I woke up this morning in a disquieted state.
I had been dreaming of a dear sweet friend of mine whose husband is an alcoholic. In my dream, this beautiful, vibrant woman with a sparkle in her eyes unmatched by any I’ve seen, looked starkly different.
Her face was worn. Her sparkle gone. Her beautiful, shiny hair was replaced with bleak, unnatural bristles, the kind that are an obvious and heart-wrenching attempt to replace reality with something, anything else. The life was sucked from her, her vibrance gone.
She was in a crowd of people who were cheering for her after some sort of accomplishment. She was smiling, but I knew it was a mask. I choked back hot tears as I watched the scene unfold – this broken woman pretending to be okay, happy even, as an oblivious crowd looked at her but didn’t see her.
When I came out of the dream and woke up, much earlier than usual for a Sunday morning, I started to pray for my friend, my sister, who I know is stuck in the hell of loving an addict.
She actually has withdrawn from our friendship and others after getting close enough to share only to retreat out of fear.
I miss her fiercly.
But I get it.
Loving an addict is terrifying. The web of codependency is intricate and complex, thick and suffocating.
Withdrawal is a survival skill – a self-defeating one, yes, but a survival skill none the less.
The last time I had a dream like this it was about another friend’s child.
I knew the teen was struggling with addiction issues and that her mother was sick with worry for her child and her child’s future.
In my dream, I was visiting that teen as an adult in her 40s. I saw a haggard face. Features that were once full of youth, life and promise had been replaced by an accelerated aging process and were past the point of sadness and anxiety. In my dream, there was a disturbing flatness to this person. And bottles of whiskey on the counter. And in the closet.
Even though it was just a dream, that image is forever burned in my mind.
I remember waking up with this same knot in my stomach, praying in the dark of night for God to break the chains of addiction and oppression in that teen’s life.
That was at least three years ago, and it is with absolute joy and awe and oh so sweet victory that I can say I’ve seen that prayer answered.
That image I saw in my dream, it didn’t have to come to be and I know that the intercessory prayers of the righteous on behalf of that struggling teen were answered by our gracious and loving God who cares too much about us to leave us where we are at, whether it’s in the pit of addiction or some other dark and binding place.
How about you? Do you know an addict? Or someone who loves one? Are you an addict or someone who loves one?
Can you dare to believe that a sad, haggard future doesn’t have to be, regardless of the circumstances of yesterday or even today?
“See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19