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Old 10-26-2016, 02:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Ashburn, VA
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My Story--Gilmer--Redemption


I was always curious about the seamier side of life--but I was too much of a nerd in high school to get very far with my investigation. It wasn't till my first weekend in college that I got high for the first time.

I took to it like a fish to water. One night I was sitting stoned all alone in the middle of the living room of my dorm and I was astonished at the great depth of the thoughts I was thinking--groundbreaking thoughts that could affect the evolution of mankind!

I hurried to my room to write them down, but I had some trouble moving the pen--plus, I couldn't quite remember exactly what they were. The next morning I had about ten markings on the paper. I guess they were supposed to be words, but you know they were complete gibberish!

Being a shy need at heart, I found pot to be an instant icebreaker--and that turned out to be a very bad thing. I got involved in a lot of situations that were devastating emotionally and physically.

I thought I was the most enlightened girl out there--it bewildered me that others did not respect me. I had given away my value, everything that made me unique, to
pot.

When I was young, I enjoyed getting drunk to an extent--but not that much. As a girl, I saw alcohol as nothing but a ticket to long bathroom lines at parties, so I had little use for it. I got my kicks elsewhere.

By the time I was 21 I had been kicked around so much that I practically crawled to Jesus and begged him to rescue me!

He did. He is loving and gentle and forgiving, and he washed me white as snow, just as he promised he would.

But being washed clean and fashioned like Christ is a two-part process. The first part happens when you recognize him for the first time; but the second part is gradual and takes for the rest of your life. I believe that none of us will be perfected until we are with him in heaven.

I have certainly not been perfect.

I gave up partying as soon as I got born again, because I could see how bad it was for me. Eventually I got married and had five kids. But just because I had been forgiven my sins did not mean I stopped making immature choices: I quickly learned to substitute one form of self-indulgence for another.

Things were rocky in my marriage. I was not the most natural homemaker and suburbanite; but neither was I competent as a career woman who brought in actual money.

Both my husband and I felt trapped and bitter. I felt massively sorry for myself, and never missed an opportunity to
portray myself as a poor, defenseless victim.

I pined and whined for nearly twenty years. Then I had a nervous breakdown and they discovered I was actually bipolar. I got medicated. It helped. Things slowly got better.

But it is a humbling thing to realize that your entire view of reality is completely distorted; in a couple of cases, rock-solid perceptions I'd built my whole life around were false. I had thought way too highly of myself (delusions of grandeur are a hallmark of bipolarity). What's worse is that I had been making a gigantic fool of myself in public!

So I withdrew from society completely. I hung around the house all day and began drinking in earnest when I was around 40.

Up to that point my husband had had "church avoidance syndrome" because I was so insufferable, thinking myself to be spiritually superior to him and the kids. But in 2001 he decided to start attending a local church on his own. The pastor helped us to see that we both were, in fact, spiritually clueless and we both had to do a lot of shaping up and LISTENING.

Things started to improve--but I wasn't responding well. It actually irritated me that my husband was treating me better because I no longer had justification to complain and paint myself as a victim!

I had gotten into a deep rut of utter selfishness.

So I drank more.

I had it down to a science: I got my kids off to school in the mornings, then counted the minutes till the old man left for work--then out came the booze. I'd drink till I was drunk, then fall asleep--then wake up magically at 3 pm when it was time for everybody to start coming home.

I thought I was pretty smooth, but my husband kept catching me and objecting.

I must say that no matter how selfish I was or how corrupt my motivations were, deep down I really did love the Lord and want to live my life to please him. Though I have revealed my rotten parts here, I never did lose my desire to serve him. Many times my shame was for his sake, for the fact that I, as a Christian, had brought disgrace upon his name.

I was well aware that the Bible says that older women are not to be addicted to much wine. So I confessed my drinking problem to the ladies in my church community group. They all agreed to pray. One of my closer friends suggested I give it up altogether.

Oh, no, I thought. No need for that! I thought of famous Christians who had been drinkers. I patted myself on the back with the wedding at Cana!

So again and again I tried to moderate--but always within weeks or months I'd be back to full-blown drinking.

My husband became disgusted. I got so that I refused to do anything during the day because it would cut in on my precious drinking time!

I was convicted that for me drinking was sin. So, knowing that my friend was right and I really did need to give it up altogether, I prayed for the will to do so. I could see it was destroying me.

I googled sobriety, found SR, and joined in December, 2012.

There is a great difference, though, between quitting because you know something's bad for you and quitting because you know that there's something better for you.

In January, 2013 I asked the Lord in all sincerity, "I can stop drinking here and there, but how do I quit?"

He quickly directed me to 2 Timothy 2:20-21--

"Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anybody cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work."

Suddenly more than anything I wanted to be useful again for the Master's work--cleansed and made holy.

I had been so down for so long, feeling like a total waste of skin--I wanted to give again, to be of service instead of a continual drain.

That was the motivation I needed to make the break from self-medicating--and self-indulgence--once and for all.

I had a brief slip with wine that May, and an even briefer one with ale that November--but since November 16, 2003 I've been completely sober and very content in my sobriety.
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