Today marks one year since I began my journey to recovery. What a year it was! I have experienced more joy, more peace, more love and more LIFE this year than all of my other twenty-eight years combined. Here's my story..
I grew up as the "quiet, nice girl". Throughout my school career, starting in elementary school, I was very shy and insecure. I never dared to ask questions or give answers or make new friends. I hated that about myself. I hated how my face would turn red anytime anyone talked to me. I hated how I got sick to my stomach every time I had to give a presentation in front of my class. I hated how I felt like everyone was always whispering about me and making fun of me. I grew up like this. I grew up thinking the worst of myself and of the people around me. I just assumed they all hated me, probably because I hated myself. After going years believing these lies, I needed a way to escape. Cue, the alcohol.
When I was first introduced to alcohol, I was amazed at how I didn't have to be the "shy girl" anymore, I could say what I wanted to say and my face never turned red! I could make friends and flirt and just "be myself'. It was the best thing to happen to me. I was finally free from my insecurities.
As the months and years went on, life happened. From going through a miscarriage at a young age, to divorce, to getting my heart broken, to depression I needed an outlet. I soon started to use alcohol to numb the pain. I realized that I didn't have to feel sad, lonely, or depressed. I could drink and my pain would go away. The trouble was, the pain never actually left. It was always there in the morning. Although alcohol never cured my sadness, it did help to get me through my days and some of the long, sleepless nights.
There came a point where I didn't know how to socialize without drinking. Before I went to any sort of social event, I would have to drink beforehand. If I was at a function where alcohol wasn't involved, I was out of there as fast as I could be. I was a prisoner to anxiety. I would be at family get-togethers and be filled with anxious thoughts and wanting to get out of there as fast as possible so I could go home and drink. I was convinced nobody loved me and I was convinced my life was never going to amount to anything. I pushed away family, friends, relationships, and anyone who started to get close to me. I didn't want to be hurt, I didn't want to allow anyone to come in to my heart and break it anymore that it already was. I isolated myself. I believed that I was better off alone. Truly alone.
This went on for years.
The summer of 2020 I was arrested and charged with a DUI. At first I was so mad at the officer who arrested me. I was furious that I had to get a lawyer and pay a ton of money only to lose my license anyways and have a criminal record. I mean, I knew I was guilty, I had driven after drinking many times before that. However, this time, I was caught. I just really thought that I was a "safe drunk driver". I honestly believed that. But the fact is, nothing about me driving after drinking was safe. My arresting officer said I was swerving all over the road and he was following me for a long time with his lights on before I finally pulled over. My side of the story: I never even noticed a cop behind me, I pulled over because I couldn't see straight and I needed a little break. I am so so grateful that I didn't hurt anyone, or myself that night or any of the other times I had driven after drinking. I now am thankful for that officer who arrested me.
After all my court hearings and coming up with a conviction, the court decided that I would need to take mandatory alcohol abuse counseling sessions before I could get my license back. I thought that idea was ridiculous. There was no way I had a drinking problem. I drank just as much as any other person. I could stop whenever I wanted to! So when I entered that first session, I filled out the form that asked how often and how much I drink and obviously I didn't tell the whole truth on there. I mean if I did, they would assume I was an alcoholic and I would never get my license back. That day was the first day I ever even questioned my drinking. I went home and googled things like "How to know if you have a drinking problem, How much is a normal amount to drink? How do you stop drinking? etc" I googled for the next week looking for something that would prove that I didn't have a problem. But every single thing I read pointed to the fact that I was drinking way more than the average person. Every single thing led me to believe I should slow down on the drinking. And yet, I still 100% believed I didn't have a problem. I was in denial.
I decided that I would stop drinking for 30 days. That way I could prove to myself that I didn't have a problem and I could continue to drink as normal after that. I spent the next 14 days sober. I STRUGGLED. But I wanted to prove that I could do it. On day 15, a minor inconvenience happened and without even thinking I was at the store buying a bottle of wine. I got home and put it away and told myself I didn't need it. After pacing for what felt like hours, I opened it up and told myself I could have one glass. One glass turned into two, two turned into the whole bottle and the whole bottle turned into going to get more. The next morning I woke up with so much shame. I failed. I tried again the next day and I failed again. This went on for a few months, each time I ended up drinking and each time I felt more and more shame. What kind of woman and mother couldn't stop drinking on her own? What was wrong with me?
