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Offering Hope to Families Experiencing Drug Addiction (Part 1 of 2)

Offering Hope to Families Experiencing Drug Addiction (Part 1 of 2)

Mac Owen and his wife, Mary, discuss their turbulent past marked by his hard core drug addiction, and how they came to experience God's grace and healing, which has not only restored their lives but has led to a recovery ministry for addicts and their family members. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: November 6, 2018


Voice #1: To me, the ’70s was all about rainbows.

Voice #2: When I see myself in the ’70s, I’m a lot thinner.

Voice #3: Yeah, the Vietnam War was really big.

Voice #4: My hair was kind of long, over my ears, down to my shoulders – long sideburns.

Voice #5: I loved tie-dye.

Voice #6: The bell-bottoms were comfortable.

Voice #7: I see big glasses, and I see big hair.

Voice #8: One of the things we did was roller-skating.

Voice #9: One Sunday a month, we would go to swap meet to make some money using my macramé plant hangers. Good times.

End of Teaser
John Fuller: Well, those who grew up in the era of peace, love, and rock and roll often have some pretty fond memories about the music, and the fashions, and the explosion of new ideas. It was all this counterculture, and a lot of it was pretty innocent. I, I like the comment about the bell-bottoms. I was one of the first kids in my… I think it was probably fifth-grade class to wear bell-bottoms.

Jim Daly: You, you had bell-bottoms?

John: I did and white-

Jim: (laughs)

John: I wore white platform shoe-

Jim: That just makes me laugh.

John: I had these platform shoe things.

Jim: Are you serious?

John: I did.

Jim: Let’s stop there.

John: Okay. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) Let’s not going any further.

John: What do you remember about the ’70s?

Jim: I, I just wore jeans, man.

John: Okay.

Jim: I… you know, Levi’s.

John: Well, I did, too.

Jim: I don’t know what it was, but, uh, yeah, what do I remember about the ’70s? I, I don’t know. It was all kind of… I was more into football and all that kinda stuff, and Jean, though, she did the swap meet. Uh, she sold Ditto Jeans, I think it was, at the s-

John: I think I remember those. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) So, I mean, it’s just crazy. Those are the years that, uh, had a lot of, uh… I don’t know… uh, cultural upheaval-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … was occurring at the time, and, uh, you know, we’re still kind of suffering from those outcomes. Uh, those were the years where ki-… drugs and, and partying really took root in the culture.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Um, the cost of the illegal drugs in terms of crime, lost productivity, and healthcare is estimated at about $200 billion a year, and then to that you can add almost another $80 billion because of prescription, uh, drug abuse. It is a tragedy right in front of us, and we need to do more and more as the people of faith in this culture to talk about what’s going on and why this is not healthy for every one of us.

John: Yeah, and while the ’70s had those happier moments, the legacy of the drug abuse that you’re talking about, Jim, is something we really do want to dial into. We have an incredible story for you today on Focus on the Family. Uh, welcome to the program. I’m John Fuller. Your host is Jim Daly, and, um, a- as you’re talking about some of those stats, Jim, I’m thinking the research is fairly alarming, and yet there’s this move, and Colorado is one of those states, to, uh, embrace legalizing marijuana, which seems pretty innocuous until you realize some of the costs to the culture and the society and some of the downsides of hospitalizations, and traffic deaths, and, uh, kids who are inspired more to smoke post than to go to school. There are a lot of negatives to, uh, the drug scene, and as you said, it, it kinda all kinda came together in the ’60s and ’70s. We’re gonna address it, as I said, with, uh, a couple of guests who have quite a story, uh, for you. They are Mac and Mary Owen, and, uh, they experienced the horrors and difficulties of addiction, uh, firsthand, and for more than 25 years, they’ve devoted their lives to helping those caught up in addictions, uh, drug and alcohol addictions, and to help them and their families find that road to recovery, and, uh, Mac and Mary are part of the national leadership team for Celebrate Recovery.

Jim: Mac and Mary, uh, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Mac Owen: Oh, thank you.

Mary Owen: Thank you.

Mac: We’re glad to be here.

Mary: Glad to be here.

Jim: You had big smiles on your faces listening to that, uh, little intro we did.

Mac: Right.

