This past week I had the opportunity to speak at two conferences. The topic was substance use disorder – addiction – and there were many people there from various professional backgrounds. Federal judges, at the first meeting, who devoted their entire conference to this topic.
They had invited lawyers and doctors and social workers and others; all there to talk about how to end the epidemic of drug use and overdose death.
But I was most struck by encounters with parents of addicts at that conference. I want to share briefly about 3 mothers I met and their circumstances, and then share a prayer for the mothers of addicts
Fathers mourn and grieve and struggle, too, but just for now, I will tell the stories of women.
One of the speakers in one of the sessions was a woman who had been a judge and was now retired. She spoke of her attitude from the bench about people with drug cases and/or related crimes.
She said, “I threw the book at them and I felt good about doing it. I was very clear about my judgment and severity towards them.”
This continued until she realized her own 17 year old daughter was a heroin addict. This girl’s addiction had begun with taking Vicodin for knee surgery from a sports injury. The mother made sure that her daughter used her prescription but unfortunately, addiction grew out of it, with her daughter eventually searching out drugs and turning to new companions.
She couldn’t see it…
The problem was finally realized when the judge’s daughter came to her and confessed tearfully, “Mom, I am in so much trouble.” The judge said she had failed to see the signs. Then began her effort to seek care for her child.
The judge sadly related many instances of uncaring and unhelpful people. She described one episode of her daughter being hospitalized, trying to get clean, and of being very distraught herself. She was in the hallway outside of her daughter’s hospital room, in sweats, not a business suit, and not with a name badge giving her professional status. At that moment, she heard the nurses at their desk commenting on the “crazy mom with her junkie daughter.”
Compassion for mothers of addicts needed
This talk was occurring 10 years after that turbulent time and still the judge’s voice shook with emotion and tears welled up. The nurses’ judgmental remarks had “cut her to the quick,” right where all her fear, guilt, and sense of failure resided.
I spoke with her after her talk and she said, “All these years later, when I talk of that moment, I still get so emotional. I want people to understand and to help. Needless to say, I stopped being judgmental, when it happened in my home where I thought it NEVER would happen. Now, I help families to fight this battle of recovery.” Her website is FAN, Families Against Narcotics.
The Youth Minister
While at my book table, a husband and wife came up to ask me about my book, Jesus and the Addict, and about the book written by my friend, a recovery community director, Bobbi Jo Reed. Her book is called Beautifully Broken.
The couple spoke with us for some time about the problems of addiction and about the need to take care of young people – high school kids – and even those of younger ages. (I have met addicts who say, “I began using at 9).
“We need to reach them, teach them, spend time with them,” they said with such urgency.
Overdoses too often occur
And they described the efforts they were making and the fact that they both were in recovery and had ceased using drugs many years ago.
But then, the mom became especially vulnerable and said, “Our son died from a drug overdose.”
And her eyes filled with tears. I stepped around the table and put my arms around her and kissed her cheek. She described the death as being a number of years ago, but I felt her “sag” in my arms as if it had just happened. The pain rises up from such a deep place of mourning that is never gone completely.
The Hotel Worker
Finally, as we packed up the books, the signs, the business cards and were just about to leave the first conference, a hotel worker in her all black uniform and apron, slipped up quietly and quickly alongside the table. “I want this book,” she said, picking up a copy of “Jesus and the Addict.”
“I saw it yesterday when I walked by,” she said, and she began to describe the torment of her lost, 27-year-old son, angry at God, lost in addiction, mourning his grandfather, distressed, purposeless, and so on.
Maybe this will help…
Her eyes were tear-filled. “Maybe this will help. I hope it will help,” she said, carrying out the transaction quickly as she was on the job. I told her to contact me “if you need to talk and be encouraged.” There is a place to request prayer on my website.
Three women – all mothers. One with a dead son, and two with struggling adult children. One white, one black, and one Hispanic. Addiction can touch any family.
I do not want to give tips this morning. I just want to pray, for all the mothers of addicts, with broken hearts and a hard road to walk.
Prayer for the Mothers of Addicts
Father, in the name of Jesus,
I lift up mothers everywhere who have addicted sons and daughters. I do not pray in hopelessness as You are the God of all hope, the God of impossible things and You can heal and save the most lost people among us.
No, I come to You in great trust and profound belief that You are working in the lives of the families and the mothers I have named above, as You are working in the families of anyone and everyone who might chance upon this prayer.
Oh Lord, I pray and speak healing over all who are addicted that they might be delivered and set free. May they discover You and surrender their lives to You to be mended and re-directed. Father, I pray that You would break the spirit of addiction from those caught in addiction and You would heal their bodies and put them in their right mind. Break the brain pathways that make them crave to use again. Let them encounter caring and skilled people to help them.
I pray strength…
Father, most of all I pray strength into these mothers, a fresh sense of Your love and caring for them. Be so near to them as is promised in Your word, “that You are near to the broken-hearted and the crushed in spirit.” Lift them up to keep on praying, to keep on fighting, to keep on hoping. Help them to find the resources they need for their comfort. Help them to set good boundaries. Keep them healthy physically. Give them rest. Guide them to continue with their work and their role as mothers. Be with them in all that they need to do.
And Father, be with those, like the one named above who have had a child die. Bring peace and comfort to their hearts. Lift the burden of any guilt and help them to live again with joy and hope.
Thank You, Lord. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen
Some resources for you:
Beautifully Broken is the book by Bobbi Jo Reed, Director and CEO of the Healing House in Kansas City, Missouri.
