MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – People fall for the evils of addiction every day, and not only do those suffering from the disease feel the impact, but their loved ones hurt as well.
Adam and Katie Comer are an All-American couple with a relationship stretching back years.
“She was the one that I was pretty sure I was going to marry from the beginning,” Adam told News 2.
He proposed at Thompson Bowling arena in front of thousands of people. From there, the high school sweethearts were destined to live happily ever after.
“Adam was like the all-American boy. Everybody loves Adam,” said Katie.
They were well on their way–until Adam came back from helping in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“She had no idea about the secret life I was living,” he said.
Adam fell for an addiction to painkillers, and the urge to get high became his priority.
“Things started to show up missing, paychecks got smaller somehow even though it was the same job, my time, my energy, my attention was not on the relationship,” he explained to News 2.
Adam’s addiction not only hurt him, but Katie struggled as well.
“I hid it from my family. I hid from my friends but eventually became too great for me to hide it anymore,” Katie said.
Millions of families deal with the same thing because their addiction causes their loved ones to miss those special moments.
The Comers compare Adam’s addiction to an affair where he cheats on his wife with a high he is always chasing.
“The same emotional feelings that an affair would bring is what she was feeling because my attention was not on her. My attention was on the next high,” Adam explained.
Eventually, he checked himself into a rehab facility. While he worked to kick the habit, Katie had a hard time finding resources to help her as a wife dealing with an addicted husband.
“It is so important for family members to get help for themselves, as well because they are essentially going through rehab themselves,” she said.
Now at Spring to Life, Adam helps others suffering from their dark past.
“I never thought I would be telling a story of devastation to be helping others,” he said.
As a pastor, he sees from the outside the pain caused on the inside.
Katie is getting past their struggling days, too, by using a webcam and social media to help families deal with their addicted loved ones.
“You’ve got to surround yourself with good people; you can’t go back to your same lifestyle and expect something different,” Katie told News 2.
With Refuge for Families, you can speak to someone who is going through or has been through the same things you are and can help rebuild the bridge between you and your loved one.
Adam says talking with a family member about the addiction is not easy but it is necessary.
“Confront that in love. Speak truth and show compassion,” Adam said.
He says you must be careful to avoid becoming an enable to their disease.
“Sometimes it is doing things in love and confronting in love, but sometimes it’s doing the really hard stuff,” explained Katie.
Five years later, Adam and Katie are thankful she confronted him.
“A man, the size that I am, I’m not a small man. Something that small controlled every aspect of my life,” Adam said.
He found his freedom, and unlike thousands of others who did not, he can be there to celebrate his son’s biggest moments and welcome his next child into the world.
“My prayer daily is that they don’t experience the things that I experienced the evils of the world that I’ve seen,” he explained.
Refuge for Families holds a webinar the last Tuesday of every month. You can find more information on their Facebook page under the “About” section.Click here for more on the opioid crisis in Tennessee.