I am grateful to God for giving me an amazing desire to share my vulnerable heart with anybody who will listen. I share my struggles as well as victories. God has performed miracles in my life and what good is it if I don’t share what He’s done for me with the world? This has given my life much meaning and I do it with the hope that people who are struggling will be encouraged to perhaps either turn to Jesus for the first time, or renew their faith in Him.
I am focusing on recovery today. I pray that anybody who is hurting, lonely, depressed, broken, or whatever your struggle may be, will consider beginning a recovery program. I pray this post will inspire you to take that courageous step sooner than later. There are different recovery programs out there, but the only one I am going to share about is Celebrate Recovery because that is where I go. It’s all I know. First and foremost, it is Christ-centered which is extremely important to me, but you don’t need to be a Christian to attend. Everybody is welcome. Second, recovery is for anybody who is struggling with “hurts, hang-ups, and habits” (as CR states it). I love the fact that it’s not just for alcohol or drug addiction like many people incorrectly assume. I happened to be one of “those people” before I gave it a chance and found out more about it.
Not many of my earlier posts on A Reason to Live have been about the progress of my recovery journey at CR. It’s not because I don’t want anybody to know about my progress or know that I’m even in recovery to begin with. If you know me at all, you know my life has been an open book for quite a while now. Being this vulnerable and transparent was SO not part of my plan at all. No way would I have chosen that for myself. I believe some people who know me think I’m crazy to share such personal things about my life. I mean, you gotta be crazy to share very personal things for all to see on the internet, right? Well, you can call me crazy, but I like to call myself an obedient servant of the Lord. He’s creating an incredible testimony through my life and I’ll do anything to share it for Him. Somehow A Reason To Live has reached 37 countries including the USA. I’m not a typical blogger. I only write when the Lord puts something on my heart to share. I am amazed that this blog gets hits almost every day even though I’m averaging maybe one post a month lately. That’s a God thing for sure.
Anyway, the reason why I haven’t written much about my recovery is because it has been quite intense for me. My progress is where much of my focus has been, so writing gets put on the back burner. I am glad that I am finally able to share how I’m doing. I have no reason to hold anything back so I will share that this recovery journey at CR has been THE most difficult, and many times, THE most painful process that I have ever been through in my entire life. EVER. I don’t mean to sound like I’m trying to discourage anybody from doing recovery, I just have to be honest with how mine has been going. You must also know that it has been more than worth it because I am learning life-saving lessons. Even though I have suffered much growing pain, this recovery journey is turning out to be the biggest blessing of my life. I do not regret one moment of it. I do not regret one tear. I am receiving healing for past hurts that I could have sworn I was over and were forgotten. It turns out that they were only forgotten. They had been buried very deeply into my soul. I think that’s an extremely dangerous place to be for someone like me who used to be a severely depressed alcoholic in isolation.
I will never forget that first night as I drove into the church parking lot to check out CR. I did not want to get out of the car! A dear friend from afar contacted me that night and gave me the encouragement I needed to just do it, so I did. I was warmly greeted by strangers and that helped a lot. But when I first walked into that CR meeting, I truly did not feel that I belonged there. After all, I had already been sober for a little over two years. God gave me that miracle sobriety so why did I need a recovery program?? I kept asking God, why are You sending me here? Weeks later, I would get my answer, but initially I remember feeling so out of place. I had no idea what CR was about prior to that first night. I thought it was strictly for alcoholics and drug addicts and I only thought that because that’s what I had understood from someone else who was misinformed at the time. I learned quickly that CR is so much more. It truly is for everybody.
