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November 11, 2019 1:00 am
Here is the extended version of our conversation with Rob and Heather Dolby. They discuss life in recovery and the church’s role in welcoming someone back into the community after treatment.
Series: HEADSPACE/ a series on mental health
I'm Capt. Rob will be with the Salvation Army and I'm here with Heather, my wife Heather SA and together in ministry. We've been surveying and letting in working with people experiencing addiction for a combined 36 years right we look young and fresh you know you know we've been talking about hope but also substances people use substances. That's the reality of addiction without alcohol. Whether that's drugs, toxic relationships, all kinds of things and those are substances, but were also talking about the substantive nature of hope that's not the right word is hope is a substance but there's almost this feeling and when you're journeying with someone who may be as a family member experiencing addiction that does it almost feel irresponsible, Satan will just pray.
God is good to be faithful. You know God is gonna come through me while they're watching this person suffer sometimes on the street.
Horrible circumstances, but at the end of the day when you hear the stories that aren't just made up their lives being transformed often it's this this time where hope comes in and when hope when love comes in shame. You know all these other things are cast away like you said hope is powerful is powerful. Yeah, I remember we were serving in South Carolina and we were overseeing drug and alcohol program in the men's program in women's program and now one of the guys that came to the program and experienced not just sobriety but he had experience with Jesus Christ song he wrote there is no high like them like them right is now high like the most like the hopeful part right because anyone who has experienced addiction some kind. Interestingly enough, this idea of God coming and people have like an experience that all of a sudden like going from your addiction being something you enjoy using and getting high like that first it's a thrill. But over time if were going to be honest, we become slaves to that and it's a life that leads us increasingly into darkness or disillusionment or depression and people feel like their lives are slipping away and they become more desperate and that this idea of there's no high like the most high is that he the God that created us light can set us free from that slavery and all the sudden we find ourselves found by him and life feels fresh and new, and so people can say you know what of any high felts. Lila's and my addiction that high quickly became a low because as a slave to it and isolate my family and my friends my own kids like we had people share with us that they got the plates were there like selling their kids Christmas gifts. You know, just yell for adult and that like people do that in the even as they're doing it there hating themselves for doing it, but they can't seem to stop.
So to be able to break free from that into something completely fresh and new. That is hope supernatural elves, even in recovery. People talk about the pink cloud road which the they refer to the pink cloud is what you know your your first three weeks, your you're going to feel really good.
But just wait, you know, until it all wears off from reality kinda kicks in, right, which is then it's gonna be hard and then it's going to require a lot of work which listen recovery, even discipleship is not easy like the requires discipline. It requires accountability things that your flesh naturally doesn't want to just do say but you know often is practitioners and mission. We get to say to people there's one thing we can promise you if there's one thing I can promise you it's that not only are you love but you have an inherent worth because your child of God, you have hope that goes beyond the grave.
Psalm 68 says that God takes the lonely and he sets them in the middle of the family well and I love that that's totally my story. I know that's your story to and because that was our experience that we went from being on the outside of like life and family and acceptance and spiritual connection.
Somebody chose to open the door to us like so wedded here you press the buzzer at detox and somebody let's you and not begin until her with me somebody invites me to their home and she shares their table and I become part of their family.
