“Ruined Wings is raw, real and a terrifying journey into addiction. A must read for every parent.” – Elaine Raco Chase, bestselling author
Seventeen-year-old Callie Novak is on the cusp of changing her life as she warms up for the final heat in the Women's 1600 meter track and field competition. While she sets a new state record, her family's worse nightmare is just beginning.
When tragedy strikes the Novak family every reader will feel the pain of grief, the perils of drug abuse, the despair that leads to a shocking downward spiral and the strength that’s needed to overcome addiction.
Addiction isn’t just about the voluminous issues experienced by the addict. Like ripples in a pond, addiction affects everything—and everyone—around the addict. Nothing remains untouched as the disease, like a virulent plague, destroys relationships, friendships,employment, childhood, parenthood and marriages. Don’t believe me? Take a few minutes to read this staggering piece from CNN.
According to the article (source figures provided by the CDC from number of deaths from drug poisoning vs. other causes, 1999-2014) “Drugs now kill more people than cars, guns. Drugs are the leading cause of accidental death in this country. Fatal overdoses surpassed shooting deaths and fatal traffic accidents years ago. For perspective on how fast drug deaths have risen, Anderson said, consider the sharp rise in heart disease in the early half of the 20th century. It took about 50 years for the rate of heart disease to double. It took drug deaths a fraction of that time.”
I wrote this novel from the perspective of the addict. Callie's heartbreaking journey into the ugly world of addiction is a fictional glimpse of how the disease rips apart lives and families. If you love someone struggling with addiction, as I do, I pray you'll find hope and strength while reading Callie's story.
Andrea Emmes has signed on to narrate the audio version and the amazing Sabrina Stewart (Executive Producer ofForeseen) has already optioned Ruined Wings for a film adaptation.
Ruined Wings releases December 12, 2016 and is available for preorder in ebook format on Amazon, B&N, Kobo and iBooks. The audio version will be on Audible and iTunes. The book will also be available in hardcover (link coming soon).
For those of you struggling with the intense emotions of loving an addict, I invite you to visit my blog. With the permission of Families in Addiction (Hot Springs, Arkansas) I post each weekly lesson geared toward helping the family members of addicts cope with the overwhelming heartbreak caused by the actions of our addicts.
Part 2 of the series is below, taken from the literature handed out by Families in Addiction (Hot Springs, Arkansas - with their permission).
Just like my addict, I thought I could handle things on my own.
It will break you to the point you can't think straight.
Take a minute, breathe, and realize you are just as addicted as your addict. Your drug of choice is them.
God bless all of you reading this and remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
HOW DO I DO THIS?
Thisisthe#1questionwe allask, followed by:
1.Howdo I getthroughthismess?
2.Howdo I stopenabling?
3.Am I lovingtheaddicttodeath?
4.Howdo I just “WAIT”?
5.Am I alienating myotherchildren orthe restofmyfamily?
do I gotogethelpformyself?
In order to navigate through the landmines of addiction, we have to take massive action to honestly evaluate where we are in this crisis and commit
to strengthen ourselves and our families.
Priority #1 - YOUR
RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD- Facing
addiction requires us to do a complete spiritual inventory. We don't want to
admit our problems any more than our addict does. Addiction is a spiritual
problem both for the addict and those who love the addict. Shifting your focus
from your addict to God will give you the powerful, spiritual connection you
need to strengthen your faith to be able to walk through this time. This is not
a cake walk you're on - it is
a FAITH walk! You will never be the same; life will never be the same. You,
just as your addict, will never get through this
without a strong relationship with God!
Priority #2 - YOUR MARRIAGE AND YOUR SPOUSE- Addiction
wraps its tentacles tightly
around those closest to the addict. Addiction can drive a wedge between husband
and wife like no other problem. If you are
the spouse of an addict
you will need tremendous support to make
wise decisionsthatnotonlyaffectyoubutalsoyourfamily.Seekoutthoseindividualsyou trustforcounselandadvice.Makeyourdecisionsprayerfully. If you are the parents of
an addict most likely one of
you is more of an enabler than
the other parent. Addiction can put you at odds and cause your communication
to go underground. Anger, resentment, bitterness and depression can wreck a
relationship in a short time. Just as we have to take our eyes off our addict
to strengthen our relationship with God, we have to take our eyes off our
addict to save our marriage. From this point forward you must work to
understand one another, accept one another and courageously love one another as
you've just entered a chapter of life no couple ever plans on their weddingday.
andnotbelonging.Addictionisconfusingandsuffocating.Itiscomfortingandinspiringto connectwithotherswhounderstandourpain,heartacheandpowerlessness.Traveling downtheroadofactiveaddictionwithourlovedoneislikewalkingthroughhellbutthere arehundredsofthousandsofpeoplewhoaresufferingjustasweare.
