Devoted Blog

Doris Van De Ree’s story

November 8, 2017

Blog written by Sandy Hopkins & Vanessa Clack

It started in earnest when my husband Larry got a job on Wall Street. We lived in New Jersey and he started having a beer on the train on his way home from work to relieve the stress at the end of the day. That soon became three or four beers – then escalated to Cocaine.

This whole time we attended church every Sunday and acted like nothing was wrong. I didn’t feel like anyone in my church would understand and was afraid of being judged. I remember at the time thinking “how did we get here, how did this happen?”

Back then (1980’s) we weren’t exposed to addictions and I didn’t understand what it was to be an enabler – I just kept thinking “why can’t he just stop!” I was angry at God, but later realized that God used what was happening not just for Larry, but also to change me. For many years I tried to handle the situation myself, not wanting anyone to know that in my perfect world things weren’t looking so great. I kept it hidden a long time and it took a huge toll on my body, physically as well as emotionally. I hid myself away from everyone so I did not have to face the reality that was happening around me. In many ways I was hoping the situation would just go away and everything would go back to normal.

Remember back then we didn’t have cell phones! Larry would always call when he was about to leave work and I always believed him when he told me he would be straight home. Most times he would end up at a hotel and I drove up and down streets looking for him with our six year old daughter asleep in the back of our car.

When Larry started doing cocaine and disappearing for days at a time I finally told a good friend I was very close to. She was a great emotional support and was there when I needed help with our daughter, however it still did not resolve the very real problem. I tried my best to protect our daughter Melissa from what was going on – but she was always aware something was wrong.

I remember one day being on the floor, throwing my hands up crying out “Lord I can’t do this anymore!” I eventually got to the point where I just knew I had to let go and surrender as I could not fix the situation on my own. I knew Satan was trying to destroy our family and I knew God was my only hope.

I ended up organizing an intervention that included Larry’s boss – thank God they offered a hand of help to send him to rehab. This was a turning point for all of us.

I accepted Larry’s behaviour for more than six years and it was only when I came to the end of myself and sought help from others that things began to change. My husband had been crying out for help and just needed someone to intervene on his behalf.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT)

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Ours is a story with a happy ending because of some important key factors…

–  I put my hand up and asked for help (eventually)
–  Larry chose to accept the help. Remember God will never override a person’s free will
–  Larry chose and still chooses to be accountable
–  We threw ourselves on God’s mercy and have been “leaning in” to church and relationship with God ever since

What I haven’t mentioned is that we have just celebrated our 42nd Wedding Anniversary AND Larry now serves as a Pastor at our church. God is good and He wants to help – sometimes though, help involves doing things that are not comfortable. Choose His way – not your way.

If you or a loved one are going through similar circumstances I encourage you to seek help. Wave Church has a program called REGENERATION that meets 7pm on Tuesday evenings at 1000 N Great Neck Rd, Virginia Beach, VA. If you are not local, AA or Narcotics Anonymous is a good place to start.


God I pray for every person reading this that has a loved one going through life controlling addictions. Please bring people along their path that can help, please give them the courage to accept this help and please bring them and their loved one to a place of healing and wholeness! AMEN