My son has been trying to give up his thumb for a long time now. Before Kindergarten last year, he decided he was going to give it up…the bribe was right~ he could have Bowser’s Inside Story DS game if he gave it up. He did it. It was hard, but he would come cuddle with us when he felt like sucking his thumb, do other things to distract himself and before we knew it, we were buying him a game.

Then he had a really scary episode with asthma. It involved nearly passing out on the bathroom floor, an ambulance ride and an ER visit. On the ride home, he sucked his thumb. And we let him!

Since then he has struggled again with letting it go. He thinks he can’t stop one day and the next, he’ll find something that he thinks will help him get over it. On Monday, he bought a stuffed Luigi and said he thought it was going to help him stop sucking his thumb.

I don’t understand it. I’ve tried sucking my thumb and I have no desire to do it again. It doesn’t appeal to me.

It isn’t my addiction.

It might seem silly to use a thumb sucking boy as an example for the addictions that are hard to break. But the point is valid~ we all have those things that we struggle to give up. And we don’t understand other people’s addictions when they are not our own. Many times, I’ve heard people criticize others for the habits they can’t break. They don’t understand how someone can be an alcoholic or use drugs or why can’t they just stop smoking or eating or fill-in-the-blank?!…but they have their own addictions…ones that can be kept secret or that fall in the “Acceptable” category.

I have friends who have struggled with every sort of addiction and they want to be free of it. Other friends aren’t ready and may never be, but they’re addicted just the same. It can be hard to be the observer at times. You want to just shake them out of their mess or talk them into doing the right thing. But it isn’t up to me. All I can do is love them and care for them. Talk straight? Yes. Be there for them? Absolutely. Pray? Oh, without question, yes. But ultimately, I cannot fix them.

I didn’t know Amy Winehouse personally, but her story hits so close to home for me. I have a brother who was addicted to heavy drugs for many years and felt like any day we could get a phone call saying he was gone. It has shaken me up to hear some making comments about Amy, such as, “She should have said, ‘Yes, yes, yes!'” referring to her Rehab song and then laugh, as if it’s all a big joke. She lost her fight. She has a family who is crushed and brokenhearted.

I’ve seen videos of her from a long time ago and she was such a beautiful girl. Her voice was exceptional and unique and she had a sarcastic, quirky sense of humor. I am so sad that drugs took over her life. It feels like she was sort of thrown away once her drug use became openly rampant. People didn’t take her seriously and she became the brunt of a lot of late-night television jokes.

I wonder what we all could have done differently to help her.

For my friend who is especially struggling right now with a painful addiction, I will never give up fighting for you. Never. I may not know what to do to help, but I will always pray, always listen, always love. I pray for wisdom, deliverance, and peace to those struggling and not knowing how to get out of that destructive behavior. God will deliver. He will set free. All at once and one day at a time…the cycle can be broken.

As for my thumb-sucking little man, we’re proud of every baby step…every day he goes without sucking his thumb is progress. Every time he says he’s quitting, we support and believe in him. And when he fails again, we try to understand and get him through it. That’s all I know to do.

The cool thing is~ my Father in heaven loves me that very same way…only more.


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12 Responses to “Struggling with Addiction”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Lisa Sutterfield-Martin
    Well said Lori!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Coree Noble Raedel
    This was our conversation last night, you have summed it up fantasticly.

  3. I learned one of my greatest life lessons from Eric, a recovering or not so recovering heroin addict. He was a friend who every day was trying to overcome. But, on a regular basis he would show up at our home, obviously looking for money for another hit. I’d immediately feel disappointed, want to shut him out and give up on him. God quietly whispered to me, “This is the 70 x’s 7 I was talking about. This isn’t about you Kristin, it’s about Eric and his struggle.” From that day on, I continued to welcome Eric into my home…extending grace that has been so freely given to me.

  4. savita says:

    love the way you think and love! beautifully written! So agree with you and with lovefeast table.

  5. Cate says:

    This is so beautifully said, Lori. You had me in tears!

  6. Teresa says:

    I agree. Very well written and great perspective.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Rick Barron
    Man, are you stinkin’ talented Lori.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Maiya Gossan Lynn
    How awesome! You are SO right! Very good! And good luck to Indigo…I’m sure he won’t go to college sucking his thumb. 🙂

  9. Anonymous says:

    Pamela Anitzberger Khoury
    How true!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Doug Phillips
    Thank you

  11. Tami says:

    Beautiful!! I, too, wonder if “we” could do things differently to change the way Hollywood lives. How well would we cope if our life was aired that way? I know they “choose” that, but still?? I’m always saddened by destruction whether “real life” or “Hollywood” because they are someone’s daughter, sister, wife, friend. Re Indigo…as someone told us as Abigail was trying to beat the binkie addiction…”you don’t see kids graduating with binkies!” 🙂

  12. Michelle says:

    I’ve been so sad about Amy, too. It’s the same way I felt when Heath Ledger died. It’s so awful when a young, bright, talented person falls into addiction and pays the ultimate price. I had an uncle whose life was absolutely destroyed by this and I think a lot of people don’t understand the power addiction has over a person. It’s not a switch you can flip on and off. It’s something that grips you and doesn’t let go.

    I understand the thumb, too. Chloe is turning seven and still does it when she’s watching TV or sleeping. She swore up and down she’d give it up about three years ago. Lucky for us, her dentist sucked her thumb until she was nine and doesn’t seem to think it’s a major issue! She said she remembers doing it one day after school and it suddenly didn’t seem so appealing. I’m hoping that day is coming up soon.

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