OUR STORY :Jennyfer and Ed
Our Story - Jennyfer & Ed
We suffered in silence for a whole year, without telling anyone or finding help, after learning two of our three sons and our niece, as well as their three friends, had become addicted to heroin. We learned about it on our 20th anniversary trip while at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, when the doctor called about our son who went into the hospital the night before with a blood infection. He first told the doctor he was “cutting” (selfinflicted wounds), which could have been the cause of the infection. After further probing, he finally admitted to being an intravenous heroin user. I fell to my knees in disbelief and cried for an hour right there by the hotel lawn. My first thoughts, as with many parents, were “Where did we go wrong? How could we not have seen this coming? My child is going to die!! What do we do now?” We packed up and began the 1,400 mile drive home, crying the whole way, thinking this was a death sentence for our sons and niece.
We couldn’t tell anyone because we believed we would be criticized and judged for being bad parents, for not seeing it coming, for not stopping it, and thinking that nobody would understand. We thought the kids could/would just stop once we had “the talk” with them. That’s not how addiction works, so we learned. We turned to the internet, the source of sources, for help. What we found was dismal, confusing, an abyss, with one link leading to a list of other links, with no real help or guidance. Much of the information was from rehab centers which were only concerned about our insurance and covering the astronomical costs. Many places in our state did not take minors, and if they were 17, they could leave any rehab facility without parental consent, even though they were still minors under the law. Other places were 12-Step recovery groups, but these kids rejected any conception of God or a “higher power” on which those steps are based. Another thing we learned is that if the addict doesn’t want help, no rehab will help.
Our immediate reaction was to try to rescue these kids who we love so much. We would pray to God for guidance and protection, but still thinking we could save them by the things we said or did. That didn’t work.
We finally reached a point of total surrender to God, seeking His wisdom in this darkest and most difficult of times. As we did, we began to see Him at work answering prayers, sometimes almost immediately. In one instance, our son was out wandering and we had no idea where he was. We drove around looking for him to no avail. Scared, we pulled into an Auto Zone parking lot and prayed for God to give us a sign…something…anything… just to let us know he was still alive. Within minutes, we saw him down the street! Another time, he had run out of the house and we had no idea where he was. Around 2:30 a.m., we were sitting in our living room crying and praying again and about 30 minutes later, we saw his feet walk across the front porch through the slightly-lifted blinds. We began to trust God more as He let us know that He was at work and their care was in His hands.
After that first year of isolation, we finally divulged our situation to our closest friends and asked for prayer. We discovered that one family was also experiencing drug abuse with their 13-year-old son. Another friend was in recovery for alcoholism. You never would have known looking in from the outside. They, like us, were the typical suburban family; successful in their careers, the kids involved in sports and music, involved in church, etc.
The Palmer Drug Abuse Program (PDAP), now part of Rise Recovery, was the one place we found where someone on the other end of the line cheerfully said, “Sure, I would love to talk to you! Come on over!” We met Trish, a person in recovery herself, and Director of PDAP. She put many of our hopeless, helpless, defeating thoughts at bay and gave us hope and direction on how we needed to approach this situation. Finally! Someone who understood! She gave us ways we could help ourselves, thus, helping our sons, niece and friends. PDAP offers group meetings for families of addicts which we started attending. We met other parents and loved ones who were in the same situation. We realized we were not alone in this nightmare, and it was way more prevalent than we ever imagined.
Although we found comfort in the family groups, we saw so many of them beaten down, depressed, broken, and full of grief and despair. We would, and still, find ourselves offering hope and encouragement to them, to trust in the healing and redemptive power of the Holy Spirit in their lives and trusting in God’s sovereign plan, no matter how painful the circumstances.
The more people we talk to about this, we continue to discover what an epidemic addiction is and just how many lives have been, and are being, destroyed by it.
Almost 4 years into this process now, having asked too many times, “Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this?”, We began asking God what we’re supposed to do with the experiences given to us. I felt compelled to be a light in the darkness for other grieving mothers and loved ones of addicts who feel hopeless and have nowhere to turn. We recently saw the movie “War Room”, and that was my “aha” moment. The premise of the movie is to let the only warrior capable of winning the battle against this evil do the fighting for you – GOD. After seeing War Room, God called me to get home and immediately secured the domain “TheAddictionWarRoom.org” (a/k/a TAWR).
“The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are SAFE”.
