This weekend, Families in Recovery Ministries is sponsoring a drive- through event called 2400 Flags.
If nothing changes, we are predicted to lose 2400 lives to overdose in our state of North Carolina- in 2020 alone. The numbers have been rising. Friday evening, a group of us worked in the drizzling rain to put 2400 purple flags on the lawn of my church. We fought ant piles, mud and rocky ground- but we did it.
2,400 lives lost. Some of us have lost friends, even children. We want to change things, to get the numbers going down, but here’s the problem.
WE can’t do it. If I have a loved one in active addiction- I cannot change things, THEY can. Each one of those flags represent someone who couldn’t find the strength to do it. That grieves my heart!
When a person is in active addiction, they have one thing on their mind- when and where that next fix is coming from. They will do just about anything to get it. If you try to stand in the way and prevent them from doing it, you will lose. They have to make the choice themselves.
Here’s the problem- and its a hard, but real one- they might not make the right choice. I have seen people choose to live on the street, rather than stop using. When you love someone who is addicted to any kind of substance, you are almost forced to watch them fail. I hate it. Its awful!
We never want to see someone die. We never want to watch as they choose the drug over their family. We want to see them live. BUT- they have to want to live! You cannot make them ! They are people too, with the same rights as you and I. They have the right to choose how they live. And yes, sometimes they die…We can’t live for them.
Here’s what we CAN do. We can help them find the strength to do it. We can offer hope and strength , over and over, until they want to live. What does that look like? Support when they make good choices. Support groups, be someone they can call, let them know they are loved just as they are. Be the hands and feet of Jesus.
If you know someone who is NOT YET in recovery, please don’t judge them. Don’t try to force them into submission. It will make things so much worse in the end. Help them find the strength to want to live.
I know a young man who very wisely said, “Nothing will work until they are ready. I would just let them know, when you’re ready, I’m here!”
He knows the pain of not being ready….
Do you? Let someone help you find the strength to live, to change. This is something we CAN do for you.
When you’re ready….we are here.