieve together. Having the photos on the tree at the end of the year was beneficial in that process.

      October 13, 2017
      Reply
  2. Annie Rim said:

    Oh Debby, I’m sure it’s always so hard to hear those stories. And in the mist of hope and grace, grief is all the more necessary, right? Thankful for the hope of a new life, without fear.

    October 13, 2017
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Long before the increase in fatal OD’s I recognized how unrecognized and unresolved grief is buried deep in addiction. It was through beginning to recognize my personal grief that helped me see theirs. As you said, Annie, grief is necessary.

      October 13, 2017
      Reply
  3. Tara said:

    In times of loss, I often find myself clinging to these words from the book of Romans.

    October 14, 2017
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      One of my favorite passages too, Tara. Such hope in those words.

      October 16, 2017
      Reply

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