Mary: (laughs)

Jim: The music, the music gripped you. I can tell.

Mac: Yeah, that’s right. (laughs)

Mary: Oh, yeah.

Mac: There were a lotta memories there.

Mary: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But you guys, uh, you know, in so many ways, when I read your book, Never Let Go, you lived this. I mean, this has been your story, and we’re gonna uncover it and dig into it because it’s so helpful and so relevant to today’s culture. I mean, not only are some of the fashions coming back. Is that kinda spooky?

Mac: That’s right (laughs).

Mary: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, bell-bottoms are coming… Daisies-

Mac: They are.

Mary: Yeah.

Jim: … you know, on cars.

John: But the white platform shoes aren’t coming back.

Jim: Yeah (laughs).

John: That’s the good news.

Jim: You still have ’em in your closet, though.

Mary: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: But also just that residual of the drug culture also seems to be coming back in powerful ways, so l- l- let’s get into it. Um, you two met. I wanna get into this, how you met, because it is such a ’70s story. How did you guys meet?

Mary: Well, um, I was a junior, and he was a sophomore.

Jim: What?

Mary: Isn’t that…

Mac: Yeah. Well, you know [crosstalk] woman.

Jim: I assume we’re talking high school?

Mary: (laughing) Yeah, yeah, high school.

John: That’s nice.

Jim: Okay, right there. You were going for the upper-class women.

Mac: That’s right. That’s right.

Mary: (laughs) And I was in American history class, and, um, I got sent out in the hallway because I was talking too much in class. I was standing in the hallway. It was a long hallway. I look down, and I see this huge looks like 24-inch diameter Afro coming down the hallway-

Jim: (laughs)

Mary: … and it was bobbing up and down, and I was like, “Who is that?” And s-… he came walking by, and he said hello, and I said hello, and I just loved his smile and his bright, blue eyes, and I thought, “Hmm. I need to get to know him.” (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) Well, wow. You really captivated your wife.

Mary: (laughs)

Mac: I, I did. You know, I had the, you know, personality, but, uh-

John: And, and the hair thing worked for you. (laughs)

Mac: Yeah, it did. It worked for me very well.

Jim: But, uh, Mac, what attracted you to Mary?

Mac: Well, I just… I saw her at school first, too, and I just thought, “Wow, now she is good looking.”

Jim: (laughs)

Mac: And I found that she was gonna be going to a Christian summer camp ’cause, you know, we weren’t brought up in very good Christian homes, and, um, you know, that’s, I think, part of our story is that, uh, even when kids are brought up in good Christian homes, they can make poor decisions that affect their life for their life.

Jim: Well, and that’s one of the reasons as a parent listening I want you to dial into this because so many kids who grow up in Christian homes, uh, there’s no, uh, moat around them. They go off to college or vocational training. They’re gonna be exposed to things, and if they’re not ready, uh, they could be snared by the enemy.

Mac: Sure.

Jim: And this is one of the reasons we’re do the program, but Mac, uh, growing up in that Christian home, so-

Mac: Yeah, and we weren’t ready, uh, like you said-

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: … because, uh, in our home, we didn’t talk about real issues.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: You know, you went to church on Sunday. Long as you showed up every Sunday, you were faithful, and, you know, you had your ticket punched, and for us, we were going to church, but we were living that whole different life as soon as we got out of church.

Jim: And your parents didn’t know that. Is that fair? Or, did they have suspicions, but they thought, “Okay, it’s all right.”

Mac: No, no, uh, for Mary, Mary’s dad, uh, and mom-

Mary: My, my parents did not know.

Mac: Not-

Mary: Yeah, because, um, I, I hid it well, and I, I didn’t smoke cigarettes or any of that, so I didn’t have the smell on me when I would come home when Mac did, so they, they knew he was smoking cigarettes and starting to get rebellious, but I was a little more, uh, cautious because-

Jim: Well-

Mary: … I didn’t wanna hurt my parents.

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: I, I love my parents, and… but the peer pressure was so hard back then. I mean, it was… You know, I wanted to be popular. I wanted people to like me, so-

Jim: Sure.

Mary: … if everybody was smoking pot, well, then I was gonna try it, too, you know, and they-

Jim: And you were a straight-A student. You were a, a good girl.

