I woke up this morning with 60 days of sobriety under my belt. These two months have required so much willpower, sober support, and a whole lot of Jesus. On Sunday of this last week, I had my first real exposure to alcohol since I’ve been out of treatment. I was babysitting for a family I had never met before, who were vacationing in Nashville for the weekend. The father was already extremely intoxicated when I arrived, and there was a big ol’ bottle of premium vodka sitting on the counter. The mom gave me a run down for the evening and then they were out the door. So there I was. A three year old boy playing a game on his IPAD, me, a recovering alcoholic, and that bottle of vodka. It was teasing and taunting me- trying to lure me in. I smelled it. Once. Twice. Six times. And oh-it smelled so delicious. I had a choice. The temptation was nearly overwhelming. Do you know what it feels like to crave alcohol? My heart started racing, my muscles tensed up, and my stomach was doing flip flops. I texted my friend the picture of the vodka and she immediately facetimed me. She helped me process my thoughts and take steps to not give in to the liquid that would kill me if I kept drinking. And so that Sunday night, in the face of one of my biggest enemies, I walked away victorious, and I’m able to sit here today and celebrate 60 days of choosing to take charge of my life, instead of letting the bottle do it for me.
I believe that one of the reasons I was able to be victorious in that moment was because of the sermon I had heard that morning at church. I just recently started attending a new church, and I’ve been blown away by how genuine and loving the body of Christ is there. The name of the sermon was The Patter Towards Perspective. Based out of Genesis 32, the pastor, JD, painted a clear picture of Jacob’s life. The specific passage focused on the time Jacob wrestled with an angel. It was in solitude, when Jacob chose to hang back as his family went ahead, that he had a life changing encounter with the Lord. I am guilty of becoming so busy that I forget to spend time with my Creator during the day. I wake up and go to sleep each night, asking God why He isn’t more active in my life, and He in turn poses the question, “Why aren’t you active with me?” I can’t expect God to do all the work. I need to intentionally create space for God to move. The building and construction happens when I tune out the world and turn my eyes to Jesus.
Here’s what really grabbed me though– blessings aren’t just happy go lucky moments. They are also moments when God is present in the hard and sticky moments. I used to view blessings as the good things that happened in life. New friendships? I’m so blessed! New job? Such a blessing! Extra money at the end of the month? #BLESSED. Never did I believe that miserable moments could be blessings in disguise. My faith isn’t supposed to be a light and breezy walk in the park. I have to fight to grow stronger. I have to fight through the tough times to see the blessing. Jacob didn’t stop fighting the angel that night until He received what He was fighting for. Genesis 32:26 says, “Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day breaks.’ Jacob said, ‘I won’t let you go unless you bless me.'” It was there that the Lord changed Jacob’s name. The name Jacob means “deceiver.” The day he was born, a label was put on him. Jacob grew into that name, He believed he was who everyone told him he was. But then God said- “Not anymore. You are not a deceiver any longer. You are to be called ‘Israel,’ which means ‘God-wrestler.'” (paraphrased) How beautiful it is that God stepped in and told Jacob he was no longer defined by people, but by God alone. This quote from the sermon stuck with me: “The only person who has naming rights for your life is your creator.” I am redeemed. I am beloved. I am grace-filled. I am HIS. NO HUMAN, and not even Satan has any say over who I am called.
Right perspective meant that Jacob viewed his wrestling match with God as a blessing. Jacob left with a limp, because the angel popped Jacob’s hip out of place. But that limp was forever a reminder to Jacob that sometimes blessings don’t always feel good. In the past month since I have been back from treatment, I’ve now been able to recognize so many blessings in my life. The loneliness I’ve been experience? Shifting perspectives, this has been a time of solitude I can use to dwell intimately with the Lord. Continuous applications and job interviews returning void? If I had taken one of those jobs, I wouldn’t currently have the fantastic job I do, being a voice for kids in poverty, advocating for the non-profit, Save the Children. I’m reminded that the Lord views my circumstances through an entirely different lens–that’s why getting out of my head, and gaining perspective + being immersed in Scripture is so critical in my life.
Today I’m thankful that I’m a recovering alcoholic. I’m blessed to be on this journey, because I’m meeting so many beautiful souls along the way + rediscovering who I was created to be. The cravings? I’m blessed to struggle with something that leads me to rely on God so much more. Recovery is a choice I have to make every single moment. I’ve chosen this path because I have dreams bigger than myself, that come from a God who is bigger than my addiction. So today makes 60 days of sobriety. Tomorrow will make 61.