“Are you sure you really want to post that? I mean, people are going to think you really have a problem.”
I laughed at how ridiculous that question from my husband was. I had just shared on social media how I was celebrating one year of choosing to not drink alcohol. He was worried people would think I was an alcoholic. Those that know me well know that I’m an open book, and I have no problem being real and authentic. Except when it came to the amount of alcohol I had been consuming. That I had kept hidden for years, even from my family.
It all started with having a glass of wine with a friend on what we deemed “Mommy nights.” It was our time to unwind and relax. That soon turned into sharing the whole bottle of wine, and soon after that, we each needed our own bottle. It didn’t stop there for me. I soon couldn’t get through a day without knowing I had wine waiting for me that evening. Putting the girls to bed couldn’t come soon enough.
Not wanting to be a bad example to my girls, I wouldn’t drink in front of them. But soon I started rationalizing in my head that they were too young to really know what I was doing, so I started having my wine at dinner time. AND more after they went to bed. Then I worried they would all think I had a problem, so I moved to putting vodka in my water bottle so no one would know.
For years I had an inner battle going on inside of me, knowing what I was doing was hurting all of us, yet not knowing how to stop what I was doing. There was always a persistent small voice in the back of my head telling me there was more to life than this.
I started seeking people out on social media that shared publicly about their journey with alcohol and began following their journeys. A part of me wanted to be where they were, sober, and not locked in this trap of needing alcohol to get through the day. But the other part of me wasn’t ready to do the hard work of giving it up.
One day, someone shared a book they were reading called The Naked Mind: Control Alcohol by Annie Grace. In her book, she points out the sobering statistics of how children who have watched their parents cope with life with alcohol turn around and abuse alcohol themselves.
It was that sentence in that book that made me stop cold. I hadn’t realized that over the years, I had gone from enjoying a glass of wine to using it to cope with my life. During my years of drinking, I learned that I could hide behind alcohol. It became my tool of avoidance. Instead of having a hard conversation with my husband, I would have a drink. Instead of handling a hard situation with my girls, I would have a drink. Instead of dealing with my own junk, I would have yet another drink. All of our relationships suffered. I hated myself for it.
January 13th, 2020, after reading that statistic, was my first day of choosing to learn how to cope in other ways, and choosing not to use alcohol. I’m now a year and a half into being sober.
A lot of times when I share my story, people are so surprised by my struggles because I grew up in a Christian home. We never had alcohol in our home growing up and as a teenager and college student, I never did the party scene. From the outside looking in on my life for the last two decades, people would see me in a good marriage to my high school sweetheart, raising beautiful daughters, serving God faithfully at church.
What no one saw was the inner turmoil I battled every day. I knew what I was doing was wrong, yet succumbed to it daily. I would cry out to God to take this from me, and then be angry at Him and myself when I would fail. But God was patiently, quietly staking claim to my heart. I heard Him. I felt Him. I submitted to Him in all other areas of my life. It was just this one thing that had a firm hold on me. I wholeheartedly believe Satan uses any means necessary to keep us pulled away from God. Satan saw an area of weakness for me and went after it.
For me it was alcohol. What is it for you? Food? Drugs? Pornography? Social media? Your career? Love of money? Lack of boundaries? What is the one area in your life that you just won’t allow God to speak into?
After doing intense self-work, a lot of prayer, and listening to what my Father truly had to say, I was finally able to recognize that my addiction to alcohol stemmed from my not knowing my self-worth and lack of vision for my life. I was self-sabotaging the good things He had placed in my life. I was hurting others because I was hurting. Hurt people hurt people. It’s a vicious cycle.
The good news is that vicious cycles can be broken. Generational curses can be broken. It takes one person, making one decision, to break it.
Here are some truth’s that I have learned along the way, that I intentionally remind myself of daily to break the vicious cycle:
- God sees us in our new creation and we can learn to see ourselves the way He sees us.
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
When we accept Christ as our Savior, He makes all things new in us. We can let go of the past, let go of the things that bind us. He sees us as the person He designed us to be, with potential and abundant giftings. To break the ties that bind us, we have to learn to see ourselves the way He does.
- I am who He says I am.
Romans 8:16-17 says “For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ, we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we share His glory, we must also share His suffering.”
Genesis 1:27 says “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”
In Psalms 129:14, David praises God by saying this, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
2 Corinthians 6:16 reminds us that we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
We are heirs to the Lord Most High, His children. We are made in His image, fearfully and wonderfully made. Our bodies are the dwelling place of the Living God.
When we start realizing who we really are in Christ, Satan trembles at what we’re capable of. Learning to see yourself the way God sees you builds the Kingdom of Christ and destroys Satan’s lies. I’ve seen that happen first-hand in my life, from the redemption and restoration that has taken place in my mind, my marriage, and my family.
Breaking the cycle, or generational curses, takes action. It’s usually a decision to step away from the tie that binds you. While resting in the above truths, here are some action steps that helped me recognize the low self-worth and lack of vision that kept me turning to alcohol:
- Write out a list of your successes.
I know. Weird, right? And challenging. We are so programmed to constantly point out our own flaws, dwell on the negative and criticize ourselves that we can’t even begin to see any successes we’ve ever had.
When my life coach challenged me to list all my successes, she actually had to help me get started because I was so far gone in the judgment of myself. If you find it challenging, ask some friends and family members to help you. Keep the list going, and refer back to it frequently when you’re struggling to realize how amazing God made you.
When we’re in a place of judgment or criticism, whether it’s of ourselves or others, we are in a place of non-growth. This is the place where most people stay stuck in their lives.
I feel so incredibly blessed and thankful to Jesus that I have now added to my success list that I walked away from alcohol.
- Start each day with gratitude.
Every day, write out at least 3 things you are grateful for. No matter how big or small, write them down. This helps change your mindset to focus daily on how God is blessing you, versus staying stuck in the negative mindset and addictive behaviors.
You will be amazed at how your eyes will be opened to how beautiful life can be.
I missed a lot during my years of drinking. But instead of choosing to feel guilty about that (and that is definitely a choice), I choose to celebrate the fact that my girls get to witness me walk away from something that I loved, but wasn’t serving our lives well. They get to see me rise up out of the ashes, learn new things, and STRIVE for more.
They get to see me allow Christ to break the chains that held me captive for so long. They get to see Christ do a good work in me. They are first-hand witnesses to Him using my brokenness to bring Him glory. And THAT heals my heart a little more each day.