The Next Right Thing & Rock Bottom Soon
Words & Music by Steve Siler
In 2013 we discovered that one of our children was battling a heroin addiction. A child that had been voted citizen of the year in 5th grade – a child of whom we had been told could get a free ride to any math college in the country – literally, at 15 the child who had up to that point been virtually exemplary in every way – was now in the throes of a life and death struggle with a demon I did not understand.
As I write this we are in a very different place. The same child, wanting the pain that was experienced to have meaning and be helpful to others, is now the program director for a company that owns step-down facilities for people coming out of rehab.
Sober for today – for one day at a time is as far as we can see.
Of course all families go through pain and we have had our share. But, even with our positive outcome, this was a nightmare I would wish on no one.
Of course I founded Music for the Soul to share the hope and compassion of Christ with people going through life’s darkest, most painful circumstances – suicide grief, pornography addiction, eating disorders, natural disasters, etc. But three years after my child’s recovery I realized one day that I had not written one single thing about the experience of being the parent of an addict.
I guess I just hadn’t been ready. But one day, feeling convicted that I owed it to those who were walking in those same shoes to share honestly about what it had felt like, I sat down and wrote Rock Bottom Soon. Once I started I the whole thing just came gushing out.
When I was done I looked down at the lyric to see the most painful lyric line I have ever written:
I could set myself on fire
and I don’t think he would notice
He’d just go through my pockets
Pull the rings off of my hands
This is no exaggeration. That’s what it felt like as we were lied to and taken advantage of over and over and over again. There were many times when it was almost impossible to breath. Nothing changed until we stopped living in denial.
I can’t love this thing away
He can’t hear me through the poison
I can’t force it
I can’t wash away the pain
So I’ll ache
and I’ll wait
I’ll fall on my knees and pray
He hits rock bottom soon
I had to ask God for the strength to stop “helping” my child.
Once I had purged that song I didn’t want to stay in that place. I wanted to write something hopeful on the topic, something that might encourage someone trying to beat an addiction.
The Next Right Thing
I called my recovering addict – for there is no recovered – only living in recovery –and asked, “If I could I could give only one piece of advice what would it be?”
“Do the next right thing,” was he reply.
The verses are from the perspective of a person attempting to overcome addiction. It is only because I have walked alongside someone in recovery that I could undertake such a thing. Later that afternoon the song was done. Once the lyrics were complete I ran them past my child to make sure they were on target. I was assured that they were.
I wrote nothing for three years. Then I wrote two songs in one day. Evidence, I’d say, that the subconscious of a songwriter is always at work.
I pray these lines will encourage someone who is fighting to regain their footing.
Do the next right thing
You’re not as alone as you think
Take one small step
and see what hope it might bring
One day at a time
Do the next right thing
I’m sorry it took me so long to write these songs. But now that I have I pray they can be lifelines for someone caught in the hell of addiction – or for someone who loves them.
Listen to The Next Right Thing