It was mid August of 2016. I sat in my car and I wept. I had just lost my job of five years, humiliated myself, and was full of self-loathing and hatred as my body ached from the drinking and drugs the night before. Why couldn’t I just stop? Why did I have to keep breaking promises, hurting the people I cared for, and putting myself in dangerous situations? It’s like I was stuck in a cycle. Bad things would happen, I’d feel remorseful, I’d try to stop again, and then later that day pick up a drink like nothing had ever happened.
Hitting Rock Bottom
I never thought my life would have gotten to this point. Broken from the inside out, I could no longer see my life with or without alcohol. No matter how hard I tried to put the drink down, I failed. Every time I said I was done, I would end up right back where I was again. It was a habitual cycle I feared would never end. King Alcohol was my master, and I was powerless.
As I sat reflecting in my car, memories began to flood my mind of friends telling me that if I didn’t stop, I would die. Along with the memories came flashbacks of the car accidents and arrests, of my grandmother’s face when she found the vodka in the closet, of the missed family events, and all the people I hurt over the years when I would get violently and selfishly drunk. The shame consumed me. Helpless and alone, I felt worthless.
And I was right where I needed to be.
It’s crazy to think that this event was necessary – that it was fulfilling a purpose. But if I didn’t feel the pain, I would have never asked for spiritual help. I would have never let Him in. Sometimes it’s in a time of desperation that one finds liberation.
It was at this moment that I looked up at the clock and saw that it was 5:26p. Something within me told me where I needed to go. Today, I believe that feeling to be God-given.
I do not consciously remember driving to the meeting that day, but I do remember that I made it just in time to share a burning desire. In a crowded room full of strangers, I got rigorously honest for the first time. I spoke up about my pain, my fears, and my actions. This cry for help was the first of many steps toward the pathway of forgiveness and redemption.
Finding Faith and Sobriety
Prior to sobriety, I was not a woman of faith. I believed that if there was a God, He did not want anything to do with me. It was only when I was spiritually bankrupt that I was willing to believe that there was something greater than me. I had to be beaten into submission to the fact that I could not muster up the power to change on my own. I had to have help, no matter how scared I was to face it. This surrender saved my life. It led me to freedom. It led me to Christ.
I believe God placed the right people before me and used them as vessels to speak into my life. One particular woman’s testimony struck me early on. She used to drink and feel like I did, but when I saw her at that meeting, I saw a different woman. She spoke with dignity and with grace. She shared about her relationship with God and how He made her new. I wanted what she had. I wanted to be at peace like she was and to love and be loved by the God she spoke about. I asked her for guidance and she taught me how to have a relationship. The most powerful thing she said was to pray and ask God to reveal His Son’s face. And over time, He did.
I wish I could say that it was all a piece of cake after that. It wasn’t. I had to put in a lot of effort to discover who I truly was, the bitterness in my heart, the harm that I did. I had to look myself in the mirror and admit I was wrong. I had to put my pride aside and face the people I had hurt. Christ taught me to forgive the people that I had spent years blaming for the things that happened in my life. He showed me who to be. He gave me a new identity and a new design for living. I was reborn.
It has been five and a half years since I have had a mind-altering substance. Not only has the obsession to drink been lifted, but my life has been transformed. Relationships have been mended, I can look at myself in the mirror and smile, and I am no longer crippled by shame, loneliness, and despair.
Christ took what was broken in me and gave it purpose. He gave my life new meaning. Today I get to see how my experience benefits others. I get to watch Him use me, just like He used the woman that helped me, as evidence of His existence. I could never have stopped on my own. It was His resurrection power that rescued me. In Christ, I am no longer powerless.
How will God rewrite your story this Easter? Join us online or at a local campus in Central Florida to celebrate Easter at Grace.