Guest Blogger: Robin Patchen
They say write what you know. There are some things I’d rather not know, even if they lead to good stories. This is one of those things.
I have three children. The oldest, Nick, was my easiest to raise. He was compliant, helpful, and eager to please. And then he turned sixteen.
And started smoking pot.
Nick quickly graduated from marijuana to harder drugs. That school year was filled with one battle after another. And then in June, Nick met the Lord. Overnight, he quit using drugs and threw himself into working at the church. The transformation was amazing, and his Dad and I marveled at what God had done in his life.
And then, in April of his junior year, Nick decided he’d just smoke pot one more time.
That was the big lie.
By that summer, he’d become a full-blown addict. In August, his father and I gave him an ultimatum. We told him that if he wanted to live in our house, he couldn’t use drugs. My 18-year-old son set his phone and his car keys on the counter and walked out.
For six days, he lived in a tent, barely ate, never showered. But a friend of his convinced him to come home. He did, went to rehab, and we breathed a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, just over a month after he got there, he left rehab. He relapsed immediately and moved out of the house again.
Through it all, my life was walking, talking, eating, sleeping, and breathing prayers. Constant prayers, usually accompanied by tears and outbursts and recited Scriptures. God was so very gentle with me as I ranted and begged Him to intervene.
Throughout the journey, we learned about addiction, about the millions of Americans who suffer with substance abuse, about how the problem is growing every year, and about how so many people get lost in addiction and never get found again.
There was nothing we could do but pray.
God was so merciful. Nick came home on Thanksgiving morning two years ago. He told us he couldn’t live like that anymore. When I told him how many people had been praying for him, he said, “I know. God never left me alone.”
This November marks two years since Nick quit using. It wasn’t easy. He had to go back to rehab, then spend months in sober living homes. But today, he’s free and serving as a missionary with Youth with a Mission, telling the world about Jesus, the Savior who rescued him and made him new.
Right after Nick agreed to go to rehab the first time, his father took him to his folks’ house in New Hampshire for a week to get him away from home until a bed became available in rehab. That week was a turning point in their relationship, and it sparked an idea for me—a father, a son, and an addiction. That idea became Generous Lies, the third book in the Hidden Truth series.
When you read the book, you’ll notice it’s dedicated to Nick. When I say I couldn’t be prouder, I mean it. The journey he’s traveled, the things he’s overcome—let’s just say a lot of adults couldn’t have handled it, and he did it all at 18 years old.
Do you have a similar story? I’m amazed at how many of us do. If you’re walking through something like this right now, please reach out for help. We were so blessed by the people who came alongside us, offered us advice, and walked us through this difficult time. You can find them at organizations like Al-Anon and Celebrate Recovery. If you just want someone to pray with you, reach out to me. I would be honored.
This is not a story I would have chosen to live, but my whole family is stronger as a result of it, especially Nick, whose testimony has already touched so many lives. On the Promised Land side of that terrible story, I can’t despise those months in the desert. God knew exactly what he was doing.
If you haven’t yet, pick up your copy of Generous Lies. The story is completely fabricated, of course, but the heart of it comes straight from our lives. I’ve already heard from so many readers who’ve been touched by it. Maybe it’ll speak to you, too.
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About the Author:
Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Patchen to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.
Connect with Robin through her: website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.