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How Hopeful is Your Hope?

hand extended

Reality and Hope: the Duel  — contributed by an AiR Member

I would like to speak about hope and reality: that struggle.

True hope: the hope I think that helps us through. The true hope that is embedded in faith. I speak not of the daily, functional expression of hope ("Gee, I hope Patricia remembers to take my clothes out of the dryer") but of the earnest, profound hope, born of a sense of desperation and confusion but intertwined and nourished by faith, which itself engenders true hope. Because true hope and true faith are self-fulfilling; each draws on and strengthens the other.

As we head to Rome, I think of what St. Paul said: "Faith without works is empty" – but hope without faith is just wishing and dreaming. And, wishes and dreams are just that, ethereal visions of what might be; to be blown away and left to drift like smoke in the turbulent winds of active addiction.

If our hope drifts, what, then, do we have to offer our Loved One should he/she reach out to us in a moment of pseudo-clarity; if our hope is not firmly grounded in a steadfast, unwavering faith? A faith that will not fail or flounder in a moment of doubt, as our Loved One swirls in a spiral of self-doubt, self-destruction, self-hatred and the loss of self-hope.

We must remain firmly anchored and grounded in our true hope and faith so that when their desperate hand touches ours as they reach out, we can grasp it and hold tight, not being pulled into the swirling vortex ourselves … refusing to be pulled under, and remaining steadfast in our belief and faith. Because true hope is a conscious act of faith; and true faith will not fail nor disappoint.   

How will our Loved One ever pull themselves up, ever pull themselves out, if we don't keep our anchor of true hope and true faith?  "Cling thee, one to the other."  We need that centering point, that touchstone. It provides for our survival and theirs too; no, not just survival but also growing, flourishing and living.

I think now of the reality side of the duel between hope and reality. The recognition that our Loved One is only a moment away from a relapse, regression, re-use or a "slip". A bad moment of "life on life's terms" or whatever it could take to trigger the response, and we face it again.

This realization is always present, waxing and waning as a slow ocean swell. Building and fading, over and back, up and down. It can vary in its form. It appears as an increasingly heavy weight on the spirit that slows and dulls one's normal response to life's stimuli. Or as a gradually thickening fog that will obscure one's visions of future dreams and happiness. Could the knowledge, and acceptance of this reality drag one down and, if unchecked, pull one into accepting that it is inevitable for "the other shoe to drop"? Yes, oh yes, if one's acceptance is unchecked. And what is there to stop this reality from pushing us to that point? It is the true hope and true faith we spoke of before; what we must embrace with tenacity.

A strong faith assures us that all things are possible and a strong belief assures us that all things will be possible; even in our situation there is nothing that has not been overcome before. We must believe in the power of our faith and all the promises it holds. If we don't believe that good can be, if we don't believe in the promise of our faith, then how can our faith bear fruit and bring about the change we desperately desire? Our belief must be strong, based on our true hope and faith to answer or desires. "Jesus could perform no miracles in his hometown because the people did not believe in Him."

And so it goes, the ying and the yang, the give and take, the ebb and flow. Each day they push against each other, Reality and Hope.  But, over time I believe, I feel the push of reality becoming lesser; and there is more of an "it is what it is" type of feeling. Less daunting, less frightening. Hope grows quietly, along with faith and belief, until one day the reality will be what we have hoped and believed it would be.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)