In God’s Timing

Sometimes I wonder if God gives us glimpses of our future. I painted this image back in 2005 before we had kids. I didn’t have anywhere to put it but I knew this painting was meaningful. I always felt God telling me that I will have a little girl one day. After having my two sons, I started to doubt that a baby girl would ever be in my future. I prayed and prayed…and prayed for a third kid, hoping for a girl. However, addiction was taking a toll on our marriage and I didn’t think my dreams of having a daughter would ever happen. I was heartbroken. I changed my prayers to ask God to take away any desire I have for another child and to be thankful for the two little healthy boys he already gifted John and me. Before long, my desire to have more kids was gone. This was July 2013.
Fast forward to August 2013, one month later. I was washing my hands and the strangest this happened. I heard a voice. It was a soft male voice. It whispered “Sarah, you are going to have your third child and it will be a baby girl. Just trust me. Trust me. Trust me. It will be the birth of this little girl that will bring John a spiritual awakening and free him from his past. Just trust me, trust me, trust me.” It was such a peaceful yet crazy experience. I didn’t think much of it when it happened and went on with my day. I have never heard a voice again.
In September 2013, John’s addiction became active and he left for rehab. Crushed doesn’t even come close to describe how I was feeling. I was so tired of addiction attacking our young family. One week into John’s treatment, I took a pregnancy test (because I was late…sorry guys, I know you don’t want to hear that.). Sure enough, I was PREGNANT. Seriously?!? We weren’t even trying to get pregnant. In fact, we were on our way to divorce. Why in the world would God do this to us? I was angry at God. Yet, I was super excited at the same time. Let’s just say I was one confused human. When the boys and I went to visit John at treatment, I brought the pregnancy test. Awkward. How did this become my life? Never did I invision handing my husband a positive pregnant test at a rehab facility.
Shortly after finding out I was pregnant, I remembered that male voice I heard the previous month. I chose to put my trust in the revelation I received and I still do. Life since that revelation has not been free of relapses and pain, but I am going to continue to trust God and that his plans are good.
This morning I pulled this painting out of our attic. It just happens to be PERFECT for Sawyer’s new room. Not only do the colors match perfectly with the color scheme (purple, black, gray, and white) but it kind of looks like Sawyer and our newest rescue dog, Corduroy overlooking my favorite beach (located in SAWYER, Mi). The thing I LOVE most about this painting is that it serves as a reminder that,
“God has perfect timing. Never early. Never late. It takes a little patience and faith, but it’s worth the wait.”
One day at a time.

Just released: More people in U.S. have substance abuse disorder than all cancers combined

Surgeon General Murthy Wants America To Face Up To Addiction

Addiction to opioids and heroin is a major public health problem, but so is alcohol abuse.

Toby Talbot/AP

In 1964, the U.S. surgeon general released a report on the health impacts of smoking, and it shaped the public and government’s attitudes toward tobacco for years to come. On Thursday, another surgeon general’s report was issued, this time tackling a much broader issue: addiction and the misuse and abuse of chemical substances. The focus isn’t just one drug, but all of them.

Though little in the report is new, it puts impressive numbers to the problem, and some surprising context: More people use prescription opioids than use tobacco. There are more people with substance abuse disorders than people with cancer. One in five Americans binge drink. And substance abuse disorders cost the U.S. more than $420 billion a year.

Dr. Vivek Murthy, who is closing in on his second year as surgeon general, told NPR’s Steve Inskeep Thursday on Morning Edition that he hopes putting all the data together will help Americans understand that these problems share a common solution. And it starts with kids. Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.


Interview Highlights

On the prevalence of substance abuse in the United States

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says there is evidence for what works to prevent substance abuse, but it’s often not applied.

Charles Dharapak/AP

An estimated 20.8 million people in our country are living with a substance use disorder. This is similar to the number of people who have diabetes, and 1.5 times the number of people who have all cancers combined. This number does not include the millions of people who are misusing substances but may not yet have a full-fledged disorder. We don’t invest nearly the same amount of attention or resources in addressing substance use disorders that we do in addressing diabetes or cancer, despite the fact that a similar number of people are impacted. That has to change.

We now know from solid data that substance abuse disorders don’t discriminate. They affect the rich and the poor, all socioeconomic groups and ethnic groups. They affect people in urban areas and rural ones. Far more people than we realize are affected. It’s important for us to bring people out from the shadows, and get them the help that they need.

