Sober is the New Black - the Epilogue
I remember waking up on the morning of my 28th birthday.
The night before, I had gone out for a drink or two with my girlfriends. I had not been drunk or even tipsy. But when I woke up the next day, I knew what I was giving myself for my 28th year.
‘I choose life. Full life.’
No alcohol since. Not again. Never again.
It has been some time since I confessed that in the past I struggled with alcohol dependency. I didn’t love the taste or the way it made me feel. What I loved was that I could use alcohol to numb pain from an excruciating 18 months (that turned into four years). Instead of facing the issues that cut me up (bad choice), I tried to drown them with a polite amount of alcohol (worse choice). Just a glass or two. Almost every night. For four years. I never blacked out, browned out, or any other shade of ‘outs’. I just numbed, all ladylike, while watching documentaries in my PJs and holding my heart in a death grip so God couldn’t get at the festering wounds to clean them.
And life kinda sucked.
‘I used a glass of wine or whatever was in the house as a crutch to help me calm down, numb, forget, go to sleep, etc.’ - Sober is the New Black
The keyword: Crutch
What’s yours? Food, movies, control, exercise, sugar, surfing the web, shopping, porn, approval from others, gossip, pot/drugs, relationships? Where do you run when you are in pain, insecure, or stressed out?
This is important. This says it all. As soon as I took the alcohol away, I was still looking for a crutch because if I didn’t have a crutch, that meant I had to deal with what crippled me in the first place. I suddenly wanted to binge watch Netflix, workout for 3 hours, or mindlessly scroll on my phone to get back to that ‘numb’ feeling. Thank God, I was hyper-vigilant about how I was doing emotionally and spiritually after giving up alcohol. I knew that when that desire to numb surfaced like a shark’s dorsal, I had to run (I mean BOLT) to the Lord, not because I’m holy, but because He was the only person who could fix this. I am also surrounded by amazing women of God who were ready to pray and cry with me through the gory mess of healing very old heart wounds.
The hardest part of this journey has nothing to do with alcohol. It has been facing the things that hurt me and letting God do open-chest, deep-clean surgery on my heart and mind.
This is so freaking messy.
A few months into this process, I was listening to a sermon, and the pastor said something that triggered old memories. He then said ‘“Give the things that have hurt you to God and let Him work through them, but don’t be afraid to tell your Father in Heaven that this hurt. You don’t have to be brave for Him. Tell Him.” I kid you not, I sobbed for at least forty minutes…just poured it all out….all of it. And then I praised God, because He has not failed me once even in the worst seasons.
Since ditching my crutch, I’ve had to re-learn to walk in confidence and wholeness, and that is NOT easy. I have dredged up things from when I was a child that had never been addressed but needed to be forgiven and released. There has been a lot of journaling, and a lot of sitting in front of my fireplace singing worship until 1am because worship is my warfare in this battle back to a place of strength. I’ve ditched other crutches (bye, Netflix, bye), and since my birthday morning, there hasn’t been a desire to drink alcohol (that’s God, folks). There has been so. much. joy.
And then there are tough moments with people.
Old friends I haven’t seen for years passed the blog post around and turned it into a gossip fest that backwashed upstream to me again. THAT sucked, but there is literally nothing I can or need to do about that.
People (I don’t mean professionals/counselors…I mean acquaintances) have a lot of opinions about what healing should look like and if you don’t fit in their idea of ‘recovery’ then you’re wrong. There is nothing I can or need to do about that. I can only do what I feel prompted by God to do (and psstt…it’s working).
I’ve legit wondered how this will affect future relationships. Will it impact my dating relationship? Will future clients and members of my community react with judgement when they hear this was a part of my past? Again, nothing I can or need to do about that.
At the end of the day, I’m free. I’m leaning on my Savior. He’s not ashamed of me, so what is there to hide?
And not for nothing, but after giving up booze I dropped a lot of ‘fluffy’ weight, my adrenals healed, skin cleared, hair got shiny, my business grew, and I’m getting abs again….so…..
“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say - but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’- but I will not be mastered by anything. “ 1 Corinthians 6:12
I choose life. Full life. Praise be to God who has set us free and continues our healing for His glory and our good <3