Mary: Yes.

Jim: That’s how-

Mary: Yes.

Jim: … uh, you know, the, the book describes you, and, and your parents.

John: Cum laude.

Jim: Yeah. Right? I mean, top of the class, the whole bit.

Mary: Yeah.

Jim: You were the poster child of a Christian home, right?

Mary: Yes.

Jim: And the Mac, you, you were kinda becoming rebellious. Mary tipped the beans there-

Mac: Right.

Jim: … spilled the beans. What, what was that like?

Mac: Well, um, I was living in a Christian home. My dad went to seminary. That’s why we moved to Louisiana, and so he was a preacher, but I felt like I just didn’t fit in because I couldn’t talk about any of the things that were really bothering me because, if I did, you weren’t supposed to talk about that being in a Christian home.

Jim: Right.

Mac: And I was the only one of my siblings that went down the path that I went down.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: So, again, it could have been my vision that was skewed and not my, my folks’.

Mary: True.

Jim: Well, and let’s uncover that a little bit.

Mac: Yeah.

Jim: What did that look like on a Friday night, uh, for you in high school? What… You’re… You, you know you’re gonna be at church on Sunday, but what were you doing Friday night and Saturday night?

Mac: Well, Friday night and (laughs) Sat-… you know, actually, it started on about Monday, I think-

Jim: Okay, ready for Friday night.

Mac: …okay, you know, but, uh, yeah, Friday night, we were looking for anything we could do to get out of the house and have as much fun we… as we possibly could, and for me, having fun was, uh, smoking pot with my friends, drinking, coming back in at the nick of time to beat the curfew, you know. Um-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Mac: So, really, it was everything that I could do to get away from my parents’ rule as I felt it.

Jim: Speak to that, uh, inability to have a discussion and how that pushed you, it sounds like, or the hypocrisy, maybe, because Christianity is not about perfection, but sometimes we in the church are trying to project, “Look at us, we’re perfect.”

Mac: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And e- e- even sometimes we’re not trying to do that, but it’s what the statement is, and you were having struggles with that as a teenager, right? You were going, “Okay, i- it’s not perfect. Therefore, they’re hypocrites.” It’s n-… I- i- is that kind of what you were f-

Mac: That’s, that’s kind of what I was feeling. It, it was like, “Since we don’t talk about feelings and, and what we’re dealing with,” then, actually, I was thinking, “I must be the one that’s not right.”

Jim: Okay.

Mac: And-

Jim: So, it doesn’t fit for you.

Mac: So, right. It doesn’t fit for me, and so, for me to get away from that was a goal.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: And I just didn’t wanna be a part of something that I didn’t feel like was real.

Jim: And Mary, you’re seeing this, I’m sure, when you guys are out together. You’re talking about that. That’s part of your bonding, relationship, what you’re seeing in your Christian family, what Mac’s seeing in his. I… I’m assuming you talked about that. Was that part of the attraction to Mac-

Mary: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … that he sees the world maybe in many ways the way you’re seeing it?

Mary: Yeah. Well, I just didn’t like his… Him and his dad, they would fight about his hair being so big, and it was ju-… I just thought, “Wow, you know, i- is that the most important thing?” And I know that things… There was no such thing as youth ministers then or a youth pastor, or there wasn’t in our church.

Jim: Just everybody went to church together.

Mary: Everybody went to church, so the kids… and the kids that I went to church with, many of ’em, you know, were, like, backbiting and gossiping, you know, about each other and stuff. Then, when I s-… met him and met his friends, they were all just so welcoming and, like, um, “Yes, come be with us.” You know, “We’ll have a…” They didn’t care where you were from, what you did. “Just come have fun.” So, on the weekends, we’d go out in the woods and have a big bonfire, and they’d have, like, a keg or two of beer, and everybody would just… Nobody was, like, talking about anybody. Nobody was doing anything mean. Um, everybody was just having a fun time listening to rock and roll. So, I thought, “Now, what’s wrong with this? You know, I go to church on Sunday morning, but they’re not being real nice to each other on Sunday morning.”

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: “But on the weekends, we’re having a fun time, so I d-… I don’t understand this.”

