October 17, 2020
I think part of the life lesson here should be that tattooing someone’s name or initials on your body might not be a great idea when drugs and alcohol are involved. Nothing against tattoos; body art is a beautiful expression of personality and a forever way of telling a story. But it’s forever, and sometimes our teen crushes don’t last as long as an acid high. And then what? Then there’s this tattoo with someone’s initial, and it’s an embarrassing reminder of bad choices and mistakes.
My friend is going to rehab today. She’s scared of the detox. Scared of the 30 day commitment. Scared of failing. Scared of falling back into old destructive habits. Scared of letting people down. Scared of all the unknowns. And scared of everything she already knows. I think bravery doesn’t mean taking action in the absence of fear. Bravery is action through the fear in the face of danger and risk.
I wish I’d known she’d been dealing with these struggles, but life is busy and every time I thought about touching base, something else came up. Last weekend, my friend’s mom reached out to me just wanting to talk and vent. She is one of the strongest women I know. She’s a tough, take charge, no-nonsense broad who doesn’t suffer inaction or laziness. When something goes wrong, her cut-to-the-chase response is a loud, adamant, bossy, direct “FIX IT!” But this problem…this problem is different. This problem had her reduced to sobbing and struggling to get words out. Don’t we hate seeing our daughters struggle with self-doubt and shame and regret? It’s heartbreaking. But it doesn’t end when we get older. This mom questioned and doubted her own mothering. Maybe if she had stepped in sooner. Maybe if she had done something different. Maybe if she had acted more decisively. Maybe it’s all her fault. This mother and daughter fight the same insecurities. They are so much alike, and someday they will see what an asset that is.
I’ve seen this family in action. There’s a lot of love. So much love. But raising children tests the strongest relationships. As no-nonsense as this mom is, this dad is even more. He’s successful in his career and in life because of his balance between genuine likability and serious business savvy. And he looks great dancing in a coconut bra. He’s been a leader of girls who respond to his drive and determination. He can get performance out of girls who didn’t think they had anything left to give. But he’s a dad of daughters. He’s blindsided and overwhelmed and at a loss on how to solve this problem for his girl. This creature whom he doesn’t understand. They are so much alike, and they butt heads. They are at a standstill now, and that will have to be addressed. But right now, sobriety is the priority.
Drug addiction doesn’t just affect the addict. It’s a family dynamic issue. Siblings deal with the fallout. Siblings need to be informed and involved in the healing process, but protected. My struggling friend has an extrovert personality who internalizes everything in the deep parts of herself that she doesn’t show many people. Her sibling is quiet and reserved and such a beautiful, thoughtful person whose quiet presence tames large animals. How does she do that? Those quiet kids feel deeply as well. These 2 are so different and so much alike.
I met my young friend for dinner last night because she said she needed a Momma Mauk hug before rehab. Not gonna lie, I was worried she would flake out and just stand me up, but she actually did show up. We talked about shame and victory and God and direction and choices and challenges and a lot of other things at dinner last night. And we talked about the tattoo. Uugghh. She unwisely chose to declare her love for someone with a tattoo that included that person’s first initial, S. It’s not as bad as having this ex’s whole name or face tattooed on her bicep. We decided that the _❤️ S F tattoo now means _❤️ Sobriety Forever. If only sobriety was as easy as declaring love for it. This will be a lifelong battle. But today is the beginning of healing.
I love you, and it’s time to follow God out of the valley of the shadow of death. God tells you that you don’t belong there, but The Good Shepherd’s staff will guide you out on His paths of righteousness. Don’t let your frenemies call you back there. Come to the feast. The table in the House of the Lord is set in abundance for you.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 23:1-6 ESV