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I Should Be An Alcoholic

There’s nothing more daring than showing up, putting ourselves out there and letting ourselves be seen. -Brene Brown

I should be an alcoholic.

Just as much as I was born with American Indian blood flowing through my veins, I was also born with a heritage of substance abuse.

I never met my paternal grandfather. He died in a car accident brought on by substances. My father began his journey with substances soon after his dad died (he was 8) My younger brother began experimenting with substances in high school. My youngest sister innocently entered the world of pills to help her sleep. She would tell you today that the price is high to numb your pain. And I have addictions of my own, maybe less subtle, displayed in performance and perfectionism, but addictions just the same.

All of us are affected by addiction. Whether it’s our own or someone else’s.

In our dependency or in our codependency we are all in need.

“We” are no different than “them”.

I’m a part of a family that’s in recovery. I’ve heard it said and believe it to be true that our most powerful teaching moments occur when we screw up. Because of this, I feel confident that I have a deep well to draw from here.

I started reading book called “Hope & Help for the Addicted” by Jeff VanVonderen.

(I also started going to counseling. I’m learning to tell my imperfect story without apologizing and I needed some support in this.)

What I’m reading is so helpful as it relates to family ministry. I think it’s good to know how family systems are affected when a person struggles with addiction. It takes a great deal of courage to recognize these things in ourselves and in others. I hope that you’ll be courageous today as you read this list and you’ll continue to look for ways to help families recover.

Notes from Jeff:

  • Just as the chemically dependent person is powerless to will himself/ herself out of use of chemicals to which they are addicted, so too is the codependent person powerless to change the chemically dependent person to whom he or she is addicted.
  • Families get well one person at a time.
  • The best way to confront the dysfunctional system of which you are a member is to BECOME AND STAY FUNCTIONAL.
  • Saying there is a problem when there is one does not cause the problem; it only EXPOSES it.
  • It’s OK to stop supporting things on the outside that you do not support on the inside. THIS IS BEING HONEST.
  • Recovery is a process in the same way that becoming dysfunctional is a process.
  • Codependent people are not so because of the chemically dependent person. They are codependent because in their attempts to help the dependent person, they have neglected their own health and have become dependent on the dependent person as their source of well-being.
  • Family members may be in more pain than the dependent person simply because they do not have chemical use to numb it.
  • The most significant underlying issue in codependency is shame.
  • A grace-full, accepting, redemptive environment is most conducive to recovery from codependency.

Think about our position in the church, we have the hope and the resources to lead people to whole-hearted living. We can offer grace-full/ shameless places of acceptance and redemption through Jesus Christ. Everything he ever said or did was good and right and on purpose to rescue our hearts. We have the most conducive environment for recovery in the vulnerable lives we share together in the church.

Who’s ready to put yourself out there? You have an environment that’s prime for recovery–let’s step into it, as vulnerable as it is, and pass out hope like it’s raining down in buckets (because it is).


by Brooklyn Lindsey

Brooklyn loves being in the trenches as a youth pastor. For the last seven years, she's served at Highland Park Church of the Nazarene in Lakeland Florida. That's why her Instagram pictures are just so ridiculously awesome. Being surrounded by oceans and a magical place where dream comes true, she can't complain. Brooklyn is a minister, a communicator, and likes to read and write. Her books include: The Kingdom Experiment, Confessions Of A Not-So-Supermodel, Sacred Life, To Save A Life: Devo2Go, Opposite Day, A Parents Guide to Understanding Your Teenage Daughter, and 99 Thoughts for Junior Highers. She is also the co-pastor of a Saturday evening missional community with her husband Coy Lindsey, also at Highland Park. They have two daughters (1st grade and pre-school). There are not pets in the house. But they do have a dog named Chip (who is actually any lizard that they see outside). Preferred mode of transportation: a fixed up beach cruiser. Her favorite snack lately: Sasquatch Big Steak (Teriyaki Beef Jerky) and Frozen Hot Chocolate.

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3 thoughts on “I Should Be An Alcoholic

  1. Thanks for your honesty and transparency. Excellent article.

  2. Dan Klassen

    Brooklyn is someone I admire. Performance and perfectionism are addictive. As a recovering Pharisee, I will add that it is easy when you are motivated by what is achievable and visible, it is easy to judge others who are less driven or appear less competent. It is hard to distinguish between what is appropriate judgement, and what is harmful judgement, just as at other times its hard to distinguish between compassion and enabling. As I look through the list above, it reminds me of God’s words about speaking the truth in love. Looks like a good grasp of each of those – truth and love – will find them to be the same. Thanks for the insight and vulnerability Brooklyn 🙂

  3. Thanks for your encouragement guys. Really great to be on this journey with so many who love Jesus and each other so openly.

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I Should Be An Alcoholic

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