My Story: Choosing Hope, Not Fear
Outside looking in, I was the cute little girl that belonged to a big happy family; everything was perfect, and everyone was happy. Inside looking out, I was a hurricane, tearing myself apart, pushing away the people who loved me.
I grew up in a household where I was the youngest of 5 kids. Anything more than one child means competition; competition in talents, sports, academics, and attention. I never felt good enough. I thought maybe I’d just do what my family does not. Striving to be different, not just so-and-so’s little sister, I did everything that was different than what my family did. I did gymnastics, while my sisters did ballet. I played guitar while my siblings learned piano.
My family loved God, and so I pushed Him away. The more I shut God out, the more blind I became. I was living life like a drunk driver, thinking I’m all good, but I was as good as blind. As I longed and sought for something to satisfy my heart, I opened my heart to anything that seemed promising. Depression crept its way in, bringing around an eating disorder, and self harm to punish myself for not being worth anything. I encountered several abusive relationships, but I thought that I deserved what I got, because I was worthless. I cried myself to sleep most nights, for many years, wishing tomorrow I wouldn’t wake up. And one night, I fell off my bed, and I hurt my arm. This is where I found what I believed was the cure for the depression, and the hurt, and the nightmares. I believed in this one accident, I found the one thing that would heal me and make me feel whole.
I got a prescription for Percocet. After just two pills, I saved them, because I noticed when I took a pill, I was happy. I didn’t understand why, but I decided that the pain in my heart was far worse than the pain in my arm. After a little while with those, I soon graduated to oxycontin. I had periods of using codeine, vicodin, and cocaine as well. Unbelievably, after about 2 years using the pills, I smoked marijuana for my first time, and I told my friend I had never been high before. That’s the thing about being a drug addict: I had heard all my life that drug users were bad people. I was not a bad person; I was hurting, this medicine made me happy, and I met other nice people who were sad and took the same medicine as me. I was a good person, not a drug addict
I realized pain killers wouldn’t cure the depression. Neither would cocaine, or alcohol, or relationships. Every time I opened up to someone, I got hurt, so love was obviously not the cure. I kept throwing up my meals, hurting myself, taking my pills, and drinking myself to sleep. Nothing made me happy and I was sick of fit. So I drove home from school one day, with my mind all made up. I went off by myself, and decided to kill myself. If love and drugs couldn’t help me, nothing could. If I really was worthless, why even live another second? So quietly and tearfully, I slipped away from the world. I took all the pills I had left, and I smoked a blunt, and then went to stab myself.
Then there were footsteps. Then a dog bark. A woman and her dog began to come my way. Embarrassed and terrified that she knew what I was doing, I bolted. I climbed into my car and cried. I screamed out to God, until my throat too sore to handle another a cigarette, begging He would show me why I was alive still.
Addiction causes more than just a dependency on a substance. It causes you to live for nothing and no one but your pill. It becomes your focus, your life goal, your prize. You loose your sense of direction, because it leads you to places you never thought you could end up in. The addiction brings you to a fork in the road, where you must choose to fear it, or choose the hope of overcoming it. When an addict gets to that fork,the very worst thing you can do for an addict is tell them they’re wrong. I can not tell you how many people told me I was wrong and that I had to stop. It doesn’t help. They just need love, maybe even a hug too. They need you to say, “You are not okay, and what you’re doing is not okay, but what can I do to help you?” Don’t just walk away. They need to know that they are not the worthless pieces of trash the world calls them.
It took three years, but someone finally did that for me. My friend made me realize that Jesus Christ was waiting with arms open wide while I was pushing Him farther away from me. His arms stayed open, outstretched for the embrace of His child. And while His arms were spread, He died for me. While I told Him “I don’t need You God, I just need You to leave,” He took all my sin, all my tears, all my depression, all my worthlessness, all my drugs, and alcohol, and abuse, and He nailed it on the cross with Him. He died so suicide didn’t have to be the answer for me. He has scars on his wrists so mine didn’t have to.
I’m not worthless, and I have a purpose. Right now, you’re reading this, because you have a glimmer of hope that you, or someone you know, has a purpose. What you need to take away from my story is this: Drugs, alcohol, self harm, and eating disorders are all addictions. Addicts need love, not a judgement finger waved in their face. At some point, they opened their heart to something they thought would bring them happiness.The first thing an addict needs is some to say they believe in them, and that they want to help. When an addict gets to that fork in the road, a little support from one person can cause them to choose hope over fear.
He sees you. He see when you cry all alone, in the bathroom, in your car, and as you get into bed. He sees the pain your mess is causing you. Jesus saw all of that in me, and he ransomed me. He did more than just that: He chose to LOVE me as well. Read Luke 15. This crazy kid runs off, takes his inheritance, and parties. Then, broken and humiliated, he returns home. While he was still a long way down the road, his father was looking for him, and he saw his son, and ran and embraced him. Sometimes our Father allows our lives to get as crazy as a hurricane, just so we can know what it feels like to come home, and feel his loving embrace. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or what they did to you. It doesn’t matter how far you ran away from Him. He loves you and desires to have you. When you grasp that concept, you will know exactly why I know now that I am not worthless.