In Episode 7, Steve Austin discusses the Prodigal Son, medication, demon possession, and the church. Abuse, addiction, and a suicide attempt weren’t the end of Steve Austin’s story. In fact, a suicide attempt is where Steve’s life began. From Pastor to a Psych Ward is a new, 13-episode serial podcast – the audio version of the Amazon […]
If the Prodigal Son had been able to work through the smothering lies that come with shame, would he have come home sooner? I’ve heard others ask it this way: “If the Prodigal Son had Xanax, would he have ever come home?”
Early in recovery, my biggest struggle with returning to the Church was getting past that sense of not being good enough. My fear of being compared to all the other “normal” Christians made it very hard to believe in a Father who was inherently good, patient, and kind. The Church had been my home for nearly three decades, but after such a massive personal failure, I wasn’t sure how I fit into it anymore. From my own experience, the Church knows how to deal with addiction, adultery, and anger. But mental illness dumbfounds them.
A failed suicide attempt forced me to face myself. At first, all I wanted to do was disconnect from anyone and anything that seemed more “normal” than me. And everyone seems more normal than you feel when you’ve just been discharged from the psych ward. I didn’t want anyone to know my story, or the details of the journey that eventually landed me in an ICU. I didn’t want my family to know, and I certainly didn’t want to face the Church.
Like so many others, I thought life came with two choices: be a normal Christian guy, or be crazy. I felt stuck. Lost.
I wonder if the Prodigal Son was feeling like me. The parable certainly implies he was humiliated. If the Prodigal Son had been able to work through the smothering lies that come with shame, would he have come home sooner? I’ve heard others ask it this way: “If the Prodigal Son had Xanax, would he have ever come home?”