Interview with Terri Blackstock

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Two posts in two days is odd for me, I know, but this simply has to be shared as soon as possible! I hope you all share in my excitement of this interview with Terri Blackstock. I’m so thankful to her for taking time to answer a few questions for me.

While I love reading, there are few authors that I’ve found that keep me hounding for every book they release. One of those who I’ve followed for years is Terri Blackstock. And I’m honored that she took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me revolving around the Intervention Series. This particular series is close to my heart because it centers on addictions and recovery. I hope you enjoy this insight into her reasons for writing the series as much as I did.

1) Out of all of your books, are there any in particular that are standouts or favorites for you?

I think my Intervention Series is very close to my heart, because it was inspired by my journey with my daughter’s drug addictions. I also really loved writing the Restoration Series, which is about a massive global power outage. I felt a real directive from God to write that series. But all of my books are like my babies. It’s hard to single any of them out.

2) While all of your books center on imperfect people being touched by a perfect and loving God, the Intervention Series delves into some very difficult subject matter for many people who either have been addicts or alcoholics or have loved ones who were or are still in the grips of addiction. What was it that prompted you to write the Intervention Series?

As I mentioned earlier, I wrote it because of my experiences dealing with my daughter who was on drugs. I suffered in secret for a long time, but finally came to the point where I knew that writing about it would help others. With my daughter’s permission, I wrote the first book and poured a lot of myself into the character of Barbara. I’ve now taken the series through three books–Vicious Cycle and Downfall (Downfall releases Feb. 28, next Tuesday!). I hope addicts will be encouraged by Emily’s character arc of going from drug abuse to recovery, and Barbara and Lance–her family members–who have also been through the ringer because of her addictions.

3) Many times the hardest things to read are the ones that hit closest to home. What was the hardest part of writing the series?

The hardest part was dragging up all those memories that I wanted to forget. Though I don’t think the books are depressing, it was depressing for me to write them. The journey with my daughter was the darkest time in my life, so living there through three books was very difficult.

4) Who in the series do you most identify with? Why?

Barbara, definitely. I poured my own thoughts, memories and feelings into her, so she definitely represents me in a lot of ways. Any mother of an addict will relate to her.

5) What do you hope your readers will take away from it?

I hope they’ll realize that there’s redemption, recovery, and hope in Christ, and that family members who are going through this right now will see that they’re not alone. Their story is told here. I also want those who aren’t involved with an addict to understand the whole situation better. And of course, I want all of my readers to be entertained for a few hours.

 Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist.

Vicious Cycle, the second in the Intervention Series, debuted on the New York Times best-seller list, as did Intervention, the first book in the series. Intervention was also a 2010 Carol Award Winner. The series deals with the subject of drug abuse and its impact on families. Other reader favorites include her books Predator and Double Minds, as well as the Restoration Series, the Newpointe 911 Series, the Cape Refuge Series, and the SunCoast Chronicles series.

Don’t forget to look for Terri Blackstock’s latest addition to the Intervention Series, Downfall, releasing February 28. Go here for more information on how to get the ebook for a reduced price for a limited time.

Accepting Trials and Avoiding Temptations

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I’ve been guilty of this so many times. I come to a difficult situation and the first thing I pray is for deliverance. I face a temptation and ask God to give me strength to get through it. Anyone else notice the problem with this?

It’s backwards!

The definition of trial is: A state of pain or anguish that tests patience, endurance, or belief (definition found here: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/trial).

The definition of temptation is: something that seduces or has the quality to seduce (definition found here: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/temptation).

As you can see, trials and temptations are not the same thing. Let’s look at a few verses that talk about trials and temptations, and how we are to deal with them.

Trials

James 1:2-3 – Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet various trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

1 Peter 1:6-7 – In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

James 1:12 says, Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Temptations

James 1:13-15 – Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says, No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Trials inevitably come; temptations for the most part come when we are pulled away to our own desires. Sometimes temptation can come out of the blue, but there’s always an escape, as 1 Corinthians clearly says.

We are to stand the test, remain up under the trial. This is how we grow and mature. We are to flee temptation so we aren’t caught and made to stumble.

So how do we know the difference? A trial is something that draws us nearer to God because most of the time we have nowhere else to turn when faced with it. A temptation draws us away from God. It isn’t edifying.

However, a temptation may not always be glaringly obvious. For an alcoholic or an addict, temptations can be clear: a friend we used to drink or do drugs with, for one example. It’s best to completely break ties to these people. That can hurt, I know, but it’s the best for our continued sobriety.

