Monday, August 28, 2017

Coming Clean

There's no other way to say this other than to just...say it.
I've been battling an insidious and terrifying alcohol addiction for the past three years. I feel compelled to share because there is strength in transparency, resolution in truth and someone else may be going through the same thing. Until I quit, my life had been spent in a vicious cycle of craving, caving and lying then covering the truth. I've lied to my family, my co-workers, my kids, and my husband but worst of all, I've lied to myself. I tricked myself into thinking that things weren't that bad, weren't that out of control and weren't that destructive until they just...were. Until recently, I believed I could live my life on both sides of the fence, flirting with sobriety but ultimately choosing an affair with alcohol. I knew I couldn't have it both ways but it doesn't mean I didn't try.
When my house of cards came crashing down, there was a beautiful relief that followed. I knew I needed accountability and so it was time to come clean. I now have accountability partners in my brother, my sister, my best friend, and my husband. They are there in my weak moments and although a phone call doesn't totally obliterate a craving, it sure helps diminish it. It's a comfort to know that I'm freely forgiven by Jesus Christ and that my sins are washed away. EVERY transgression has been erased. It doesn't mean there aren't consequences but I no longer feel like I have a scarlet letter on my chest. I hold my head high knowing that my heavenly father loves me exactly where I am and HE will walk through this battle with me.
What does it take to give up an addiction? What is rock bottom?? I can't say for sure, but what I know is, it's different for everyone. For me, it wasn't the DUI stop two years ago that did it. It wasn't being on house arrest or having to attend AA meetings. What it took for me was finally having to admit to my own child that I have a problem. It was making a promise and looking in her eyes to realize that something had to give. I had a lot of apologies to make and many relationships to mend.
But HOW to give up? Just because I decided to quit didn't mean it would be easy. I still had cravings, still do sometimes and the feelings I wanted to bury at the bottom of a bottle were still there, stronger even, just waiting to be processed. So I have. I spend nights reading and praying instead of drinking wine and passing out. I embrace the anxiety I feel after a 16 hour day at work. I turn to prayer and scripture reading to calm me down, not a couple of Mike's Hard Lemonades or shots of whisky.
I'm one step closer to freedom each day I say no.
Thank God I'm forgiven. Thank God for second chances (and third, and fourth) and thank God for people who love me in spite of myself. He is my hope. He is my strength. If you don't know Jesus, find Him. He is the way, the truth and the life.