Category Archives: PAA (Past Alcohol Addict)

One o’ Those

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I’ve had one of those days or maybe not so much days, but weeks. One of those days when everything I throw at the trash can (think full coffee filter. Why do I throw those things?) doesn’t actually go inside the trash can and one of those days when you look up to the sky to try to get a handle on things and breathe, but a weird worm from a nearby tree drops onto your upper lip. (Ok, that didn’t really happen, but I did visualize it happening as I looked skyward that day. I have a very active imagination that can be a pro or a con at any given time.) So as I’m walking along, wondering about weird worms, I realize so much about our day is perspective and where we place our focus. My thoughts after I missed the trash can were, “Geeeeez, isn’t anything gonna go right today??” In that moment, I felt a much gentler thought almost audibly whisper, “There are many things that have gone right today.” That whisper, I believe, is the Holy Spirit. There’s no describing it, but I’ve heard it with my heart before many times. (“You don’t have to do this.” Is one of my favorite statements the Comforter has ever made to me. That was when I thought I had to drink. A lot. That’s a previous blog post.)

When I was gently corrected and reminded of the many blessings God had poured out on my ungrateful head that day, I realized that there are only moments of discouragement. Not “bad days.” It’s unlikely that every minute of a 24-hour period could be bad. It’s only moments we, in our fleshy ways, try to make out to be worse than they truly are by focusing on those instead of the good ones.

When Jesus left this earth after being raised from the dead, He said, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26 (NIV) I know I need an Advocate. Somebody who’s gonna help me out by reminding me that every little thing’s gonna be alright (some of you now have a Marley song stuck in your head now. You’re welcome.) Even on one o’ those days I throw the banana away and start to eat the peel.

Green God

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So it occurred to me that nothing can get me off track this time. I’ve always said to myself “I got off track” or “I just don’t feel like I’m on the path I’m supposed to be on.” This time is different. This time there’s no way, no scheme, no lie the enemy can use to take me off God’s path because whatever the enemy throws at me, God uses it. He uses it along my path, possibly to pave the way for others to walk with me, I’m not sure. Maybe that’s another article, but He uses whatever I go through along my path. Why? Because it’s mine. God wastes nothing…every single thing we have ever been through will change lives if only we will let Him. Everything. The thing that happened that you didn’t think you could utter to another soul or the hurt you felt for years, something you buried or thought you buried… God was green before everybody else was. ( I just made myself crack up. Of course He was. He was everything before anybody else was anything.) My point is God recycles what we’ve been through to help others. So stop being afraid to share the good news because the good news comes in all kinds of stories. It comes through our trials and sicknesses and the events you never thought you would have to experience. There is good news because God’s not finished with you or anyone else. God will use you if you just let him.

Unapologetic Ex Slave

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I am no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God. That’s how the song goes. It echoes in my mind as I think about the fears that encompass me these days: being a mom and a woman in my home, watching as my parents get older, striving to be a good wife, trying to be the best that I can be within my career, serving with a spirit of excellence. The fears that encompass those hats on my head have changed over the years. I am no longer afraid that I’ll turn back to drinking and I’m no longer afraid that I’ll go back to smoking, like I was for so long. That’s not what I look to for help anymore. Who I look to now has conquered those fears. So to think that He would not conquer the spirit that exists in my mind these days seems like, to wax poetic, a “bonehead move”. I have fears of what people will think of me that seem to dissipate more and more each day as I get closer to Him and His ideas of who I am and what I am to Him. See, His ideas and goals for me trump any of mine. His bucket list for me is so much cooler than the one I made for myself. God’s plans are always so much more amazing than anything we could ever hope and dream for ourselves. So why would we be afraid, when we have the greatest cheerleader cheering us on? I laugh as I say that because I’m sure some will take offense to me giving a visual of God with a set of pom poms and a cheeky grin, but what if He truly is our cheerleader? What if we let him be that for us? What if we allowed the finger-pointing image that we have of Him to dissolve into nothingness like it never ever was? And what if we believed each and every day that He truly wants what’s best for us? That no one and no thing can stand in the way of that? Who would we be then? We would not only be free from fear but we would chase after the things that are on God’s to do list. Wholeheartedly, boldly, unabashedly, and unapologetically. Can we stop apologizing to God long enough to accept His forgiveness? Can we stop apologizing to other people for how we are, allowing the personalities that God gave us to shine through? Can we accept other’s personalities and look upon their journey with a smile instead of that pointing finger? A life built around fear or scare tactics is no life at all. God is freedom. He is everything and without Him, we have nothing. And if any part of that statement makes you feel a little uneasy, or your pride gets a little bruised, then the enemy’s working on you. That little twinge you feel about not being able to believe that we need Him wholeheartedly is evidence that the enemy is on the attack. God’s life for you is fulfilled, abundant, healthy, and free from fear.

