I think I had the expectation that coming back from treatment things would be easy peasy lemon squeezy. I guess I didn’t understand that the hard work was just beginning. I didn’t realize the gravity of this war I am waging. The amount of loneliness I’ve experienced since being back in Nashville is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. The curling up in a ball on the floor sobbing- yeah that’s a real thing. I’ve reconnected with some people in Nashville, and it has been so wonderful and good for my soul. However, I think I left a part of myself in West Palm Beach. It was there that I first realized I was surrounded by a community of people who all understood exactly what I was going through. They could relate to the crazy thoughts that run through my mind, to the unexplainable and unwanted emotions, to the cravings, to the depression- all of it. Never have I been in a community of so many people who nod their head and genuinely say, “me too.” When I went to treatment, alcohol was just one topic addressed. The thing about being an alcoholic is, it’s a disease. It affects me not only physically, but also my thinking and reasoning and my emotions. That’s why it was so silly of me to believe that I was going to treatment simply to “fix my drinking problem.” Actually, I went to treatment to become the best version of myself- the healthy version.
It’s like this–my brain is wired so that when I see someone whispering, I think they are talking about me. When I hear sirens, my heart pounds and I assume they’re “coming for me.” When I feeling any ounce of loneliness, I seek to fill that with a distraction. When I have one drink, six are to follow. I cannot tolerate discomfort and if I’m not staying busy my heart grows anxious. Through my time in Florida and now my continued time doing outpatient in Nashville, I am uncovering and digging up so much junk in my life, heart, and mind, that I didn’t even know was there. Upon the first week of returning to Nashville, I attended the Outpatient program I had lined up. Immediately I sensed vibes that didn’t sit well with me. I stayed, trying to give this program the benefit of the doubt, telling myself that I was the one who just didn’t want to be in a program- but those bad vibes only grew stronger until the group dismissed for the day and I booked it out of that building. I knew I needed extra support and certainly wasn’t ready to walk away from an outpatient program, but I knew I wouldn’t be returning to this one. By the end of the day, by the grace of God, I was signed up for a new program called Foundations Nashville.
Foundations is such an appropriate name for this program because I’m truly gaining such a new and firmer foundation. I am thoroughly impressed by the structure that is provided and the quality of the therapists and services that are offered. The Lord brought me here, that’s for certain. I couldn’t possibly begin to delve into everything I’m learning, but with fresh eyes, I’m seeing the world and myself differently now. Today in outpatient we talked about self-compassion. I find it so easy to extend grace to other people, but when I mess up, I scold myself repeatedly– “no one else would have messed that up,” and “you are ridiculous and never get anything right. you should just give up.” I am so unkind to myself- so learning to make a conscious effort to show myself love and support is strange.
Once the morning sessions end and the therapists wish us well for the day, that’s when the loneliness, the fear, the stress–all of that sets it. One of the biggest sources of fear right now is due to my finances. Having been out of work for two months now, I’m living off of my tax return. With the stack of bills piling up and the amount of times I’m filling up my gas tank each week, my anxiety is at an all time high. It’s weird, I’ve always been able to land jobs so easily- but after three weeks of interviews, my hands are still empty. I’m learning to pray through this and trust that He will provide. And He does–I know that. I’ve just never truly had to depend on Him as much as I am now. The Lord is doing a beautiful work in me- teaching me that no friendship, no amount of money, no job, and no man, is going to fill the void in my life except for Him, and Him alone. I seem to go to everything except the source of life. And I hate that; however, I’m thankful that Jesus communicates with me in an extremely unique way. As a writer, I record my prayers. I’ll write down a prayer, and then as if I’m not even holding the pen…it writes. The Lord responds directly to me. I have written dialog of conversations with the Lord. This is one of our more recent talks–
“Daddy, I need motivation, I need connection.”
“You feel this way now so you can learn that I am truly enough.”
“But how long will I feel this way?”
“For however long you resist going in to the deep end with me.”
“I feel so uncomfortable and alone and I hate this feeling!!”
“I’ve been alone. I know you hate it.”
“Then why the heck are you letting me walk through this?? Why won’t you fill me and just bring friends into my life?”
“I can’t fill you if you are avoiding me-and as much as I want you to have those friendships, right now all I want is you to focus on us. Until you learn to be satisfied with me, you will use everything in your life as a distraction or an attempt to fill the void.”
“I don’t get the peace I want when I am with you. I don’t feel the way I want to.”
“You’ve allowed the world to tell you how you should feel. You are numb and blind to true peace and true identity in me.”
The Lord is sweet in how straight forward He is with me. His response shook me. It’s true. Even since being back, I’ve let my search for a job take the place of the Lord. I’ve gained some sort of satisfaction in applying for jobs-so much so that I’ve become nearly addicted. Every moment of the day I’m submitting online applications, checking to see if a site as new postings, etc. I think since the Lord knows how much my heart truly desires Him, He is allowing me to walk through hardship which will lead to dependance on Him. Praying Job 1:21–“Naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” So whatever enters or leaves my life during this time of recovery, I’m trusting that the Lord is fully aware, and His plans are bigger than my thoughts and opinions. Even if that means a lack of community and no income. Even as I write this though, I am filled with so much love and gratitude to the Lord. He provides me with grace, protection, and victory each day.
One thing that has been on my heart lately is this: Me announcing to the world that I am an alcoholic/love addict didn’t suddenly make my problem worse. By me taking this step of acknowledgment- recovery began. By me uprooting my life and moving to Florida
for six weeks, I tearfully said goodbye to so many people. But I did it so I could be better. I did it to be healthy. I did it, so that all of my existing friendships would benefit- so that I could be a better friend, a better family member, and the best version of me possible. All my junk is exposed and I’m in a lot of broken pieces right now, but I’m learning how to put them together differently this time. I’m learning what it looks like to look in the mirror and truly believe that I am worthy of respect, and that I am enough. Recovery is a life long journey and a *daily* battle. But with each day, I’m getting healthier, I’m learning more, and I’m growing into the woman the Lord created me to be. Satan hates this. I know He does because the spiritual warfare i’m experiencing is aggressive–but Satan wouldn’t be fighting so hard if he didn’t believe that with Jesus on my side, I’m a force to be reckoned with.