Tag Archives: alcoholism

It’s Hard for Me to Say

It’s hard for me to say that I am pretty, even though I’ve been told that I am by people who I trust and love.

It’s hard for me to say that I am a fierce warrior, even though I know my story and know I’ve overcome.

It’s hard for me to say that I am a strong leader, even though the power reflected in my employees would clearly point in that direction.

It’s hard for me to say that I am a good wife, even though my husband constantly reminds me that I am.

It’s hard for me to say that I am a good mother, even though if you met my son’s you would see how awesome they are.

It is also hard for me to say that I am an addict, a liar, a thief, a cheat, a prostitute, a crackhead, a sexually abused child, even though if I am being honest about my past those words are there.

It’s becoming increasingly hard for me to say I’m a Christian, even though my love for Jesus and my faith in God grow substantially with each passing day.

These things, these words, these labels are what society has chosen for me and some of these, I have made for myself.  I cannot deny the hard truth that I almost killed myself and everyone I love with my addiction. I cannot deny it, because it happened and to deny it would mean to deny that I am not only a survivor, I am also redeemed in the eyes of my creator. I am saved, loved, forgiven.

So, although these things may be hard for me to say, I can look you in the eyes today and own these things, all of them, the good and the bad.  I can say that I am a beautiful woman of God, who has sold her body and soul for crack. I can say that I am a good mother who left her child alone or in the care of others to go get high. I can say that I have excelled at the art of marriage, even though I once failed miserably at it.

I am new, and that, is not hard for me to say.

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“I’m Never Writing Again!”

cross this out“I’m never writing again!” I cried out with tears in my eyes and a whimper in my voice. “I also deleted Facebook off my phone and I’m done getting on it!”

My husband is rarely surprised by my dramatics, but still always actively participates in helping me come to a quick resolution.  He has learned that listening with a sympathetic ear, then quickly redirecting whatever lie it is that I’m believing, is the best approach to the circus I drag to town on the crazy train.

“She’s better than me.  Her writing is so raw. She quoted scripture and cussed in the same paragraph. I’ll never be this good and I can’t take the embarrassment of it all. I quit!”

Ronnie wrapped his arms around me and let me cry it out.  He assured me that my writing is good, that people can relate to it and that I’ve just got to keep writing. I wiped away my tears and nodded my head, but damnit…I was done.

I thought about this all day, wondering if I should announce my departure from the podium, no, that’s so dramatic and attention seeking.  Maybe I would just go silent, no, that’s not what God called me to do. Ahhh! I should take a class and read material from more writers that I want to sound like! Wait!  That’s inauthentic.

I was spinning my wheels…did you hear it too? was spinning MY wheels, as if this calling was somehow meant for me. As if I was in control. As if I had a say in the whole thing.I had made this thing all about me and, quite frankly, it was mostly made up. All the thoughts in my head were swimming around, festering, giving each other high fives, breeding, pumping each other up, all the while sending me off the emotional cliff, headed for writer suicide!  I was doomed!

It’s a really bad place up there.  Exhausting. Lonely. Dark. There is very little truth conceived there and the demons that lurk there are evil ones, waiting for their hot bed, waiting to destroy me, ready to kill. It’s moldy and seething.  It’s the rotting flesh of my own pity. The place my confidence goes to die. It’s God-less there…or is it?

I believe that no place is God-less. I believe that the fear we live in is simply the privacy fence that we look through, seeing the green pastures ahead, but too afraid of the barbed wire we imagine is lining the top. I KNOW that God exists in crack houses and dirty motel rooms.  I know he follows his people into war. I know that he sits bed side during failed suicide attempts. I know.

So how in the hell could I deny that he was here, in this the ugliest of sins, envy? I couldn’t. He was there and I intended to seek his counseling, because I was dangling my feet right over that ledge, posted and ready to jump head first into the abyss.

“God. Help. Save me from this. I don’t want to be jealous.  I don’t want to be self-loathing. I don’t want to toss-away the passion you have given me. Help.”

He heard me.  I knew what I needed to do.

I picked up the phone and dialed her number.  What the world was I thinking? Was I really about to do this? Hopefully she won’t answer. She answered. I confessed. I was free.

The truth we shared was beautiful. I confessed my jealousy. I told her about my emotional breakdown. I murdered the demon that I had carried with me all day long. And you’d never guess, but she had felt the same way. Turns out, she isn’t super confident about her writing. She’s a little embarrassed each time she hits Post. We also talked about how rare it is that people are vulnerable enough to call and talk about what ails them, usually resorting to something far less attractive and far more damaging.

