June 2016 Newsletter – The Trap of Addiction

This is an actual text sent to one of our team…

“Hey, I just needed to talk to you about some stuff. I’d call you but can’t bring myself to spit it out. Something about hearing myself talk about it makes me sick. I’m so lost. I just want to be numb. The only way I know how. It’s been hell this past month and it’s nothing I can escape. I’m so weak. All I want are pills because I know in that moment I won’t feel pain, I won’t feel emotion. To read more, you can download our June Newsletter.

woman in chains

Why Another Addiction Meeting?

In a country where there is AA, CMA, NA, SA angroupmeetingd many other addiction anonymous meetings why don’t we just partner with them? It does make sense. They already have established meetings with many people that we can reach out to. They have well documented “techniques” that do help those who use them. So why would we work to add just another “meeting” to the mix?

As I was praying through Psalm 20 a few weeks ago I came upon verse 7. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”

There is our answer! Yes, there are steps and techniques that can assist those who are finding their way into sobriety. There is nothing inherently wrong with steps or techniques. However, many have fallen prey to the idol of steps. Their “freedom” comes through a written law of “do this step and get this benefit.” Is that actually freedom? You may find yourself sober, but all of the underlying issues that led you to use are still there. You can make amends for all the perceived wrongs you have done, but what about the initial wrong that made using the answer to your problems? It is at this point that the My Hope For Addiction meeting excels in offering a freedom that no step can!

In Romans 7 Paul discusses his struggle to do what is good and right, but finds he does the opposite! He loves the law and rules that he should live by, but constantly finds that his inner man just struggles to do it! What addict, or human, cannot understand this struggle? Yet, Paul confesses that there is only one answer, one Person who can give the freedom and ability to cause his actions to match his affections, Jesus! It is the LORD our God who gives freedom. Not simply freedom to live a sober life, but freedom from all of the guilt, shame, hurt, wounds and chains that cause the intoxication to begin with. We find that using was not the worst of our issues. Our biggest issue was and is who we put our trust in. We placed our trust in drugs, alcohol, relationships, sex and many other idols instead of the Living God. If all we do is change our trust from our addiction to a step or technique, nothing has truly changed.

So why add another group to the pool? So that  those who have struggled with addiction will have a thriving relationship with their Holy God and an eternal hope and future, not simply a sober one.

Candice McDonnell
Co-leader, My Hope for Addiction, Metro

What To Look For……..part 2

Signs of Drug Dependence

what to look for

 Tolerance: Over time, a need for more drugs to feel the same effects. Do they use more drugs now than they used before? Do they use more drugs than other people without showing obvious signs of intoxication?

 Withdrawal: As the effect of the drugs wear off, the person may experience withdrawal symptoms: anxiety or jumpiness; shakiness or trembling; sweating, nausea and vomiting; insomnia; depression; irritability; fatigue or loss of appetite and headaches. Do they use drugs to steady the nerves, stop the shakes in the morning? Drug use to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms is a sign of addiction. In severe cases, withdrawal from drugs can be life-threatening and involve hallucinations, confusion, seizures, fever, and agitation (medical attention may be necessary).

 Loss of Control: Using more drugs than they wanted to, for longer than they intended, or despite telling themselves that they wouldn’t do it this time.

 Desire to Stop, But Can’t: They have a persistent desire to cut down or stop their drug use, but all efforts to stop and stay stopped, have been unsuccessful.

 Neglecting Other Activities: Spending less time on activities that used to be important to them (hanging out with family and friends, exercising or going to the gym, pursuing hobbies or other interests) because of the use of drugs.

 Drugs Take Up Greater Time, Energy and Focus: They spend a lot of time using drugs, thinking about it, or recovering from its effects. They have few, if any, interests, social or community involvements that don’t revolve around the use of drugs.

 Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences: They continue to use drugs even though they know it’s causing problems. The person may realize that their drug use is interfering with ability to do their job, is damaging their marriage, making problems worse, or causing health problems, but they continue to use.

