Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chains

Well, school has started, Sarah’s gone to the Dominican Republic. Ian, Claire and Lydia’s soccer has started with Bob coaching Lydia’s team which has her friend, Brooke on it. Ian also decided to do cross-country at Peach County High. Claire started piano with a great teacher I found through a friend. Lydia and I went to sell cookie dough a couple of weeks ago for her school and found a great, also Christian guitar player who will give Ian and Lydia lessons on Mondays (they don’t have school on Mondays in Peach County) Needless to say I haven’t had much time to blog!

I have been writing, though, about my brother’s and addictions (theirs, mine, ours). It’s called, “Chains” and I’d like to share that with you. I think I can probably add to this (blog) once a month, we will see…

Here is my speech for 5th graders in the C.H.A.M.P.S.(Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety) program.It is similar to the DARE program. Officer Lundy wants me to come and share this with them in a couple weeks! I can’t wait (but I am also nervous- pray for me- this is a long speech and I want to memorize it mostly)



CHAINS

I want to talk to you today about addiction. Do you know what that means? Addiction is being abnormally dependent on something that is mentally or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs)
When you are addicted to a substance or maybe something you do all the time, it means you have an abnormally strong craving for that substance or behavior.

At the HBO Addiction Project site it says that over 23 million Americans suffer from some sort of addiction…

You can be addicted to a lot of things…good or bad…My father-in-law was addicted to alcohol for many years, now he’s not had a drink for over 34 years, but you could not get him to give up his coffee, daily work-out or books…he’s exchanged bad habits which caused him to become addicted for good habits that free him. I’ve been addicted to many things; I couldn’t lose my extra “baby-weight” for years because I was addicted to sweets! It wasn’t until 2007- 2008 after my doctor really got on my case and said I was going to be diabetic that I finally started to slowly lose the weight…I lost 40lbs. But, you know what? The holidays came and we were driving down to Fla. to see my husband Bob’s family and there was a Russell Stover’s Candy Outlet! Do you like chocolate? I love chocolate! All this chocolate and so cheap! I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! Well, I gained back 10 lbs, at least I didn’t gain it all back and the next Spring and Summer came, I lost it again, but then when the holidays came, it came back again. So now I’m on this yo-yo thing- when I give up some sugar- I can lose the weight- but when I start on it again, I’ll gain it back…This is a merry-go round I want to get off!




I have a cat named Po, after the Kung Foo Panda and Po was addicted to the canned cat food I gave him every day, he’d wait at the door for me to come feed it to him, then he’d dig in and not let any of my other cats have any! Then, he got very fat! Just like the Kung Foo Panda! I took him to the vet because I thought he had worms, his little tummy was so bloated. The vet said, he did not have worms but that I should wean him (gradually) off the wet food----boy was that a hard thing to do! I’d shut him in the basement, as soon as I opened the door he’d bolt out, so I had to shut him in the basement bathroom. He did eventually slim down and I started letting him have the canned food again. But guess who’s always jumping up on the box by the door, looking in the window? Jumping on my car when I come into the garage, as if demanding his wet food? You guessed it- Po!

Paul, the apostle said in the Bible “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12

Have you heard of Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash or Marilyn Monroe? What do they all have in common?
They were all addicted…

I Googled “famous people who died from drugs or alcohol”
There are many lists like this and you can try, if you are allowed on the computer to google them yourself. On Wikipedia there was a list so long….20 people and that was just those whose last name started with an A! And these are just the famous, how many more just “average” people die from drugs and alcohol everyday!?







Judy Garlan (PICTURED) 1922–1969 from “The Wizard of Oz” 47 years old

Jimi Hendrix 1942–1970 famous guitarist & musician- 28 years old!

Michael Jackson 1958–2009 50 years old

Janis Joplin 1943–1970 Musician -Heroin overdose. ONLY 27 years old!




Heath Ledger (PICTURED) 1979–2008 Actor in “The Dark Night”, “A Knight’s Tale”, “Ten Things I Hate About You” ETC 28 years old!























Norma Mortenson, aka Marilyn Monroe (PICTURED) 1926–1962 Actress "probable suicide" 36 years old!! Why was this famous woman who seemed to have “everything” so sad?
I have feelings too. I am still human. All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent. Marilyn Monroe
The thing I want more than anything else? I want to have children. I used to feel for every child I had, I would adopt another. Marilyn Monroe
She also said being who she was, was a heavy load to carry, especially when one is “tired, hurt and bewildered.”




