Often times when we think about addicts, we have a specific image in our minds of what they look like. They have tattered clothing and their hair is a mess all over their heads. Addiction, in our minds, looks like someone not being able to focus. Or rather, too nervous to focus on anything other than their next “fix”. Addiction doesn’t look like a happily married woman who has two beautiful children. It doesn’t look like a devoted Christian who studies her Bible. Now, I’m going to tell you something and I want you to read these next words very carefully: ADDICTION COMES IN MANY DIFFERENT FORMS AND LOOKS DIFFERENT ON EVERYONE.
The lure of an addiction comes from not only the feeling it gives you, but also the idea of being able to hide it right under everyone’s nose. I struggled with alcohol a lot as a teenager and there’s a whole story tied to that. One that I’ve told several times as a testimony to other people. What people don’t fully understand is the struggle I had as an adult, as a mom. So I will tell you my story. I had come out of my alcohol obsession after my second year of college. I call it an obsession because I was so heavily interested in the different kinds of alcohol and their names. The flavors and what they could do. It was a very difficult time in my life. I was a new believer, but I didn’t believe in anything beyond who Jesus was. Not in anything he could do or would do. Or at least not inwardly. Outwardly, I had gone through all the motions of a Christian because I had been working on my performance for years and everything I thought I knew about Christianity (at that time) was based on performance.
I slowed down with drinking and even cut it out for a short time, but it wouldn’t loose its hold on me for long, not yet. I entered motherhood and it was the most wonderful time in my life. Our daughter was (is) such a blessing. Of course, I didn’t drink anything while I was pregnant even though I had moms around me that told me I could drink a small glass of wine on occasion. Even my doctor told me it was okay to ease my stress. I decided I could wait. What I noticed throughout this new phase of life is I would find any excuse to go back to alcohol. I told myself that wine would be okay because I’m a mom, who on occasion deserved her glass of wine and God would not judge me for it. After all, the bible doesn’t say we can’t have ANY alcohol, right? (Listen, I’m not here to debate beliefs of drinking amongst the Christian community. Let’s just say my husband and I have decided what we think is best for our family. You should do the same.)
I allowed myself to sink slowly into a cycle of drinking wine every night. Of course, this was after the kids went to bed. I started telling myself that I didn’t have a problem, because I just liked the way wine tasted. It has nothing to do with how it makes me feel. I needed this wine to help me focus. At least that was the lie I was telling myself. Anyone with sense knows, alcohol does not help you focus. It does the complete opposite, but this was what I began to believe. Remember what I told you earlier? Addiction comes in many forms and doesn’t look like what you think. So, as a mom of two wonderful children, a wife to a wonderful man, and devoted Christian, I was struggling to let go of this one thing. One night, I was going to the kitchen for my nightly glass of wine. I recognized I was out of wine and I couldn’t go to the store. I was starting to freak out because I couldn’t get this taste of wine I needed. I had remembered that one of my husband’s friends had left a bottle of alcohol in our freezer. Neither of us had touched it because my husband didn’t drink alcohol and I only had a glass of wine at night. Well, I was so desperate that I had taken the bottle down and chugged a few big gulps. I hadn’t even had this type of alcohol since my teenage years. I was buzzed, I was sick, and God spoke to me in that moment and said, “this has to stop.”
It was the next day that I had told my husband that I had a problem. We prayed and God did a mighty thing. I thought I would have to go to meetings, and I was prepared for that, but once I had made my decision and asked God to intervene, He immediately removed the taste from my mouth. However, temptations did come, that is a fact. It’s amazing the thoughts that went on in my head. “It’s been two months, you can have one drink.” “You are nothing like your father, you can have a glass of wine.”
Lies. All tricks from the enemy to get me to go back to alcohol. One in particular had been over played because it was the reason I started my quest with alcohol in the first place. My father drank so much, an alcoholic until the day he died. I was so obsessed with proving that I wasn’t like him. The thought was that I could drink and not get addicted like him only to find out that’s not how addiction works. I thought, like most people do, that addiction means passing out everywhere, hangovers, sickness. Not the case for me. I had so many temptations, but God was with me at every turn. The tricky thing was not moving on to something else. You think when you stop doing the thing that’s been damaging to your life, you’ve won. It’s not easy to see how you simply traded one addiction for another.
When I say it’s been a struggle, I mean it has been really hard, but I have been free from alcohol for over 3 years now. My life has been better for it. So many things have opened up for me and I can finally step into the calling God has over my life. This includes the ministry of motherhood. I want to encourage moms who may have struggled (or are struggling) with addiction with anything on any level. You can be set free and you can live the life you are destined to live. The one God planned out for you. Many times people don’t even know they are living with addictions. Mainly because of what they think it looks like. Social media has been a new one. Sugar, food, perfection, fitness…there are so many ways the enemy tries to creep in. Has it happened to you? Let me pray for you and then you take the time to see what other avenues can get you the help you need.
*You can email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
You don’t have to give any details, just that you would like prayer. Wherever you are in your journey, God is right there with you. Waiting for you to surrender and let Him do the heavy lifting.