Mom Surrenders to Faith as Sons Battle Addictions
Patti knows the heartbreak of children who suffer from the disease of addiction. One son pulled himself out of the depths of his suffering with her help. Now she struggles to help her other son break his cycle of staying clean for a few months only to relapse yet again.
She took the recent criticism of Vision Warriors’ mission in southeastern Cherokee County a bit personally. Until a few years ago, she lived across the street from the church property. Now she lives about two miles away, still in Cherokee.
“To me it’s just a community of guys who are learning to live,” she said.
“If it hasn’t been a part of your life, you don’t understand. You don’t get it,” Patty said.
But addiction exists in every community. Yes, it’s here in our community, on your street and next to you at work.
A Tale of Two Sons
Patty kicked her youngest son out of the house when he refused to commit to staying clean. He briefly was homeless and lived in an extended stay hotel for a couple of months. But after struggling for a while, he decided to take charge of his life. That’s when he took his mother up on her offer to pay for his education at a trade school. He chose welding, and now he earns a very comfortable salary.
Patti’s older son completed more than three years toward a college education before his demons became too much for him to handle. He’s been in and out of a few treatment programs. He’s never stayed clean for more than 8 months that she knows.
Despite their shortcomings, she was happy to have him in those programs. “When he was there, personally, you have this sense of relief because you know they are safe. And you have a sense of relief because they are being drug tested,” she said.
Less suspicion rests in your mind when you know your loved one is in a place where they give drug tests hold meetings.
“To me it was just having some sort of community,” Patty said. “The only time that he’s really stayed sober is if he’s been in a structured environment. That’s the only time.”
Still most of those treatment centers had the same problem, Patty said. Someone in the program failed to stay clean. That soon spread the problem throughout the place where everyone promised to stay drug and alcohol-free.
He’s been home for a while, and with more than three years of study completed, he thinks about returning to college. He’s not sure he can handle that environment, so he also is considering following his brother’s example by attending a trade school.
Words of Faith from One Mother to Another
Patty was asked what she’d say to the mother or wife sitting at home or work, absolutely scared the phone is going to ring with bad news about her husband or son.
“I would obviously listen to their fears,” she said.
For herself, she did everything she could to educate herself on addiction. But there’s only so much she can do.
“I am a faith-based person. I turned my life over to a higher being,” she said. “I literally took a picture of my son, had done so much weeping and talking. I was always there for my son, but that’s all I could be was there for him.
And after being up all night for so long, waiting for the phone to ring was emotionally and physically exhausting.
Her faith helped sustain her. Everything improved on the day she took out a photo of her son and pushed it away as she gave him over to God.
That day when she accepted that there’s nothing she can do to change his life was the day she stopped being overwhelmed by worry. She put her trust in God.
“It doesn’t mean you don’t stop worrying about them,” she said, “but it’s not debilitating.”
Judgment without Understanding
When a friend asked Patty if she attended a recent meeting of some community members opposed to Vision Warriors, she took the time to read what the local newspaper printed. Her reaction was to tell organizers they were making judgments on people they knew nothing about.
It’s likely they already had neighbors with addictions that may be consuming them. Or hopefully, they also are in recovery.
With drug-related deaths apparently up 150 percent in Cherokee County in just the first month of 2018 as reported on 11Alive.com, it’s clear the problem reaches into every community. Although county leaders dispute that conclusion, the situation remains tragic. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Public Affairs Deputy Director Bahan Rich was quoted in the Cherokee Tribune as saying Cherokee always records the first or second highest drug deaths of any Georgia county, having between 35 and 45 drug-related deaths annually.
Places like Vision Warriors help men who already got themselves clean and sober. Now they need help making a successful transition for their return to their own families and communities.
“This is the kind of thing you need to do,” Patty agreed. “You need to learn how to live your life.” A place like Vision Warriors helps make all the things that fed into their addictions less stressful. That helps remove the mindset that you need alcohol or drugs to deal with your issues.
Sober Living Takes a Personal Commitment
A mother can’t make her sons stay clean and sober, nor can a wife. It doesn’t matter how much you want it for them. They need to want it themselves.
Vision Warriors won’t even accept men who don’t want to help themselves. That’s one of the reasons men aren’t accepted who are under court orders.
“It’s completely against everything we stand for,” said founder Kirk Driskell.
After volunteering at a treatment program in Atlanta, Patty said she’s glad Vision Warriors doesn’t accept men with court orders. She saw a real difference in men forced to attend versus those who wanted to commit to a sober life.
That’s why the men must contact Vision Warriors themselves to start the process of joining the community. We encourage loved ones, family members, friends and neighbors to ask questions about Vision Warriors. The men still need to make the call themselves to apply.
Vision Warriors Church formed as a Christian-based organization. But you don’t have to be a Christian to become a member. If you surrender your life and will to the care of a God of your understanding because your life had become unmanageable, you’ll be welcome.