The not so obvious? One of my personal problem areas in the past was Samurai Jack. Now, it’s a cartoon and I don’t think there was anything wrong with it, but I couldn’t watch it. Why? Because the first time I did was when I was on acid, and every time I even saw a preview for it, that’s where my mind would go. That was a while back and isn’t really too much of an issue anymore, but there are still movies I can’t watch and songs that I can’t listen to – again, not because there’s anything wrong with them, but they take my mind back to when I was drinking. If I dwell on things like that or let them into my mind, it’s only a matter of time before I start thinking heavily about drinking or drugs, and that leaves me open to temptations that could lead me back to the lifestyle I’ve left behind me.

We have to be honest with ourselves and know what our stumbling blocks are so we can avoid them. This is imperative to grow and stay on a path leading away from a less than desirable past. Our goal should be to bear up under trials – with the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ – and to flee temptations – which we’ll get the strength from God to do.

Do you recognize the potential temptations in your life? How has God provided escape for you in the past? Feel free to share in the comments.

(All Bible verses were used from the ESV)

The Dangers of Enabling

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Adrian spared a glance to his friend. “You know, one day you’re gonna wake up and look around you and realize that your life isn’t as awful as you think it is. One day you’re gonna realize that there is something worth living for. And I hope you don’t have to wind up in a jail cell before that day comes.”

Ian shrugged. “Honestly? I couldn’t care less.”

He looked back to the road. “I know. That bothers me worse than anything else. But if it comes to that, I promise, you’ll care then.”

“What would you know about it, little Mr. Sunshine?” He pulled a pint from his pocket, and Adrian jerked it away from him.

“Not in my car; especially not while I’m driving.”

-excerpt from Something Called Redemption

 The topic of enabling has been brought up with me a lot lately. For those who may not know, enabling is any action on the part of someone that in turn allows or contributes to an addict’s/alcoholic’s behavior.

Many enablers believe they are helping the person they love. They don’t want to see them go hungry or have nowhere to live. They can’t stand to see them hurting or upset so they try to keep them happy. The reality is that their actions are continuing and perpetuating the addict’s behavior. Even something that seems innocent can have devastating consequences the enabler doesn’t see coming.

A few examples of enabling are: loaning money, driving the addict to ‘a friend’s house’, allowing them a free place to stay with no responsibilities, allowing them to threaten self-harm or harm to others if they don’t get money and/or drugs/alcohol, paying bills for them, not enforcing any rules, acting as if their behavior isn’t a problem, and many more.

Each case is different. I know of someone right now dealing with an alcoholic and one form of the enabling going on in that situation is always answering the phone when the alcoholic calls. A phone call doesn’t seem like it’d do any harm, right? In this case, it is. Those phone calls are the last link he has to anyone who cares and he uses them to exert his control over the person he calls. He feels justified in his actions because the calls are taken seriously.

Many times enablers don’t realize that their actions can actually help the addict/alcoholic on their road to complete destruction. Look at it this way, there are many different ways for someone to hit bottom, including but not limited to overdose, alcohol poisoning, or accidents and fights that result from being high or drunk. Would you rather your loved one hit bottom in an emergency room or when they realize they have no money, nowhere to live, and no true friends left to turn to?

I know it’s painful to have to hurt those we love, but many times it’s the most loving thing we can do. Forcing a ‘rock bottom’ scenario could lead to a quicker recovery. Take it from someone who’s been there, I’m so thankful that I didn’t have anyone to enable me when I finally quit drinking. At the time I was frustrated and angry, but now that I’m nearing my two year mark of sobriety I’m extremely thankful.

The answer to enabling is simple and yet difficult. Stop. No more handouts. No more money. No more free rides. Do whatever it takes to force the addict to really examine their situation. Be firm, but also do it in love. Remember, they’re blinded by their actions. Make sure they know that they’re loved. Make sure they know that should they choose to get help, they will not be alone.

James 5:20 says: let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

The best way to truly help someone in the grips of addiction is to pray for them, offer help to them, and refuse to be any part of continuing their downward spiral. Enabling is NOT the same as helping. But remember that the choice is ultimately theirs. You can’t force them to sober up any more than you can force someone into salvation. But you can do your part to lead them to the right path.

If you know an addict or alcoholic please examine how you relate to them and make the decision to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem. I happened to stumble upon A Mother’s Heart a week or so ago and found a woman who truly understands the heartache but importance in putting an end to enabling. Susan J Silva is a great source of encouragement to others who are dealing with a loved one in the midst of addiction and I highly recommend her blog.

Do you know an addict, alcoholic, or enabler? Please, leave your comments, questions, or maybe even advice. I’d love to hear from you.

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