These are hot topics in recovery and in daily life.
We must be willing to own up to our messes and face them head on. Willingness to do this can come in many shapes and forms. God should be first on this list, in my opinion but many might not feel the same, I didn’t for a long time.
Perhaps you’ve found talking with a trusted friend or friends is helpful. Maybe it’s your parents, a pastor or your spouse. Perhaps you take a more earthly look at things and try to use nature as your guide. Maybe you felt that if you wrote it all down it would somehow fix itself. I personally have done all of the above. Some worked to an extent but never fully.
Not long ago, I was one of “those” kind of women. I personally thought I could run the show on all levels and keep my sanity in the process without relying on anyone, including God. What a joke this was. I figured I’d managed thus far in my life without terrible results, or so I thought. Again, what a joke that was.
As life started kicking me when I was down, I started looking for easy ways out of the hole I had dug us into financial, emotionally and physically by trying to run the show. My stress soared, my mind was never still and my pain increased. My physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health were in shambles. I wanted to numb everything. I succeeded in doing so too, for almost two and a half years. I drank them away. It started innocently enough… it always does. What started as a once in awhile thing turned into a demon I had little control of.
I fought to regain control, I did well for stretches of time. I started believing I had this licked, I wasn’t an alcoholic, I couldn’t have turned into one of those. I went to work most days, I stopped bringing booze home, I was paying the bills on time ( as money allowed). I was functioning. I went to church after all. I’d been baptized. I figured I was just living a life I was destined to live. The more the bottle overtook everything, the less control I had in everything. I became a person foreign to even myself. I did horrible things, said nasty words and hurt the ones I was to love the most in my life, included God.
I suddenly was faced with a double reality check. One, I was now in trouble with the law and two, I was drinking away 21 years of marriage and had become an embarrassment to my children. I was a different person, one I didn’t even know anymore. God still knew me however even if my own mind lead me to believe otherwise.
I sought professional help.
I listened. I learned. I shared. I slowly started to find myself hidden within the dark places of my own mind. I was willing to do anything to find the old Tanya. This willingness was easy while I was away from the daily stressors of life. I began actually thinking I might not be the lost cause I’d let myself become. I prayed hard. I asked for forgiveness, but I still wasn’t so sure if I’d been forgiven. I had done so much wrong, I had made so many wrong choices and repeatedly went back on my word. I wondered if God could ever forgive me fully. I felt discouraged and hopeless. I was learning from others in some way, shape or form daily. I was taking things to heart and trying to pour mine out. I was surrounded by women from all walks of life, ones with addictions just like me, but felt alone in my struggles.
I signed up for church service one Sunday. I nervously awaited the time to come so I could ask the pastor his thoughts on the matter of forgiveness, since I couldn’t talk to my own. The time arrived finally and my spirits lifted as I walked down the hill toward the gymnasium where the service was being held.
Music played and I knew the song. I was welcomed with open arms. Peace filled me almost instantly. The turmoil I’d been feeling slowly dissipated the farther into the room I walked. I was given a recovery bible, much like the one my own pastor had gotten me months prior. I opened the book to a random page and began reading while others filed into the gym.
I came to Isaiah 43:25, which tells us “I… yes, I alone… will blot out your sins for my own sake and never think of them again.”
I realized with that Scripture, I had hope; I had been forgiven. My heart began to be humbled and my me, me, me attitude began to disappear. The message was powerful, one on finding hope in the darkness of life. Since I don’t particularly believe in mere coincidences I knew this was God at work. I knew I was meant to hear the message and learn the lessons taught in that service. As we sang the closing song, I realized how free I suddenly felt. My heart felt unlocked and my mind quieted.
Willingly, I shared like never before in that next meeting. As my word vomit kept going, I saw heads shake in understanding. When I finished speaking and passed to someone else, I listened intently to them share. As the meeting drew to a close and the chores were to begin, I said a silent pray of thanks for being forgiven and a prayer for my willingness to grow.
The following morning I began a new routine. My day would start with making my bed, showering and gathering stuff as quiet as possible, as to not wake my roommates. Coffee making and drinking followed. The “morning coffee crew” enjoyed the sunrises with me as we drank from styrofoam cups, puffed on cigarettes and just talked. Not about addictions, lawyers or war stories… We talked like women do. We praised our children and our families and friends. We talked of milestones in our recovery, not the bad we’d done and the pain we caused. We gained hope from each other with talk of shopping, meeting for coffee sometime and keeping in touch when we all got off the hill. Friendships were made deeper in the moments of early morning. I will treasure them always. God put those women in my life for a reason. He continues to work in my life daily. My willingness for recovery is made stronger because of them and because of the new people He puts in my life. My weekly meetings are awesome and I’ve come to look forward to them like I look forward to my Saturday morning women’s group. Everything happens for a reason they say…It does indeed…This is God’s plan in motion. If we follow faithfully, give willingly and learn intently everyday our lives can change. I’m living proof.
I’ve had setbacks, I’ve had struggles. I’ve felt hopeless but, today I can face life on life’s terms with a willing heart and mind and a forgiving soul. God is teaching me how to do this daily. It really isn’t as hard as it may sound….Just ask…Whatever you need to recover from.. food addictions, drugs, alcohol, depression or other mental illness, sexual issues, gambling, shopping, coffee drinking…the list can go on forever,but there is hope. There is a way.
If you need help, never be afraid to lean on another, they’re in your life for a reason. Never be afraid to pray, God is always listening and never tires of hearing from you. If you think He isn’t there working in your life, maybe it’s time to reflect on how you’re asking. Recovery as well as daily life is a journey, both begin with one step. You have nothing to lose by taking one step and everything to gain.
Blessings to All