Athletes at Higher Risk for Addiction?

I had no idea and it was never even on my radar to think it.

Athletes potentially have a higher risk towards substance misuse and addiction than the average high school student.


He’s a BEAST!

was the exclamation of two football coaches as they watched my son leap over the hurdles for his first time ever. With no previous training in hurdles, he filled an empty slot at a meet and he powered over them like a bull with the agility of a gazelle.  He was recruited for the football team on the spot.

That’s my boy!

Caleb was an athlete who excelled, earning him status from awards won at the state level, in recognition being a co-captain on both wrestling and football teams, and with purpose leading as an example of determination with a never-give-up attitude, for his teammates. Sports was his identity. It was his true joy.  I am comforted in knowing that he experienced the highs of accomplishment and pleasure in his experience as an athlete; literally, they were the best years of his short life.

Little did I know, shortly thereafter, he began experimenting with marijuana during this time of his life.  With accomplishments come expectations and pressure to perform and work to surpass your own records. Beating your body into submission brings pain; no pain, no gain, as they say.  I am fairly confident that he occasionally used weed to reduce anxiety and ease the pain of sore muscles.

This is where it all began.

Fast forward two more years………..An injury, was re-injured, and then re-injured again; smashed and rammed on the footfall field and stretched and torqued on the wrestling mat; surgery became inevitable. Surgery provided opiates to manage the pain. While I cannot say that this opiate use was the cause of his downward spiral into addiction, it certainly exacerbated the course in more than just the obvious way.  More than self medicating for physical pain, my son was self medicating for emotional pain.  It is my firm belief, that the injury and surgery that prevented him from finishing his senior year of wrestling season, plummeted him into depression.  You see, when an accomplished athlete suddenly cannot engage with his sport anymore, his identity and purpose is suddenly stripped away. This secondary pain became primary to the path of substance misuse for Caleb.  

My athlete was certainly one of those at higher risk for addiction.

But, no one would know this looking on from the outside; the facade of bravado that dominates the athletic realm, masked the inner pain he endured. Coupled with a genetic predisposition, it was a perfect set-up to propel him toward substance abuse.

Addiction became a BEAST bigger than he could have thought possible; It overpowered him like a bull and stole up on him like a gazelle.


…there could be only one winner as they battled to the death…

What could have altered this course for my son?

That is the proverbial cry of this grieving parent, and every parent, who has lost a child to substance use disorder.

Thoughts anyone?








Tuesday Tidbit: I Did This on Purpose.

Where is the head of your bed?

Most people have the head of their beds against a wall.  I do not.  The head of my bed is in the middle of the room; it sits somewhat like an island.  As I lay upon my bed, I have direct viewing out a double set of windows which face east.  The morning sunshine pours in through the glass and tickles my face with a very pleasant, “good morning!”

Slowly I open my eyes and a contented smile comes over my face and I cannot resist the moment of thanking God for my cozy bed, the warm sun, and the new day.

 I did this on purpose.  I chucked all conventional rules of room arranging and specifically positioned my bed in this particular way so that I could always greet each day with a view out the windows at the tree tops and the sky.  Day or night, it is pleasing.  And, I feel peace.

The tidbit is this: We have to purpose ourselves and specifically arrange ourselves to turn toward the Lord Jesus Christ, author and perfecter of our faith.  Day or night, He is pleasing.  He is our Peace.

As the familiar old chorus calls us: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

…listen to this:

Can you agree these are troubled times we live in?  And, there are troubled times sure to continue to come.  All the more reason to chuck conventional plodding along in this life, and TURN to face the Son….and be delighted as He shines into your every new day! 

47 Things on Thursdays: Yes,We May Grimace…

The Judgment Free Zone exists! Planet Fitness declares it on their walls in four foot tall letters. Yet, my wonder wanders.

The myriad of people range in age and size and intensity of energy.  I wonder at the stories behind each one.  Is it vanity or health that drives them to press on?  Maybe it is both. In my case it is a little of both.  I want to look good to my husband and to myself as I look in the mirror. And, I’m recovering – trying to win back my body from the ravages of cancer.  I want good health.

This is my purpose.  This is why I don new sneakers, leave the comfort of my home, and push myself to learn how to operate the odd looking contraptions that tell me I will strengthen my muscles and re-shape my figure if I continue using them.

Two evenings ago after such an adventure on the many contraptions, using the phraseology of my young son, I sweat-ed!  I have not sweat-ed in a very long time….A smile altered my countenance and I felt a Hoorah! creep up inside me. Change is on the way.

This is my purpose isn’t it?  To change. To reshape. To make better.  I press on for the benefit of my overall health – physical and emotional.  I’ll be happier.  And if I am happier with myself and my body, then my husband will no doubt be happier as well.  It’s a win-win situation!  A boost for our relationship.

Pressing on means hard work doesn’t it?  Of course it does.  As I wander with my eyes, I can see it on the faces of those around me sharing in the exercise adventure.  Grimaces, quiet exhales of breath, pained expressions accompanied by droplets of perspiration are found no matter where I set my vision.  Everyone is pressing on to some degree.  Pushing themselves on purpose – for a purpose.

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I am triggered to wonder and wander to the question: what is God’s purpose for us?  Especially, what is God’s purpose when He allows hard things into our lives?  He allowed cancer and its ugly side effects into my life.  For why?  For what? Certainly He has allowed hard things into your life as well.

Be assured, GOD has  PURPOSE in what He allows and he has a plan for each of us to be changed, reshaped, and made better.  He presses on with His work so that we are given opportunity to press on in our work; our work is the exercising of trust and faith in God.  Romans 8:28 & 29 declare, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,…”

Did you catch God’s purpose?  He desires us to be conformed to the image of his Son!  This is hard work, not for God, but for us to endure the trials and the difficult struggles.  We must push ourselves!  Yes, we may grimace, we may quietly exhale (although I have exhaled with a wailing guttural voice at times!).  We may have pained expressions and perspiration on our brow.  I urge you my friend to push yourself and use the odd contraptions — exercise trust and faith in your difficult trial.

For why?  For the purpose of being conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus.

For what?  For the glory of God.


The gym fosters change for our physical body which in turn helps our emotional body.  The enduring of hard trials and exercising of trust and faith in God fosters change in our spiritual body.  In God’s purpose, for God’s purpose, with God’s purpose we are made better and we will be happier in Him. God is happier as we choose to press on with faith and trust in Him and become conformed.  It’s a win-win situation!  A boost for our relationship with God.


Join me again next Thursday!   And don’t forget about Tuesday Tidbits…. next Tuesday I will share with you ways to learn contentment.