As we celebrated our Independence Day on July 4th, I thought about the freedom we have in the U.S.A. I think about the courage of those who fought and continue to fight for this freedom, and as Lee Greenwood says it best in his song, “God Bless the U.S.A.”: “I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.”
I believe it takes recognition of fear to protect those freedoms and then finding courage to act on those fears. Fear and courage go hand in hand. John Wayne said it best, “Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway.”
Developing Mental and Moral Strength
The Hope Grows focus for July was courage. We explored what it meant to have the “mental or moral strength to persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. At least that is what the Merriam-Webster dictionary states as the definition for courage.
Another thought about courage comes from the lion in the “Wizard of Oz.” He was on a yellow brick road quest to receive courage from the wizard, only later to learn that he already possessed it. Just like the lion, I believe we all possess courage and strength that is hidden beneath a misinterpreted fear.
An unknown author once said, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” I think this can be applied to courage as well.
Witnessing Courage Firsthand
I recently witnessed a level of STRONG that reinforced COURAGE from a unique perspective. When we think of providing care, our minds typically go to the older population and age-related disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Parkinson’s. Special needs and veterans enter into the conversation, as well.
However, the caregiving that I became a part of supporting was the care around the disease of addiction. We hardly ever hear about the courage of CARE when it comes to this type of disease. The topic is usually pushed under the rug and not talked about. I will tell you though, what I witnessed and became a part of was nothing short of courage, strength, trust, love and HOPE.
To be a part of pushing back fear and pain, the needed COURAGE, which CARE transforms from, becomes the inspiration to openly intervene and say, enough, “you” need help.
Lord Chesterfield once said, “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” This is what the one with the addiction did. They let go of the familiar ways of the day-to-day use of substances and chose to discover a new way. This requires a lot of trust, faith and acceptance, and to openly say, “I’m going to be receptive to what I am hearing and I am going to open myself to face this adversity, regardless of the fear or difficulty I may endure.”
Find Your Own Meaningful Definition of Hope
I am blessed and honored to have been a part of facilitating this transformation of growth and I will end on this note: There are many types of caregiving, addiction being one, but not talked about often. I am hopeful for more openness, less stigma around it, so a change for families dealing with this type of disease can gain the support they need.
I am also hopeful that I will continue to witness amazing amounts of strength from families and those suffering with this horrible disease. To continue to see both sides of CARE and COURAGE, for a continued path of healing.
So, take some time over the course of the week and come up with your own definition of courage, one that is most meaningful to you. And if you know of someone struggling with addiction, share this post so that they know Hope Grows is here to support and help. If your CARE is with the disease of addiction, take some deep breaths, act on those fears so courage and strength is the anecdote for HOPE. “It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” —Marianne Williamson