State of My Union
Sunday, I celebrated six months of sobriety. This time last year, I couldn't string together six days. The thought of not drinking for six months was unfathomable. I was hopeless. For the last several years, I felt defeated before I even got out of bed. Every day was another failure. I thought that I could just drink on weekends...or holidays and special events.
I thought if I only drank beer, things would get better. I'd drink less because I'd feel full.
If I didn't keep it in the house, maybe I could get a handle on it.
I should just drink vodka! It's gross and I won't want it as often.
None of these worked and I fell deeper into despair. What was wrong with me? I had the perfect life and so much to lose. How could I be so pathetic? I was an educated, strong, independent woman! I had resources, friends. I had a strong marriage and a comfortable lifestyle. Surely I could manage something as simple as a little drinking!
I've never doubted that God charted the path that got me here. From the moment I confessed to our pastor about my addiction, He made himself known. He was here long before that. I just didn't notice. In fact, the best parts of my story are those that speak of His omnipresence.
Since this past July I haven't needed to search for Him. Clearly, He knows there is no longer opportunity for discretion. It's taken me 36 years to acknowledge His role in my life! He's here, front and center as soon as I wake.
"What are we going to do today?", He asks.
Last night, I was reading over my notes from when I was in treatment.
July 20, 2015
The better life ahead is not from not drinking, but turning your life and control over to God.
I wanted to start off this post with, "I fear..." For the last few days, I've worried that the message of my story has been misunderstood, that my objective could be misinterpreted. I felt called to start this blog despite my fear of rejection and discomfort with the need to be so transparent. He gave me my disease, my thorn, because it would afflict me forever. Its sharpness reminds me physically, daily, the need for spiritual fitness. I have to rely on Him every day (sometimes all day), to ease the pain and to confront the self-pity that comes from such torment.
My purpose isn't to illustrate the burdens of alcoholism or to outline the steps by which one recovers. Instead, I feel led to demonstrate how my alcoholism served as a catalyst to meeting God. How recovery introduced, and is now advancing, a relationship with Him. I was given a gift that "keeps on giving". Because I will live with it forever, forever I will depend on Him to save me. It's a daily routine. A standard requirement.
July 21, 2015
If I'm truly admitting I'm powerless, I can accept that there is only one way to be a new me, or to live a new life-being 100% dependent on HIM.
My understanding of God wasn't planted in a Sunday school class or a bible story. I didn't grow up reading devotionals or listening to sermons. My family support system wasn't in the church fellowship. I met God in high school through a friend, and continued to get to know Him better in various encounters with believers and sporadic church experiences. I met and married Carl and it strengthened my desire to follow God and to raise a family in His name. I knew OF Him, I thought ABOUT Him, and I believed IN Him.
Except where He concerned me.
I didn't understand how all those things said about Him applied to me. I had never experienced the things I'd heard about. I believed they happened. Just not to me. I was DOING things, but not FEELING things. We attended church regularly. I volunteered in a few different church roles. We read Bible stories to our children and taught them to pray before bed. We said grace before every meal and I tried to do a devotion most mornings.
July 21, 2015
Value is who we ARE in Christ, not what we DO.
I continued to watch longingly at my friends who are filled with the Holy Spirit. They can quote scripture and understand the sermons. They are always so joyful, encouraging, and uplifting. They are selfless and serve others in many ways. Majority of the time, they are at peace and content. Everything about them is so genuine and attractive. I always wanted to feel that way, but couldn't seem to do it right.
July 24, 2015
If you tie your identity to another person, role or profession, you'll always be disappointed and never feel fulfilled. But by following His will, and identifying as His child, you'll feel complete no matter how the people and situations around you change.
I no longer envy those around me. I study them, sure. We can always learn from others. Especially those we respect and admire. Instead, I spend my time learning to release the things in my life to God. It takes work and effort. I don't always like it! But in order for me to stay sober, I must be completely dependent on Him.
July 28, 2015
You don't have to be drinking to be miserable. Ignoring God and not surrendering to His control promises eternal misery, anxiety and discontentment.
I can't tell you how often I'm reminded how blessed I am to have gone to the kind of treatment program that I did. The tools I was given, the lessons that I learned, and the experiences I had administer to any adversity. Yes, I'm in a 12 step program to combat my alcoholism, but the promises (God's promises) outlined there apply to any burden or struggle. The freedom from regrets and resentments, the joy and the happiness, the desire to serve others and the change in attitude aren't reserved for alcoholics. They're meant for everyone. Some, maybe even most, nonalcoholics understand and accept this earlier in a much easier, softer way.
My alcoholism is teaching me (the harder way), who I was missing. Recovery requires surrender, self-reflection, confession, and invitation...actions desired of everyone. I just wasn't getting it through more conventional methods! I need this thorn to prevent me from being conceited and believing I am in charge of my own life. The pain it continually inflicts is evidence that I'll never "do enough" to be relieved of it.
I know now that I'm not supposed to.
He wants to feel connected to me forever. And I, to Him.
It just took my alcoholism to show me how.