It was Monday afternoon and guys were gathering in the lobby for a probation group that would begin shortly. Eric had been requesting to see me because of some problems and I wondered if I might catch him before group to schedule an appointment. I suspected we’d be talking about a couple demons named Meth and Heroin based on my short time with him. Over the years, I’ve supervised several clients who have overdosed and died by the hands of heroin, so if in fact this is what we’d be talking about, Eric needed something to hold on to.
I opened up the lobby door and scanned the faces. There he was sitting in the corner somewhat disengaged from the others in the lobby, bent over; elbows on knees. I’m still getting used to his new look because his long hair was recently cut off and he looked like a clean-cut 20-something guy. Our eyes met and he gave me a shallow smile as I invited him back.
Eric has a very kind face and warm blue eyes…but on this day, there was only desperation and fear. A couple times I had to focus to make out his pinpoint pupils. He was painfully honest…relapse had blind-sided him along the path somewhere beyond Discouragement, and Hopelessness was beginning to settle in as Shame maintained its death grip on his heart.
We talked briefly before heading into the group. He needed to admit… He needed to know I knew…he needed to confess. He needed to hear a gentle voice assuring him the truth was known…and he wasn’t going to receive more words from another accuser…
I needed to know that too at one point in my life…and I needed to know it again last Friday night!
It’s two days later and Eric walks into my office around 2:30. The desperation was still present, but the wildness was absent from his eyes. He unloaded…it wasn’t pretty…but when did relapse ever get accused of being an attractive thing? He shared with me that he had an encounter with 3 demons who wanted to destroy him, and although he doubted I would believe he was sane, it was very real and very scary to him. He then sat there after spilling it all on my desk… waiting… needing something real to hold onto. The probation officer in me almost began talking…but praise the Lord, that got shut down real quick.
Although I hesitated, it was more to make sure God was ready to roll…cuz that’s what needed to happen right here, right now. I’m a probation officer, not a preacher, and something supernatural needed to take place in this conversation.
I shared my firm belief that addiction is a spiritual battle…. I recoil as I say that. Even now, as I think of sharing this in a story, I want to backtrack. I want to go back into hiding and not reveal to people who I am and what makes me tick. I’m uncomfortable putting my cards on the table. I keep my beliefs very close to the vest, but it’s part of the story, so to tell the story requires me to go all-in here. Our culture is uncomfortable with the concept of another realm that operates interdependently with our physical realm. We have trouble acknowledging things we cannot see and explain in our natural mind. To that I would say this: If seeing is believing then how can you believe in “Gravity” or “Momentum” just to name a few things. I’ve seen the effects of both, but I can’t really tell you what each looks like.
Eric heard the Gospel…he heard the story of how authority was won back at the Cross…but in order to walk in the victory won at the Cross, we have to accept the gift… Eric was told those demons attacking him are not scared of him at all….but they are scared of the One who changed everything…they are scared of the name of Jesus Christ. Eric shared that he was a Christian and believed all I was saying to be true. But he confessed that he has never in his life given this addiction to Jesus. He admitted he was stubborn and felt he could fight and win on his own… As we talked, he cried deeply. He was getting the revelation downloaded…he needed to bend his knee.
Our meeting lasted 90 minutes… 90 minutes with no interruptions, no phone calls, no appointments. I make no apologies in declaring this, but there were 9 foot angels posted at my office door with swords drawn. Did I see them? No, but my stapler sat firmly on my desk throughout the appointment…so I assert Gravity was also present in the room. Am I required to provide proof Gravity was present as well? Nothing was going to interrupt this meeting today. There was a battle taking place, but it wasn’t for Eric’s soul, that had been won long ago. Our enemy still desires to steal, kill, and destroy, and I believe this battle is for his life.
Eric thanked me for the time, and through tears and a snotty nose, reflected that this was what he needed to hear. Did he bend his knee? Don’t know; the invitation was given, but Eric said he had a lot to think about.
As I write this, my hope, better yet, my prayer is that the Battle at Bended Knee has been won by Eric and the Kingdom of Heaven.