by Yvonne Ortega
Licensed Professional Counselor
Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner
“I can’t see the floor because of all the boxes from the move, Ms. Yvonne.” Matt shook his head and sighed. “I’m so stressed that my blood pressure shot up yesterday.”
“How did you deal with it?”
“Aw shucks, you know what I did, Ms. Yvonne.” He gave me a sheepish grin. “I couldn’t help it.” He shrugged and said, “I had to calm down, and a few puffs of weed always work.”
“I wouldn’t say, ‘always.’ They didn’t help when you lost your job.”
Matt sat in silence and stared at the carpet.
“How about that possession charge you got a few months ago?”
“Okay, okay. No more.” Matt covered his ears. He admitted weed doesn’t always work but claimed it does most of the time.
We talked about sports to release tension. Matt used to play tennis before he got hooked on weed. He agreed to find his racquet, dust it off, and play a game or two. A smile crossed his face as he talked about the fun he used to have playing tennis.
“What about a Marijuana Anonymous Meeting, a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, or Celebrate Recovery?”
Matt admitted he thought about a meeting after he used. He also said he thought about calling his sponsor but felt ashamed to admit he used again.
“And you think you are the only one who ever relapsed?”
We both laughed out loud. We knew he wasn’t.
“Your faith can work for you.” I picked up my Bible and read 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (NIV).
I suggested Matt could call the prayer chain at church, meet with a mentor or accountability partner, and ask God daily for peace and strength.
As he glanced out the window, Matt said his faith was in a vacuum. He didn’t know how to apply it to daily living.
“It sounds like you could benefit from a men’s Bible study or a men’s prayer group.”
I said one of my favorite passages about praise and worship was 2 Chronicles 20:21-22: “Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army. . . . As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”
Matt raised his brows and said, “You mean when I get stressed, I should praise and worship God?
“Yeah, that’s exactly what I mean. If you have a CD of praise and worship music, pull it out and listen to it.”
1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (NIV).
Copyright © by Yvonne Ortega July 10, 2012
is an eleven-year breast cancer survivor, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner, Clinically Certified Domestic Violence Counselor, and bilingual speaker. She is the author of Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer
(Revell) and a contributing author to The Embrace of a Father
(Bethany House) and Transformed
(Wine Press). She has also been published in several magazines online and hard copy. Her website is http://www.yvonneortega.com/
. Her blog on addiction and domestic violence is at http://www.yvonneortega.blogspot.com/