Salvation Secured

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I heard today that a lot of people, based on a certain statistic, think that Christians are just “hate-filled hypocrites”. And I’m sure that’s exactly what the enemy would have all who will listen to believe. But I have to say, and maybe it’s just because I’m one of them (one o’ them thar Christians, you know) that I don’t see any hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense” and some synonyms include empty talk, dishonesty, and insincerity.
I can understand how this would get annoying. After all, I get annoyed at the way some Christians act (red cup, anyone?) but in all honesty, I believe a lot of it is they aren’t secure in their salvation. I was a Christian for years and still did all kinds of things that would make a lot of church-goin’ folks blush. But here’s the deal: God didn’t lay out every part of His “moral standard” for me at that point of my journey. He knew I’d be completely overwhelmed. I couldn’t possibly live up to His idea or beliefs about who I was in Him when I was in that place. So maybe that’s what some individuals see as hypocritical. They’re living by a different code because maybe they don’t have difficulty in the same areas as you do. Their 2 X 4 is something different than yours. All that being said, the Christians I know and the ones that I hang around, know full-well of who they are. Both who they are with God and without Him. They don’t shade the truth or cover up their human tendencies and forget what Jesus did for them. They’ve accepted the fact that without God’s help, without the Creator lining up their days, that they would indeed be hypocritical. They would go back to their old ways, whether it is drugs or alcohol, or lust and sex, or finger-pointing and a judgy, critical spirit, whatever the case may be. The Christians I know are all learning to trust God in each of their personal trials. They don’t stand and say “No, I never do that and I don’t think you should either!” The Christians I know say “Oh yeah, left to my own devices, that’s exactly what I would do. Without God’s help I couldn’t make it through a day without a drink.” Or “There are times when I’m tempted to go back to the drugs, but thank God I don’t.” Because that’s not what they look to anymore. Those leave us feeling hollow, searching for more. It’s no surprise that addicts don’t keep doing the same drugs and the same amounts; it takes more. And more. Then more. Because that’s not a hole-filler. The Christians I know look to God for their help because He is our strength, the ultimate Hole-Filler, and He is their joy. They don’t feel like they’re better than everybody else. They feel very much like they are everybody else. The Christians I know have experienced the freedom that no man and no 12-step program could ever give. They are free. I am one of them.  He is my strength and He is my joy. I was addicted but now I’m not and that is because of God.  So, that being said, if people from “yesteryear” see me “nowadays” (where do these terms come from?)  then yeah, they may see a hypocrite. They may look back and remember what I used to do and what I used to be, but that’s not me now. And it’s not the Christians I know.

I Believe in Zombies

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I believe in zombies because I was one. I trudged through life with apathy and dark circles under my eyes. I believe in people being raised from the dead because that’s exactly where I was at before I let Jesus back into my so-called life. I believe in spirits because of what I feel when I pray at times. I believe there’s an unquestionable darkness because I’ve been there myself and I see it in people’s eyes. I believe witches not only exist but also put curses on God’s people. I believe it’s judgemental and critical to tell people that they can’t dress their kids up as Superman or a ninja or a princess. They are most likely not actively teaching their kids to worship demons and seek out satan to follow him. They are not the enemy and never will be. I believe parents have the right to dress their kids up and have fun because there’s no other holiday where they get to do this. I dressed as a rocker, complete with punk hair and makeup or a cowgirl every year when I was younger. And look at me now. I do not worship satan…the farthest thing there is from it. God is the judge. Don’t be critical of people’s decisions just because they are not the same ones you’ve chosen. They may very well have sought out God’s face on the matter.

My Shiny Ship…in the Midwest

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I backed up a little to Isaiah 60:1 tonight. It states that we are to “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” I think this is one of the coolest verses ever because it says we are to shine…possibly as a reflection of God’s glory on us. It’s not easy to shine when the rest of the world doesn’t shine back. ( I got a dirty look/head shake/possibly a not-nice finger from an elderly man today.) After all, if we were surrounded by mirrors and got what we put out back, when we shone bright, life would be so simple. As it turns out, God said nothing of life being simple.

We are called to speak about good things when the rest of the world meditates on the bad (Philippians 4:8-9), we are called to act righteously, faithfully, blamelessly, and pure too (Psalms 18:24-28). There’s a lot more in there about how we are supposed to be, but I gotta tell ya: This is enough for me to mull over right now. I don’t know who these people are that don’t put pressure on themselves to act the way God wants them to, but that isn’t me and I’m weary of the pressure.