In this book is the story of Bobbi Jo’s life, her own nightmare journey through addiction. (Update: There is now a documentary about Bobbi Jo’s life and the work of the Healing House called Under the Influence. You can find it on a variety of streaming platforms.)
When she found Jesus Christ, she emerged from that life and now has a powerful ministry helping many men, women, and children. She is the Director and CEO of a ministry known as the Healing House Recovery Community.
For anyone struggling with addiction and looking for a community in which to heal and grow in recovery, the Healing House’s website is here.
For information about admission, 816-920-7181
If you or a loved one needs to talk with someone because you are in crisis, you can talk to SAMHSA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, at this phone number 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Please pray for my 26yr old daughter who is addicted to heroine and fentanyl she has two kids and is recently pregnant and still using. All in a matter of months. She needs a divine intervention. Prayers for her kids who have been with me and prayers for myself her dad and little sister who want to see her overcome. We at times feel so hopeless but I know in God he is a miracle worker and will make a way when there seems no way.
Bobbie, My heart goes out to you. What great pain your family is in. I have added your daughter to my prayer list and will pray for her to find the help she needs to quit – that God will heal her completely. I will pray for the baby on the way and the kids that she already has for whom you are caring. I will pray for the whole family. God be with you. Hang in there and trust Him just as you are. He knows your needs and is working. Please write back and tell me how you are doing.
Please pray for my daughter; she completed 7 months sober from drugs and relapsed 3 days ago. She is on probation and now has a warrant for her arrest. No one knows where she is. As her mother I am heartbroken but know there is nothing I can do. My faith is strong but my understanding is weak. She has used drugs since she was 15. I know GOD is the great healer and I just ask for strength to carry on.
Claudia, I am adding your daughter to my prayer list. I am so sorry for her struggle and for yours. God knows and cares and is working on this. Please write back and give me ongoing news on how she is doing.
Please pray for my 41 year old son who is addicted to meth. He has been in 3 rehab facilities in 3 months and has left not completing the program. He has 2 little girls. Pray that he is delivered from the drug and that he gives his life to God.
Cindi, You and your son are on my prayer list now. I will pray for him. On August 16, I will have a woman named Kathryn Inman on my podcast, Rooted by the Stream. You can listen to it from here on the website. She had a son who was addicted for many years and went through all the heartbreak that I know you are going through. I asked Kathryn to come back on my show – we did one a few months back – to specifically talk to moms. I hear from many moms with addicted adult children. Kathryn has written a book about her experiences called Counting Spoons. I hope you’ll be able to listen to our conversation on the podcast or purchase the book. I know you need lots of support.
Please pray for my 41 year old son, he’s addicted to fentanyl and meth. Currently in jail, lost his kids, family, wife…the only thing left is his life. Pray that God restore him and take these horrible addictions and cravings away…😢
Gina, I have added you and your son to my prayer list. What a horrible place he’s in and how heartbreaking this is for you. We never outgrow being our kids’ mom, no matter how old they get. Our hearts break when life is not good for our children. That being said, “At the end of our rope is God’s address.” I don’t care how low we get, the Lord can lift us out of the “miry clay,” as Psalm 40:2 says. Your son’s life can utterly turn around. I will pray for him to meet Jesus in a powerful way and be set free.
By the way, I am doing several podcasts on people who have been set free from addiction. You can listen to them right from this website. Look for the podcast page or you can find a listen button on the home page. I am running a series of people who were once addicts. The series is called “It is for Freedom that Christ has Set You Free.” On August 16, I will have an interview with the mother of an addict who is now free from drugs. Her name is Kathryn Inman. She has written a book called “Counting Spoons.” Her story will comfort and inspire you.
Please pray for my addicted sins, they are living very destructive lives. I have lost my daughter to this beast and we have suffered many tragedies in life. I am raising my granddaughter as my daughter left behind two children, her son and daughter. My husband passed suddenly and I am now doing this on my own. Please pray that they are delivered from their cravings and they open their hearts to our Lord. Im at the end of my rope and also could use prayer. Thank you! I’ll be praying for all addicts, their loved ones and family’s
Tonia, I will be praying for you and your sons and grandchildren. What heartache you have been through. Addiction is a tremendous beast, but God is greater and we will believe that your sons can walk out of it. I will add you to my prayer list. God bless you.
My son has been using for years. I’ve had him in two rehabs only to come out and go back and overdosed thankfully we found him in time. I have him in out patient rehab. I have him under a Dr’s care. I pray and pray and just feel. Im Not worthy of God’s help. I have been praying for 20 years. He’s on medication but some times won’t take it . I’m a hands on mom who spends her time worried . I just don’t get it I know addiction is hard to get over but he has a loving supportive family. He’ll be 40 when does it get thru . He was in the hospital bed and said to me if he didn’t make it he would go to heaven and watch over me till I got there. It broke my broken heart.
Marion, I am so sorry for your heartache and for the “prison” your son is in. You ARE worthy of God’s help. Don’t listen to the lie of the devil that you don’t deserve to see him healed. Why has it taken 20 years? I don’t know except that addiction truly captures the whole person, body, mind, and spirit. It is powerful. I encourage you to listen to my podcast posted today, “Wisdom for Mothers of Addicts with Author Kathryn Inman. Kathryn went through this just like you. But, she and her son found healing in Jesus Christ. Her book is called Counting Spoons. You can click onto her interview with me on my home page or on the podcast page of this website. I will add you to my prayer list. God be with you and give you total comfort and peace.