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Chasing Waterfalls

February 25, 2012 by Sharron Cosby

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls,

Please stick to the rivers and lakes that you’re used to.

I know you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all,

But I think you’re moving too fast.” recorded by TLC


“Waterfalls” is one of my favorite songs. I know that sounds strange for a mother and grandmother, but its message is haunting, true and needs to be heard.

The song opens with a mother gazing out a window at her son. She realizes her helplessness at reaching him, to turn him away from his chosen path. He is chasing the fast life of drugs, sex and violence. He’s looking for the good life and can’t see where it will end. She pleads with him to stick close to home, to remain with the familiar instead of chasing an elusive dream. He doesn’t listen and dies.

Helpless, hopeless moms still look out windows watching taillights fade in the evening shadows,  praying their children come home safe. Hoping their son or daughter makes good choices.

Choices—there is the rub. Ultimately our loved ones make the choices—right or wrong. We, hopefully, have instilled basic moral values, of “please and thank you.” There is a scripture in Proverbs that says to” train up a child in the way he should go, and when he’s old he will not turn from it.”  How do we do that?

We do it by living our values—we walk the talk. If we want our children to be kind, then we must treat them kindly and with respect. If we want them to work hard, then we need to demonstrate a balanced work ethic designed to teach the value in having a job to provide for the family. We steer our children in their interests and natural giftedness.

But, having done all the “right” things as a parent, the choice ultimately belongs to our loved ones. Sometimes they choose foolishly and the consequences are far-reaching and long lasting—even fatal. We are there to stand beside them, to love them through that moment and pray them through the next. Allowing your loved one the space to make decisions is a vulnerable place to be.

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls…”






All we like sheep

February 18, 2012 by Sharron Cosby

I am a city girl and have little experience with farm animals. One of my great uncles had sheep and that’s about as close to the wooly critters as I’ve gotten. In researching sheep for a chapter in my book, I came across some interesting information that correlates to addicts.

  • Follow the leader – most sheep follow the sheep walking ahead of them. If one sheep decides to wander in a different direction, the entire herd follows suit, even into a dangerous situation. How like our addicts? Many times our children follow the herd and do what everyone else is doing just to be a part of the group–even if it’s over the proverbial cliff. I call it peer influence instead of peer pressure. Our children are usually influenced to behave or experiment with drugs, alcohol or sex. Few are held down and forced to try drugs, alcohol, or risky behaviors. Encourage your child to be the leader and help them steer others in the right direction. It could save their life.


  • Safety in numbers – sheep are social animals; they feel safer when part of the flock. When separated from the herd, they become agitated. As the parent of an addict, I derive comfort when I’m associated with parents whose children are suffering with addiction issues. Left alone, I become more anxious about the future.  The security of knowing another parent shares my anguish brings comfort–not necessarily solutions to problems–but some understanding and compassion. Sharing your story with families who haven’t suffered the sting of addiction is often futile–they can’t relate to our hurts and disappointments. Check out your local Al-Anon or Nar-Anon to receive the support you need. Conversely, addicts find safety in numbers. They tend to stick together.


  • Pain – Sheep have an amazing high tolerance for pain. They don’t show pain, because if they do, they are more vulnerable to predators who look for those who are weak or injured. Parents and other family members often have a high tolerance for pain. We are battered emotionally by our addicts’ poor choices. We are beaten up financially as treatment centers are entered, bails posted, lawyers hired, and a myriad of ways in which our money is spent. We suffer spiritually when we cry out to God for relief but it never comes. We also don’t want to show our pain to the world because we might be a church or community leader, and we must keep up our appearances of having it all together. If you are in pain today as you struggle with your addict, please seek help. Call your pastor, a counselor or a trusted friend who can bear the pain with you.

Guard your sheep well.

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