I grew up as the only child of two very functional alcoholics/drug users. My early years consisted of tremendous uncertainty and many secrets. My dad was a very angry man and we never knew what kind of mood he would be in. He came home every night after work and drank until he passed out.
In an effort to cope with him, my mom also drank and was emotionally and relationally unavailable. I grew up feeling as though I never measured up and was really never seen. Because of the instability in my home, I began drinking to alleviate my own fear and anxiety.
There was no Christian influence in my life and I was incredibly insecure.
I left home at seventeen to attend college. It was there that I first began to experience unconditional love. God brought many Christians into my life, including my future husband, who invited me to church and Bible studies and spent hours talking to me about Jesus. I accepted Christ during this time and began to experience His grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love.
My feelings of not measuring up were replaced with knowing I was enough in Christ.
However, even though I had accepted Christ I continued to struggle with alcohol. In my early years of marriage I began to feel convicted about my drinking. My husband and his family were integral in helping me see that my past did not have to define my future. When I became a mother I knew something had to change, because I did not want my daughters growing up in a home with the same feelings of shame and insecurity that I had experienced.
It was at this time that I attended a conference at my church. When the pastor invited people to go forward for prayer I found myself physically fighting God’s prompting to confess my drinking. But I ended up staying in my seat and did not go forward.
I was too ashamed to reveal my secret.
A few weeks later, I prayed that someone would confront me about my drinking and that I could stop hiding my secret. I felt it would be one of two people, either my best friend or my pastor’s wife, but neither of them knew. One night soon after I was talking to my best friend and she said she thought I sounded “funny”. I denied anything was wrong, but I had been drinking. The next day I wrote her a letter and told her everything.
After mailing the letter I felt a huge sense of relief. I did not have to hide anymore and I found the strength to quit drinking. That friend called every night for over a year during my most vulnerable time of temptation. She still is my trusted friend that I can go to with anything and always feel accepted and loved.
I have been sober ever since. The road to sobriety has not been without struggle. However, the feeling of freedom from living in truth and not hiding in shame is well worth the hardship. I am no longer isolated and alone.