— Proverbs 18:10 —
Why TAWR exists: the problem
Drug and alcohol addiction is rising at epidemic proportions as are deaths and incarcerations related thereto. The judicial system is not geared at helping the addict get real help, but only punishing the crimes which are only a symptom of addiction. Families and lives are being destroyed, and a whole generation of young people is suffering and dying at the rate of about 80 per day from something that is preventable and treatable.
The National Center for Health Statistics reports the following overdose deaths:
Prescription Benzodiazepines: (Commonly known as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Librium, Halcion) • 2004 = 2,500 • 2014 = 8,000 (225% increase)
Heroin: • 2004 – 2,000 • 2014 – 11,000 (450% increase)
Another staggering statistic is that Tobacco, Alcohol, and Illicit Drug Addiction healthcare costs are $137 billion annually. (http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates)
The pending Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 contains the following statistics:
• In 2013, 22.7 million Americans needed treatment for drug or alcohol problems, but only 2.5 million actually received treatment • In 2011, an average of about 110 people in the United States died from drug overdose every day.
• National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (“NASADAD”) states, “admissions to treatment for prescription opiates increased 500 percent from 2000 to 2012”.
• According to a report commissioned by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMHSA”), there are approximately 32 providers for every 1,000 individuals needing substance abuse use disorder treatment. In some states, the ratio is much lower.
• This Act describes the situation as an “opioid crisis, including abuse of prescription pain killers and, increasingly, heroin.” (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/s524/text/is)
What TAWR hopes to accomplish: the solution
The Addiction War Room (“TAWR”) strives to be a one-stop resource for all people in all phases of the disease of addiction and in the recovery and healing process. People facing the disease of addiction, whether it be the individual suffering from the disease, or a loved one, are typically lost, hopeless, and full of despair and grief. The first step in fighting this battle is to reach out to someone to talk to in order to process the initial shock, and restore sanity and safety to their home. The next step is to turn to God through prayer for guidance, peace and serenity, and to trust in His sovereignty, His will and His dominion over their lives and the lives of their loved ones. The next step is to find support, education and real solutions (not mere band-aids). TAWR will offer a prayer wall, email prayer requests, a toll-free hotline, as well as links to resources, nationally and based on geographical location, from prayer groups and Bible studies, to 12-Step and recovery programs, rehabilitation centers and medical professionals experienced in the disease of addiction, healing and recovery.
What activities will we undertake? where and for whom?
PRAYER – TAWR will be an online resource for people in pain and despair who are seeking peace through prayer. We will have a staff of prayer warriors answering emails, sending links to Bible verses, songs, books and reference materials, and sharing stories from those who have been through the battle to offer hope, encouragement and compassion.
RESOURCES – TAWR will offer as many free resources as possible through links and downloads on the website. We seek to provide the most effective and highest quality of resources and information as possible, so those seeking help can make educated decisions in a difficult and confusing time.
EDUCATION AND OUTREACH – TAWR seeks to expand awareness about the dangers of drug and alcohol addiction, remove the stigma and stereo-typing addiction carries, engage public discussion, encourage healthcare systems to view and treat addiction as the serious and life-threatening illness and disease that it is, and inform regarding laws pertaining to the management of addiction-induced crimes.
We are parents, children, siblings and friends of someone trapped by this disease, as well as those in recovery themselves, who will speak at schools, churches and anywhere we will be welcome, because addiction touches every age group, race, economic level and geographical area. Police officers telling kids that drugs are bad has not been effective. To some young minds, that can even sound intriguing. Children need to be informed about the reality of the disease of addiction, see the faces and hear the stories of those who have survived, and those who have not, before they ever have an opportunity to try drugs or alcohol because in some cases, the first try is enough to get hooked, or even die.
SCHOLARSHIPS AND INTERNSHIPS – TAWR seeks to provide scholarships through donor contributions and partnerships for those individuals seeking certification in addiction and recovery counseling. TAWR will also be partnering with universities and organizations across the globe to provide internship opportunities for students seeking to enter into this field.
TAWR VISION – TAWR’s vision and goal is to immediately partner with organizations such as Palmer Drug Abuse Program (PDAP) as part of Rise Recovery, the ManyFaces1Voice group, human trafficking rescue groups, Celebrate Recovery groups, churches and church groups, and any other organizations whose subjects are prone to drug and alcohol abuse and addiction and the treatment thereof.
TAWR’s vision is to become the world’s leader in fighting the war of addiction through spiritual, educational, outreach and other services aiding in the ultimate healing and recovery of those afflicted by this disease.