mental health, suicide, addiction – the hard things

The other day, we ran out of LaCroix in the Hippie Hut.

This. Does. Not. Happen.

It’s a Four Alarm Situation.

When I went to Publix – in a hurry, the Lord had graciously provided a buy one/get one sale (to ease my pain from having run out, I’m sure), so I bought four cases and all was well.

Y’all, this is a long, sparkly, beautiful way from my wine outage emergency days of old and I am forever and ever grateful.

Since my pastor preached last Sunday on breaking addictions though, I felt like it was time again to say more about substance abuse and the havoc it wreaks and all that sort of thing. (I will always do so.) And I will get to that in this post but some things have happened that made me realize that addiction is part of a much larger mental health picture I need to talk about right now.

Unfortunately, this terrible news came out of Washington tonight:

The young, incredibly talented quarterback for Washington State’s football team, Tyler Hilinksi, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Despite seeming to have everything going for him. Despite appearing to be the “All American Kid.” Despite being all smiles in his pictures.

And, all too often, that is the way it happens.

In our small, tight-knit friend group, we experienced the same gut wrenching loss on Christmas Day a few years ago when we lost Ray, a dear friend and a young man we all loved and “mothered” after his mom passed away:

Every time you saw him, he had a smile on his face and a giant bear hug for you.

We NEVER saw it coming.

Sometimes the people who are in the most pain hide it the best and depression is an insidious beast. It is so important that our people know that they are safe with us and can talk to us about anything – not just the pretty parts. Everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – has issues. Let’s make sure we are giving sanctuary to those in our lives who need it. We all do sometimes.

At the same time, our eldest came home from visiting her grandparents and even MORE issues with her came to my attention. Honestly, there seems to be no bottom to this.

Without going into great detail, I’ll just say that there is all manner of careless behavior with herself as well as some apparent substance abuse issues (not presently – only because she can’t get to them) that I was not aware of before. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised but I am just sick anyway.

With serious mental illness, often there are other diagnosis and problems that come along as well and it is so flipping hard to sort it all out, particularly if the person with the illness has no interest in untangling the mess.

Of course, if they do want to participate in the process of healing, many resources are available. Psychiatrists, counselors, ministers, support groups, NAMI.

In our case, we are still progressing, at least, to getting her admitted to the program we chose for her, thank God. She has to go and try to start over for her own good.

And, again, I would say, if you have families in your community or church or school or neighborhood who are struggling with an SMI diagnosis, they definitely need support. Some days I think I may be running on Care Bear good thoughts and extra prayers sent my way to get through with this child.

And, finally, to the subject that is my wheelhouse: addiction (specifically, for me, alcohol abuse).

If you are new to my blog, the story of my goodbye to wine is back on April 27, 2017.

As I was just one of those “moms with her wine,” I have no doubt I could have kept going on indefinitely if God’s grace had not intervened.

Alcohol is so socially acceptable and I did not drink and drive or go out to bars or do anything that would cause alarm. Except daily drinking A LOT of wine. And, in recent years, that has become increasingly common, especially among women.

I can honestly say I knew that it was a problem long before I was prepared to do anything about it. I was a mental health nurse and I knew it wasn’t healthy or safe for me. I also knew that I never had just one or stopped when I intended to.

Still, I waited a long time.

But, thankfully, I finally did stop.

And, oh my word, I am so so grateful every day that I did.

I can’t begin to explain the differences in my life now.

My head is clear. I am able to focus on what is important – my family, my faith, my friends, my home. I am amazed at how much life I was missing feeling like crap due to wine – even with my RA yuck factored in. I have that all back now.

I have the things I am passionate about now to really enjoy and work on – spending time with my husband and kids, being involved in my church, my school, writing, starting my business, reading and growing, going to concerts, planning activities. There is just so so much to do and see. Life is so full without alcohol to dull it.

Of course, like many people, I used alcohol to “calm my nerves” as I have anxiety and we are facing many stressors right now, like my being off work with my RA and our daughter’s situation, so I have had to learn to deal with those in a healthy way.

And I have worked hard on that.

I am blessed to have an amazing support system in my husband, family, and friends, the Lord sent me Henry the Wonderpup to be my emotional support animal, I’ve learned to pray hard through the worst of anxiety attacks, and I use lavender and Valor like they are going out of style.

And it is so much better this way.

Everything is.

And I want this desperately for everyone struggling with substance abuse.

I want everyone to be free.

If you are struggling, help is available in many forms: Celebrate Recovery, AA, NA, online groups, talking to friends and family. If you need medical help to stop, you can literally walk into the closest ER and they WILL help you. Please take it. You will be so glad you did.

There is so much freedom and joy on the other side.

I promise.

Be well, everybody, and stay safe and warm, fellow Southern friends (y’all know we can’t drive in this icy mess).

Grace and blessings.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s