Jim: So, yeah, you know, we’ll get to it, but I love… Uh, I, I think the way this is shaping up is it’s time to teach the parents (laughs) a little lesson here. So, being parents now going through that, what’s that advice when you have, you know, a teenager, and you have this struggle going on? How can we be more real as parents and also be realistic about the importance of faith and how we transmit our faith to our kids but do it in such a way that makes it desirable?

Mary: Yeah.

Mac: Well, no subject can be taboo, and when we started raising our kids, that was our, our motto. Anything our kids ever needed talk about, we were gonna sit down and talk about it.

Mary: So, open minded-

Mac: Yeah.

Mary: … about the discussion.

Mac: Yeah, no matter how uncomfortable we felt.

Jim: Right.

Mary: Yeah.

Mac: Because there was plenty of times that we were like, “Oh, my, they’re gonna talk about this?” You know?

Mary: Yeah, we’d think, “Oh, my goodness. I wish they wouldn’t tell us so much,” but we’d think that to ourselves, but then, in front of them, we wouldn’t act shocked.

Jim: But that’s a really-

Mary: We would, we would just listen.

Jim: Yeah, that’s a good thing.

Mary: Yeah, it is.

Jim: That’s healthy.

Mary: Yes.

Jim: Um, in your book, Never Let Go, you describe some of the reckless decisions you made over the next several years. You’re together, but probably over the next s- seven years or so, um. For example, you had an unexpected pregnancy while you were still in high school. I’m sure that’s painful. Um, what happened? What did you learn from it? How did it, uh, set your trajectory for the next couple of years?

Mac: Well, again, that was one of those subjects that we never talked about at home. Uh, matter of fact, I got a book when I was a senior in high school that was laid on my bed when I came in, everything I needed to know about sex-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Mac: … from my parents. By this time, we’d already had a child.

Jim: They didn’t know that?

Mac: They didn’t know that.

Mary: And, and in my home, we didn’t either. My dad, actually, um, sat me down one day and t- told me about the birds and the bees, and I could tell he was so uncomfortable, you know, but he was trying, and Mac and I were already having sex, and so I’m just sitting there thinking, “You’re telling me something I already know,” so I think it’s so important for us to talk to our kids when they’re young, you know, age appropriate, um, what they… when they ask questions to answer ’em so, you know, that also we don’t tell ’em something that they’ve already heard in school.

Jim: Talk about that guilt and shame that you did experience. I mean, the- these are behaviors that, of course, growing up in a Christian home is gonna sink the heart of every parent, but speak to your personal experience there about what you really felt. And that was many years ago. I know.

Mary: Yeah.

Jim: But what was it like to go through that experience, and what happened? Where did you go-

Mary: Well-

Jim: … and how did you keep it from Mac’s parents?

Mac: Mary’s mom had paranoid schizophrenia.

Jim: Okay.

Mac: So, that’s why when she said her dad sat down-

Jim: Yeah, I was gonna-

Mac: … and told her the story about sex… Um, so one day, her mom was in the hospital. Uh, her dad was out of town. We ended up at her house, and it wasn’t planned. Uh, we just ended up there, and the next thing we knew, we were having sex-

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: … and it was the first time for both of us, so it wasn’t like she was promiscuous, and I had never had sex before. It just happened because we had too much alone time.

Jim: Right.

Mac: And again, I, I, I think as a parent, if we could ever tell, uh, parents something that’s useful is it’s okay to monitor your kids’ time alone with someone of the opposite sex.

Jim: Right. Sure.

Mac: You know?

Jim: Feel emboldened to do that.

Mac: You bet. You bet.

Jim: Yeah, ’cause…

Mary: And so afterwards, I mean, immediately both of us were like, “What just happened? What did we just do?” And so I said, “We can never do that again, you know. I know that was wrong. We shouldn’t have done it,” but then you know, a couple of days later, Mac’s thinking, you know, “Let-… let’s try that again.” You know, I was like, “No. No, we’re not doing this anymore.” Well, um, the next month, I didn’t start my period, and I thought, “No, there’s no way. I’ve got lots of friends that do this all the time, and they’re not pregnant.”

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: So-

Mac: You can’t get pregnant after one time, I mean, surely that.

