Tonight the bottle doesn’t win.

My first two days in rehab consisted of being strip searched, given a wrist band like in the hospital, my vitals taken four times a day, and being placed on 0ne-to-one supervision. I promise it wasn’t as bad as I just made it sound though. The staff at the Inpatient facility were all so kind and helpful. One of the first things that caught my attention was how friendly and intentional other patients were. At least twenty-five people introduced themselves to me in the first day. I could now tell you five of their names. Maybe. The point is, these broken people who have faced great tragedies and walked all different paths, opened up their arms to me.

I think that’s how Jesus was when He walked on this earth. In fact, I think that’s how He still is today. No judgment, arms open, grace filled, non-shaming love. Is it crazy that I experienced more love and acceptance in a facility filled with addicts, than I have at some churches I’ve been to?

Okay but then my days in Inpatient were up, and spaced freed up for me in the Outpatient program. It’s an intensive program, in which I attend groups for five hours every day, six days a week. In addition, I have weekly meetings with a therapist. The halfway house I’m living in attends an AA meeting together every night as well. I am living in an apartment complex with 11 other women. In my particular apartment, their are two rooms. My roommate also has red hair and our personalities are similar so I have that going for me. Thank you Jesus. Just as in Inpatient, I’m encountering people from all different walks of life. From heroine, meth, or crack addicts, to alcoholics like myself-we all struggle with a substance taking over our lives and creeping its slimy self into our minds.

So here I sit on my bed on a Saturday night, trying to fight this overbearing craving I have to walk across the street to the gas station and purchase the poison that feeds my disease. Going to rehab hasn’t meant my cravings have gone away. The very opposite, today at least. Every ounce of my body is yearning to give in, but every ounce of my spirit is shouting with authority- NO! Tonight I’m fighting depression, cravings, loneliness, and hopelessness. I came to rehab to work on more problems than just my battle with alcohol. I’m here to learn more about what makes me tick. Why oh why can I feel total loss of power at the drop of a hat? Why can’t my willpower be stronger, louder, and more fierce? I like to consider myself a fearless person, but when it comes to fighting this addiction, I feel less than weak.

A sweet soul sent me a message today that was too good not to share: “You ARE/HAVE BEEN/WILL ALWAYS BE a force to be reckoned with. That means that the Enemy is going to do anything he can to reckon with YOU because you must not be ignored. That means that the Enemy sees you just as much as our Father does. Girl. See yourself for what you are. You are beautiful, contagious, and powerful. Right now I am declaring the power of love and sovereignty over your life in the name of Jesus because he created you as a perfect woman of strength and determination. You are not weak in His name because he decorates you in those things. They are not just words spoken over your life. They are truth embedded in your spirit. You are not a quitter. Despite your past the Lord sees your future and will never see shame in you. In the name of Jesus, AMEN.” -Thanks Tay, for speaking that empowering truth into me today. Y’all, it’s Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and Him speaking through YOU guys that is keeping me going.

In one of the group sessions today I realized something about myself. I’m not whole. I always go to romantic relationships, and sometimes just friendships, to put off being whole by myself. I don’t know if I’m scared to face the reality and rawness of exactly who I am, but I need to start loving myself and valuing my life more than I have been. I think, as bold and vivacious as I come across to people, sometimes I’m trying extra hard to “shine” so that my true self isn’t revealed. I find something else to be my identity. Sometimes it was alcohol. Sometimes I would simply drink so that I could “shine.” Other times it’s through my excessive use of my planner or even the twenty coffee dates I was known for going on each week. If I learned ONE thing today, it’s that that only thing I should be identifying myself as is a chosen daughter of the King. I’m His, first and foremost, end of discussion.

Recovery sucks. I warned you from the beginning that this was going to be a sacred place of honesty and vulnerability. Tonight I’m emotional, homesick, and wishing I was back in Nashville with people I’ve come to love dearly. Since I’m here though, tonight I’m going to work on loving myself- who I am, how I am, right here. Just like Jesus loves me. Today I’m 13 days sober. Tomorrow I’ll be 14 days sober. Confidently I can say that I am exactly where God wants me to be. I’m doing the work. Next week one of my assignments is to find a sponsor in AA to help me walk through the steps.

Tonight the bottle doesn’t win, and that counts for everything.

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