I’m baaaack. I took a small hiatus. Truth be told, someone made a comment about me putting all this out there, and being the person I am, the person that feels I have to appease others and not hurt anyone, gave in and let their comment rule me for a little while. “What did I say? Where did I go wrong? Do I have a right to say what I am? To minister how I am? To share “my” life???” Yes. I do. And so do you.
Deuteronomy 31:8 says;
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
I got discouraged. I let someone else’s thoughts monopolize my anxieties. I allowed them to creep inside my heart and mind, and let the attacks of Satan through someone else, control my actions. Or lack of action when it came to writing another blog.
Thank goodness God placed a bit of stubbornness inside me. Actually, thank goodness He placed an encouraging husband, and supportive friends to push me forward. So forward I will go. But not without an overwhelming feeling that I need to puke directly after posting this blog…
In my last post I gave a bit of an overview of how life began for me. This post I’m going to be talking about a topic that until pretty recently, I didn’t give much thought to how it really had and has effected my life.
I always knew that when my dad would drink, it would leave me feeling uncomfortable. But I didn’t know why. I think I first heard the word, alcoholic, not too long after my parents were divorced. I understood that it was when someone was addicted to, and abused alcohol. Not until later, did I understand how this disease can have such impact on ones life, even when you weren’t physically around it much.
I remember coming downstairs, late at night or in the wee hours of early morning several times and seeing the cans lined up on the side of the couch. My dad either passed out or up still smoking and drinking while watching an old western. In fact, one of my (oddly enough) favorite memories with my dad has to do with one of those nights.
Alcoholism runs in my family. I think for many, and this was probably the case for my father, that it is often used as a way to self medicate the real problem. My dad didn’t grow up with an easy childhood. I think he had so many issues never dealt with, and the drinking seemed to mask so much for him. And instead of talking to someone, or dealing with anything-he used it as a crutch to keep the pain, the memories, and the hurts at bay. I also think he may have had a mental illness that was never identified.
In high school I had a pretty solid group of friends. It was a small school. I went to several parties. Parties where there were drugs and alcohol. I remember always feeling so uncomfortable. My friends looked like they were having fun. I was the girl with the skittles and Mountain Dew, trying to play it cool. I didn’t drink until the end of my senior year of high school, when most of my friends had been since freshman year, and some, even earlier.
Being around alcohol after that, always gave me a feeling of apprehension. I didn’t understand why. I never had a glass of wine with dinner, just to have one. I didn’t drink at any other time other than when I was in a group setting. And once I started, I didn’t stop. I couldn’t just have a few, get that buzz, or relaxed feeling and call it good. I literally didn’t stop. And I didn’t need to. This girl could hold her alcohol. Not something to be proud of. Very rarely did I ever get sick. And I never felt bad the next morning. Mentally I would think, “why, why, WHY??” But never was I physically ill the way my friends were. For a while this was kind of “cool” to me. Then after a while, it just scared me. I didn’t want to be like my dad.
I started paying closer attention to it after my horrible summer last year. The reasons why I was drinking, and the answers as to why I was are now easy to pin-point. I was masking pain. Masking hurts, memories, the failure I was feeling and the person I wanted to be and somehow had lost along the way. I also noticed, that when I was around people who were drinking and I wasn’t, I felt so uncomfortable. As soon as I drank down a few swallows, I didn’t feel so out of place. I began to understand then, that I had a larger problem with my dads drinking, and with mine, than I wanted to realize.
Keep in mind that until last summer, I have never been a big drinker. It was very rare that I would “go out,” to get drunk. That was never my lifestyle. I didn’t look forward to the weekends so I could party. I was happy to stay away from it. But if my friends or ex-husband wanted to go out, I couldn’t not drink. To be surrounded by loud, obnoxious people, wasn’t something I handled well. It reminded me of my dad. It scared me. So…instead of feeling uncomfortable, I drank too. After my ex-husband and I made the decision to divorce, and my feelings of failure and a woman not worth much…I couldn’t help but fall into the pit of letting alcohol console me. I hated who I was when I WASN’T drinking, and I hated who I was becoming when I WAS. When I didn’t have my daughter, I was essentially pretending to be someone I wasn’t. It hurt to be me, so I threw down some drinks and became someone I didn’t recognize. It was a brutal few months.
During this time of unrest, I was still going to church on Sundays. Still trying to be true to my morals. But the devil was winning. I was too weak, and becoming weaker. I wasn’t asking God for the help I needed. I wasn’t asking for help from anyone, honestly. Asking for help isn’t a natural thing for me, completely not in my nature. So as far as anyone interceding-it didn’t happen, because I didn’t let it.
Then one day something happened. God planted this man in my life. Threw him down and plopped him in front of me. And I couldn’t shake him. Wasn’t looking for it. Didn’t want it at that point. This man wasn’t perfect. He was going through a lot of change in his own life. And together we found in each other a new will to fight to get back who we were as individuals. I was slowly brought back to reality, and the person I knew I could be. I stopped drinking. And started clinging to the standards I had placed in my life. The standards I needed to live up to for my daughter and the ways in which I wanted to bring her up. And I took a hard look at where stuffing things down and drinking had gotten my dad, and that I wanted better for my life, and for my daughters.
I’ve made a decision not to drink anymore. It doesn’t add anything to my life. And I’ve really started noticing the things that set me off. Like when my husband makes a drink for himself after my daughter has gone to sleep. My whole body bristles. Not because he has ever done anything wrong, or has ever kept drinking to the point of complete drunkenness. I was angry at him, but didn’t understand why. Once I let myself really think about why I was feeling the way I did, I understood it was because the night was when I would walk down the stairs and see the cans lined up at my fathers feet. I felt threatened, insecure and scared. My husband has never done anything to make me feel that way, but I was feeling and acting like a shaken little girl, and needed to understand why. When I go out with friends, I don’t drink because I want to, or feel the need to. I drink because I’m honestly uncomfortable being around it, and the alcohol takes the edge off…so I tip a few back. And don’t usually stop. Taking this scary but very necessary step to make it a point to reflect, finally brought the deep roots of my past to the forefront of my psyche.
I don’t want to have a glass of wine to calm me down. I’d rather rely on prayer, or talking with friends and family. I don’t want to feel uncomfortable around others, and feel like I have to drink. Which I did a few weeks ago. For my birthday a few of us went out of town. I didn’t want to drink. But I did. And every sip I had I felt guilty for. Convicted. I felt like someone I wasn’t made to be. The morning after driving home, I made a personal decision to myself to not go back to ever feeling that way again.
I’m not saying this to challenge you not to drink. I’m not saying any of this to condemn, make any one feel guilty or that you have to stop drinking. This is something that God has convicted me of personally. Something that has taken a lot of thought, reflection and prayer. It makes me no different or better than any one of you.
I will however, ask you to think about something in your life that you’re doing that when you are in the midst of that moment, you feel God is convicting you to do better. To say no. To be the person He made for you to be, and wants you to live up to. That conviction is different for everyone. So my prayer for you is that you would be able to let go, to go to Him in prayer and let him challenge you in a way that you are able to find release, move on and grow from your past experiences, and struggles you are still clinging to and refusing to let go of. That instead, you would be able to walk out in faith knowing that God will meet you in your weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says this:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. “
So let His strength overwhelm you. Claim your weakness and then fully choose to surrender to The Lord. He will provide you with the strength to move forward. He will provide opportunity to grow and the power to forge ahead.
Blessings & Love,
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