Five years ago when I walked through those doors I was exhausted. Listening to others share about their exhaustion, experiences and lessons learned made me comfortable enough to exhale. Is this an answer to one of my many prayers? And so I kept going. Weeks turned into months; then a year; two years; and now 5 years today.
My first experience with a 12-Step Program was over 20-years ago when an "angel"-friend invited me to join her in celebrating her 5th Birthday of sobriety. I felt honored that she would share this very personal & private part of her journey with me. I distinctly remember thinking to myself as I listened to the shares of mothers, fathers, spouses, adult children, etc. that the individuals who found themselves in one of these rooms were no different than me. S/he just chose another way to cope with life that did more harm than good. I was both baffled & amazed.
These were every day people from all walks of life. Whatever title one would use to divide people, you will find in these rooms. Some were unemployed and/or homeless. Some were actively pursuing recovery in full time sober living programs. Some were stay-at-home moms/dads. Some were working professionals like doctors, nurses, teachers, students, entertainers, athletes, executives, religious leaders, politicians, military soldiers, police officers, firemen. These were not the faces I had come to believe were addicts. I was awakened to the reality of addiction & its impact on our society as a whole.
This is when The Lord began to develop my compassion and taught me how important it is to meet people wherever they are on their journey. It was simple. It's not about me.
It was ironic that I would find myself in a similar room twenty-something years later listening to parents, spouses, adult children and others share their experiences and encouraging others to learn healthy ways of supporting loved ones who are finding their way. We all were waiting for our loved ones to learn healthy ways of living with their physical and mental illnesses. Illnesses like alcoholism and addictions as well as other types of compulsive behaviors most consider "bad habits" like habitual lying & gossiping; compulsive spending; overeating; shoplifting; narcissism; manipulation; anger; sex; pornography; gambling; prescription/over-the-counter drugs; and, codependency (better known as "I hold the power to fix or save you").
On this day 5 years ago, I put into action what I'd heard & learned in those rooms about how to support someone as they find their way. I made the hard decision to stop doing for others what they are capable of doing for themselves. I no longer felt guilty for not helping, especially when s/he caused their situation and was capable of finding a solution without my help. It became easier to say no to requests for help from repeat offenders.
I put myself first & did the right thing for me. My life changed. I was no longer exhausted. I was once again breathing properly. My health improved. My sleep returned. I was focused. I made better choices. I got my joy back!
But more importantly, I received His peace.
Now, when prompted, I share the blessing & lessons with others who find themselves on a similar journey. Today, I thank those "angel"-friends for trusting me with their journey and for supporting me as I learned healthy ways of accepting, forgiving and encouraging the loved ones in my life as they find their way.
God Will ALWAYS Get All The Glory!
"I think recovery from anything is honestly the most badass thing a person can do."
This subject is so close to my heart on so many levels. I created [my Instagram] page for [prison wives] to share our struggles. And this is at the root of so many issues. But nobody seems to want to address or admit it. I don't mind being raw and honest. My marriage isn't perfect.
I didn't lose my husband to prison, I lost him to addiction. I have never personally walked the path of addiction. But, I have lived it as a loved one completely helpless as I watched my loved ones slip away; ultimately coming full circle and facing it head on with the love of my life, my husband.
I was blind to so many things. I know now He wasn't using at first, he was about the money. But the enemy is sly. Don't be fooled--he will take you out. I heard a sermon in church one Sunday about how the gifts of God are not to be coveted. When God delivers you from any kind of addiction, it is not your story to keep. It is a testimony that is to be shared. It is encouragement and healing for others. It's your gift to reach out and share the mercy and grace of God!
Have you ever truly been in the presence of someone that has been saved from the pits of HELL? They are so full of love, compassion, and the eagerness to reach anyone within their grasp! I have watched God transform my husband. I can't tell you the countless nights I spent crying myself to sleep begging God to save my husband, to bring him home and to protect him.
I know God allowed this sentence and saved his life. There is nothing more powerful than a God-fearing, praying wife and/or mother! To have this mighty man of God stand before me completely changed is worth every sleepless, gut retching night.
What the enemy used for evil, to destroy this marriage and family, to take his very life, God is using to His glory!! He was able to sign for 10 years (after fighting the 40 years they kept coming at him with), which he is dedicated to using to reach anybody God sends his way.
Addiction is a beast; pure evil, straight from the pits of hell. BUT GOD is bigger than any addiction, any situation, any circumstance!!
Jennifer Mayo is the proud wife of Chris Mayo who is currently serving time in a Texas Correctional Facility. She is a mother and grandmother who also serves as a surgical scrub. She is the owner of @texas_prison_wife, an Instagram page for prison wives who are waiting for their men. She encourages wives to come together to share their struggles and celebrate their joys while waiting for the release of their spouses.
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Open sharing about the journey of becoming better. "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better."