In her book, Masquerade, author Samantha Barrett chronicles efforts of Charissa to help other in various circumstances. All too often, the people she tried to help fell from their newfound grace once again, returning to their old ways, leaving Charissa feeling like a failure.
The stories in the book are excerpts from real-life; parts of lives that could be yours or mine, but the effect of them on Charissa’s life sends her plummeting into the abyss of darkness and depression, feeling as if her life has been a failure due to her successive failures to positively impact lives.
One of the anecdotes in Masquerade was about a friendship between Charissa and Rob, a friendship that ended abruptly with no explanation.
In a real life story that has unfolded over the past 14 months, I have been part of one really deep effort to help a friend of mine get his life turned around. That friend is Rob from Masquerade. Parts of the last 14 months have been amazing, and I’ve seen the hand of God deliver blessing after blessing in both my life and his. Rob knows Jesus as his Savior and acknowledges past poor decisions, and has not only been battling cancer, but a history of alcohol abuse, which he told me was behind him after a trip through rehab in 2018.
Our friendship story has truly been amazing and I was (and still am) convinced that it was part of Gods plan for both of our lives. Although I don’t fully understand why, I am convinced that our friendship was designed for him to help me and me to help him, in different ways, but for Gods ultimate purpose, which is bringing people to saving knowledge in Jesus.
Several months ago, he had significant change in his health. I was the one who found him disoriented and confused and called an ambulance. It took the doctors several weeks to diagnose that he had a reaction to his cancer treatment that affected his brain. I was at his side every day, pleading with the doctors to keep looking for the cause of his illness. Eventually, after they diagnosed, they used a high dose of steroids and he returned to his full function. Along the way, there were many spiritual battles I faced, including questioning my own judgement of Gods blessings as misperceptions.
Since that time, I have been watching his behavior and looking for signs of his drinking. I’ve seen none. I’ve even searched his house looking for bottles. I’ve literally prayed that, should any drop of alcohol cross his lips, he’d become violently ill.
I introduced him to my friend, Bob, who I met through a mutual friend that knew about the book, Masquerade, and had asked me if I could help Bob write his story of God delivering him from alcoholism. I met Bob about a month before Rob and I reconnected. I felt all along as if that meeting were no coincidence. Bob shared his story of deliverance with my friend, and while I thought it was awesome, his delivery of it that day did not wow my friend.
Saturday, Rob told me he thought he had the flu. This is particularly bad is his present health condition. I talked with him several times throughout the day to check on him and was surprised in the evening to receive a call from his mother saying he went to the hospital. My husband and I went to see him at the hospital where he’s typically gone, but apparently he went to a different one. The next afternoon, I visited him there and talked with the nurse. Turns out he is in beginning stages of detox.
Quite honestly, I am devastated. I feel betrayed and heart sick at the same time. I don’t know the details of his recent drinking and/or his process of detox. I know I will not make excuses for him. I know that I care very deeply about him and want him to get well, both with his cancer and his addiction. I KNOW God is in the healing business. But I also know it’s up to him to accept the help he needs.
The more I see alcohol wreck lives, the more vehemently I despise it.
I don’t really know much about detox and/or recovery and am interested in any bits of wisdom anyone has to help me to be the best friend I can be and support him the best I can. I’d like to ask you all to pray that he will fully surrender his life and his addiction to Jesus.
Some of our journeys are full of wonder and grace, and other parts are filled with lesson and learning. I know all of it is necessary but sometimes I wish we didn’t have to journey through the hard stuff.
As we look to a new year, I am hoping for a new beginning for my friend, where he can get clean and sober once and for all. I pray for all those battling addiction this season, and, more importantly, those who don’t know Jesus, that they’d find Him and make the Lord of their lives.
Happy New Year