At the end of our conversation she thanked me for calling and told me I was a great writer. She reminded me that God used TWELVE disciples and a messiah to deliver one message. I and she are just two of the voices carrying the same message. The message that there is hope, that God does save and that although every voice is different, each is valuable.

“I’m never writing again!” quickly evolved into, “I think I’ll write about this!” And I’m glad I did. Today that monster didn’t win!

The Fear and Freedom of Taking the Plunge

cliff jumping

These last couple of weeks have been crazy ’round these parts.  There are a lot of changes going on in my business.  All good ones, but changes none-the-less, and change, even when it is good, can be scary.

On Sunday I went to Tonkawa Falls with a group of friends. We were quite the crew. My husband, my AA sponsor, one of my employees and a girl who I’ve been helping while she’s transitioning out of the strip clubs into a healthier lifestyle. All very different.  All very much alike.

At one point, all of us ladies made the climb to the top of the falls to check things out. We had noticed a group of boys sliding down the waterfall, then climbing back up and we needed to investigate further, so we did.  When we got up there we got the 411. If you sat in just the right spot, the current would usher you down the slippery rocks and into the icy, bubbling brew below. We all kind of laughed and talked about the dangers of it all and how, surely, we would hit our heads if we dared, so we watched, one, then two, then eventually several teenage boys tumble over, unharmed.

“Kinda looks like fun!” My employee remarked.

And it did!  After a few minutes of encouragement from the rest of us, she sat down, shivering and scared and she launched off!  feet first, screaming the whole way, into the water below, alive!  It. Was. Glorious!!!

One by one I watched my girlfriends fly that day!  After the falls, they mustered up the courage to leap from the highest peak.

It dawned on me that over the last couple of weeks I had witnessed so pretty awesome plunges.  We had a wonderful young lady staying with us through her final month of college and just the day before she walked the stage with a degree in business.  The once homeless, exotic dancer decided to finally turn in those stilettos and glitter body lotion and left today for a year-long program that helps women who have been sexually exploited. I jumped in with both feet and bought a $12,ooo juicer for my juice bar (that was scary) and my husband left his job to pursue something more fitting for him.

These actions were all different, and yet the fear and intimidation felt as we crossed the platform to that degree, got in the car to go get help, turned in that 2 week notice and entered in that credit card information, THAT was all the same. And for that we had each other.

The other similarity is the freedom we each felt as we realized that making those decisions and running full speed ahead, even though we were sweating bullets the whole way, was totally worth it.  We had done it and it was good!

Whatever cliff you are facing today or may be looking at tomorrow, because the cliffs will always rise, just know that you are not alone. Whether it is the hypothetical plunge or the 20 foot drop, be still and know.

Awkward Silence

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Silence is golden…or so they say.  It can be a coveted luxury for a new mom, the sacred place for a worshiping soul, the blank canvas for a studious learner.  It can also be death for an abused lover, pain for a suffering addict, the dark and lonely place of a mind that feels alone.

Almost 3 years ago I embarked on this sober journey…again.  I was known as a chronic relapser.  Someone who comes in and out of the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, staying sober until life looks good, then tearing the whole thing down, only to scratch and claw their way back into AA, repeating the cycle. It is embarrassingly awkward, filled with judgment of people who don’t understand and lonely because clearly, you just can’t “get it.”

I ALWAYS wanted to be sober.  I longed for it to come easy to me.  I saw people, knew people, who had come in, dragged up from the depths of hell, much like myself, and they “got it.” Whatever “it” was, they got it.  I wanted that illusive “IT!”

Lack of desire was not the issue.  If you knew me when I was using, you know that I am not even a shadow of the person I was created to be.  God made me in His image to be loving towards people who are hard to love, kind & generous, creative.  When I am using, it’s as if the candle is blown out.  I can think of nothing more than of myself, justifying my poor behavior as acceptable, greedy & dried up in a desert of shame & pity.

When I washed ashore in September of 2013, in my own version of Nineveh, Victoria, TX, I felt the call to be creative.  I come from a family that fosters creation on one side and encourages hard work on the other, with little time for creativity.  I fell somewhere in between, loving both hard work and writing.  I needed and outlet for the time because I was given the chore of sitting still, being quiet and listening to God.  Not the easiest thing for a girl like me, but I knew my will had been broken, I was going to do whatever I was told to do, so I did.

I began this blog.  You can look back over those posts and see that my journey had just begun, but there was still a powerful story of redemption beginning to surface.  I was awakening, slowly but surely.  I received a phone call on afternoon, from someone I greatly admired who told me that I should put the brakes on this writing thing, that being so “out there” with my early recovery could be detrimental to my case in point.  I heard & listened & shut it down. I also got a comment from a person from my dark past, who did not have my best interest in mind.  These two incidents drove me to this 2 year awkward silence.

