by Jean-Paul Thorne, Educational Director
It was early evening Christmas Eve, 1999. The tree was lit up. There was food and drink aplenty. he house was full of family, some having come from as far as Guatemala to join us. My parents, my brother and his family from North Carolina, and my uncle and grandmother from Central America. Outside, it was wintery cold and snowy. Inside, warm and festive. And in the middle of it all, I walked out into the cold to the ATM, where 400 dollars had just become available, and went downtown to buy crack cocaine. I stayed out there for the next three days.
The holidays can be a stressful time on its own, and even more so when a loved one is the midst of addiction during this time of giving, closeness, and celebration. I never want to put my family through that again. It took a long time to get there. It didn’t have to be that way. Help is available — now. If you are addicted, maybe the best gift you can give your family is the peace of knowing that you are okay and getting better by seeking a place of help and recovery. Maybe Youth Challenge? Just get help.
Families, I know it is difficult.But you can make it through this. Focus on what is important. And pray. Take joy in the small moments, And pray. Love to the best of your ability. And pray. I make no platitude in saying that God is moving. You and your loved one will overcome.
So, I speak here to the family first: Don’t give up. There is hope! Christmas miracles can come in many forms, where and when you least expect them. Then to the addict (if your listening): come home! Now can be that time. I have been gifted many Christmases with loved ones since that Christmas in 1999. You may not get another chance. Take this one. Now is the time. May the love and presence of God and Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation and freedom be the best gift you receive this Christmas.