Somebody invites us into that and I think you really have a hard time understanding the fullness of what it is to be a child of God unless you understand the family of God, because God the father and I'm his daughter. But I've also got brothers and sisters like all around the world who were all in this thing together and so this idea of spiritual community or like what we like to call Jesus family is everything, because as someone mentioned earlier today like God reveals himself through believers, as we are obedience to the moving of his Holy Spirit right even some of the church movements were seen today were society of the OpenTable right to be an additional to allow people to come in and be a part of the family of God, maybe even some people call it messy church, you know, just get together with people even if they don't have it all together and find a way to to make connections and share our testimony, share our Jesus story sure the word of God with people in those tangible ways. I mean a meal around the table was a beautiful gift and the Salvation Army. We often work with people in a shelter and you know how often is that you at Christmas time or things even given someone a hug, you know, and the responses was, but it's been a long time. I can't remember the last time someone touched me in a way that was loving. That's right. The real thing. We think it's rocket science, but it's really just making the choice to live life together and so this idea spiritual community, especially in recovery you refer to it already. It's hard work right. It's not how work is God is difficult and far away. And you know he's like reclusive. It's hard work because God's Lake for me acknowledging what I really like and the deep desires and lines of my hardened and believing and dreaming that God could have something different for me than what I've always known that's a lot of inner work to do and so whether it's recovery, conversation, recovery community or just spiritual growth and development and as a church community or a spiritual fellowship a lot of internal work that I can't deal on my own is interesting when you think about addiction people struggling on the journey of recovery, wherever the red sometimes and in the church we can come to think well you know were not psychiatrists were not drug and alcohol counselors were were not professionals were not mental health workers say think sometimes we can fall into this place of fear will relabel so we can just basically, you know, make recommendations to people and maybe referrals right but then we don't really realize the richest of what what is it that the church community brings the table and of course we want to be responsible and therefore not trained clinicians, we probably shouldn't be giving psychological advice we get that, but we do have something to add visit a church community to come around people we should do so being making the choice as an individual in my own self, but also as part of a church to me to say where to be a safe place for people to just show up and be who they really are so that there had to be like me and pretend for eight years out of fear. You know, even just from choosing to remember someone's name so that next time you see the need to berate yeah I love talking last week, everyday society, remembering somebody's name. I mean, it's polite, but when somebody remembers your name because they think you're worth knowing.
But maybe even your own family will talk to you that he's huge and that again is not rocket science, and you don't have to be fancy and learned to remember someone's name.
You just have to be intentional then we get into this place where you know community sometimes in these beautiful examples comes around support someone invest in someone in your making an investment. You know, that looks like a church coming around someone helping them.
Maybe just some practical thing then also maybe there you know getting a job staying clean and sober. Sometimes people don't always get it right the first time that the two so sometimes what happens then with this communities come around a person invested. You know you you become invested in that person with that person in the community and then all of a sudden I what happens. One day they stop showing up or you know something happens and there's a relapse. That's a really good point. So there are a lot of amazing people and the United States. You and I both agree, especially living in the South where we spent the last 10 years Americans really love being good neighbors and they love this idea of neighbors helping neighbors, whether that's a cup of sugar or whatever the case may be, but when that generosity you lavished on family and meter person in need, with the expectation it can lead to a certain outcome and that person's life, but if you give somebody money you give somebody a car you help them with the hotel room or whatever that thing is because it's what they say they needed, but then they still make the same all terrible choices and end up in the same all terrible places often people who are helping you have a heart to help can become easily frustrated can become disillusioned and like to say will forget you then and it's a difficult thing to navigate right because we have to ask ourselves how my going to measure success.
How do I know if I'm doing the right thing and I you know you and I been through a lot with helping people. We learned a lot of lessons we learned a lot from how people helped us in our story, but I believe I never go wrong when I'm trying to please the Lord.
So I believe that the Lord moves in my heart and leads me elites on my community or my family to help someone in a certain way, then I feel comfortable doing that even if that's not the time the person has their aha moment and everything changes for them because I remembered touch points along the way. In my journey and I know you have some in yours where somebody did something that was extravagantly loving or extravagantly generous that that touched us deeply, but it wasn't I changing moment. It wasn't like that spiritual breakthrough, but it contributed to that day that would come.
So God uses everything, even if it doesn't happen the way I wanted when I wanted. I like what you said and you know you bring more people into the circle trusted people and that's a good place to be the pastor of the trust you know of a small group leader to really trust you justify one person essay just so you know I just need you to pray for me to pray for my son. There's a lot going on and just start there because it's not something that one person can handle is not something that you can fix for somebody