“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
Mental illness, addiction, and other traumas plague many families including my own. When I chose to recover it was a long and sometimes difficult journey (one I’m still on), but it was well worth it. One of the most difficult things about recovery is the realization that sometimes our friends or family members don’t seem to want recovery for themselves.
I was talking with a friend about someone in my family who never seems to get (or want to get) better. She told me that some people choose not to heal from pain and trauma, and that this is a valid choice.
Until then I had always assumed since I had chosen recovery that everyone else should too-or at the very least, they should want to recover.
Now when I pray for my loved one I always ask the Lord to heal her, but I also ask the Lord to help her want to get better too.
Of course I write this knowing there are those with incurable mental and physical illnesses, and I’m not talking about those people.
It can be very hard to love someone who has every opportunity to get well but chooses not to. It can be emotionally draining and sometimes dangerous as it can jeopardize our own health, especially if we’ve worked hard to get healthy. Sometimes we may need to live separate from them and keep our contact to a minimum. However, each situation is unique.
The road to recovery can be long and painful and for some people facing that pain and trauma is just to hard. Sometimes, we may need to learn to be OK with that.
I’ve realized that all I can do is continue to pray for my loved one knowing she has her own unique set of challenges, but that she was also born with the same God-given free will as me, and the only person in this world I can ever change… is myself.
God grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change (other people), the courage to change what I can (me), and the wisdom to know the difference.