John as Stanley Cup with his Trophy Wife at the Hillbilly Half Marathon

We worked a water station for our friend’ s who manage Franklin’s Hillbilly Half Marathon here in the Nashville area. The race fell on the morning that the Nashville Predators NHL hockey team came home to defend our home ice against the Pittsburg Penguins during the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals.

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Having spontaneous fun with the kids on St. Patrick’s Day

One thing that helps balance our family out from the daily grind is to come up with spontaneous skits like this. So many people are so concerned about their image on social media and what people think of them. We have found that acting silly like this keeps the kid inside of us alive and reminds us not to care so much about what others think.

Do something crazy and spontaneous with someone you love today.

Creative punishment for kids

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The boys couldn’t get along playing basketball. So instead of playing ball, I had them write reports on presidents and present them to us today. They learned about the history and hopefully how to play nicely with each other. If not, there are still 41 presidents for them to write reports about. Ironically, not one fight broke out when we made Mabry Rushmore.

Addiction from the spouse’s perspective

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Grateful for the opportunity to share a spouse’s perspective on addiction for an interview. We started Mabry Living to share our truth. It’s comforting to know we made the right decision to let light into the dark spaces of our lives. If you’re secretly struggling with addiction in your home or family, you’re not alone.

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.

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.