The Child Of An Addict

addict story

My name is Robert Beck. Although I have never used substances I certainly know the affects addiction has on a family.  As a young child I have some good memories with my dad, however many of my memories are not so good. I had blind hope that my dad and our lives would just “get better” someday. The promise my dad made to me, that our family would stay together, not to worry or that things would work themselves out was the only thing I had to hold onto. Our family staying together didn’t happen. In fact, the dysfunction in our family ended with divorced parents when I was a teenager. I wasn’t capable at such a young age of seeing the impact that this addiction had on our family and on my mom. As I grew older I went from naive and hopeful to recognizing the manipulation and understanding what my mom had been dealing with for years. More times than I can count, we experienced frightening situations with my dad. I remember one time my older sister and I had to go to a nearby park to wait out my dad’s drunkenness, until someone could come pick us up. Every few months there would be an ordeal and many times, with an array of police and emergency vehicles at our home.

On my 11th birthday we had a situation with my dad and he ended up in the hospital. I was so disappointed that even on my birthday it ended up being all about my dad. My mom had been reaching out to friends in our church and building relationships for support through this difficult time. I remember thinking that this was a really sad way to remember my birthday. However, our friends, the Tong family, came over with pizza and a birthday cake and spent the rest of the evening with us. They interrupted their own family plans and sacrificed for us. They made a bad day special for me and I will always be grateful for the care and love they showed us.

addict pics 3

Shortly after my parents divorced, there was a family birthday gathering at a local restaurant. My dad arrived and we had a confrontation. I was old enough to process everything that had gone on for years and I exploded in public on my dad. I realized I needed help to deal with the anger and disappointment I’d felt for so long. Again Steve Tong, reached out to me and we began meeting every week. I also had a few other men in my life who helped to point me to the Lord. I needed men in my life. I was craving relationships and love and God put these men in my path. God began to work in my heart and all the bitterness that had taken root in my life slowly began to fade. I learned that I would never have real peace in my life if I didn’t forgive my father. Through a lot of prayer, hard work and the discipleship from these men, God was changing me from the inside out. I was being set free from the sin in my heart towards my dad. The Lord was removing the weight I had been carrying for so long. Two years later after having no contact with my dad, I saw him at the same restaurant for the same birthday celebration. I was anxious about seeing him considering what had occurred the last time. Surprisingly, I felt a compassion for him. I had changed so much and grown in my relationship with Jesus that I now had a desire to love him. I desired for him to be free from his addiction and find true freedom in Christ. The dinner went well and we were able to talk and catch up. We have since met in person a few times and my heart towards him is changed. He has started to reach out to me and we communicate weekly. My dad has been in and out of rehab many times and is currently in a sober living home. I pray for him often. The biggest area of growth in my life is trusting in God and not man. I realize that I couldn’t trust my dad growing up and it caused me to struggle to trust God, but through this ordeal I know who my father is. It is the Lord. He will never leave me, never disappoint me and He always remains the same. He is teaching me to love and forgive my earthly father.

After all this, I would never have thought I would want to have anything to do with addiction. But God had other plans. My mom, Liz Beck, began Redeemed2Repeat a few years ago, a support group for recovering addicts to meet weekly and hear about this Jesus who can set them free from sin and the bondage of addiction. I started going with her mainly to support my mom in what she had become so passionate about. But soon, I too, felt comfortable being with other people who had struggled with addiction. I was on the other side though. My life has been affected by addiction and I can relate to the things people share. It has also helped me to understand my father’s struggles better. One meeting, a man was talking about how he wanted to pick up where he left off with his son. This man had spent some time in prison. I shared with him that restoration takes time and that his son has been hurt by his addiction just as I had with my dad. Repairing relationships doesn’t happen overnight. I really feel like I have something to bring to the meetings, a different experience in addiction. I leave the meetings feeling refreshed and feel as though I belong. I am building friendships with other men in the group and I look forward to going each week.
addict pic

Recently we experienced a very challenging situation in our family. It was an emotional time and I was struggling with how to process what had happened. The same day on my way to work, I past an accident where a motorcyclist was killed. I was so shaken up and emotionally drained. I arrived at work and thankfully was sent home to deal with all that had happened. My mom and I went straight to the Tong’s house for counsel and prayer. We spent three hours with them. I left encouraged, reminded that God ‘s plans are for my good and that He is with me. He loves and cares for me especially in trials. The next morning, on my way to church there was a man wandering the neighborhood. He was clearly on drugs and was unable to find his house. I stopped and had much compassion for him. I wanted to help him find his way home. I did what I could and arrived at church late. I sat next to my mom and shortly after, I received a text from one of the guys from the Redeemed2Repeat meeting. He said “I just felt I should reach out to you to encourage you that whatever your going through, God loves you and cares for you.” This man knew nothing of what happened over the past two days. I was overwhelmed. God used him to remind me of His great love for me in my time of need. What an amazing God!