Mary: And, uh, so I waited four months before I went to a doctor. You talk about being in denial. I just thought, “If I don’t think this, this is not happening.”

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Mary: And so, um, I went to my dad one day, and I said, “Dad, I got something of tell ya,” and, um, he was taking a nap on the couch, and I knelt down to him, and I said, “Um, I’m pregnant,” and he just h-… Tears broke out in his eyes.

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: He goes, “I, I knew it. I knew you were,” but he said, “I kept thinking if, if you don’t say it, maybe it’s not true. Maybe I’m just dreaming it up in my mind,” but he said, “You know what? I would… I’ll love you always, and we’ll do whatever you wanna do,” and I said, “Well, I’ve talked to a doctor already, and he knows our family. He knows mama’s problems, and he said, ‘If your mother ever finds out about this, it will put her in a mental institution for the rest of her life.’”

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Mary: And so I told my dad, I said, “Dad, you’re a elder in the church. They’ll kick you out of the church. They’re gonna put me up on the stage and tar and feather me.” I said, “I can’t go. I’ve gotta give my baby up for adoption. That’s the only option there is,” and he said, “Well, I’ll handle the private adoption, then.” And so, he did, and so I went down. I said, “I can go with my best friend, and move in with them, and stay with them till the baby’s born.”

Jim: Yeah. My goodness, I mean, the feelings. There’s so many emotions to go through right there that… You, you had shame. You’re in a Christian home, right?

Mary: Yes.

Jim: Um, let me ask you about, uh, um, the friends, I mean, the parents. How did your friend’s parents treat you in that environment? I mean-

Mary: They were so sweet. They were-

Jim: Oh, that’s good.

Mary: Yes. They were good Christians and so sweet, and they just were very welcoming and, um, took-

Jim: They helped you.

Mary: They helped me. Yes, they did.

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: And I just stayed in their home and never went anywhere, never went outs-… you know, into town or anything like that ’cause I wanted to keep it a secret. I thought, “If I’ve made it this far, I need to make sure I go through with this and this happens.”

Jim: Yeah. Uh, m- m- Mac, um, is… drug addiction is really the, the opening here, and I, I, you know, I don’t wanna keep coming back to that, but describe your life at this time, and even though Mary has kinda turned the corner and decided she wants to be healthy, she wants to pursue God, she wants to, you know, have a good family, she’s married you, but you’re not responding in the same way, which must have t- torn your heart out, Mary… I don’t know.

Mary: Yes, it, it did.

Jim: You know, you’re in the spot.

Mary: Oh, I would put articles by his side of the bed-

Jim: (laughs)

Mary: … you know, hoping he would read ’em, and, and I would ask him sometimes. I was like, “What do you think’s gonna happen to you if you don’t turn your life around? What’s gonna happen if you die? Where do you think you’re gonna go?” And-

Jim: Wow.

Mary: And… because I just thought, “He’s got to turn his life around. He is…” you know, but I really didn’t know all that he was doing, but I just knew he wasn’t living for God.

Jim: Well, you’re a young wife at this time. I mean-

Mary: Yeah.

Jim: … 17?

Mary: Yeah, well-

Jim: 18?

Mac: 18 when she got marri-… Oh, you…

Jim: Okay.

Mac: Yeah, you’d just turned 19.

Mary: I was 19, and you were 18.

Mac: I had… 18 when we got married.

Jim: Okay, so 19 and 18, so you’re learning a lot about what it means just to set up the household and, and-

Mary: Yes.

Jim: … be a wife, and, and then Mac, you’re trying to, uh, live a life that you wanna have fun and just, you know, go.

Mac: Yeah, and I wanted, uh, her to be involved in that, too, so it wasn’t like I was just k-… living my life. I wanted to pull her along with me, even though she was, like, laying articles beside my bed and stuff.

Mary: (laughs)

Mac: I was like-

Jim: Well-

Mac: … “Hey, come go with me,” you know, and so-

Jim: So, that’s a good description of a tug-of-war going on.

Mary: And actually, when we were first married, I did go with him to parties. I partied with him during that time. I kinda went back down that road, too, ’cause I wanted to be with him. It was my husband, and, you know, we were having fun together, and-

Jim: Right.

