Our children may, many times, question our actions. Perhaps those tiny fingers have felt our actions when they touched things that could hurt them. Bottoms of our children may have felt our actions when they have run into the street or done something to warrant discipline. We do this because we love our children and want to keep them safe. As the saying goes, "Actions speak louder than words."
You have heard, no doubt, of "tough love" and wondered how parents could really do that. However, when it is best for a child, you can follow through. One day my husband and I put the action of "tough love" into effect. With heavy hearts, tears in our eyes, and in voices trembling with pain, we told our son to get out of our home and our lives. As I closed the gate and he drove away, he called back to me, "Mom, I'm your son! How can you do this to me?" Mom's answer, "Because we love you, that's why."
Our son, Craig, in his early twenties was a cocaine addict. He had tried several times to overcome his addiction, and, thinking we were helping, we stuck by him through numerous treatment programs. Our bank account reflected our efforts. Our health was suffering due to sleepless nights, upset stomachs, stress, etc. We often had times of happiness when we felt Craig was on the road to recovery, and, then, it would start all over again.
We had heard about "tough love" but could not turn our backs on Craig. "That might work for some parents but not us! If we just support him, he'll be able to overcome his problem." How blind we had become! At what point we made the decision to try "tough love," I do not recall; time or date is not important. With love for Craig and a prayer for guidance, we faced Craig with these words, "Son, you have to leave. Get out! We cannot help you anymore. You have to help yourself." His dad said, "Craig, when you are serious about getting well and have been clean for a year, you can come home, but not until then."
As that year went by we turned away when we happened to see him in a store. Really, what we wanted to do was run and hug him, but you could not! Larry and I both worked in law enforcement, and many times we looked at a handcuffed person in the back of a patrol car, hoping it was not Craig. What a hard year! We talked about the phone call we might get and a voice saying, "We've arrested your son because he killed someone in a drug deal," or "Please come to the morgue and identify a body; we think it may be your son." How would that news be given to grandparents? The path our son was traveling would no doubt lead to one end DEATH!
However, with 1 Peter 5:7 our daily thoughts, we found a renewed faith in our Lord, and He held our hands all the way. Christian family members of an addicted person - whether it be drugs, alcohol, gambling, tobacco use, or whatever the addiction - can take the Lord's hand, reach out and grasp it. When you do, the road will not be so bumpy, and you will be surprised how the SONSHINE of His love will brighten your world.
It has been seventeen years since we took Craig back into our lives. In that time, I have written "Our Story," and, if you would like to read it, just let us know. You will cry and rejoice as we have, but, when all is said and done, rejoicing is what we do these days. Craig is now 41, married with four children, and, the best part is that he is a member of the Lord's church - as are his wife and two of their sons. God does answer prayers! -Rt. 2 Box 177, Belington, WV 26250. firstname.lastname@example.org
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