Elvis Presley (PICTURED)- Prescription drug abuse severely compromised his health, and he died suddenly in 1977 at the age of 42.

River Phoenix 1970–1993 Actor Heroin and cocaine overdose. He was the oldest sibling of actors Rain Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix Liberty Phoenix and Summer Phoenix.
River Phoenix's brother Joaquin Phoenix (he's still alive)played Johnny Cash in the movie "Walk the Line".








Well here’s three people I bet you haven’t heard of: Paul Hewitt, Tim Hewitt and Mark Hewitt - they are my brothers….They all died as a result of their different/various addictions.


Paul with Mom when he had Hodgkins Disease (cancer of the lymph nodes) 1982



My brother, Paul was a very outgoing and fun loving. He was a successful business-man and once worked for Georgia Fronteiere who owned the Los Angeles Rams. He got into trouble because of an addiction he had and he went to jail, then to prison. He died of a heart attack in prison in 2002. He was just 45… …







Tim holding Teddy- 1990






















Tim was my oldest brother.There were seven of us and I am the youngest. Tim knew all about trees and all kinds of plants, he was so smart he was put ahead in school. But it’s not what you have, what “gift” you’ve been given, but it’s what you do with the “gift” God gives you! Jesus tells a story about this called, “The Parable of the Talents” (Matthew 25). Tim had a landscaping business. He loved motorcycles. He started on drugs very young, as a teen, and got in trouble at school for selling them. He went through various periods, some when he seemed to be doing really well. I think he tried/wanted to get off drugs. But the chains had him bound. My Mom and Dad met a friend of his, who gave them his card…it said “Sobriety isn’t for Sissy’s” Sobriety is not drinking, his friend was, no doubt involved in Alcoholics Anonymous or perhaps Narcotics Anonymous - where Tim had gone on occasion. I believe he was “reaching out” for help…but it was too late for Tim. He died the day after my birthday in 2005 from heroine addiction, he was 53. It was too late for Tim but it’s not too late for you guys.


Mark and his girlfriend, Linda (early 70s)



















Now let me tell you about my brother, Mark: I have five brothers! They are all very different! Mark loved to read. He wasn’t “into” dogs, cats and other animals like Paul and Tim who always had a few pets. He was a quiet man. This earned him the nick-name, “Undercover brother”. Mark had a degree in Psychology from California State University but he was unable to find a job in his field, he was also very smart and put ahead in school. But Mark had BiPolar Disorder- it’s a condition that makes you go back and forth from being in a sort of “high” and happy mood to being very very depressed (sad). He used alcohol quite a bit, but wasn’t really into the hard drugs like Tim. This is often called "Self- medicating" and would sometimes ease the symptoms of Bi Polar but in the long run it worsens it. In young people, Alcohol often leads to the more dangerous drug use and just alcohol can be as deadly as drugs, as you’ll learn from my brother Mark’s story….The Bible says in the book of Proverbs;

Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is lead stray by it is not wise. Proverbs 20:1

Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaints?
Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
Those who linger over wine,
who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup,
when it goes down smoothly!
In the end it bites like a snake
and poisons like a viper.
Your eyes will see strange sights
and your mind imagine confusing things.
You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,
lying on top of the rigging.
"They hit me," you will say, "but I'm not hurt!
They beat me, but I don't feel it!
When will I wake up
so I can find another drink?"
Proverbs 23: 29-35

Now Mark was able to hold down a job as a security officer, however, he was homeless as a result of his various problems. He lived (slept) in his car, was the member of a health club where he showered. In April of  2006 just six months after Tim died, Mark had a heart attack at a hospital where he was being treated for depression. He was 52….I write a Christmas letter, usually every year and it usually has a theme, some main point..In 2008 I wrote about my brothers and the hope we have in Christ and I believe they (each of my brothers), eventually turned to God. So I wrote…
Paul was imprisoned…now he is free.
Tim was battling his addictions…now he is at peace.
Mark was homeless …now he is home.
The were all chained and now they’re free!





