by | Dec 31, 2020

After surviving emotional and physical abuse, I found that the pain from those experiences manifested into multiple addictions that I was trapped in for six years.

I lived a secret life that no one knew about. Sex, alcohol…nothing seemed to fill that void. I desired to feel whole; however, I was afraid to explore my emotions and I searched out things that could never fill the emptiness in my life. I became a professional pretender, polishing my facade to seem shiny and bright and projecting an image of having it all together.

But, when I broke down to my lowest point and attempted suicide I knew I needed help. And I sensed that God was holding me tightly in His arms and would not let my story go unheard. I reached out to a pastor at my church for recommendations for a therapist and he kindly gave me the names of several trusted professional counselors.

When I started therapy I thought it was a big joke. We talked nothing about my addiction, but rather we navigated through my self-worth issues and the abuse that I suffered as a child. I came to realize that every experience of my life was building up to this very moment when I finally reached out for help.

Change did not happen overnight and it was not an easy road. I felt shame so deep that it caused me to walk out of the counselor’s office mid-session. It took about 2 years of intense therapy and critical honesty with myself to be able to begin to overcome those past urges. I learned that in the midst of my struggle I am cared for deeply and highly thought of by others. That was a truth I had not previously believed.

Before I married my husband I was open with him about my past. All he did was hug me and tell me that I am beautiful. I never knew what true love from a man felt like until that moment. He does not dismiss me for my struggles, he loves me for who I am.

Addiction of any kind is painful, but don’t be ashamed because you are not alone. Even if you don’t know anyone who has struggled with your particular addiction, people in your circle have experienced the things that drive us to addictions. Pain, loneliness, and discouragement are universal even though the path we take is our unique journey.

If you relate to my story, finding a counselor that you can confide in may be a life-changing first step toward healing. You can do this. Take one small step forward and breathe.

This is the first time I am talking openly about my addictions and the hold they had on me, other than in therapy and with my husband. I have kept my struggles to myself for many years and now I know that I have fought in silence for far too long. The emotional weight that I have carried is starting to lift bit by bit. Sharing here is my “one small step forward” and now I must breathe. I pray my story encourages you in yours. ~ Crystal

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