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.
I will contribute more of my story as Deb writes the blog, but for now I just say There is Hope because of a loving God.