I can only do so much, right? I’m just me and I’ve come to realize that it’s not God I’m worried about liking me or what I do, it’s other people. I worry about what other people will think if I do this or that…say this or that…I’m not perfect. So far from it I wonder why I’m raising kids to be honest. The fear is crippling sometimes.

I don’t want to try to fix it or try to find a cure for awhile. I just want to be. I just need God to take over here and steer me because I’m too tired to figure out where I’m heading. I picture Him behind one of those big ship’s steering wheels (I’m from the Midwest, I can’t be expected to know what they’re really called.) while I’m slumped in the passenger seat. (Yeah, my ship has a passenger seat. What of it?) I think being a Christian is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, things I’ve ever done. Drinking, smoking, and all the other ugly stuff that comes along with it was super easy. Sure it was expensive, it was horrible for my health, but it was easy. The temptations come back every once in awhile, to turn off the Christian and turn to a different source of “help.” What a joke. Those idols did nothing for me. They didn’t drown anything I went through or dealt with, didn’t heal any wounds, didn’t fix anything to say the very least. It’s for this reason I know that it would be a slap to my God’s face if I picked up those habits again. Not to say that I could never, ever, possibly screw up, but I know that it would hurt Him. There have been days when that’s all that has kept me from it. I don’t know that I would ever stop if I started again and with that statement running through my brain, I hear Him whisper, I could rescue you again. For some reason, that alone allows me some breathing room to remain imperfect, to take some of that pressure off myself.

With that being said, it’s not what I truly want. I want more of Him, the One Who rescued me from all that mess and myself. I turned to that junk for years and years. I know that if I drank again, it wouldn’t even be a temporary relief from the stress or the pain. I need more Jesus and I won’t settle for any less than what He has for me. I’ve tried what the world has to offer. It ain’t much.

Background at the Forefront

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Let me begin by saying I’m trying my best to follow where God leads me here. I have no desire to put myself first (ok, maybe a little) but most days I’m content to stay in the shadows. As I look back over some of the very ugly, stupid choices I’ve made in my life, I feel the need to place blame. Unfortunately, it lands on me.

I was a drinker for many years and I’m sure you can use your imagination as to what kinds of choices alcohol and its addiction brings about. God protected me in so many ways, but also let me screw up. We are given those choices to make, based many times on where we’ve placed ourselves, and we have to manage the consequences. I have thoughts of pure shame regarding the hell I put myself through. I suppose I literally brought hell into my life. It was chaotic and confusing and our God is not one of either of those.

I remember wanting to quit drinking but was unable to picture my life without it. It’s a really strange place to be now as I have people tell me they can’t picture me drinking or smoking. That statement in and of itself is a testament to how powerful my God is. He showed up HUGE in my life when I needed Him the most. He loved me when all I could do was ask, “Where in this hell are you?? It’s too much for me to handle and you’re nowhere to be found. I knew I couldn’t count on you. What do I have to do to get you to do what you said you would?” (Notice no capital ‘y’ as I wasn’t exactly showing much respect at that point. I can’t turn the “editor” in me off so I had to explain myself.) Looking back, I realize I had to let go of His hand before I was able to throw my hands up in the air and ask where He was! How ridiculous is that?

He was there the whole time, waiting for me to have that “Hmmmm…AHA!” moment. Thank You God for being merciful and forgetful!! New mercies and no memory of past faults are like a big, fuzzy blanket. They wrap around you and warm you until you think you get it. Then the next time you forget and get chilly, they wrap around you again and you’re reminded of that comfort that only He can provide.

Our past can be the cause of those chills I think. I shudder not only to think of some of the things I’ve done, but all the things I haven’t accomplished because of my chosen track. “Where could I be? If only I had…” Regrets. See? God tried to save me from those regrets but I chose to head down that wide path. We try to throw the blame someone else’s way but it boomerangs back and hits us in the forehead. That’s when we need to get up off the ground, acknowledge that we were wrong, and repent. Eek! “Repent.” That word scares so many. I personally think of the guy holding the sign while standing on a busy street corner. Nonetheless, repenting simply means “to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. To feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better; be penitent. To remember or regard with self-reproach or contrition: to repent one’s injustice to another. To feel sorry for; regret: to repent an imprudent act.” (Thank you Dictionary.com!) Um, that’s me, fer sher.

My prayers today are for those that feel they can’t get themselves out of that muck that they’re stuck in. And to you, as I pray you’re reading this, I say, don’t even try. You’ve probably already tried before anyway and you’re right back where you started, most likely even deeper. Apologize (aka repent) and let God fix it from there. There is nothing He can’t handle, especially when you’re in a place where you feel as though you can’t handle anything. I’ve been there. I thought I’d never leave there. But I did and you can too. God pulled me out of the muck and is using my background to help others. Nothing is wasted.