One night, when I was ready to give up, God stepped in. It was January 9th, 2021, the day after my birthday. I had finished a bottle of wine and spent that night crying as I had spent my birthday alone and I was feeling a lot of self-pity. I was so lonely and just wanted to die. Nobody needed me and nobody would even notice if I was gone. Those were my thoughts and I was convinced they were the truth. Then I let out a deep, heart wrenching cry to God. I sobbed for hours and begged for Him to take me away. I wasn't even sure if I believed in God at that point, but as I was crying out to Him, I could feel a physical sense of peace around me. I felt safe and held and secure. I fell asleep in the arms of Jesus that night. I know that sounds crazy, but that's the only explanation I can give. I had never felt more loved than in that moment.
The next day, January 10th, I did what I should've done years before, I sought out help.
I reached out to a recovery coach and I went in for counseling. The moment I stepped into her office, I felt a huge weight lift off of me. For the first time I shared my struggles and my pain. And I wasn't looked down on. For the first time in my life, I felt no shame. I felt only love. She invited me to attend their recovery meetings and my first thought was that I didn't need recovery meetings. Cause, you know, I wasn't an alcoholic. But I decided to go one time to see what it was all about.
And I'm so glad I did. While at my first meeting I was welcomed with open arms. I got to hear amazing testimonies and I finally knew that I wasn't the only one who struggled with alcohol and/or drugs. I had the strong urge to get up and share why I was there. I didn't want to, I hated talking in front of people and I felt sick to my stomach. But I did. I got up and I shared why I was there and that I was 9 days sober. The amount of love and acceptance I felt in that moment changed my life. I could be open and honest with my struggles and for the first time I didn't feel alone or judged. I just felt welcomed. I was terrified but I knew my life was about to change.
And it has. Since the first time going to that meeting, I have gotten up and shared almost every time I attend. I don't get sick to my stomach, I lean on and trust that God has me and I never remember what I talk I about, I just know that every time I feel led to share, it’s for a reason. I grow as a person and I grow closer to the Lord each time I step out in faith. The fear of not being liked is no longer there. I am loved, I know that. And no one can take that from me.
I am happier than I have ever been. I have so much joy. Like the kind of joy where you're driving down the road and just start laughing because you're so happy. Then you laugh even harder because you're laughing at literally nothing. It's a kind of joy that I have never experienced before. I never want to lose it and I know I don't have to because that kind of Joy only comes from Jesus.
This summer I did take a stumble, I took up drinking again, thinking I could handle it. I let pride get in the way. However, this time I recognized the problem and I admitted my drinking and I got the help I needed. I did not hold onto any guilt or shame and for that I am proud! I continue on my journey with a humble and grateful heart.
I found my identity, my worth and my purpose. I surrendered the pain, the hurt, the alcohol, the unforgiveness, the shame, and the guilt to Jesus. And you know what, He took it all. I am finally free. I am a child of God. I have purpose and meaning. I am chosen to fulfill all that God has for me.
I want every single person who is struggling with any kind of addiction, from drugs/alcohol to self-doubt or anything else that is taking away joy from you to know that there is hope. There is true freedom and healing. And it's yours for the taking.
I want to share two of the most helpful things I have learned this year:
1. The enemy came to steal, kill and destroy.
He tells us lies that we do NOT have to take ownership of.
Shame, guilt, self-hatred, anixiety, depression are all from the enemy and not meant for us.
All of your past, present and future mistakes do NOT define you.
You are NOT alone.
The bible tells us the truth and if you ever have questions on what is a lie and what is the truth, look it up in God's Word. There you will find truth and life.
2. You are a beautiful child of God and He loves you oh so much.
You were hand-picked and chosen by God, the Almighty Creator of the earth.
He has such a beautiful life planned for you.
He has so many blessings waiting for you.
All you have to do is say "yes".
I want you to experience freedom! If you're looking for a place to go, or just someone to talk to, email me at email@example.com.
Take advantage of the New Year. It's the time for fresh starts and new beginnings! I love you all. Thank you for reading and for your support! I am truly grateful for each one of you who take the time to read, like, comment and message me. You are all rockstars.