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Being Strong and Courageous in the Midst of a Loved One's Addiction

By Barb Roose

Brave Women Series - Barb's Story


It’s not fair that I have to be here…


I shoved my hands into my front pants pockets and dropped my chin as I walked into the small, crowded room. While I’m almost six feet tall, my goal was to shrink myself as small and invisible as possible. I didn’t want anyone to recognize me or see my tear-reddened eyes or the deep lines of worry creasing my forehead.


I only entered that room because I was desperate enough to hope that someone had the answers that I needed to save my alcohol-addicted loved one. I planned to stay long enough to find the magic key to fixing someone who couldn’t stop drinking and whose choices had thrown our family into chaos. I’d been praying for God to help, but so far, it felt like my prayers hadn’t been answered, so I set off in search of my own solution.


 

"I’d been praying for God to help, but so far, it felt like my prayers hadn’t been answered, so I set off in search of my own solution."

 

As soon as I sat down on a cushy chair in that uncomfortable space, I ventured a look up. My eyes immediately connected with a man and woman across from me. There was a look of recognition in their eyes, and they smiled. I realized that they attended my church. I quickly dropped my head again. This time, to hide the heat of shame blooming on my face.


I was embarrassed to be seen and known in a room even though everyone was there because they had loved ones suffering from addiction. For some reason, I felt like I’d failed because I had to walk into that room. I was so miserable that I mumbled some excuse to the person next to me and left before the gathering was over.


For five years, I didn’t go back to another meeting. Instead, I suffered on the rollercoaster of fear while failing to control the addiction situation. It was awful.


One morning after Christmas 2015, I begged God for a lifeline. I can’t keep going on like this God. Help me. The idea of the family addiction recovery group came to mind. Immediately, an ‘oh no’ rose up within me. What if someone sees me there again?


But this time, I was in too much pain to listen to that thought. On the first Saturday in January 2016, I got into my car. Shame, Embarrassment, Anger and Grief rode along with me to the neighborhood support group. This time, I forced my feet to propel me toward the front door with an attitude that I can only describe as a desperate courage. Barb, you need help. So, you’ve got to stop caring what other people may think.


 

"I forced my feet to propel me toward the front door with an attitude that I can only describe as a desperate courage. Barb, you need help. So, you’ve got to stop caring what other people may think."

 

Once inside, I grabbed a paper pamphlet titled, “Is Your Loved One an Alcoholic?” I pretended to be engrossed in the words so that no one would talk to me or notice as I quietly wiped away the tears before the meeting began.


Even as I perched on my seat, fighting off the deep desire to run screaming out of that room, I forced myself to stay. This time, I listened to kindred spirit’s stories of experience, strength and hope in the face of another person’s alcohol addiction. My tears kept falling, but this time, some tears were from sheer relief. Finally. God sent me to people who finally understood what I’d been going through. God knew that I needed an understanding community of compassion, wisdom and listening. As I wiped my nose, someone pressed a tissue into my hand and whispered, “We’re glad that you’re here. Keep coming back, okay.”


 

"God sent me to people who finally understood what I’d been going through. God knew that I needed an understanding community of compassion, wisdom and listening."

 

So, I went back the next week. Even though they didn’t have the answers to fix the alcoholic in my family, the people in that room were God’s answer to my prayer for help and hope. I found the courage to change. There were habits and behaviors that God needed to fix in me, and I found the courage to let Him. My life started to get better because I got better.


 

"There were habits and behaviors that God needed to fix in me, and I found the courage to let Him. My life started to get better because I got better."

 

I stopped questioning how I would get through the day. I stopped surviving and began thriving again. Hope bloomed. That courage made me brave enough to believe God’s promises even as our family situation worsened. I had the courage to forgive, even though my loved one wasn’t sorry. Hope gave birth to joy in my life.


Even on the hard days, I knew that I could cry and carry my sword because I was never fighting alone. Just as God told Joshua long ago to be strong and courageous because God was with him, I knew that verse applied to me, too.


 

"Even on the hard days, I knew that I could cry and carry my sword because I was never fighting alone."

 

On the other side of our family’s long ordeal, while we did not experience a happy ending, I made it to the other side with precious gifts from God Himself. These are gifts that I still treasure today. In fact, I wouldn’t change a thing about my story.


 

"On the other side of our family’s long ordeal, while we did not experience a happy ending, I made it to the other side with precious gifts from God Himself."

 

God gave me what I needed so that I could find the courage to face what I couldn’t handle on my own. Today, I stand stronger and more courageous than I would have been if I hadn’t had this experience.


 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story. And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


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About Barb


Barb Roose is a popular speaker and author who is passionate about teaching women to live beautifully strong and courageous so that they experience God’s great adventure of faith and purpose for their lives. Since 2005, Barb has been speaking to audiences in the US and abroad at women’s conferences and events, including national platforms

like the Aspire Women’s Events, She Speaks Conference and the UMC Leadership Institute.


Barb is a Bible teacher who loves following God more than anything else in life. She’s a real woman who has experienced God’s power and presence during battles with

depression and anxiety, parenting challenges and family addiction trauma. Rather than teaching audiences to follow God to get what they want, Barb inspires audiences to discover that God is all that they truly need!


Readers love Barb’s authenticity, humor, spiritual depth and game-changing practical tools and techniques to apply God’s Truth to their everyday life.


She is the author of multiple Bible studies such as Finding Jesus is the Psalms

(Abingdon Press, Jan 2023) Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ, Surrendered:

Letting Go and Living Like Jesus, I’m Waiting, God: Finding Blessing in God’s

Delays, Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle and Beautiful Already: Reclaiming God’s

Perspective on Beauty. She’s also the author of multiple books like Surrendered: 40 Devotions to Help You Let Go and Live Like Jesus, Winning the Worry Battle

and Enough Already: Winning Your Ugly Struggle with Beauty.


Barb serves on the monthly writing teams for (in)courage and Girlfriends in God as well as past features in Just Between Us, Proverbs 31 First Five, Women of Faith and

others. She serves her audience through a weekly Happy Monday Devotional and hosts the Better Together podcast.


Barb lives in NW Ohio and is proud mother of three adult children. Whenever possible, Barb prefers to eat dessert first. Connect with her on her website barbroose.com, as well as Instagram and Facebook.

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