It took about eight consecutive weeks of showing up for me to start to feel that just maybe I really did belong there. I kept hearing the seasoned people say “keep coming back” and I honestly did NOT want to keep coming back. But I did, and I am so glad I did. I was encouraged to join their Step Study which is known as the Christ-centered 12 steps. It was something else that I really didn’t want to do, but I felt the Lord leading me to do it, so I signed up. This part of the program has been the toughest part of the journey for me. I cry a lot. But I am amazed at the healing that is taking place in my heart. This program is transforming my life all over again. I have put my whole heart into this and it is taking me to a whole new level on this faith walk with Christ. I am a leader in the making now. The Lord has shown me that my future includes being a CR leader. It’s been God’s plan for my life all along and I’ve just discovered it this year. How blessed am I to have found my divine purpose in this life.
I feel I’m supposed to share these important events in my life. Not because it has anything to do with me or what I’ve done, but because it’s all about God and the great things HE has done. And I just hope and pray that it will be encouraging for others because it shows that God will do great things, beyond any imagination, in the life that seeks Him with their whole heart and makes His will their priority.
God gave me my miracle of sobriety in early 2010. It came from a rock bottom call out to Him in a hospital room. I wasn’t even sure He was real, but I fully surrendered all of me to Him for the first time and He answered my prayer and I have never touched another drink. He delivered me from the depression. HE IS REAL.
If that wasn’t amazing enough, I was asked to share God’s miracle during a televised church service that was recorded on October 2, 2011, and aired weeks later reaching many people nationwide and internationally. That was a miracle in itself because I’m just me. I never could have imagined that a seven minute interview would be so powerful. But that’s how God works. I agreed to do it because I wanted people to find hope in Jesus and turn to Him for help. I didn’t think about those who knew me and that they would be finding out for the first time through an interview that I had lived decades with depression and a drinking problem. At least I tried not to. I was a bit nervous about speaking in church and knowing it would be recorded, but my pastor prayed over me prior to the service and I was comfortable enough to get through it with her. It was a wonderful experience and my life hasn’t been the same since.
I remember that one of the questions my pastor had asked was if I had done a 12 step program and of course the answer had been “No”. How incredible is it that one year later, in October 2012, I would start attending Celebrate Recovery not really understanding why I was there?! I never could have imagined that I would be starting the 12 step program just two months after that.
You see, in my case, God didn’t send me to CR to get sober. He had already taken care of that. God sent me there to receive proper healing so I could have a better chance at staying sober. He sent me there to use my life and testimony to encourage and walk with others in their recovery. He sent me there to get leadership training so I can one day bring this wonderful and needed ministry to my own church home. He sent me there to give me purpose–to have a meaningful life. He sent me there so I could bring Him glory. What an honor. What a gift of life. And to think I almost ended it a while back. I am so in awe and grateful for what He’s doing.
People need to know that this is not just about putting an end to our destructive patterns or addictions. We must get behind the issues that caused us to be destructive in the first place. I had no idea I was still carrying around deeply rooted pain until I participated in the step study. I do shed a lot of tears, but it’s true that there is healing in tears. I am learning to let go of hurts and the shameful things I’ve done in the past. It’s not easy, but the Lord is definitely healing me through this wonderful ministry. I am so grateful for the friends He has placed in my life. I need my friends. I can’t do this alone, none of us can. It is scary for me to think how easy it is for people to relapse. It doesn’t matter how long a person has been in recovery. Everyone is capable of relapsing if they stray away from God thinking they can do it on their own. I know that I am absolutely powerless without God being in charge of my life. And I need godly friends to hold me accountable. I have recovery friends and other ministry friends who do this for me and they pray for me and I am beyond grateful for every single one of them.
I pray this post will encourage someone to take a step of faith and allow the Lord to help them. And if anyone is in need of recovery for any kind of hurt or struggle, I pray you will give Celebrate Recovery a try for a while and see what God does. Even if you don’t believe in Him, He believes in you. I believe in time, you will know He is real and your life will never be the same. God is still in the business of doing miracles. My life is proof of that.
In just over five months, I am celebrating my fourth year of sobriety. Wow. What an incredible ongoing miracle that I get to keep telling the world about!
To God be the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.