Hello. My name is Glenn Stribling. I live in Spartanburg, SC and am the assistant director and meeting planner for the National Beta Club. My wife, Kathy, and I have been married for 38 years. We have two children and three grandchildren.
On November 2, 2009, Kathy received a phone call from our son, Ryan, in Myrtle Beach, SC, that irrevocably changed our lives. In this phone call, he told her that “I lost my job at Bonefish Grill, the person I am living with has kicked me out, I have no money and I’m on drugs.” She called me to tell me this and to be honest for a few minutes I guess I was in shock. I didn’t want to believe what I had just heard. I asked myself question after question about what I could have done differently. “Should I have spent more time with him, should I have changed jobs in order to spend more time at home, did I miss signs that something like this was happening?”
I called one of the pastors at our church and was told about a ministry named Operation Recovery. Not long after I got a call from an advisor and we talked about my son and what he needed to do. I told the advisor that I was going to drive to Myrtle Beach to pick up Ryan and that we would be back in Spartanburg in two days and perhaps we could meet. We met at a Denny’s restaurant in Spartanburg and the advisor asked my son “What is your drug of choice, do you deal drugs, do you “shoot up”, have you stolen to maintain your habit?’ Three days before, I could not have imagined having Ryan being asked questions like those. As it turns out, my son’s wife had fallen and broken her leg. He was the caregiver and had picked up a prescription for her for Lortab, a very strong pain medication. He took two of those and that began the trip into the abyss. It wasn’t a big deal at first, but after a time, it became more and more important that he get a fix. By November of 2009, it had become a matter of taking anything he could get his hands on.
Ryan committed to spend four months in drug rehabilitation, first in Boone, NC at Freedom Farm and later in Greenwood, SC at Faith Home. These months were good for him as he was far away from the drug culture and with men who had been through the same trials and tribulations as he. He “graduated” from Faith Home in February and spent three months with us. He has since returned to Myrtle Beach. Do I like that? No, but I can’t live his life for him. I told him I would pray for him daily and I encouraged him to become involved with a support group because the same temptations were there.
I have come to some conclusions after our experience. First, the choices you make,be they good or bad, have consequences. You don’t live your life in a vacuum. Your choices affect not only you, but your parents, your friends, and your community. Second, peer pressure is one of the strongest influences known to man. So many of our choices are based upon what someone else does or what they want us to do. It is unfortunate that so many of our “idols” are individuals who have the greatest problems with addictions. Third, the strongest force against addiction is love, first the love of God and the love of family.
I have written a song which I call “Home”. It speaks of a son who wanders away, the love of a father for his son and the return of the son home. I hope that it will be a blessing to you.