On the economic impact of substance use disorders

The impact this is having on the health and well being of our country, as well as our economy, is quite staggering. These substance use disorders cost over $420 billion a year in the form of health care costs, lost economic productivity, and cost to the criminal justice system. We measure numbers like this for other illnesses, too, and the cost for substance abuse disorders far exceeds the cost of diabetes.

On shifting views of substance disorders

For far too long people have thought about substance abuse disorders as a disease of choice, a character flaw or a moral failing. We underestimated how exposure to addictive substances can lead to full blown addiction.

Opioids are a good example.

Now we understand that these disorders actually change the circuitry in your brain. They affect your ability to make decisions, and change your reward system and your stress response. That tells us that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain, and we need to treat it with the same urgency and compassion that we do with any other illness.

The opioid crisis has certainly received a lot of attention, and it is certainly tearing apart families and costing us in terms of lives lost and health care dollars. But in terms of actual cost, we lose the most lives and suffer the most costs from alcohol related disorders and alcohol related addiction. In 2015, about 66 million people reported that they’d engaged in at least one episode of binge drinking in the previous month. That’s a pretty astounding number. And in 2015, roughly 28 million people reported that they had driven under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

On what we can do to curb the addiction epidemic

There are prevention strategies and treatment strategies that can address multiple substance use disorders. Some of these programs are school-based, college-campus-based, and community-based, some online and some in person. Many — particularly the school-based programs — teach children how to manage stress in a healthy way, because stress is one of the reasons people turn to substances like alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription painkillers. The programs also teach them about substances of misuse, and teach them how to refuse tobacco and alcohol and other illicit substances when they’re offered.

The problem that we have right now is that we’re not implementing many of these evidence-based interventions.

While we’re calling people’s attention to some pretty stark statistics, I also want to recognize that there are reasons to be hopeful. All across our country we have examples of communities that are starting to step up and implement prevention programs and treatment programs. And peoples’ lives are changing as a result of that. We’ve been dealing with substance disorders for centuries. What’s different now is that we have solutions that work.

On continuing this work under the Trump administration

People on both sides of the aisle state clearly and in unequivocal terms that substance use disorders are a problem that we have to address now, because they are tearing apart our communities. So I am hopeful that we are all on the same page when it comes to addressing this crisis — and addressing it urgently. I’m looking forward to working with the next administration to do so.

Contact Addiction Campuses if you or a loved one needs help with substance abuse, addiction, or mental health issues.

Get help for your addiction now, before it gets worse or it’s too late!

Here’s blog John wrote on the importance of people getting help for their addictions before it’s too late.

Thanksgiving In Treatment: A Major Holiday Away From Family

Nearly one year ago, John graduated from our Texas campus, The Treehouse. This is his first-hand account of spending Thanksgiving at The Treehouse – away from family for the holiday.


Thanksgiving In Treatment: A Major Holiday Away From Family

This time last year, I was receiving treatment at The Treehouse, Addiction Campuses’ facility in Texas – hundreds of miles from my Tennessee home. Being in treatment on Thanksgiving, away from my wife and three kids, was a terrifying thought. But the thought of continuing to spiral out of control in my disease of addiction was equally terrifying.

I have found through personal experience, the absolute best time to go to treatment is right now – whenever ‘now’ is. I learned this through a very painful loss: Several years ago, when my brother was struggling with his own addiction, he didn’t go to treatment ‘right now’. My brother died from addiction on December 6. He did not make it to Christmas that year.

 

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John (right) and his brother, Matt (left).

   “My brother died from addiction on December 6. He did not make it to Christmas that year.”

You may be thinking you will just get through the holidays and get help when things calm down. If you are considering going or sending a loved one to treatment soon, keep reading. This blog could save someone’s life.

For me, when I’m not actively working a recovery program, just the thought of the holidays causes enough angst to want to start using again. When I’m in active addiction during the holidays, I mentally check out and any hope of actually being present around the people I love the most is smashed. I either justify the stress as an excuse to use or I rationalize the celebration and festivities as an excuse to use. Either way, I add chaos to my life and the lives of everyone around me. It is a miserable place to exist. It is lonely, depressing and potentially fatal.

Thankfully, I was not given the choice to stay home for Thanksgiving last year. If it were up to me, I probably would have rationalized that I was not that bad and made excuses not to get the help I desperately needed. My family knew it was a life or death situation and bravely made the decision to put me on a plane to The Treehouse as soon as they saw I needed help. They didn’t want me to die, end up back in the hospital or in any other way ruin the holiday for everyone else. Of course, I was angry about getting sent away. But what I discovered later was that I was really angry at myself and the detrimental choices I made that lead up that point. I could not blame them for only wanting the best for me.

