This morning I read a heartbreaking article about a young twenty-four year old man who was not able to be with his mother at the time of her death because he was incarcerated. The young man that I speak of is Redmond O’Neal, the son of Farrah Fawcett , a lady and a celebrity who passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. Her son Redmond had been sentenced to an eighteen month jail sentence in which he is also undergoing an intensive drug treatment program. He was allowed a brief visit with his very ill mother back in April and also was permitted to talk with her for just a couple of minutes by telephone right before she died. In other words, he was able to speak with her during her last moments of life, but not allowed to be physically present with her.

 

        I couldn’t help but ponder the terrible sadness of that. Imagine knowing that your mother is breathing her last breaths, yet you are not able to be with her. Please do not misunderstand me, I am not at all blaming the authorities that would not allow that, I am pointing the finger of responsibility squarely at this young man whose actions prevented him from being with his own mom during her last moments here on this earth. The word “regret” which I also wrote about in an earlier blog is one that this son will take with him to his grave I am sure. He missed out on one of the most important and precious times of his and his mother’s life because of his long standing drug habit and addiction. My intention is not to sound harsh in my judgment of him in this article today, my hope is to highlight the seriousness and devastation of addiction in general.

 

        In our society today, when we hear the word “addiction” our minds immediately tend to think of drugs or alcohol, don’t they? The truth however is that there exists a myriad of addictions, some having more devastating consequences than others. There is a vast spectrum of various types of addictions out there such as gambling, shopping, eating, stealing, and sexual to name just a few. Drug and alcohol addictions are merely more well known and focused on as the consequences of those seem to cause more immediate damage and have such hurtful ramifications. As I was thinking about how a person becomes an addict, I focused on that very first action of the addict that began that long journey that lands him in a predicament like the one that Redmond O’Neal found himself. What I mean is, it begins with an action that creates a hunger or a craving that then overtakes an individual to a place in which he no longer has control of himself or herself. It is a miserable point to be at yet I would dare say that the majority of us can relate to this lack of control in our lives in one area or another. We may not be hooked on drugs or alcohol but we may be overweight and have extreme difficulty in not indulging in a rich dessert, yet we do. We may be in debt up to our ears, yet we find ourselves plunking down the plastic to purchase our thirtieth pair of shoes for which we have no need. There are scores of folks sitting in casinos who have no money to their names and have begged, borrowed and stolen to have the change for that night, yet they cannot turn away from the lure of the slot machine. The list is endless and the evidence is clear that mankind is in need of help. There exists countless mental health and rehabilitation programs that are absolutely necessary for folks once they have reached a certain depth and intensity of addiction. My concern and focus is for those people who are dabbling in the early stages of lack of control. What is it that they can do and turn to before intervention at a program level is necessary?  My only answer is that we need to daily go before a God who loves us and ask for His help. It is to realize that all self control issues are actually spiritual problems. The reason I feel that this is true is that every time a person is out of control in an area of their life, that person is miserable and unhappy to a certain degree. They are disappointed in themselves and frustrated that they cannot seem to get victory over an area that they desperately desire to and that sense of defeat brings much glee and satisfaction to our adversary the devil. You may be thinking, “C’mon Pam, you actually think that the devil is connected to and involved in our making poor choices that eventually lead to addictions?”  I absolutely do. If he can convince us that we are permanently “stuck” if you will, in some area of our lives in which we struggle and that we will never conquer it, then he has us. He will relentlessly chip away at our esteem and confidence but he also has an ultimate goal that is much more significant. He desires us to reach a point of futility in which we simply stop praying and looking to God for help. He knows that if we sadly throw our hands in the air mentally and emotionally, that he has won the battle and wears the victor’s crown while we continue to plod along the path of mediocrity being disgusted and disappointed with ourselves.

 

        I have no idea if you the reader can relate to what I am saying in this blog today or not. Perhaps you are truly living a completely victorious life in all areas and are not lacking control in anything. If that is you, then my hat is off to you and I am happy for your accomplishment. That is not me however as I struggle in some areas, one in particular and I am completely certain that it is more than a self control issue. As I stated before, it is also a spiritual one. If you also see yourself in that arena, let’s commit to going to the Lord on a daily basis to ask for his help and His “divine intervention.” He is powerful enough, interested enough and certainly loves us enough to give us the victory. If we do look to Him, we have a better chance of not some day finding ourselves in a sad and hurtful place such as Farrah Fawcett’s son found himself last week. That alone is worth it to me, how about you? Give it some thought …you owe it to yourself to be the best that God intended you to be.