I’m an addict.

For many of you, this click just got so interesting. You’ve known me a while. You’re racking your brain over our relationship and trying to pin point it.

What is it? Is it pills? Alcohol? Sex?

So here’s His story.(sorry. insert rolling eyes emoji here)

I’ve used for a good portion of my life. I started extremely young actually. I remember the rush I used to get on the first hit. The satisfaction. I also remember the low after. The annoyance, the frustration and the desperation. And when I could, I’d seize the opportunity to feel that rush again. The pain in between was too much.

The years went by. It affected everything I did. I wouldn’t finish school work in high school. I lost a lot of good friends. I had to win everyones approval and lose it all at the same time. Whenever things didn’t go my way I’d get angry, spiral out of control, get frustrated and act out.

By my Junior year in high school I lost all hopes of getting that high when my parents told me we were moving away for my senior year. My brain flat lined. And then exploded. I did whatever I wanted, whenever. I did everything I could think of and more, and nothing filled the void of what I’d lost from the years on consistently getting exactly what I wanted.

So I used more. I went so far to get that high I ran away. I lived in my car. I got sent to psych ward. I almost went to jail. My parents had to send me away to keep me safe from myself.

That’s where I met Jesus. That’s where I met my husband. But that’s not where my addiction stopped.

I thought I made Jesus the Lord of my life. But I really just added him in. I saw the worth, but I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t time.

I found out I could in fact get pregnant. I pushed up our wedding to look right, physically and spiritually. And every attempt I made at correcting that picture failed, went crooked, or didn’t fit the way I needed. I sunk even deeper into my addiction.

The high wasn’t the same as the years went on, but I still tried to get there. I tried to fix my husband. I tried to fix my kids. I tried to fix my image. I tried to make more money. Have the right car.

When that didn’t work I tried finding it everywhere else. In some one else. In my husband. In my kids. In my life. My life was already falling apart but I was in denial, like most addicts are.

I realized I went too far. I tried to give it up again. I stayed home. I went to school. To learn about people. Give back. I got burned out.

I served in the church. A lot. I served with my husband. I served with my kids. Everything finally seemed perfect. I finally got it. It was a false high.

It fell apart. Churches. Marriages. Lives. People died. Pain hurt worse. Finances ran dry. Struggles got real. Kids were kids. We didn’t get a house. A 401K. A break. A baby. A life.

I couldn’t get high anymore.

I got angry. I got hurt. I need to get out God. I can’t run this anymore God. Look at what this is God. Why did you let this happen God? I needed a fix, but I didn’t want it. I wanted it fixed, but not by me. I wanted it whole, but not by my creation.

Broken.

Months of brokenness. It’s like having a baby. The contractions come, and the slow, and you breathe and rest before the next one comes. And if you just let go and work with it, the baby can come. There’s new life there. In the brokenness? Yes. There.

I’m a recovering addict.

My drug of choice was control.

And I don’t want it anymore.

I missed my life. I missed my kids growing up. I missed opportunities. I missed love. I missed so much. I missed my present looking back at my past to try to get control again.

I think about having control again every. single. day.

But then I remember the losses that I built with my own two hands over all the years I used. The control is still there, but I choose to use it as a memorial of my past life. Where grace can now thrive, and my future is bright because of Jesus grace on me all these years long.

And I look to the cross, I put on my armor with my kids, and battle on.

 

I’ve lost my mind.

 

“The only person that can change your life on a moment by moment basis is you. The battles already been won and you choose life or death. It’s all in the choice.”

This was the never ending phrase I heard endlessly for 9 months of my 17th year. I’ve done a lot of reflecting on those days. I even whipped out the Bible I got from that school and out fell a picture of mom and dad to which my kids said “wow dad had black hair? And mom. What is going ON with your hair?”

Yeah…good times.

All those annoying choice talks back in ALA a decade ago are coming full term. You can try to live it and fake it out, but the truth of the mess we saddle up with comes out. There was plenty I faked and feared for many years after probably some of the best days of my life. Arrogance is a deceptive thing.

Perhaps it’s too early, but I’m a huge believer in sharing stories. Stories have saved me, so I, in turn like to share mine because someone else might need to hear them too.

The last few months have been the hardest of my life. I thought starting a new school my senior year of high school and going crazy, almost going to juvi, and getting sent away to a program was the hardest. This definitely topped it. I won’t go into details. That’s not the point of this story. But 9 years of marriage and two kids later, there’s quite a different picture. In walks God.

I went into this season thinking one thing and it turned into quite another, just confirming further my addiction to being in control and thinking I’m God. (I never thought I WAS God per say, but looking back there were plenty of times I said it in action. There’s no point in telling a story if you’re not going to be honest.)

It started with a very large leap of faith, and shortly after my fear of losing control kicked in. Shortly after that I realized I was still acting in fear and me and the mirror had a very hard interaction.

There comes a time where you realize you just don’t want to let your thoughts and negative habits dictate who you are and how your life is going to be. It’s amazing what happens when it LOOKS like crap, and it FEELS like ending and you remember… That’s right NOW but I CHOOSE life. I CHOOSE praise. I choose I STAY. I choose to feel BROKEN for more than an hour to let healing begin. Go through the grief. (You can put your armor on and still cry.)But know your end choice and goal must remain the same… So your choices will either keep you on track or drive you quickly and quietly where you don’t want to be.

Choose to feel awkward and painful and break some destructive habits that are really just not doing anything in life. Because when it comes down to it–I am the only one allowing it. I am the only one adding fuel to the fire if I choose to live in those habits and let them control me.  
For years I thought “if only God would change him. If only God would give us better opportunities and an easier life and the kids had come later and blah. Blah. Blah.” 
Oh hunny. I just want to go back in time, wrap you up in a blanket give you some tea and slap you.

You’d lost the vision, the end life long goal. And it robbed you. Robbed you blind. Stole and destroyed plenty.
All that came to ruins. 

In thought, it didn’t seem destructive at the time. But the years added that debt total. Little compromises. Little oversights. But a lot of little grains of sand can be refined into a sheet of glass. And I realized after the glass house of lies I believed was built and standing in all of its hideousness and horror, no one was there to be deceived–no one but myself. Because it came down to me. That’s the only one I could see in that reflection. I’m where that glass house started. It’s time for it to come down.
There’s a reason Jesus death on the cross was meant to be so personal. He can only save you. Only you can make that choice. And you? You can’t save someone. But you can love them.
So where do you start? Repentence is a complicated word but a beautiful process. God got me to a point where I was willing to accept his debt forgiveness and begin demolishing that glass house with His help.

Every day I wake up and put my armor on with my kids. And every day where that glass house stood is nothing but empty land for His purposes. But it really isn’t empty because now there’s room for faith, hope, love, redemption, and restoration. That leaves plenty of room for grace in today. And plenty of room for hope for tomorrow.