Now I want to tell you more about Johnny Cash! I’ve always liked Johnny Cash. I used to listen to the funny song called, “A Boy named Sue” when I was young, but I wasn’t that much “into” Country Music. Recently while reading more about him I’ve become a great Johnny Cash fan. He is one who overcame his addictions (broke free of his chains) instead of dying from them but he did not do this alone. His help came from God and the people who loved him:

Johnny Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) quit using drugs in 1968, after a spiritual epiphany in a cave in Tennessee, when he attempted to commit suicide while under the heavy influence of drugs. He descended deeper into the cave, trying to lose himself and "just die", when he passed out on the floor. He reported to be exhausted and feeling at the end of his rope when he felt God's presence in his heart and managed to struggle out of the cave (despite the exhaustion) by following a faint light and slight breeze. To him, it was his own rebirth. June Carter (who was to later become his wife) and her parents moved into Cash's mansion for a month to help him conquer his addiction.

In 1980, Cash became the Country Music’s Hall of Fame’s youngest living inductee at age forty-eight.

The song I think I like the most by Johnny is called, “Man in Black” In which he said he wore black on behalf of the poor and beaten down, (Like my brother, Mark) on behalf of "the prisoner who has long paid for his crime"(Like my brother, Paul), and on behalf of those who have been betrayed by age or drugs. (Like my brother Tim) he also wore it because of War, 'in mournin' for the lives that could have been.'
The song goes on to say; I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me……

I cried the first time I watched and heard the video of a song called Hurt sung by Johnny Cash because it reminded me of the pain my brother Tim’s death caused in my whole family- it caused arguments, sadness and yes…hurt! (It was written by the band called “Nine Inch Nails”) IT IS CONSIDERED Johnny Cash’s EPITAPH which is a message on a grave stone- because Johnny died shortly after recording it.
It goes:
I hurt myself today to see if I still feel- I focus on the pain, the only thing that's real- the needle tears a hole the old familiar sting- try to kill it all away but I remember everything- what have I become? my sweetest friend- everyone I know goes away in the end- you could have it all my empire of dirt
I will let you down I will make you hurt
I wear my crown of thorns on my liar's chair full of broken thoughts I cannot repair beneath the stain of time the feeling disappears you are someone else, I am still right here- ----
The last line of the song is:
If I could start again a million miles away I would keep myself I would find a way….

You see, Children, even though Johnny Cash got off the drugs and had many, many years of a happy life…he still regretted having caused the pain and hurt his addiction had caused.
What I’ve discovered about most of those who’ve been freed from their “chains of addiction” is that they’ve come to the end of themselves and turned to God for help. This is what Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Steps are all about! Each step is a principal from the Bible, only it’s reworded. You can read about my journey with the 12 Steps right here.

You must Choose (Make a decision):
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days…Deuteronomy 30:19-20

I looked up “Chains” in the Bible.
In the Bible (Old Testament) when you worked for the King (like Joseph or Daniel), he often put a chain of gold around your neck…In the New Testament Jesus says he came to set the captives free…In the end of the Bible (Revelation) Satan (the Devil) is chained and then thrown in the fiery pit! Don’t get locked up in the Devil’s chains! Choose the gold chain of the KING….



Abraham Lincoln gave a famous speech called The Gettysburg Address, it was delivered by Lincoln during the Civil War, on November 19, 1863 at the dedication of the Solder’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania…He talks of the men who fought and died, they were so young! They died honorably…How much more would these people who died from their addictions want their dishonorable deaths to be remembered for something? What would they say to you children, if they could stand before you here today?

Abraham Lincoln said….”that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain (without a purpose) -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” It’s often said that the American soldier died for our freedom and it is true…Lets consider and learn from those who died from drugs and alcohol and not become entangled in the chains they were in and let’s have another, “birth of freedom”



And Johnny also sang:
I have been ungrateful, I've been unwise.
Restless from the cradle, now I realize.
It's so hard to see the rainbow through glasses dark as these. Maybe I'll be able from now on, on my knees.

Oh I am weak. Oh I know I am vain.
Take this weight from me, Let my spirit be unchained.

He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces. (Psalm 107:13)

 After my speech I said this: Tamara Lowe's One Minute Sermon



Begin your journey to freedom today, by focusing on One Thing !