Failure isn’t final. In fact, it’s the avenue which God chooses to be glorified and draw us closer to Himself. It is through my failure that I see the marvelous works of God’s mighty hand. He takes what I see as hopeless, broken, lost beyond repair, and breathes life into it. Restores it to even greater than its previous condition. It is much easier to buy new than to repair what is hopelessly broken. God however, takes our brokenness and creates something even more lovely than we were before. The more broken and irreparable we are, the greater the transformation. It is for that very reason God chooses to show me His Glory through my biggest failures. It is then that I can clearly see His perfect love, grace, and mercy. His sovereignty and majesty. His goodness.
One of my biggest failures was my addiction to alcohol. If you knew me then and know me now, the transformation is undeniably remarkable. My road to redemption and sobriety is where I fell in love with Jesus. I wrote this letter in February 2016 saying goodbye to my addiction. I share it now in hopes of letting others know that they aren’t alone in their own addiction. The war that’s going on inside of you was inside of me. I am victorious through Christ Jesus. You can be too.
Dear Addiction to Alcohol,
I have been avoiding writing to you for some time now; close to two weeks. I was dawdling out of fear. Fear of what a letter of this nature would churn up inside me. Out of lack of desire to return to a place of such icky-ness and grossness in my mind. I thought I left that mind space and shed that layer of ‘self’ back in California. Back in that room that was both my safe haven and jail cell. My playground and torture chamber. My protection and destruction. The very walls that surrounded me had their backs to me. Their faces turned from the repulsive behavior they were subjected to endure for the ten and a half months I resided inside them.
All of this angst over returning to my past is because of you Addiction. You stealthily tried to hide behind Alcohol; but it’s not just Alcohol who is responsible, you are. Alcohol may have seduced me, but, Addiction, you are responsible for the complete annihilation of my dreams and plans for my future. You are responsible for my sinking to new depths after I had already reached the bottom. You are responsible for the utter devastation that came with the pile of ruins my life had become.
It is as if I had a blueprint for my life. For eighteen years I drew that blue print and got input from those who had already built houses of their own. I gathered materials and had a foundation, a firm foundation. When you entered my life I started cutting corners, skimping on the necessities. I went from building a house of bricks to building a house of cards. Once you had a grip on me it didn’t take you long to tear down all that I had built up. And you piled on some extra rubble for kicks and giggles. For that My Friend, it’s time to say Goodbye.
From the moment we met I was infatuated. I felt like up to that point I had been living in a dimly lit world, but when you hit my brain the switch flipped and I could see vibrant colors all around. The world looked completely different all lit up. And I liked it.
At first you seemed kind and friendly. You wanted to help me loosen up and feel comfortable in my own skin. You helped me ostracize Social Anxiety. (She still comes around now and again, but I know how to handle her). When I had you I became the person I always wanted to be. Fearless. Bold. Sassy. Confident. Witty. Competitive. Friendly. Carefree. Expressive. You made me feel free. Free of Self-Loathing, Social Anxiety, Fear. Free of feeling unworthy, not good enough, less than. Free of my paralyzing insecurities. Free of the terror of timidity. Free of the confines of my own mind. I was trapped by the lies Satan told me. The lie that I was fat if I weighed a pound over 130. No guy wants a fat girl. The lie that I don’t belong. The lie that I should always try to be like someone else. Being me was not an option. No one liked me. I didn’t even like me. But you Addiction, clothed in Alcohol usually labeled Vodka or Tequila, took all these things away from me. How delightful. You cunningly seduced me into a lighthearted love affair turned abusive relationship with you.
I knew you were bad for me, but I didn’t know how I could live without you. You were always there for me. In good times and in bad. I turned to you when I was in need. When Feelings were too much to handle, you were there to numb me. You were my emotional safety net, my security blanket, my crutch. You made it so easy to rely on you. The quick and momentary fix was alluring. You could take me from zero to hero in 20 minutes. Just knowing you were going to be in my belly alleviated my anxiety. Oh how you enticed me!
Looking back, the power that you held over me and all that I compromised for you vexes me. Why did I ever do those things for you? For what? A feeling? A false sense of freedom? Momentary mitigation? You deceived me. The Feeling only came alone the first few times. Later The Feeling brought along Destruction, Depression, Loneliness, Havoc, Torment, Turbulence, Upheaval, Brokenness. What am I supposed to do with all that? Deal with it? Handle it? Face it? Ignore it?
Turn to you. That was your answer. Because you were always there for me. Right? Wrong.
When one is trying to solve a problem, and the solution and cause are one in the same, the problem is rendered unsolvable. I was trying to find the answer to this problem keeping you in the equation, but the math didn’t work out. The equation wasn’t balanced. Something needed to be canceled out; eliminated. Addiction to Alcohol. Bingo. If I eliminated you from the equation of my life there was balance. I could solve the problem.
I cannot say that all of our time together was unpleasant. We had some good times. Wayward adventures make for notorious stories. And there are many memories I look back on with fondness. I’ll even go as far as to say I cherish them (see addendum). However, that does not compensate for all that I did for you, not even close. Which is unsettling for me. I don’t like that the memories of some of the happiest times in my life and some of the lowest times in my life are tethered together by you. It’s confusing for me even now that you are removed. How confused I was while we were together every day. You instigated conflict that agitated my insides; both physically and mentally. While you unlocked pieces of myself that freed me in inebriation, my fears and insecurities were only amplified when you left me in sobriety.
You are a tormentous temptress who beguiles me. You still try to seduce me with images of cold beer on a sunny afternoon, or flashbacks of dancing with a tequila grapefruit in hand. I know you’ll never stop trying. And even though I may linger on the idea, I don’t ever want you inside of me again. You have taken enough. There is nothing more that I wish give you so I leave you.
Goodbye Addiction to Alcohol. I hope to never see you again.
October 13, 2021
I wrote the above just 3 months into sobriety. Today, I look back on those same times with vehemence and disgust. Those memories are so repulsive to my being they make me want to vomit when I think of them now. There is absolutely nothing that I cherish or look back on with fondness. I see those years for what they are—my rebellion against God. They are the years the devil tried to destroy me, and I was a willing participant.
I left the above portion in because that’s where I was at 5 months into relationship with Jesus. I was confused. My life was a mixture. I was still in process. I had been pulled out of the darkness, but the darkness was still getting pulled out of me.
Today I can honestly say I am a different person. I want nothing to do with my old life and there is absolutely no confusion about it. Jesus wants to bring you to this place too. He wants to pull the darkness out of you. Let Him.
I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back
The cross before me, the world behind me
No turning back, no turning back