This image of Hurricane Wilma was taken by the crew aboard NASA’s international space station as the complex flew 222 miles above the storm. Wilma’s eye was two miles across at the time, the smallest eye ever observed, indicating an extremely intense storm. At the time, Wilma was the strongest Atlantic hurricane in history, with winds over 185 miles per hour, a record low central pressure of 882 mbar. The storm was located in the Caribbean Sea, 340 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico.

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Images in the public domain.

“In each age men of genius undertake the ascent. From below, the world follows them with their eyes. These men go up the mountain, enter the clouds, disappear, reappear, People watch them, mark them. They walk by the side of precipices. They daringly pursue their road. See them aloft, see them in the distance; they are but black specks. On they go. The road is uneven, its difficulties constant. At each step a wall, at each step a trap. As they rise the cold increases. They must make their ladder, cut the ice and walk on it, hewing the steps in haste. A storm is raging. Nevertheless they go forward in their madness. The air becomes difficult to breath. The abyss yawns below them. Some fall. Others stop and retrace their steps; there is a sad weariness. The bold ones continue. They are eyed by the eagles; the lightning plays about them: the hurricane is furious. No matter, they persevere.”

~ Victor Hugo

While perusing a friends facebook page, I saw a book she recommended.  Now this friend is someone who impresses me with her outlook as a single person in the church.  The book is entitled Make It Happen: A Guide to Happiness for LDS Singles, by Kylee Shields.  In one chapter the author shares her perspective on relationships and makes the analogy of Hurricanes vs. Bridge Builders.  As she described the section about Hurricanes, it brought to mind another thought about addiction that I want to share with you now.

The author shares her experience as a Social Worker working with survivors of domestic violence.  She expressed her frustration and anguish as she saw time after time these women return to their abusers.  After much prayer for understanding and while working with one client who was back again from returning to her abuser, the thought came to her that the reason this woman returned to her abuser was that, for these women, the life in that home was like living in the eye of the storm.  It was familiar and “safe” to be in that state of chaos and wreckage.

Since my mission, I have interpreted for thousands of addiction recovery groups, treatment centers, and speaker meetings.  Often when people shared, a common phrased was used.  “Every alcoholic has a relationship to the bottle and everyone around him also has a relationship to his bottle”.  In other words, the addict/alcoholic has no real relationships.

Like the domestic violence survivor, it can be frustrating for family and friends to see their loved one return again and again to addictive substances and behaviors like pornography, video games, gambling, etc.  Likewise, the Eye of the Hurricane may seem safe and normal, but eventually the storm catches up with the addict and knocks him on his tush.  For those who have passed through the hurricane of addiction, they are left “wreckage” to clean up.  Likewise, living on the outskirts of the storm means that the addict must continually be moving, because the storm is always at his heals.   There is no time for complacency.  The hope is that, eventually, his new life outside of the storm of addiction will be one that is again truly Safe and one where he feels Happy, Joyous and Free.

Since leaving my life of addiction, I can see this analogy does make sense.  Today, I am Happy, Joyous, and Free.  My way out of the storm was by putting my trust in God by holding fast not just clinging to the Iron Rod.  I created a wonderful support system around me that loved me and strengthened me.  I found ways of getting out of myself and serving others sharing my talents and blessings with others.  Kylie Shields in her book encourages her readers to become and seek for Kingdom Builders.  May we all be Kingdom Builders rather than being tossed to and fro in the eye of the hurricane.

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