Lessons Learned: Ben struggled to stop drinking and smoking pot whenever he was away from home. He did better when living at home and quit for months at a time, but my husband and I weren’t aware that he had problems with addiction. Ben was good at covering things up. He never smoked pot or drank at home. Once I found some white powder in his room, and my husband had it analyzed, but it turned out to be baking soda from chemistry class. I felt stupid for suspecting that it was cocaine.
Suggestions: Discussing issues and holding your prodigal accountable for their actions and whereabouts is very important. Since I didn’t grow up around alcohol or drugs, I didn’t know the warning signs: change of friends, depression, mood swings, financial problems, problems in school, lack of interest in previous pursuits, etc. On the other hand, when I talked to a drug and alcohol counselor regarding this, she said it’s difficult when your child is an adolescent to determine the difference between normal teenage behavior as opposed to the beginning of an addiction. Though I feel I could have been more aware of what was beginning to develop in Ben’s life, I’m glad I spent time in prayer, which I believe is one of the most powerful weapons we have against battling addictions and many other problems.
Scriptures and Promises: During this time, fear and doubt haunted me. I continually talked to God and tried to hold on to some promises. My stomach flip-flopped, though I believed God could work on Ben and put him on the right path. These verses helped me from falling into despair:
- “God works all things together for good for those who are called according to his purposes” (Romans 8:28). Though I wavered in this belief, I always came back to it. No matter what Ben went though, God could work it out for good. The problem was: would Ben allow God to work in his life? I hoped so.
- “And my God shall supply all my needs according to his riches and glory” (Philippians 4:19). God’s supplies are abundant, and I called upon Him day and night to get me through this emotional time and to keep me from getting really depressed.
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5).This was one of my all time favorite verses, and it helped me to stay sane when I just didn’t understand why Ben was making such a major mistake in his life