One day last month I came home from work to find my wife standing in the living room wearing one of those looks on her face that indicated something serious had happened.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“I have something to show you,” she began, “And I’m not sure but I think it is kind of a big deal.”
She led me to the bed room where the dresser had been pulled away from the wall to reveal mold down by the floor board. She was right. It was a big deal. We wouldn’t know for several weeks how big of deal it was.
My first order of business was to find out where the water was coming from that caused the mold. After cutting into the wall I quickly discovered that the faucet on the bathtub, just on the other side of the bedroom wall, was leaking behind the wall. This would explain why it smelled a little musty in the bathroom for the past several days. I hadn’t given this much thought, and my wife thought that the towels were the cause of the odor.
Having discovered the problem I shut off the water and went to the hardware store to purchase a new faucet. They were out of the particular faucet I needed so I had to wait until the following day so I could pick one up at a different hardware store. After installing the new faucet I went under the house to inspect the floor from underneath and discovered that the bathtub drain trap, sometimes called a P Trap, was also leaking. After another trip to the hardware store and a few minutes in the crawlspace the leak was fixed.
Now it was time to attack the mold. Having opened up the wall in the bedroom to get to the plumbing behind the tub had revealed much more mold than we had previously anticipated. The smell was horrible! The odor in the bedroom was so bad my wife and I slept out in the living room for several days.
I cut out the drywall in the bedroom and bathroom that was obviously moldy and had sprayed mold killer on every surface I could find. To go the extra mile I had even purchased a, “Mold Bomb,” and gone under the house to bomb the area underneath the tub through the hole in the floor. Surly this was the end of this nightmare story.
Surly, it was not. After several days the musty smell continued. I then had to take much more drastic measures. On one side of this bathroom is our bedroom. On the other side of the bathroom is the kitchen. In fact the bath tub is directly behind one of our kitchen cabinets. In order to get to the back wall I had to partially take apart our kitchen cabinet. I then squeezed my not so fit body into the cabinet to take out the back wall of the cabinet and cut out the drywall in order to inspect for mold under the tub on the kitchen side. I removed a large portion of drywall that was infected with mold. At this point it really appeared as though the mold was gone.
It was not. The smell continued. I broke into the wall on the bedroom side once more. This time I cut out a piece of the vinyl flooring and discovered it was covered in mold. It was at this time I realized the entire tub and shower surround would have to be taken out, the mold completely eradicated, and a new shower put in its place.
At this point we called in the professionals. I don’t mind giving a plug to AdvantaClean, in Michigan City Indiana because they were AMAZING!
The story is not over. As it stands we are in the middle of mold remediation. After that I will install a new tub and shower surround. Perhaps then things can go back to normal. Our allergies have been a mess, our sleep has been disrupted, and our bathroom is unusable. On top of it all we noticed a gas leak in the kitchen over the weekend and are having a heating and air company come out today to try and find the leak!
What does all of this have to do with addiction and recovery? In the Bible James famously wrote, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” (James 1:2-4 ESV).
We are not to count it all joy when we have trials because the trials are great fun. We are to count it all joy because it is a humble reminder that God is faithful. We count it all joy because the test strengthens our resolve. We see that we can bend under the pressure of life without breaking. Here we learn perseverance. God got us through the trials before and He will see us through this one as well. This kind of perseverance leads to spiritual maturity.
In the past when trials came our way we would turn to our addictions, compulsive behaviors, and or sin habits in an effort to sooth the pain. Now in the power of Christ in us (Phil. 4:13, Phil. 2:13) we persevere through the trials with joy knowing God is strengthening us so nothing that comes our way will defeat, overcome, or derail us. This past month has been physically, emotionally, and financially tough. But one thing I do as the Apostle Paul wrote, “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Press on!