It is importantNOTtoisolateyourselfduringthistraumatictimebutreachoutandaccepthelp fromothersthathavetraveledthispathandunderstandyou,whowilllovinglyencourage youandprayforyou,whowillwalkbesideyoualongtheway.
Priority #4 - TAKE EXTRA GOOD
CARE OF YOU- Anytime
we are given a serious health diagnosis we know life has suddenly changed and
we must follow the doctor's orders in order to recover and get healthy once
again. Where you find yourself at this time is no different. As you may be just
facing the reality of the addiction of your loved one or have been dealing with
it for years, you MUST take extra good care of yourself during this time. Most
of us are accustomed to pushing ourselves in times that require it, not eating properly, not getting enough rest.
Facing the addiction of a loved one will take its toll on your mental, physical
and emotional health. t is
extremely important to pay very close attention to warning signs that your body
gives you. Grief and deep sadness will wear on immunesystem.Theangerandemotionalroller-coastertheaddictcantakeyouoncangive
you signs of stress on your heart and blood pressure. Intense
worry and mind chatter can create insomnia and fatigue making it very hard to do what you have
always able to do before the discovery
of addiction. In whatever HEALTHY way you
can relieve the mental, physical and emotional stress you may be
experiencing give yourself permission to take extragoodcareofyourselfonadaily basis.
Priority #5 - CREATE A NEW NORMAL- At the discovery of addiction normal life as you've known
or hoped for you and your family no longer exists. Denial of the facts about
the addictionofour lovedonecausesustoforceourselvestocontinuelifeasit“wassupposed to be” not face the reality of
how it really is. We become like a caged hamster on a wheel going around and
around unable to call our loved an “addict”, refuse to believe they are lying
to us or we fool ourselves by thinking this is just a phase. Part of recovery
is creating a new normal. The sooner we face the reality of addiction and
accept that this is part of our journey in life, though we did not choose it,
the faster we can begin to create a NEW normal way of life for ourselves and
the other members of our family. We can once again find joy, peace and most of
all a healthy love for ourselves, our addict and other family members.
Addiction isn’t just about the voluminous issues
experienced by the addict. Like ripples in a pond, addictionaffectseverything—and everyone—around the addict. Nothing remains untouched as
the disease, like a virulent plague, destroysrelationships, friendships,employment, childhood,
parenthood and marriages. Don’t believe me? Take a few minutes to read this
staggering piece from CNN.
According to the article (source figures provided by the
CDC from number of deaths from drug poisoning vs. other causes, 1999-2014)
“Drugs now kill more people than cars, guns.
Drugs are the leading
cause of accidental death in this country. Fatal overdoses surpassed shooting
deaths and fatal traffic accidents years ago. For perspective on how fast drug
deaths have risen, Anderson said, consider the sharp rise in heart disease in
the early half of the 20th century. It took about 50 years for the rate of
heart disease to double. It took drug deaths a fraction of that time.”
Scared yet? You should be, because if addiction hasn't touched your life yet, it soon will.
This blog post, and the series to follow, is
dedicated to you—the person who loves an addict, whether a child, spouse,
parent or even close friend—and hopefully the posts will provide helpful advice
on how to deal with loving an addict and
not enabling them.
First and foremost, the hardest thing to do,
at least in my case, was admit publicly my private struggles and sorrows
surrounding the turmoil and drama created by addiction. When writing Night Court and the Rememdium Series, those closest to me knew exactly where I drew inspiration for the
titles: I love an addict. Out of all the family members, I also hold
the title of Queen of the Enablers.
For eight years, I tried to handle things on
my own, naively assuming that providing my addict with love and support would
somehow “pull him out of it.”
Wrong. Dead, wrong.