I made some great progress at The Treehouse. But, as Thanksgiving Day approached I hit a low point in my treatment. All of the great memories of holidays past came flooding back. I had countless memories of home cooked meals at my grandparents’ house, playing and watching football with relatives and looking through old photo albums with my cousins. My addictive mind has a great ability to forget all the horrible things I have done and only remembers the good stuff. Conversely, my family primarily recalls the chaos I created in the past and is less apt to remember the positive memories. While at The Treehouse, I was faced with feelings of guilt, shame and remorse. However, I vividly remember the staff telling me and all the clients that the Thanksgiving spread they had planned for us was going to be a memorable one. I figured it was just something they were saying to keep us all from feeling depressed that we were in treatment for such a big holiday. I was not looking forward to it. But sure enough, the loving staff and cooks came through in a huge way.

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Chef Christian Gonzalez features his Thanksgiving spread.

“Being surrounded by others going through the same struggles as me, I felt a part of God’s great plan for my life.”

It wasn’t just the amount of food that was so impressive; it was the quality and care that went into preparing and presenting the meal. It felt like I was diving into a buffet at a country club. Like my family and I would do back home, we prayed over the meal, went back for seconds and thirds, threw the football around outside and watched football on TV. I was able to call home to talk to my wife, kids and parents. I fought back tears after getting off the phone with them, but at least I knew they were safe and everything was okay at home. In fact, things were going more smoothly than if I was there.

In retrospect, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be with a genuinely caring group of people last Thanksgiving. There have been times at family gatherings where I felt alone and separated when in active addiction. Last year, being surrounded by others going through the same struggles as me, I felt a part of God’s great plan for my life. For being away from my home and family on such a big day of the year, I couldn’t have been in a better place. It was nice to see how much care and precision went into every detail of that day for all of us. The staff at Addiction Campuses definitely exceeded my expectations.

“Recovery is the best gift I’ve ever given and received.”

If you or someone you love is considering putting treatment off until after the holidays, I encourage you to get help while you can. My brother did not get the help he needed several years ago and passed away between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We would give anything to have him with us today. Do not keep putting treatment off. This year, give yourself and your family the gift of sobriety. Recovery is the best gift I’ve ever given and received.

John And Family

John and his wife and their three children.

 

Finding fulfillment through family

Check out the latest blog by Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions. A huge thank you to Matt Bulow and his team, who have taken care of all of John’s prosthetic needs for the last 7 years.

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https://www.bulowops.com/success-stories/2016/11/10/mabry-finding-fulfillment-through-family

For John Mabry, the hardest part of being an amputee was overcoming the mental and emotional effects—the physical part was the easy part.

He became a below-the-knee amputee while still in college. During a ride in a friend’s SUV, a right rear tire blew out, causing the vehicle to roll twelve times. John’s legs became crushed from the impact.

“I literally envisioned the remaining seconds of my life as a scene from a 1920’s-style movie reel,” he said.  “However, instead of thinking my movie would end in true love and conquest, the reality was looking more like a conclusion of indescribable fear, terror, and pain.”

John was faced with the choice of another year of surgery and therapy with no guarantee of complete recovery, or to amputate his right leg below the knee.

“Nothing can really prepare you for the moment when you first look down and see an empty space where your leg used to be,” he said.

He said what helped him the most was being able to talk to another amputee, who showed him that life does go on. Just six weeks later, John walked across the stage to receive his bachelor’s degree.

John went on to earn his master’s degree and married his wife, Sarah. He acted in Hollywood for a while, appearing in movies and TV shows as Superbad, NCIS, E.R., JAG, and numerous commercials. He is also credited with inventing a revolutionary product for the prosthetics industry that allows thousands of amputees around the world to live healthier, more active lifestyles.

However, in spite of all these accomplishments, he wasn’t addressing the mental and emotional impacts that his amputation was having on him. He fell into alcoholism, which caused much strife within his family.

Eventually, he sought help for his addition. Today, he says being sober and having a loving family is a greater accomplishment than his inventions or acting ever were. He documents his wacky day-to-day life with his wife and kids on his blog, www.mabryliving.com.

In 2009, he and his family moved from California to Nashville, where he works at Addiction Campuses to help others who struggle with the same issues as he did. When he knew he was moving, he called the first amputee he ever met and asked if he knew any good prosthetists in Nashville. That was how he first came to Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions.