Recently, listening to God and not my fear of being “found out,” I started sharing my story.  I was given the green light from my husband to be candid, open, honest…even when it is ugly, about what I went through.  You see, this story is not just mine, it is his too.  He suffered on the other side of my addiction for 2 years, mostly silent, dying in his own way.  So to get his blessing to move forward was all the push I needed.

Here I am.  Back. With an incredible story of redemption, light, love that defied all obstacles, hope.  This isn’t just my story.  It is the story of many women, who sit in silence, wishing they too had an outlet.

Stay tuned.  This is just the first of many posts.  I can’t wait to tell you of all that has happened.  A love story that only God could’ve written. A business that was built in His hands.  A family stitched together with the Almighty thread of peace.  A life you would hardly recognize as the one violently tossed from the belly of the whale.

This story is ours.  Join me. Break the silence.

Love Is Worth The Risk

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

C. L. Lewis

Last night I sat alone in my room contemplating a very risky future move that I am making. I considered all aspects and came to the conclusion that it’s risky, resource consuming and the results are inconclusive to says the least. As a matter of fact, the odds are NOT forever in my favor. If logic was at play here, I would be screwed.

Logic however, is not the deciding factor in this decision. Love is what’s on the table. My heart is what’s at risk. Money will be thrown away and my reputation, what is left of it, will be used against me. I am placing myself in a place of complete vulnerability to the circumstance.

I’ve laid bare my situation, so I’m not afraid to say that I am making a move that may seem careless and illogical. Although it is not careless, it is absolutely illogical and I am more grateful in this moment that I still have the courage to make illogical decisions.

Over the last year I have done everything I can to destroy the blessing of marriage that God has bestowed upon me. I have disassembled the very foundation on which I was given to build on. Brick by brick, layer by layer, I deconstructed every ounce of trust and demolished every crumb of emotion. I reduced my marriage to little more than an obligatory phone call each night, probably more out of pity than much else.

There is more blame and shame to be passed around than what I have time or permission to share, but the fact of the matter is this; I only live out my part of this marriage and I can only own what I have done. I only have time, energy and resources to clean up my mess and I intend on trying to do so.

The relationships that are the most important to me in this life are the ones that I damaged the most. I turned my back on God and quit believing that He could rescue me if I would just let Him. I lied, cheated and stole from my husband and son. My mother and father spent countless nights wondering if I was even alive, not to mention the deciet and neglect. My friends were exposed to my disease and trusted leaders were pushed to the side. I did what I could to harm myself and in the crossfire were these innocent bystanders. Their only crime, loving me.

I run. I am good at that. I run hard and fast and if I can hide, I will. I ran hard and fast to drugs and alcohol. I ran hard and fast to New Orleans. I ran hard and fast to Victoria and into the loving arms of my Father. He kept me here and healed my heart, but He is not done with me. My dependence on Him has increased but is not absolute. My mind focuses on Him, but not completely. I have faith, but it is not unshakeable, but He has brought me to a place of surrender, which is exactly where I belong.

I am going back to face the lions. I am going back to clean up my mess. If I told you that I didn’t have hopes for the future, I would be lieing. What I don’t have are expectations. A girl can dream, but my ambition is to clear away the wreckage of my past as unselfishly as I can pray it to be done.

I want my son to see how I feel. I want him to know that my undieing love for him in greater than any momentary fix. I want my husband to see that I am willing to look him in the eye and see the pain I have caused, feel the distance and experience the cold. I want my mother to see that she is my first choice for holidays even if I am fearful of being hurt. I want my friends to know that their unconditional love has not gone unnoticed and that I can trust the people that God has sent to guide me lovingly.

Sometime in January, when I feel completely released from my work here, I am going back to Waco.

This may seem risky. I assure you, it is. I am walking right back into the damage I have created, but how does a mess get cleaned up if you don’t go back with a broom and some gloves? God has armed me with some artillery. I trust that He is not giving me anything I can’t handle. He is good.

I know that this will not be easy. I know that there will be many tears shed. I know that I risk humiliation, hurt, heartache and discipline. I also know that the love I have been given from above and here one earth is totally worth the risk.

Lord, please guide me. Give me strength. Do not let me grow weary in good works. Show me how to love as you have loved…sacrifically.

Palms up. Minds open. Hearts receiving. Others touched! To live.

This blog is managed and written by Summer Shine aka Victory Chic. The opinions herein are endorsed solely by Summer and are not the opinion of any of the affiliates mentioned…so don’t go getting all crazy with anyone else. Don’t like what’s being said? UNSUBSCRIBE. Love ya!

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