Things took a serious nosedive during the
summer, forcing me to confront the painful truth: my addict needed help—the kind I’m
unable to provide. My love wasn’t enough to free him from the
stronghold of addiction. Fortunately, God placed a special group of people in
our path and through much prayer, my addict entered rehab.
I fell apart, riddled with guilt, shame and regret.
Nights were spent staring at the ceiling, searching memories, trying to figure
out at exactly what point I failed him. Worry morphed to fear and fear segued
into a few bouts with hysteria.
The same group of wonderful souls who played
an integral role in getting my loved one into rehab started a support group for family
members of addicts, too. They invited me to attend the meetings, which I was
reluctant to at first. I was stubborn, embarrassed and ashamed I couldn’t
handle personal family issues on my own.
I’m so glad I no longer feel that way.
With their permission, I plan on sharing
lessons from each week’s meetings. Some people aren’t ready for a group
setting; some people aren’t able to drive; some people don’t even know there’s
a way to escape the merry-go-round of enabling their addict.
My hope is now they will.
Many thanks to Families in Addiction for all
they’ve done for my family, and may they continue to be a blessing to others
trapped in the intense, dark world of loving an addict. Below is the first lesson from FAMILIES IN ADDICTION ~ A CHRISTIAN SUPPORT GROUP in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Please check back regularly as more will follow during the next several weeks.
Those special relationshipsinwhichapersonisreallyclosetoanaddictareaffectedthemost.Wewhocare themostarecaughtupintheaddict'sbehaviorandwereact.Seeingouraddictoutofhand,we try to control it. We are ashamed and
We try to handle all the chaos in
private. It isn'tlongbeforewefeellikewearetoblameandwetakeonthehurts,thefears,andtheguilt of an addict.
can become ill. All
our thinking becomes
directed at what
the addict is
kill themselves is painful. They don't worry about the bills, the job, the
children, or their health
so the people around them usually begin to worry. We try to fix everything.
This is the root of our anxiety.
Sooner or later the addict's behavior makes
us angry. As we realize the addict is telling lies, using us, and
not taking care of responsibilities, we begin to feel that the addict doesn't love
us. If they did they wouldn't drink or do drugs and they would take care of
their own responsibilities. We accept promises and we trust that each time
they quit, it will be
their last time.
This is the fuel
But the most severe damage to those of us
that love them is that we begin to believe it’s somehow our fault. If wewould
done things differently they wouldn’t be an addict. If we would have raised them better, if we had been
there more for them, had raised them in Church,
had been a better mother, father, sister, brother, friend. We didn't cause it.
These are the voices of guilt.
THE 4 Cs
You didn't cause it.
You can't control it.
You can't cure it.
But you can contribute to it.
When a person has a loved one in addiction they will go through the
Stage 1:Denial ~ In this stage you see signs that something is wrong but think to yourself “my childwouldnever
_________. It’s just a phase, nothing to worry about. Youtellyourselfthat if you ignore it, it will go away
Stage 2: Anger ~ It’s hard to accept that our addict would do this to themselves
and it’seasier to blame ourselves or take it out on someone else - quite often our spouse.We get angry at life circumstances,
ourselves and our addict.
If anger is left unchecked it can turn into resentment which turns intobitterness.
Stage 3: Bargaining or fixing ~ Once we are done being angry about the
situation, we want to fix it. We take the problem on our self and do everything
in our power to get the addict back to normal. We try to force them in to
rehab, to go to meetings, to counseling,etc.
Everything we try doesn't work...it just
makes us more frustrated.
Stage 4: Depression~ When we finally accept the reality that our
loved one is an addict and we realize that there is nothing we can do to fix
it, we feel defeated. Worry, fear and helplessness setin.
Stage 5: Acceptance and Surrender ~ You realize that there is nothing you can do
to change the circumstances. You learn to reach out to others for support. You
don't stop caring, you stop obsessing. At this stage the only place to really
turn to isGod.
There are many challenges in each stage and
they can be hurtful and very hard. It is our belief that when you reach stage "5"
acceptance you can finally take the steps to regaining your life back, which
ultimately helps lead your loved one to the one and only that can heal them.
I've been through the first four stages multiple times. On a few occasions, I've experienced a mixture of two or more together. Through much prayer and support, I hope to experience acceptance and surrender. Just like our addicts, we must concentrate on one day at a time, rejoicing in the forward steps of this long, long journey toward healing.