Ours is a story of addiction, recovery, and faith. If you’re looking for encouragement and compassion, our hope is that you find a little bit here. For the first 15 years of our marriage, Dave battled with migraine headaches and addiction to pain meds. In 2019, Dave celebrates 12 years of sobriety. We tell our story because so many people struggle with addiction and all its side effects in silence and shame. We want them to know there is hope for recovery and restoration.
My struggle with addiction started with headaches.
I had my first migraine headache when I was about 20 years old. The pain was awful… nausea, blinding pain behind the left eye. I wondered if I had a tumor or an aneurism. They would hit at the most inopportune times and out of the blue. Everything would need to stop while I lay in a dark room.
Eventually I visited a doctor. It was a relief to find that the pain had a name: migraine. It was even more of a relief to find that I could take something to help. While Excedrin and Advil would not work nearly as well as the commercials claimed, these new pills did the trick: Vicodin, Lortab and eventually Ultram, all held the pain at bay and made me feel great.
The problems came over the next several years as I came to depend on these pills to deal with other pain and any difficulty in life. I felt in complete control with just a pill. I could feel great no matter what the circumstances of life.
Of course, the irony is that I soon became completely out of control.
What once removed pain brought infinitely more pain: Lies to almost everyone around me. Unnecessary financial stress. Job loss. Loss of ministry. Loss of respect. Loss of the innocent joy of my children. Loss of direction.
However, I was not lost to God. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (the Bible, Romans 5:8) At my furthest from who I should have been, He loved me as much as at my best. I don’t understand it and I don’t deserve it.
It does not seem enough to say to anyone who is struggling with addiction, “there is Hope.” But there is!
I am forgiven and loved. My wife (the author of this blog) is still with me. My children are still here and I have been blessed with the opportunity to actually see God use my failure to help people in addiction and crisis.
There is Hope because of a loving God.
Deb’s a content writer and editor by trade, and after many years away from full-time ministry, Dave’s been a pastor since 2014. We are parents to four fantastic youths, two impossible cats, a big dog and just a few years ago bought our first home.
(Photo Credits: All historic photos on this blog are from the Library of Congress Farm Security Administration Collection’s public archives, and are credited individually. All other photographs are my own. )