Today I am changed, different then I was, and growing in my faith. I never thought Redeemed2Repeat would be such an important part of my life. I hope to be able to help children of addicts with my experiences and help them to find hope in Christ. My relationship with my mom is priceless. We have grown close and we both want to share the truth of the gospel.

God has used His work in other people to encourage me and I have been changed in the process.

I’ve been asking myself this question… Why does it matter?

Why does it matterWhat difference does it make if Redeemed2Repeat exists? What impact is really being made? It isn’t enough to simply report that 15-21 people each week are attending the support group meeting in Gilbert. What does that matter?
This is why is It matters… Because Redeemed2Repeat is here, reaching people with the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ, four mothers are now being responsible for a total of nine children. A short time ago these moms were living irresponsibly, bringing harm and damage to their families while being consumed by addiction. One of these moms now has the joy of being grandma to her two grandchildren. There are children who are not in the care of the state because their mothers are now sober and living for the Lord. Three men are no longer absent from their children’s lives (representing seven children and one grandchild). Families are being restored and rebuilt, people have the support they need to face the wreckage they have caused and are learning how to live life without substances. There are many who have stable jobs and are paying taxes and tithes. People are finding their place in their local churches and beginning to serve those churches.

This is why we are here. This is why we walk with people in darkness so they can live in the light, where Christ brings weary hearts and souls hope, assurance, wisdom, strength and courage to remain steadfast and faithful, perseverance to fight to do the hard work necessary to overcome addiction. They are living life to please another, the Lord, and no longer living for themselves.

Two weeks ago, I received a call from a father looking for help for his 40 year old daughter who was struggling with an alcohol addiction. He agreed to bring his daughter the next day to our weekly support group meeting so we could visit and determine the next best steps for her. He hung up the phone filled with hope that he had found a gospel-centered option. The next morning he called me. The night before, the same day we spoke, his daughter passed away. Overdose. This devastated father kept saying, “It was only one more day.” He encouraged me to “Keep doing what you are doing. Don’t quit. People need help.” This is why Redeemed2Repeat exists and is active in the pursuit of broken and hurting people every single day. People are dying and hopeless, depressed and captive. They see no way out of addiction. Such a tragic and sad loss and we didn’t even get to meet her. This is exactly why we press on, seeking out those who need help and freedom from addiction.

Please continue to pray for Redeemed2Repeat as we continue to reach broken people. The game changer is Christ and Christ alone. Freedom in Christ = Freedom from addiction. As sure as Christ rose and overcame death, there is always hope to overcome addiction. We are connecting the desire to change with the power to change!

Thank you for the way you prayerfully support Redeemed2Repeat. Your prayers are our first line of defense. And, thank you for your financial partnership that keeps us on the front lines against the enemy.

Because of Christ,
LIZ BECK
President

What To Look For

Signs of Drug Use

what to look for

Physical Warning signs of drug abuse:

  • Eyes that are bloodshot or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal.
  • Frequent nosebleeds–could be related to snorted drugs (meth or cocaine).
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns.  Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  • Deterioration in personal grooming or physical appearance.
  • Injuries/accidents and person won’t or can’t tell you how they got hurt.
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
  • Shakes, tremors, incoherent or slurred speech, impaired or unstable coordination.
  • Seizures without a history of epilepsy.

Behavioral signs of drug abuse:

  • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school; loss of interest in extracurricular activities, hobbies, sports or exercise; decreased motivation.
  • Complaints from co-workers, supervisors, teachers or classmates.
  • Unusual or unexplained need for money or financial problems; borrowing or stealing; missing money or valuables. Exaggerated stories of need.
  • Silent, withdrawn, engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors.
  • Sudden change in relationships, friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies.
  • Frequently getting into trouble (arguments, fights, accidents, illegal activities).

Psychological warning signs of drug abuse

  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude.
  • Sudden mood changes, irritability, angry outbursts or laughing at nothing.
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity or agitation.
  • Lack of motivation; inability to focus, appearing lethargic or “spaced out.”
  • Appearing fearful, withdrawn, anxious, or paranoid, with no apparent reason.