Suffering

From Alcohol and Drugs to Jesus

At the age of 26 I became independent for the first time. That is when I started to abuse alcohol and drugs. Then in July my mother passed away. This was devastating for me and I was unable to cope with her death. I started go to the bars and hanging around with the wrong crowd. I did everything I could to make these people like me in order to try and fill the void that I was feeling. I even gave them money and so that they could use it to support there addiction while I was still supporting my own addiction. I let them use me so they would be my friends.

During these times I was drinking constantly and doing drugs which made me extremely suicidal. I started getting in trouble with the law because of the alcohol and drugs. I was also in and out of the hospital because I was drunk all the time and suicidal. There where many times I woke up and don't know how I got to where I was. In 1989 I started going in and out of the alcoholics anonymous program. Over time I tried many different recovery homes, but I always left the program. I was never ready to give up my addiction so none of these programs worked for me.

Living a Double Standard

My feelings of guilt and shame towards a same-sex attraction began at an early age. I experienced frequent sexual abuse from an older male friend during most of my teen years, and hustling for money soon followed.

Years later, I was baptized in a Mennonite Brethren church as a public declaration that I would follow Christ. My secret desire was that maybe now my attraction and sexual fantasies towards men would disappear. They didn't, and the fantasies soon turned into years of acting out behaviours.

I attended several MB churches in different provinces over the years, all the while living a double standard. I became addicted to cruising public places that were well-known to the gay community as places where homosexuals could meet for anonymous sex – a behaviour very typical of this community. Frequenting gay bars was a given.

Life in the gay community has been tumultuous and everything but a happy time. I would be in the arms of a lover on Saturday night and then actively participate in a worship service on Sunday morning. My life was such a lie – a secret I was able to maintain for many years.

I Died, Stayed Dead in Many Ways Until CIR

My recovery birthday is the day I registered at CIR. It was shortly after I joined. I chose it because I began to seriously take on my recovery as a whole: Alcohol, Codependency, Sex/love addiction, Bulimia (teens-20's), then became Compulsive overeater, Workaholic, PTSD from Childhood rape/molestation.....abuses/ bullying of every variety including self-inflicted. I experienced a date rape with an abortion in 1994 (I died / stayed dead in many ways until CIR). All are interconnected.

I have since found a measure of serenity, of freedom from sin (or enslavement to righteousness) !!!! Romans 6:15-17), healing in the areas my mental illness/health problems & I have found the blessing of relationship/fellowship.

Remaining Happy in the Face of Adversity

Relationships are built on the quality of our conceitedness to God.

People can be so quick to judge. I sometimes am guilty of this. It is an issue that I struggle with. Maybe it is because I so badly need to affirm my fragile righteousness, I don't know. What I do know is that Jesus wasn't like that and I need to acquire this knowledge quickly.

Jesus is always gentle with anyone who seeks His help. That person might not receive the help neatly wrapped in a predictable way; that is in a way they perceive.

The Value of Trials

REJOYCING
There are those who would consider that going through the recovery process is far from joyful. For most of us there is a great deal of pain along the recovery path.

    James 1:2-4 (Amplified)
    Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations;
    Knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience.
    And let patience have its' perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing.

Listening in the Quiet (Pain, Loss & Suffering)

The historical account of Job is one of pain, loss, suffering, and God's wise control. The long and short of this book of the Bible is this: Job was a stand-up guy. He was faithful to God. He had a family, a farm, and a good life. One day, God and Satan were having a conversation about Job and his faithfulness to God. Satan believes he can turn Job against God and God accepts the challenge. While God is watching, Job loses everything. He loses his farm, his wife, and his sons.

Okay, let's stop there. So, God allowed Satan to test Job's faithfulness? Yes, but you see, while God allowed this, He was in complete control the entire time. God knows all things; therefore, He knew Job would remain faithful. So why would God allow Job's suffering? I don't know the answer to that for sure, but I believe there is purpose in our pain. I believe that God works all things according to His purpose and for my good.

In the end, Job remained faithful to the Lord and he was rewarded for his faithfulness. The same is true for me and for you. What does this have to do with Step Four?

While working through my searching and fearless moral inventory, I have to remain faithful to God. I know His

Easter: The Big Event, and then—what?

Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

SunriseNow what?

Remember the feeling of December 26th? The big buildup, the anticipation, and the excitement of The Big Event, and then—what?

Disappointment? Disillusionment? What do you do when the day after the big day is just like any other day?

Easter always feels like that for me. The full parking lot and the overflow crowd at church, the incredible music, a special sunrise experience, a wonderful meal.

Christos Anesti (Christ is risen!)

Alithos Anesti (He is risen indeed!)

And then suddenly it’s Monday, and the traffic’s congested and my friend’s grandpa dies and my talk for next week isn’t coming together. Nothing’s changed.

Now what?

It’s so easy to get excited by the “mountaintop experiences” that transport me to another world.

The Trigger of Grief

In the work of recovery, we address the danger of triggers. Its very word itself suggests the power to cause us harm:

"Something that precipitates a particular event or situation; To set off; initiate; To fire or explode."


On one August morning of 2003, I encounter such a trigger. The phone rang. My dad was dead.

My grief, for the next year and a half, was an alarming, unexpected reality. And each subsequent "anniversary" proves equally tricky also. Both defy what I thought I would - or should - be experiencing.

After all, coming from an abusive childhood, I didn't think the loss of this pain-inflicting parent would register as significantly as it did.

Let it All Go: Hurts, Anger, Resentment, Frustration

...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.Romans 10:9


Some days I am just tired. Some days I have a difficult time with letting go and giving my worries to God. Some days I have the full confidence I can let God be God and other days I want to wrestle control back into my grip. Do you ever feel this way?

Learning to Trust

Trusting others has been difficult for me. People have hurt me over the years and trust did not come naturally for me as a result. My husband, Patrick, never gave me a reason not to trust him, but still I questioned him in my mind. After he stopped drinking over a year ago, I wasn’t sure I could trust he would continue to abstain.

This lack of trust carried over into my relationship with Jesus. Could I trust Him? Could I take His Word for truth? Could I believe He loved me despite the past I carried with me? I worked against God’s way for so many years, how could He possibly love me?

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