Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Life of Recovery...Or Not

Last night I watched Lady Sings the Blues starring Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams.  For those of you who don't know, this is a bio pic about jazz singer Billie Holiday

I had seen this movie as a teen and had always loved it.  It introduced me to one of the greatest jazz voices of our time (sort of since Diana Ross does all the singing) and fed my love for history.  Wow!  Age sure does play a huge role in your perceptions.  Watching it last night, I kept thinking, why did I love this movie so much?  Yes, it's still a good story and the songs are amazing, but what the heck?  According to the movie, Lady Day had the love of a wonderful man and had a bit of fame and fortune.  Why did she keep going back to the opium and heroin?  Here are my thoughts about the issue.
First of all, I have never personally had to deal with substance abuse so I can only imagine how difficult it must be to break that cycle.  Second of all, the movie was loosely based on her life.  The movie didn't show all the abusive men that came in and out of her life.  It didn't tell us the story of being born to teenage parents, being raped at the age of 10, and having to live in a strict girls' reformatory after that rape.  It does portray, a little bit, her work in a brothel; first as a housekeeper and then as a prostitute.  It doesn't show the despair Miss Holiday must have felt at being punished for crimes that were not her own (rape, possession of drugs).  And the wonderful relationship with Louis McKay?  Mostly fiction.  Yes she did have a relationship with him, but it was nothing like the loving relationship portrayed in the film.  Also, the film painted a picture of Billie Holiday as an innocent who had no control over the things that happened to her.  I'm thinking this could be because Diana Ross was the darling of Berry Gordy, who produced this movie, and at the time he had an image to uphold for Diana Ross.  One more point, addicts were viewed differently 70-80 years ago.  They were viewed strictly as criminals with moral failings.  They didn't always get the kinds of treatment that would allow them to break these destructive behaviors.  They weren't given tools to help them deal with the stresses of life that caused them to turn to drugs or alcohol in the first place.  Thank goodness some things have changed!

My husband has dealt with alcoholism all his life.  His maternal grandparents were both alcoholics who abandoned their children at various times.  He is the youngest of five brothers and he has one sister that is younger.  Three of his older brothers have had problems with drugs and alcohol.   BunBun wasn't immune to the genetics unfortunately.  His oldest brother gave him his very first drink at the age of 12.  I've never told you the whole story about BunBun and me (another post, another time) but I was with him during some of those years that his brothers were supplying him with alcohol and marijuana.  Anyway...he never really had a chance.  That's not an excuse because at some point you start to recognize right from wrong and the destruction those things can have on your life.  But I'm proud to tell you that in June of this year BunBun will have 4 years of sobriety.   It's something he has worked very hard on and I believe he will be the first to tell you he couldn't have done it without God.  That being said, I was super excited to be able to receive - free of charge- The Life Recovery Bible from Tyndale House Publishers.

 This New Living Translation Bible was edited to help those who have or are going through recovery programs.  The editors are Stephen Arterburn, founder and chairman of New Life Ministries and David Stoop, founder and director of The Center for Family Therapy.  There are several devotionals throughout the bible that provide a biblical basis for recovery.  There are the Twelve Step Devotionals, Serenity Prayer Devotionals, and Recovery Principle Devotionals.  Another great feature of this Bible is the profiles of Bible characters and important recovery lessons that they provide.  There are also book outlines, a topical index, and an user's guide to name a few. 
I looked over the Bible and read a few of the devotionals.  I enjoyed them and felt they could even be applied to the life of someone who is not going through recovery.  My husband also enjoyed it and said the features that dealt with recovery were well-written and easy to follow.  He did say that some people that attend twelve step programs may take offense to someone bringing the Bible to a meeting because not everyone identifies their "higher power" as God.  However, we both agreed that this Bible would be very useful to someone who has accepted that God is the ONLY higher power and is on the road to becoming a true follower of Christ.
Getting clean and/or sober is not an easy process.  It takes years and lots of hard work.  I'm thankful that my husband has decided he is worth the effort of recovery.  I'm thankful that GOD allowed me to marry this wonderful man.  I'm also happy that the Life Recovery Bible is available to people like my husband who are seeking to do God's will and stay on the recovery path.

I received this Bible, free of charge, from Tyndale House Publishers.  The opinions expressed here are 100% my own.  I was not compensated in any other way by Tyndale.


  1. Congratulations to your hubby! That's awesome!

  2. Hi Cindi! Thanks for the award. I'm so glad your husband is doing so well. My brother has been a drug addict for the past 18 years, but unfortunately I'm not sure he'll ever be able to get out of it. I think it's especially difficult to be able to recover when it's been part of your life since such a young age, so it goes to show how well your husband is doing.

  3. Cindi you did it again - you talked on another one of those "tough" topics and it was good! Keep up the good job.

  4. Praying for your family...God is good!

  5. I had no idea that Billie Holiday lead such a rough life.

    It's good to hear that your husband is going on 4 years sobriety. What a huge accomplishment for him and he sounds like he has a wonderful source of support from you.

    Both my dad and my sister are recovering drug addicts. They've both been clean for a long, long time now but I remember going through it all with them. It was probably one of the scariest times of my life.

  6. Wow I didn't know that either!!! Sheesh -

  7. Thanks for the fantastic article about Bille Holiday as well as sharing the story of your husband. I have been down that road. I was addicted to Vicodin, all legally through my doctor due to severe pain. He continued to supply me with prescriptions. I knew I was hooked, so one day I flushed the remaaining pills down the toilet and stopped. It was pure hell for a few weeks, but I beat it. I still have pain issues, but use non-addicting medication now.

    Also, I want to mention my Diana Ross website (since you mentioned her in your blog), creatively titled 'Dick's Diana Ross Website.' How generic is that? The link is
    I have been online for 10 years with it.

    Thanks again for sharing and all my best to your husband.


  8. Cindi, this is such a wonderful post. I can't believe I missed it before now. Our Heavenly Fathers love and strength is a mighty, mighty force. I'm so happy to hear that your husband has been able to overcome (not unscathed, I'm sure)such a unmerciful addiction. I have a niece and a nephew who I now pray for regularly. Their own father finally overcame addition after almost dying and he has since passed. These kids, now adults in their 20's & 30's had a very difficult childhood and didn't have the stability I was lucky enough to have. They had lots of obstacles. They were much larger then other kids their age. I know that it is hereditary. They didn't have what most other children had. Kids were mean and they didn't have the support to overcome and eventually quit school, adding another burden to their lives. Self-esteem was null and they took on a defensive I don't give a crap attitude. It seems it was an endless cycle.

    It is so important to put Christ in your child's life early. You're children are very lucky to have you.

    BTW - I love Billie Holiday's music and the story of her struggle. I still remember watching that movie as a teen and it left a memorable impression on me. I now have her in my music collection and Diana Ross was excellent in the roll portraying her. What a talented lady Ms. Holiday was and what an unfortunate loss for us. I loved reading you post about her.

    Sorry I went on forever. Hugs Sweetie...Tracy :)


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