I am not a psychologist, therapist or grief counselor. I have no professional training in these areas, save a few undergrad courses in psych and my time spent on the couch in various counseling offices as a patient. Add in my recovery time, and I feel as though I have a decent idea of what the road looks and feels like, and not much tosses my cart in the air. But God will choose what and when to use events that happen around me to pull out things for me to examine and, in some cases re-examine things in my own life and recovery.

Our family just learned of an extended member passing as a result of addiction. It was a tragic reminder of the tenacious nature of this process, reaching toward recovery, but the substance of choice never far off. With each life lost, there are the ripples outward, into the community of that person, their family and friends, those they leave behind. This is where God has me this morning.

I spent many years as the child and adult child of an addict, and eventually lost my mother to addiction, and the ripples outward have been a bit sub-atomic. What I mean by that, is when she initially passed, I didn’t really know what I felt, besides irritation at the fact that she had been stubborn yet again and made poor choices. I directed my anger toward her and then felt sorry for myself that I didn’t get to have a mom like other people. We dispersed her ashes months later and I tried to just forget about it unless I had to specifically address it in step work.

But God has a way of continuing to move in us as we are willing, and ready to take next steps. He continued to reveal to me that her behaviors stemmed from being so broken and alone, that she didn’t understand how to reach out, and tried to just cover the pain, as most addicts do, including myself (bring on the chocolate!). No one around her knew how to help her, and the medical professionals involved enabled her drug-seeking behaviors, of that I am certain.

My mother had a component of personal responsibility, most assuredly, but with the cards stacked against her, I need to extend grace, and as an adult in recovery, God gives me the tools and the love to do just that. However, this has been a long, 6-year road, marked by a lot of grief, anger, apathy and outright pain. I also have had the benefit of a marvelous recovery program and people in my corner to love me and push me when needed to see the healing that could be possible.

My mind is drawn back to the news of this most recent passing, and those that are feeling that fresh anger and pain. The recovery steps and principles offer a way to eventual peace, love, grace and eventually forgiveness. But everything in its time.

Ps 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Love and hugs to you all.