 

To other new amputees, he says, “It isn’t always as easy as they make it look on TV when they show the elite athletes competing. There is a rollercoaster that we go through, both physically and emotionally, that the average person doesn’t understand.”

This post makes my heart smile – by Sarah Mabry

This post makes my heart smile.

Less than a year ago we were the ones in the ER talking to Addiction Campuses to seek further help for John’s recovery. Fast forward 10 months and now he is speaking at one of Addiction Campuses’ centers about being in support of a life saving legislation for people struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues alongside Mississippi State Senator David Parker.

I am glad to see people speaking loudly for such a silent epidemic. Sobriety is a beautiful thing. 

– Sarah Mabry

DIY No Sew Fleece Nap Mat Cover

Let me say this simply…the last couple days I have been struck with a case of “mommy meltdowns.” One minute I am fine and the next minute I look around at all the home projects piling up and I start to weep. Any other moms suffer from this?!? My car is a victim of post road trip nastiness. The garage/art studio has turned into a junk yard. Our landscaping is so overgrown it looks like a Bengal tiger should be pouncing out at any moment. The list goes on and on. My kids can help with some of the chores but honestly sometimes it just makes more work for me when they “help.” I keep reminding myself that school starts very VERY soon. Within the next couple of weeks all THREE of my kids will be going off to school. Yes, that is correct. I said all THREE kids. Whoop, whoop! I have graduated to a new stage of motherhood. Sawyer’s preschool is only for 10 hours a week, BUT that is 10 hours a week to check things off my to-do list…KID FREE.
I am channeling my focus on back-to-school prep and choosing to ignore my home “to-do” list until my new-found freedom arrives. So with that being said, I decided to make Sawyer a DIY no-sew nap mat cover for preschool this morning. This was a project that I could get done with the “help” of my kids…and let’s just say I had A LOT of help. We ventured out to JoAnns to pick out all of our supplies.  There was no shortage of no-sew fleece! The options were endless.  Sweet Sawyer was so excited with her choice of Frozen themed fleece.  Her joy made me smile.

Can you cut? Can you tie a knot? If so, you qualify to make a no-sew nap mat cover!

SUPPLIES:

-1 nap mat  (I bought mine at Target)

-1.5 yards (length) of no-sew fleece to be used for the front and back of the nap mat. (JoAnns had a great selection).

-1 yard (length)of no sew fleece to be used for the blanket.

-Scissors

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cut the 1.5 yards of fleece into two equal sections.  Stack on top of one another.

2. Lay nap mat on top of the stacked fleece. Trim fleece so there is 4 to 5 inches of fleece bordering the mat.


3. Place nap mat in between to two layers of fleece. Cut 1″ fringe, 4 to 5 inches deep, all around the stacked fleece except for the top part. Cut corners out.


4. Tie the top piece of fringe and bottom piece of fringe together along the length of the sides and bottom.

*Ignore the top of my mat.  I didn’t trim it before I took the picture. However, this picture shows what the sides and bottom should look like once tied. I guess I am my own rule breaker.

5. At the top of the mat, cut the top piece of fleece straight across. Do NOT cut the bottom piece.


6. Tuck the bottom piece over the nap mat and under the top piece of fleece. This step is to make it easy to slid the mat out for when the cover needs to be washed.img_5106-3

 

7. Poke the fringe out of the side knots and tie to a piece of fringes.  Do this on both sides of the mat. The cover is finished!img_5107

8. Flip the nap mat over so the bottom piece of fleece is now on the top.

9. Lay the remaining 1 yard of fleece on top of the covered nap mat. Leave 4 to 5 inches of fleece hanging off on one side and the bottom. On the other side of the nap map, trim the remaining fleece so that 6-12 inches are left.

10. Cut 1″ fringe along the side and bottom 4 to 5 inches deep. Cut the corner out.  You only need to fringe the bottom part until you reach the end of the covered nap mat.  Once you reach that point, cut the fleece as if you are cutting out a corner. See picture.


11. Tie the “blanket” fleece fringe along the one side and bottom to the nap mat cover’s fringe to attach the blanket. See picture in step 4.

12. Covered nap mat COMPLETE. ✔️ Good job!

I think it’s safe to say that Sawyer LOVES her new nap mat.  Hopefully she will be a good napper at school.