Mary: … all these people. It was fun.

Mac: I would call it party light.

Mary: Par-… I was party light-

Mac: Party light.

Mary: … compared to you. Yeah.

Mac: Yeah, you would come, but yeah, you would sort of be-

Mary: Because I just wanted to be a part of the crowd.

Mac: She was there with the people, but-

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: … you know, just if I could encourage her to do some things, she would, but most of the time, she was, “Ah, I don’t really wanna do that.”

Jim: Okay, so you’re… now you find out you’re pregnant again-

Mary: Yes, so the… I stopped.

Jim: … a second time.

Mary: Yeah, I stopped everything.

Jim: And so that shuts it down.

Mary: I stopped… This is it. I’m not going to parties anymore, and, um, you know, that was kinda sad to not get to be with him anymore, you know, because he was… he kept going.

Jim: He-

Mary: And sometimes I would go, but I just wouldn’t party-

Jim: Right.

Mary: … and, and I’d look at everybody else drunk and high and thinking-

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: … “This is ridiculous how, how (laughs) I used to act.”

Jim: And Mac, you, you describe in your book a story about your two daughters being with you to go pick up some drugs.

Mac: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And you can see in the book where you’re… the Lord’s after you-

Mac: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and these punctuated moments, they grab your heart.

Mac: Right.

Jim: And maybe Mary was playing a role in that as well because her words were making sense to you but describe that story of what happened and that first kinda twinge of, “There’s something bigger going on here.”

Mac: Right. Well, our kids were both going to a Christian school, you know, because, even though I was out living this life, I still knew that there was something better. I was going to hell.

Jim: So, you had two kids-

Mac: Right.

Jim: … at this point. This is a few years later.

Mac: I had two kids, and I, I had accepted the fact that I wasn’t gonna make it to heaven, but I didn’t want them to miss out, so… but obviously, uh, uh, there was still some time in there where I wasn’t making good decisions because I went to pick them up at Christian school one day to bring them home. It was about a 30-minute drive. I decided to stop by a meth dealer’s house to pick up some drugs on the way home, so I wouldn’t be without. And, um, after I stopped there, left them in the car, me going inside to get my drugs, come back out, by the time I got home, something just hit me, and I was just like, “How stupid can you really be?” And it was that… it, it was a, a small moment of clarity. The large moment of clarity didn’t hit till later, but that was that first little, “You know what? I’ve, I’ve got to do better.”

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: But still, I mean, you know, I can think I’ve gotta do better, but if my actions don’t prove it, and they didn’t, how much did I really wanna do better?

Jim: Yeah. So, in that regard, to describe the, the drug use, I mean, you, you started with pot, and, and eventually, it got to more serious addictions, if I could say it that way with-

Mac: Yeah.

Jim: … with meth and, and other things. Um, describe what happened. Why did you rationalize this would be an okay step to go to meth? Meth is a horrific addiction.

Mac: Well, you know, we hear people, especially in Colorado now, say that marijuana is not a gateway drug, and that’s fine if people wanna believe that, but for me, it was, and everybody that I ever knew that was on meth started with marijuana.

Jim: Right. Right.

Mac: So-

Jim: I think the evidence is pretty strong that it is.

Mac: Right. Right. And so, for me, it was just that next step. You know, “Hey, you can, um, stay up all night. You can stay up for several days at a time if you want to,” and I was like, “Well, this is really cool,” and so-

Jim: Huh.

Mac: … meth just became… and there was a lot of other drugs in between marijuana and meth, but meth became that drug that just clicked for me, and I could stay up all night, felt like I was being productive our… at our cabinet shop when, in fact, I was being very unproductive, but my mind was telling me, “Oh, you’re getting a lot of stuff done here.”

Jim: Yeah, sure. Eh, Mary, in that regard, what did you do to start to rescue Mac? I mean, were there things… steps that you took? Did you continue to nag, if I can use that word?

Mary: Yes, that’s-

Jim: “Hey, Mac, come to church. Come to church.”

Mary: Yes.

Jim: What was that like in your relationship?

