21 Dec, 2020 The Pain of Addiction and Death Continued
by Angie Camp
Tragedy strikes, again…
Frank’s stronghold of addiction had escalated. The cycle returned. He tried rehab, but his meager efforts were fruitless. Because of the potential danger, we faced with Frank’s behaviors of addiction continued, I filed for separation…
The consequences of Frank’s sinful choices and Bryant’s foolish decision seemed endless. Major financial problems resulted in the loss of our vehicles and home. God’s provision of a home relocated us to a different town and schools. My younger children had to be placed in daycare, so I could re-enter the workforce.
After an almost year-long battle in court, my marriage ended in divorce. Six weeks later, Frank died of heart failure because of addiction. He was only thirty-nine years old. Breaking the news to my boys was the most difficult and cruel thing I’ve ever had to do.
The battles continued.
Bryant was wheelchair-bound for two years before he could be fitted with a prosthesis. The grafted burns and incessant phantom pains made pain management necessary. His injuries also required regular trips back to The Med for wound care. Staph infections were reoccurring. He was usually hospitalized and given massive doses of antibiotics through an IV. At times, it seemed his cycle of care would never end.
Eventually, Bryant’s pain levels decreased, therefore, so did his medication, ending his emotional numbness. This forced him to deal with our tragic reality. The pain of addiction hit home, once again.
Bryant’s battle of addiction continued and kept us on an emotional rollercoaster. In 2012, HE lay in a coma for three days, following an accidental overdose. Again, God rescued him. He was caught up in a vicious cycle of wellness, relapse, rehab, repeat. The day of surrender finally came and brighter days were on the horizon.
Rays of sunshine through the storm clouds.
Just months into the book-writing process of my Christian fiction novel, Bryant entered a program at a place called Transformation Ranch. This faith-based facility was birthed out of our family’s pain. One of Frank’s best friends, David, who walked alongside Frank in his addiction and preached his funeral, was given a vision for it. Bryant finished the program strong and served as a counselor there for seven months. God had also blessed him with a precious, godly young woman. Their affection for Jesus and each other made for a relationship worthy of matrimony.
My book was published in March of 2016. Bryant and I had book-signings and speaking engagements, sharing our story. He also preached his first sermon. It was powerful! It seemed we had turned the corner and Bryant’s life of addiction continued was a thing of the past. But the darkness soon returned with a vengeance and my faith was tested like never before.
Facing the most crucial crossroad of my life.
July 8, 2016, I received a frantic phone call. Bryant was found unresponsive and 911 had been called. When I arrived, an EMT and several police officers, as well as Bryant’s girlfriend, his roommate, and a few neighbors were on the premises. Immediately, I began battling in prayer. A police officer began asking me questions. I became irritated. I just wanted to get Bryant to the hospital. Another officer began rolling out the “yellow tape.” I knew what that meant, but my mind couldn’t grasp it. Confused, I questioned why they weren’t getting Bryant to the hospital. The officer just blurted out, “No ma’am, he’s gone.”
Immediately, heavy darkness pressed down over me. I could hear the enemy of my soul laughing at me. I began to lament, “We were supposed to win,” over and over again. Suddenly, something deep down in my gut rose up. I began to declare, out loud, “No! No! I will not cower to this! I’m choosing joy! You’re a good, good God! I’m going to praise You, no matter what! I will never stop praising You!” The spiritual warfare was intense. I have no doubt, in that valley of decision, the Holy Spirit arose inside of me that day.
I later learned that the guilt and condemnation from the forgiven past had returned to haunt him. The addiction continued to claim him as a victim. God had rescued him many times, but this time, He did it differently. I know most view his death as a consequence…and it was. But at the same time, I know that our God is sovereign. Bryant lived in pain every day and faced battles I could never understand. I trust that God was merciful.
I’m choosing joy.
Bryant’s homegoing service was such a celebration! I worshipped at my son’s funeral, as I stood just above his casket, singing, “You’re a good, good Father. It’s who You are.” What a way to throat-punch the devil, huh? Oh, the stories of His glory I could tell of that day!
Losing my son has increased my grief, greatly, but has positioned me to experience God’s love at such a deeper level. It’s only in the darkest places a child of God can experience the richest treasures He has to offer. He really is near to the broken-hearted. I have peace because I know where Bryant is and that our separation is temporary.
Stay tuned for part 3…
Angie Camp is an author, speaker, and Christian Counselor. Aside from being a Mother and Grandmother “Peaches,” her primary focus is walking with women and girls along their journey from brokenness to healing, reminding them that the goal is not merely to survive, but to soar.
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