I’ve been avoiding talking to you about this. My heart is racing and I feel full of dread. I don’t want to tell you these things. I don’t want to be so vulnerable. BUT, I know I need to. I need to tell you so that you stop thinking you’re the only one…
There is something that so many of us struggle with in recovery. It is difficult for me to talk about because it is a subject very close to my heart.
An area that I wrestled with for years. Not the kind of wrestle when you’re Sean Michaels and in the ring with Pee-wee Herman. But the kind of wrestle when you’re Chicken Little and have to take on a T-Rex. This wrestling match has brought much pain and disappointment to me over the years. It has caused me to question God’s existence and power, along with my potential and ability. I spent many days doubting that I could ever really be a good Christian. The reality of my failures made me want to give up. It made me doubt that a sober life was even attainable. It made me believe the lie : You’ll always be an addict.
This blog is for those of you who have not had a miraculous deliverance from your addiction. This blog is for those who have struggled for years in staying sober despite the deep desire to change. Some people I have encountered in recovery say that one day they decided to get help and never looked back again. Some were delivered by God in an instant. If that’s your story, then praise God and go outside to get a breath of fresh air. But for all my stubborn and struggling folk, let’s keep talking.
I’ve heard how overcoming addiction is like putting an Octopus to bed. It’s going to take more than a few tries to get those 8 legs tucked in!! Perfection in recovery is not the goal. I would even go as far to say that perfect recovery is unrealistic. A pipe dream. Perfect recovery means that one day I’m a full-blown dependent on something and the next day I wake up and choose to never be dependent again. I think we need to accept that few people can actually quit cold turkey and know that if you fail the sky will not fall. You will have some not-so-nice consequences, but for the love of Pete this thing ain’t easy. Now I’m not giving you permission to go out and use your D.O.C (Drug of choice), but I am saying; if you make a mistake, pick yourself back up and keep moving forward! It does not have to be the end.
Many would think its ludicrous what I’m saying and for a long time I agreed with them.
But then I failed.
And then I failed again
and again and again.
Chicken Little in the Ring
I gave my life to Christ at 18 years old, but from the ages of 18-21, sobriety was a endless battle. 8 months after I became a Christian, I entered a 1-year residential program called Teen Challenge. I was desperate for a new way of life and I wanted to follow God. But I struggled so hard in giving up the things of my past. I struggled with a constant pull and desire to numb myself.
In my 3rd month of Teen Challenge I walked off, got drunk, received a battery and assault charge on a paramedic and ended up in the hospital. 6am the next morning I was discharged from the hospital and realized I had made a huge mistake. I called a taxi cab back to Teen Challenge.
In my 10th Month I snuck alcohol into the center and got drunk for a few days. 1 week later snorted heroin in the bathroom. 1 week after that I went home on a pass and embarked on a 5-day drinking binge.
In my 12th month I relapsed again on cocaine and pills. My staff was sick of dealing with me at that point and felt it was best for me to move on. Could I blame them?
After I completed Teen Challenge I attended a Bible College because I felt called into the ministry. You’re probably thinking “Really, Kori? Did you even love God? Were you even a Christian….?” On the outside I was a rebellious, stubborn, and angry teenager who didn’t want to listen to anyone. But on the inside I was just a hurt young girl who used substances to numb a broken heart. People often see our actions and behavior and write us off. I am so thankful for a God who sees beyond outward appearance and looks at the heart. When others gave up on me, God saw my pain, why I did what I did, and continued to draw me to Him with loving kindness.
I was at that college for six months and really grew in my relationship with God. I loved it there, but still something was missing in my life. Something just wasn’t right. After 6 months of sobriety and ministry experience, I acted out once again. I walked off my campus, hitch-hiked into town, and re-united with a former friend of mine: Four Loco. (Four Loco, also known as “Liquid Cocaine” or “blackout in a can” was a caffeinated alcoholic drink that was banned in many places for its dangerous side effects)
After this stunt, I was encouraged to go back to Teen Challenge…Round 2.
Would my life ever really change?
Could I ever really be a Christian?
Would following God ever be possible for someone as screwed up as me?
Why does God even still want me?
These questions and fears were more real to me than the ground I stood on. Maybe those same questions are real for you today.
In my second round of Teen Challenge, I learned something that changed everything. The key to freedom. The solution that fixed me. The thing that has kept me sober for four and half years. The one thing that was missing in my life.
Stay tuned for my next blog and we will dig in to this secret…. You’re gonna want to hear this.