Tuesday, August 17, 2010


This post took me a week to finish b/c things have been so crazy; it was written in 3 different sittings. Hopefully it is not too discombobulated.

As I celebrate and give thanks to God today for a full year without drinking, it has led me to think back to the place I was a year ago. Thinking on the last year causes me to take pause in awe of all that God has been so good to do for me. It seems like in the last 2 years He has grown me more than in the previous ten years. Probably the previous ten years were really building up to and laying groundwork for the seeds that have been germinating in my life to break forth in fruitfulness now.

In the months previous to finally getting sober, we had begun attending church after about a 2 year absence. I was a Christian and I definitely loved God during those two years, but I was in a desert for those two years. Things were so dry. I felt so isolated. It also seems like, looking back, I was in a sort of eclipse. The Light was shining on me, but it was veiled by darkness. I prayed and talked to God, but the vibrancy was not there. He was so distant to me. I think during those years the darkness inside of me that I had hidden and tried to clean up myself really began to bubble up inside of me. The parts of me that I was so ashamed of and the deep wounds inside of me began to hemorrhage. I began to bleed out internally. I think that darkness so overwhelmed me and the hemorrhaging reach a point that I was desperate to find freedom and wholeness. I realized that I could not fix it myself and that God was not going to just come in and fix it. You see, He has designed us to be in community. He has designed us to help one another to bear burdens, to pray for one another, to need accountability, and to bring healing to one another. For years I had cried out and asked for God to fix me and make everything right, but I wanted it my way. I wanted to be able to deal with it just Him and me. I didn't want to have to open up and show people the black rotting parts of my soul; I was afraid of what would happen if I really showed people the darkness inside of me that I struggled so intensely to defeat. I just knew I was the only one with so much ugliness and knew that I would be cast aside and rejected for it; so I pretended it wasn't there. I didn't hide it from God, but I hid it from everyone else. I wanted to have Him and not need anyone else. And He refused to do it that way. He had healed many things in me, but He would not let me get completely free and healed on my own. He let me bleed out until I was willing to allow others to help me along the journey. He let me get desperate enough that I would do whatever it took. At that point of bleeding out and desperation, we began to attend a church. I also began to attend Celebrate Recovery, a Christ centered 12 step program. I did a lot of crying out to God to help me and draw me back into His presence and His light. I knew what it was like to walk deeply with Jesus, and I knew that I had wondered far from that place. I desperately wanted to love Him more than anything else and I desperately wanted the deep intimacy that I had previously walked in. I knew that, if I cried out to Him, He would meet me in my desperation. I knew that He wanted to walk with me and envelop my being even more than I wanted it. I also knew that He would only answer sincere cries and not pretense. I also knew that sometimes He makes us keep crying out and waiting for Him before He comes to us, even though He desires to be close to us. And, as a matter of fact, He is always close to us, but we do not always feel Him. Sometimes He lets us feel distant from Him. I cried out every day, "Lord, please draw me near to you. Bring me back to the place where you are my best friend." I clung to the verse Jeremiah 29:12-14 "Then you will call upon me and go and pray to me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity..." "I would pray I am seeking you with all my heart, Lord please help me to seek you with all my heart." I would go to church and sing the worship songs, but they felt so hollow to me. I do not like to be a hypocrite. I do not like to put on pretense. I try very hard to be real and not put on a show or a face. I didn't want to sing, "Lord I need you more than the air I breathe", or "I want you more than anything else," when it was not the truth inside of me. I don't like to lie to anyone, but I sure don't want to lie to the Lord b/c he knows it all anyway. So as I would sing, I would cry out to Him please make this the truth. And every day I would cry out to Him please draw me near to you and take me out of the dryness and make the words to the songs I sing really how I feel. I knew from years of walking with Him and seasons of dryness that if I kept crying out He would answer me. (We all go through dry periods and times when He pulls away so we won't take Him for granted to make us seek Him harder.) I had not been this far from Him or so dry since the day He introduced Himself to me, but I knew He would come. Then I realized a couple months later, that I really meant the words I was singing and that I had fallen back in love with my Lord. I was daily walking with Him as my best friend. I still struggled with drinking for about six more months. Most of the people who knew me would not have had any idea that I was struggling like I was or that I even had a problem. My family knew very well, though. My husband just prayed for me and asked God to help me find my way out of the darkness.

That was the beginning of coming out of the eclipse. It wasn't like full darkness; it was more like an eclipse. There was a huge battle to come to the realization that I really was powerless; the denial had a pretty tight grip on me. There was a part of me that knew that I was powerless over my drinking, but a stronger part of me tried to pretend like I was in control; I just didn't want to quit. (If you want to read more about why I drank and the lies I told myself about it, go to the post http://searchingforaplacetobelong.blogspot.com/2009/12/alcoholic.html http://searchingforaplacetobelong.blogspot.com/2009/12/sickness-and-alcoholic-continued.html I came out of the eclipse in so much a better place than I was before the time of eclipse. It was not wasted time. It was a very important part of my walk. I learned so much and had so much broken out of me; the Lord really taught me about mercy and grace. He really taught me compassion b/c the struggle was so intense. I really was powerless. I really and truly could not get free or even muster the desire to want to quit drinking. I am an extremely type A individual. I decide I am going to do something and I do it, or I decide I want to stop doing something and I just stop. Most of my close friends talk about how disciplined I am and how driven I can be if I have an end in mind. What that strength leads to, though, is that I can be a very proud, self sufficient, sometimes arrogant individual with very little compassion or mercy. Well, really, I am less of that, but it is still inside me. Thankfully, much of it has been broken out of me; judging by how much of it is still inside of me, there must have been tons of it. Becoming an alcoholic that was truly powerless to find freedom was so so so good for me. So much of that pride and self sufficiency was broken out of me and so much humility and compassion was worked into my soul. I can not take one iota of credit for my sobriety. I did not want to quit. I had to ask God to even give me the desire to quit. I know what it is like to really struggle so I do not put myself above those who would struggle and I can walk along beside them and love them now.

My walk is back to what it was when I first met Jesus, only better. I get to ponder His words and walk with him daily. I get to have Him as my closest friend, only I am more humble and wiser now. (Don't get me wrong I am not humble, just a little less proud). I also get to share this beautiful walk with a huge family. I have brothers and sisters all over the world and I have a close community who knows my struggles and my darkness and loves me through anyway. They challenge me and pray for me and question me when I need it.

I am so grateful that He is so good to me. I am so glad that He loves us enough to let the dryness into our lives so that we can deal with more of our baggage. I am so glad that He loves me enough to let me bleed out internally so that I can see that I need others in my life and I cannot handle it on my own. I am grateful that He does not love me the way I love my children. I want to shelter them from pain and keep all the bad away so they don't hurt, but that is not always the best thing. I would choose the easy path for them and thereby rob them of the blessing that the desert and the darkness and suffering would bring to them. I am also glad that He loves them better than me so that He won't let me protect them from the suffering that is good for them and that will bring about His plans for their lives.

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