As for now, my case of “mommy meltdowns” has subsided. My to-do list CAN wait until the kids are back to school. Until then, I will wear pretend blinders while in my post-roadtrip car, junk yard garage, or jungle-like front yard and hope that no tiger pounces at me.tiger-in-the-grass-jane-schnetlage

 

 

 

Reconciling a Relapse by Redecorating

Our Mabry Living room has been a place where we have RE-corded many of our memories. There have been RE-actions to unforgettable moments like when we were RE-warded with healthy children and brought them home from the hospital. It is where we have RE-told joyous moments like seeing the kids scamper to the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. It’s here where we can RE-count funny moments like when we thought our dog ran off with a dirty diaper and ate the goods inside (he didn’t, thank goodness). And, there have been seemingly irREconcilable moments such as telling the kids that daddy is going to be gone for their birthdays and Christmas to seek help following a RE-lapse.

When John RE-gressed in his sobriety this time last year and RE-admitted into one of Addiction Campuses’ great facilities, called The Treehouse, I knew I had to stay strong for myself and my kids. It wasn’t a choice to crumble. I HAD to RE-evaluate new ways to keep finding HOPE and JOY. Art and creativity have always been things I’ve RE-turned to as therapeutic RE-leases. So, what better way to RE-kindle hope and joy than RE-decorating my family room with my artwork?

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I wanted to RE-create a room full of light, full of hope,full of encouragement and beaming with love. I started by painting my walls with a RE-freshing color, appropriately called RE-flection, by Sherwin Williams. This lightened the room drastically. With all the decorations down and new paint RE-applied to the walls, I had the blank canvas I needed to RE-create a new beginning for my room, but also for RE-newing my hope and RE-igniting my joy. It was time to RE-create, RE-fresh, RE-juvenate, RE-do and RE-claim ME through my creativity and love for decor.

While John RE-entered treatment, I spent time RE-evaluating “Sarah.”  I RE-cognize that through the busyness of raising three kids and the RE-occurance of addiction in our marriage, I often lose pieces of myself. To RE-engage with my innermost self, I RE-flected on these simple questions:

  1. What brings me JOY? Dogs, kids, art, family, nature
  2.  What brings me HOPE? Scripture, anything angel themed- white feathers, angel wings, halos, rainbows.
  3.  How would I describe my FAITH? RE-newing my trust in GOD when times are difficult and trying to obey his RE-direction of my continually unfolding life.
  4. What does the word LOVE mean to me? This is a very difficult one to RE-call when your world gets flipped upside down. I try to RE-member that, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1  Corinthians 13:4-7

I wanted to RE-create an atmosphere that incorporated my answers to the above questions through RE-decorating. My goal  for this project was to RE-build and RE-store my broken spirit by RE-designing our Mabry Living room.

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  1. I created a cozy dog bed for my RE-scue pups by placing a sheep wool rug under our coffee table. I mixed and match pillow covers from Pottery Barn (sale rack of course).
  2. I RE-purposed a stick I found on a nature walk as a statement piece for my mantel. I decorated it by stringing multi colored beads from it. The teal green jar looks like beach glass. It RE-minds me of my summers spent hunting for colored glass “treasures” along Lake Michigan. My abstract painting was inspired from the Michigan beach where I spend my summers, which I often call, “Heaven on Earth”. Can you tell I love Michigan beaches?!?
  3. I designed the LOVE sign to RE-mind me of the 1 Corinthians scripture.
  4. My angel feather painting allows me to RE-call that God’s angels are always watching over me. I RE-placed our old entertainment center with one from Wayfair.com.
  5. I REad the following quote and knew I had to make an arrow themed piece of work: “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.” This quote RE-news my HOPE for better times ahead.
  6. Canvas painting with a family rule: “As for  me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”Joshua 24:15. I found this piece at Hobby Lobby. I RE-placed the mirror with mirrors from Ballard Design.
  7.  Angel candle holders from John’s grandmother, plus a picture of Michigan that says, “Happy Place,” very fitting.
  8. I added a shell covered end table (Home Goods), an ottoman (West Elm), and changed out our old rug for a new jute rug (Wayfair.com).
  9. I found these angel wings at Hobby Lobby. They were turquoise but I RE-painted them white.

Now for the fun part, BEFORE and AFTER pictures. Who doesn’t love RE-decorating transformation pictures??

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Like RE-making an old, darker room light again, we have the ability to chose to RE-invent ourselves. If these walls could talk, my HOPE is that they would tell you a story of continued RE-commitment, RE-demption and the RE-vival of a soul that has RE-ceived, through God’s grace, the willingness to RE-main open to RE-conciling a marriage following RE-lapse.

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