Mary: Oh, well, it… I figured out it didn’t work ’cause whatever I did to nag him or try to get him to do family things together, it, it just pushed him away even more. So, I saw that… once I saw that, that… it’s not working to me try to force him to turn his life around, so what I did is I started working on myself, and I just… my relationship with God got stronger and stronger. And I told God, I said, “God, I am trusting Romans 8:28 that you say all things work together for the good for those who love the Lord, and I don’t see one good thing coming out of this, but I’m trusting something good. You’ve got a plan, and you are gonna work something good. I might not see it till heaven, but I’m still gonna trust you, so I’m gonna keep my spiritual eyes on you, even though my physical eyes are seeing something totally different.”

Jim: Yeah. Mary, how hard was that for you?

Mary: Well, I got into God’s word, reading his word every day. See, I grew up. My mother wrote Bible verses on three-by-five cards and taped ’em up all over our bathroom walls, so those verses would come back to me, remembering them, and so I thought, “Wow. I think that’s something I need to pay atte-… I need to”-

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: … “say those in my head over and over.” So, I just started saying different verses, and writing ’em on three-by-five cards, and carrying ’em around with me, and so every time a worry thought would come in my head, I would say that Bible verse.

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: The only thing I, I wish I would have had back then that I have now is, you know, I have accountability partners. I have a sponsor. I’ve… I was so afraid to tell anybody what we were going through, so I kept it all to myself. So, I was about to have a nervous breakdown, you know, just trying to do it on my own-

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: … just me and God by ourselves, but I really believe God expects that… he wants us to ha-… be in relationship with his people. And it would have been easier if I would have talked to other people about it-

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: … instead of trying to keep it a secret.

Mac: But you remembered, too, always Isaiah 41:10. That was that life preserver verse for you.

Mary: Oh, my mother said this so many times. “Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you, and I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand,” Isaiah 41:10.

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: She said that so many times ’cause, you know, she had demons in her mind that made her fearful, and she would say that out loud-

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: … s-… and speak that over us ’cause she was afraid something was gonna hurt us, and so that scripture came back to me, so I would say it out loud. So, it was-

Jim: It’s a good reminder. I mean, Jesus is the redeemer.

Mac: Amen.

Jim: That’s the whole point of this program.

Mac: Amen.

Jim: And I hope our listeners are getting that message today that God is at work in these situations, no matter how challenging or how difficult they may be. It’s normal to be afraid and to cry out to the Lord when it seems like there’s no hope or that your situation will never change, but here’s the good news. You are not alone. God is with you, and we wanna be there for you as well. If you’re struggling with some kind of addiction, or you have a crisis in your marriage, or maybe a prodigal child, Focus on the Family is here to help. We have Christian counselors who will listen to your story, pray with you, and direct you to practical resources in your area. So, contact us today. Don’t wait. Don’t remain in silence. We’re here to help your family.

John: And our number is 800-232-6459, 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Online, you’ll find a link to our counseling team and helpful resources at

Jim: And when you get in touch with us, ask us about Mac and Mary’s book, Never Let Go: God’s Story of Healing Hurting Lives. Uh, this is a wonderfully encouraging story, and we’re only scratching the surface of that today, so I think you’ll really appreciate this book, a…In fact, I’d like to send you a copy when you send a financial gift to Focus to help us in the ministry here, and that’s our way of saying thanks for being a part of helping hurting families.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And Mac and Mary, uh, we’ve started to kind of peel back the early days, but I wanna come back next time, uh, because you had a near-death experience, uh, drug related, that will kick off the discussion about how God begins to redeem you through Mary and through your family and how he, uh, got your attention finally. So, can we do that?

Mac: You bet.

Jim: All right.

Mary: Yes. Thank you.

John: Well, make plans now to join us for part two of this conversation with the Owens, and in the meantime, we sure would appreciate hearing from you. Make a call or contribute generously to the needs of the ministry online. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459. Or you can stop by

John: Coming up next time, you’ll hear how God began to intervene in Mac’s destructive addiction to drugs.


Mac: But in that period until Mary came home, that two hours, I thought the whole time I was gonna die.

Jim: Oh.

Mac: But, again, at that point, that’s when God, in his clear, small voice, said, “What are you doing?”

Today's Guests

Never Let Go: God's Story of Healing Hurting Lives

Receive Mac and Mary Owen's book Never Let Go for your donation of any amount!

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