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Let me just preface this by saying I don’t have the answers. I don’t even pretend to know all the questions!
Please don’t take this column as advice, or preaching, or anything other than my musings on my own life experience. I share it in hopes that if you see one thing that speaks to you, or one heart is touched by something I’ve learned, I am blessed.
I’m a huge believer in therapy. Counseling. The shrink.
I’ve gone off and on for years, but because I seemed totally bent on repeating the same patterns of behavior over and over, never really made much progress.
I have been completely sober for nearly three years. I realize some may not have known I ever had a problem with alcohol, or perhaps thought it halted in my youth. It didn’t. I carried it on into adulthood.
Isn’t it odd how we can convince ourselves that something so horribly damaging can actually help? I think somewhere in my jumbled-up mind, the numbing effect on certain hurts and wounds was preferable to actually facing them.
Suffice to say, it was not. Now with nearly three years sobriety under my belt, I am finally starting to see things with more clarity. Yes, I recently went through a broken engagement. It was sad, and I grieved the loss, but everywhere I looked were reminders “not to give up,” so I persevered. I kept praying. I kept going to therapy. I felt the prayers and blessings coming from others.
And I started taking a good, hard look at the patterns of behavior in my life, without the haze of the booze. By the grace of God, with the help of my awesome therapist, I can finally report that I’m starting to make better choices.
I’m learning that it’s not selfish to say “no” to something that hurts or wounds you. That “giving” is different from “self-sacrifice.” That it’s not my job to protect the feelings of the rest of the world at the expense of my own feelings.
For the first time, possibly in my life, I have peace in my heart, the true joy of Christ. Though things aren’t perfect in my life, I finally have a sense that it’s okay — God is in control, and He is in my corner.
I’m reading book after book suggested by my therapist, and learning from each one. I am following his instructions. Each little triumph I experience over the bondage of my approval addiction helps me be stronger.
And the stronger I become emotionally and spiritually, the closer I am to breaking free of the damaging cycle of behavior. I want to achieve that not just for myself, but to model it for my children. I truly wish better for them in this life than to follow some of my examples.
As I write this, I read an excerpt from Charles R. Swindoll’s Wisdom in the Way. “Wisdom says, do all you can within your strength, then trust Him to do what you cannot do.”
While I’m not a person who normally hears music in my head, lately I’ve had random, obscure songs pop in there from nowhere. The most recent harks back to a Christian vocalist who visited First Baptist Church back in the 70s. (I kid you not.) My dad purchased at least two of his albums after his church concert, and played them (loudly) in the house with alarming frequency.
The words to one song are this: “Something beautiful, something good. All my confusion, He understood. All I had to offer him, was brokenness and strife — but He made something beautiful of my life.”
Deanna Brown is a Daily Sun staff writer and editor of Explore magazine. Her column appears on Sundays. She may be reached by email at email@example.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org