This was shared at our ARP/FSG training conference in October, 2017
Hello, my name is Jason. I am a family member of someone that suffered from an addiction. I was asked to give a brief message about how I came to the group and how it has impacted my life. With that in mind I will start at the beginning.
In July of 2012 I filed for divorce from my wife. She developed a prescription drug habit after surgery. When I filed for the divorce I had no clue the Healing through Christ Program existed. No one had ever talked about it. So I thought I was using “tough love” to try and force my wife into recovery. In September of 2012 the divorce was final. I was heartbroken. I thought my wife didn’t love me enough to get help. I thought I didn’t do enough to get her the help she needed.
In July of 2013 she was found dead in her bed by her niece from a drug overdose. I feel into a deep depression. I thought about ending my life for a time because I hadn’t done enough, because I couldn’t save her. After her funeral I left the church. All anyone at the funeral could say was “She finally beat her addiction.” I went inactive. I didn’t want to have anything to do with the church. I thought there could have been more done to save my wife and the church was just as much to blame as I was.
Through my inactivity I was emailed regularly by a member of the church. He had gone to the branch where my wife and I attended. He was polite and didn’t push. But I was angry and didn’t want to have anything to do with the church or its members.
December of 2015 I was very depressed. I was lost. I was unhappy and searching for something to make me feel happy again. I was praying for help but not really believing I would get it. In late December or early January 2016 this Brother reached out again via email. He asked me to go to breakfast. He just wanted to catch up and talk. Not about church or why I wasn’t attending. I said yes. Halfway through the breakfast I was in tears and telling him everything. I told him about my grief, my anger with the church, my guilt over my wife’s death. He listened to it all. He didn’t judge me. What he did do changed my life.
He told me there was a program called Healing through Christ. He told me that it was for family members of those with addictions. He told me I didn’t have to go to church but if I wanted to go to the meeting he would go with me. I wanted to go. This Brother told me the time and place of the meeting and met me there. He even purchased my manual. He attended with me for a few weeks until I felt comfortable.
Today I am a facilitator of my group. Today my heart is whole. I have peace. I am happy. I have learned through this group about my role in my wife’s addiction. I have learned about the things I could control and those I could not.
More importantly I have learned to forgive myself. I have learned to deal with my emotions in a safe and healthy way. I have learned that I too suffer from an addiction. I have learned that I too can rely on God and his promise to be there for me when I turn to Him for support. Through coming back to church I have been able to strengthen my testimony of this church. I have been able to testify of my progress in this group and how it has changed my life.
I am currently dating a wonderful woman who gained her own testimony of this church. She has a testimony of seeing how this group has affected my life for the good. She was baptized a member of this church in March of this year.
In closing, my first step was praying and asking for help. My second step was accepting an invitation to breakfast. I urge any and all church leaders to make sure all members are aware of this program. I urge you to attend a few meetings with those members who are seeking help. An invitation to go to a meeting means more, and may accomplish more, when it is accompanied by the offer to go with them.