This is just a brief look into my testimony. A quick glimpse into a huge change in my life. Just one example of what a little ray of hope can do in someone’s life.
I was what ‘they’ like to call a closet alcoholic. I didn’t drink everyday, but the times that I did drink, I drank a lot. When I started drinking in my teens, it was to be one of the crowd. To fit in. To do what my friends were doing. The trouble was, I enjoyed it. A little too much.
My parents were alcoholics. They weren’t the ‘fall down drunk’ type that many of us think of when we hear the word ‘alcoholic’. But they drank everyday. A few drinks before dinner, and continued into their evenings of watchhing tv until they went to bed. Every day. It was normal for me. And when I was older, with a husband and kids, family gatherings included all of the adults having drinks before, during and after dinner. That, too, was normal to me.
It wasn’t long before I used alcohol as a crutch. I was more comfortable with people after a drink or two. It took some of my fear of people away. I was funny. Interesting. Happy. One of the crowd when I was drinking. It helped me forget about my issues. And because of all of those reasons, I became the party girl.
I was naive enough to believe that my drinking didn’t effect anyone other than myself. I wouldn’t let it affect my relationships, my marriage, my business, and certainly not my kids. What I didn’t know at the time was that by affecting my thinking, it was affecting everything in my life.
The crutch that I thought was helping my self esteem actually made it worse. I came to believe that I was nothing. That I personally held no value to others. While it wasn’t the only reason, alcohol helped to destroy my marriage. And hurt my kids in the process. Hurt many in the process. It hasn’t been until this amazing year of recovery that I came to realize this fact. It’s sad to realize, but holds for me a huge life lesson.
My memories hold so many crazy nights of partying. I can recall so many times that I was lucky that I didn’t get hurt. Driving after drinking, the nights I was abandoned at the bar with no ride home and men lurking over me. Being chased one night through an underground parking lot. A friend and I being drugged at the bar and hitch hiking home. I owe such thanks to our gracious Lord for always watching out for me and keeping me safe.
And then came my ‘rock bottom’ night. I had been going through a really bad depression for a couple of months. Self medicating with lots of alcohol. Drinking almost every day, crying into my drink of choice for that day. Praying that life could be over. A few weeks before this night, I had found God again. I was filled with the Holy Spirit and felt so much love. So much hope. But for some reason, I kept on drinking.
The night that was to be my last night of drinking started as any other night. But for some reason, ( I’m still unsure why I picked up that bottle) I drank. A lot. Mixing Jäger and Red Bull, which had become my favourite by that point. Drinking them right out of a big glass. A friend had stopped by to drop something off. I have no recollection of how long she was there. I remember her arriving. I somewhat recall an argument. Not the argument itself or the subject of the disagreement, just the fact that there had been one. I recall her holding my hair while I was being sick over the toilet. I vaguely recall her leaving after telling her to get out of my house. And then I remember waking up a while later with my head on the toilet seat.
What I don’t remember is ever feeling that much shame and embarrassment. The feelings that ran through me when I woke up were devastating . I couldn’t believe what I had allowed myself to become. Couldn’t understand how I had gotten to such a low point in my life. I felt worthless, humiliated and lost. But thanks be to God, I also somehow felt hope. And also thanks to God, I summoned up the courage and reached out. And that one phone call changed my life and my path forever.
For that night I called the woman who was to become my sponsor, my accountability partner and my best friend. We joined forces and the next day I began my recovery journey. We started working through the 12 steps and 8 principles of Celebrate Recovery. And started digging into the reasons behind my addiction. While it has been one of the most difficult things that I have ever done, it has also been the most rewarding. In the last year, my self esteem, confidence and belief in myself has grown ten fold. I feel happier, stronger and have a much deeper relationship with God. Between my work with Celebrate Recovery, and my immersion into the materials and association with Life Leadership, I can look back and see such an incredible change in myself. My journey is far from over, but I embrace the next steps with joy and incredible excitement.
It was a year ago yesterday that I hit that rock bottom. A year today that I’ve been sober. A year since I’ve looked on myself with utter shame and disappointment. A year since I’ve felt useless and unwanted. I am a new woman now. A woman with a ton of hope, belief and peace. A woman who is covered in the armour of God and ready to take on every battle that comes my way. Sober. Praise the Lord.