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Only God: Loving Through Addiction

Care Ministry


Only God: Loving Through Addiction

May 17, 2019

Only God: Loving Through Addiction

May 17, 2019

It was all going great - until it wasn't.

For JoAnne Springer, life was moving along as she’d always dreamed.

Her and her husband both held steady, successful jobs; their two children were thriving in sports at local junior and high schools; they participated in a Bible study and served at Hillside.

JoAnne says the changes in her son were subtle at first. He didn’t want to play basketball – a sport he had LOVED his whole life – and eventually, he quit. His friends changed, his behavior changed, everything changed.“We saw our son, but he wasn’t our son,” JoAnne explains. “He didn’t talk the same, he didn’t relate to us the same. He would lie, steal and cheat, which was totally the opposite of what our son was like before. His whole behavior, mind set and attitude changed drastically. He was a new person.”

As the truth slowly came out, JoAnne was shocked to discover that her son, only 15 years old at the time, had developed a drug addiction, primarily to meth.

With the crushing truth came a whirl of emotions – including anger and frustration.

“If I’m being completely honest, a lot of the time, I was really angry with God,” she says. “How could this happen to us? We love Jesus, we serve at church… Where was He in this?”

JoAnne found herself grappling with the reality that as a parent, some things were out of her control. As she walked with her son through his addiction, God revealed to her that she had no control in what happened – it was all in God’s hands.

“It took me a while to figure that out, but once I let go and let God, then things started happening,” she explains. “Once I realized that God loves my son more than I do – I really believe this now! – it made me realize that I was probably in God’s way most of the time.” Over the course of 10 years, from age 15 to 25, JoAnne watched her son walk a journey of addiction, filled with treatment after treatment, relapse after relapse. At one point along the way, she learned about a program called Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step program designed to help navigate hurt, pain or addiction.

She learned Hillside was just starting the program on campus and as she got involved, she learned more about her son’s battle, as well as codependency struggles of her own. She also connected with other family members of drug addicts, leaning on them for support, prayers and encouragement.

After 10 years, her son was ready. He admitted his need for help and agreed to check into rehab.

“For us, this was the day we had been praying for,” JoAnne says. “It was a long, messy, painful journey, but we just had to trust His timing and stay obedient.

A reminder of God’s faithfulness came the day the rehab required full payment. An unexpected check in the mail was so close to the amount needed for the pricey rehab, it seemed unbelievable.

“It was unbelievable for us, but not for God,” JoAnne says. “He shows up every time.”In an ONLY GOD miracle, JoAnne’s son is healthy, working full-time and celebrating five years of sobriety. Though the journey was dark and the road was hard, JoAnne was reminded that no one is ever too far gone. When we walk with Him and align hold our hands open, we can trust that He will do far more than we could do on our own.

Along her journey, JoAnne learned that our stories can be used to help others. Currently, she helps co-lead a care group at Hillside for Families of Drug Addicts, and believes there is such beauty in walking alongside others in these trials.“It has been an amazing part of the journey, in that I have met some amazing people who are struggling with exactly what we went through, but God shows up every time,” she says. “I’m not saying that there isn’t pain and disappointment – there is! – but God shows up every time if we allow Him to. He is walking with us through it all.

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” Psalm 107:19-20


Don't Walk Alone.

Our Care Ministry exists to provide love and support to people who are struggling with life’s challenges. From various Care Groups to Celebrate Recovery to Counseling, we have resources available that will let us walk alongside you through a difficult time.

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