Addiction is something I have always been afraid of because the power of addiction can be so strong. I live a pretty strict life, one in which I don’t drink alcohol, don’t smoke, and basically try to keep my body as clean and healthy as possible. I have seen how easily I can become addicted to things such as certain foods, television watching, and Mt. Dew. I figure if the power of addiction is so strong in these simple, every day things, I don’t want to risk what might happen if I try something else that could be much more harmful to my body and everyone around me.
A few nights ago, I happened upon this podcast. It was about 2 am and I just could not sleep. For whatever reason, I was wide awake. I rarely (once every few years) listen to a podcast but as I had nothing else to do, I decided to listen to the podcast while I was soaking in a hot bath, trying to get my RLS (restless leg syndrome) to calm down.
The podcast interviews a man named Chris and his wife, Kelle. Chris had a good life but because of the differences between how he and his wife were raised and what kind of families they came from, once he had drugs to help an injury, he started to realize that it took the edge off of how he was feeling about how his wife was speaking to him. Years passed and the drugs continued. His wife worked in the medical industry and so each time he went to the hospital, they knew him well because of Kelle and gave him the drugs he needed because they trusted him.
These years of drugs completely changed who he was. He was a drug addict, a gambler, an adulterer, and a thief. He ran his family into the ground and left them with no money. Chris mentions that one month he brought in $49,000 but because of how he was spending his money, his family was still in debt – there was nothing left of that money.
One weekend, his teenage son had finally saved up enough money, about $2500, to buy a car. Trusting his father, this son gave his dad his debit card with all of the money on it to buy a car for him. Chris took the card, got in the car, and headed to Wendover to gamble the money away. Over the course of the weekend, this son watched his bank account slowly drain. When Chris arrived home, he told Kelle he would move out and Kelle let him know that he wasn’t welcomed in the home anymore (with stronger words, obviously).
Chris ended up living alone in his parents’ basement (his parents were gone on a church mission to a different country) and he made his way to the local park where drug deals happen often to get his next fix. He was stealing from many people to get money. He was alone, depressed, and in a downward spiral. Chris was sent to jail and there he got the help he needed by helping someone else learn more about God and Christ. Kelle slowly started trying to build a relationship with him again and allowed the kids to visit him in jail with her. Things were looking better for the family.
After jail, he used drugs again and after a week of disappearing from his home for that week, a mentor called him and left the simple message, “Have I told you lately that I love you?” That simple message changed everything and gave him the strength and realization that he didn’t have to live like this anymore. He had a family and friends who loved him.
It’s been 6 years of soberness for him and he most recently just got his own debit card from his wife with a small amount of money on it. He has worked in rehabilitation centers and now has his own center, along with his sons, to help those with addictions.
I am impressed by this entire family. This father ran his family into the ground, stole from them, and was not there for them. By definition, he was an awful father. However, the family loved him through this and when he was ready to turn his life around, his family was there for him. It might not be an easy life, but they are making it work.
Kelle mentions that you never know how you’re going to handle a situation until you’re in it. I have no doubt it would be hard to continue loving a man who is ruining your family but Kelle did.