I’m Paige DeHart, a licensed chemical dependency counselor, ordained minister and a person in recovery who has been clean and sober for 22 years.
I am also the mother of Hope DeHart, the young woman who was recently featured in a Star-Telegram news article and videos about her recovery from a gunshot wound and struggles with addiction.
The article did a masterful job of illustrating some of the problems that Hope has encountered because of her addiction and her traumatic brain injury, but it is only one side of Hope’s story.
Hope has also had many victories. She is a work in progress.
In the first days after the shooting, we were told that Hope would most likely die from her injury and, if she did live, she would be mentally and physically challenged and would no longer have the same personality.
Hope proved the medical professionals wrong in a matter of weeks and has recovered physically with the exception of having a seizure disorder.
However, Hope’s emotional and spiritual sides are just beginning to catch up. In the past weeks, I have seen her make positive changes in her decision making and her actions; and I have no doubt that she will continue to make progress as the days and months pass because we are a family who relies on a faithful God.
Hope has struggled with relapse, but so have many addicts and alcoholics who have gone on to become productive, contributing, and sober members of society. I myself experienced multiple relapses during the first eight years that I attempted the journey toward self-honesty and wholeness that is recovery.
Relapse is sometimes necessary to convince us that the old ways no longer work. Consequently, one of my favorite recovery slogans is “to try and fail is hopeful.”
There are solutions for the problem of chemical dependence and Hope is in the process of practicing the principles that will facilitate her progress. Hope lives in a sober home and is surrounded by positive and spiritual people who love her.
Hope is also slowly but surely letting go of the people who do not value what is best for her. Hope is practicing the willingness to do right, to be honest with self and others, and to be open to instruction from those who are ahead of her: important principles required to move from darkness to light; from self-will to the will of God.
My prayer for Hope is the prayer I have for anyone who struggles with the disease of chemical dependence; that she will never give up in trying to do better. Small steps in a new direction lead to great strides in the long run.
To try and fail is hopeful because it means that someone is making an effort. In recovery and life, the only way to fail is to give up. Therefore, addiction is not a death sentence for those who are willing to change, to listen to others, and to practice right action.
I pray that Hope’s video diary will not only give the viewers insight into the struggles involved in making positive changes, but that it will also inspire them.
Hope inspires me every day; and I believe that her best is yet to come.