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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Addiction

I think I should change the banner of my blog to "welcome to the roller coaster." It seems my recent trip to the beach was only a brief oasis in preparation for a much longer, much harder desert journey.

I'm very thankful for all the people who stood by me during the first leg of this difficult walk. Your prayers are still much needed and much appreciated.

Since this is the peek-a-boo ICU and it's all about coming out of hiding and entering God's Intensive Care Unit, I decided it was time to face a subject that I've wanted to write about, but never had the courage to come out of hiding to do.

So here goes...

I’m a third generation alcoholic. I spent most of my junior high, high school, and college years hiding a family secret and learning to own that addiction for myself. During high school I became a Christian and drank less, but the tentacles of addiction still had a firm grip on my life. Alcohol was my drug of choice to numb the pain. It wasn’t until many years later I would even admit I was an alcoholic and many more before I would seek help to overcome this addiction.

At one point in college, I tried AA meetings, but they didn’t reach me. I didn’t want to define myself by my addiction and I didn’t want to look deeper into why I ran to alcohol. I just wanted the pain to go away. So I hid. Which really wasn’t hard to do. When my addiction started in earnest I was in junior high. Living in Germany, I could purchase alcohol anytime I wanted. Then when we moved back to the States I had access to my parent’s and grandmother’s liquor stash. In high school there were enough parties to keep me busy. And when I wasn’t partying with the wild crowd, I stayed busy with the church crowd. No one confronted me about having a problem. The church crowd never knew I almost killed myself twice getting so drunk I still have no idea how I got home.

After high school I walked away from alcohol, but not the addiction. I’d have an occasional drink and believed I was fine. No more parties, getting drunk, or hiding my alcohol consumption.

But I still didn’t deal with my heart, the reason the addiction still had a hold on me.

It wasn’t until I interviewed for a missionary position after college graduation that anyone looked deep into my life and asked some pointed questions. From that interview weekend I returned home and started seeing a rape counselor for a date rape that happened in high school, which I had never faced. In the process I started to deal with my heart and all the pain I had bottled up in there. The tentacles of addiction started to loosen.

Not too long after that I married and started to talk about my addiction in the past tense. I admitted I was once an alcoholic, but had found freedom in Christ. And I had. But I still had so much more to learn. My heart was only just starting the journey to healing.

Children came. Three wonderful, beautiful little girls. After my first daughter was born I learned my husband was not into alcohol like I had been, but his drug of choice was pornography. We went to counseling and I took another few steps on the path of heart healing.

After my second daughter was born it would be a year before I learned my husband not only still used porn, but he had a true sex addiction. Again, we went to counseling and I received a lot of help for my heart. But not my marriage. Because that takes two.

We had a third little girl and by the time she turned one, I was sure my marriage was over. So after my tenth wedding anniversary disaster, I told my husband something had to change or we wouldn’t make it to the eleventh anniversary.

We attended the Smalley Marriage Intensive in March of this year and God did an amazing work in me. I was finally given the tools and the time to attend to the depths of my heart. And I did. I now know I am free of an addiction to alcohol because God has done an amazing work in my life.

I’m not foolish or prideful enough to think I could never go back though. I could. So I protect myself and my daughters in many ways. And I’ve learned to run to God when life hurts. That is the best medicine for a wounded heart I’ve ever found.

But my marriage hasn’t taken that journey. I’m not sure it will. Today I’ve uncovered more “junk” and seen some pretty destructive patterns that I’ve been allowing to continue.

No more.

If running to God is the only place for healing, which I know it is, He is now all I have.

I’m still grieving what I thought was getting better and wasn’t. I’m still wrestling with anger and hurt so deep I’d like to go to sleep and not wake up until everything is better. But I know that won’t work. I have three little girls that need their mommy and a husband who I hope takes a good look in the mirror and decides it’s time to admit the truth and deal with his addiction all the way to healing.

Please pray for all of us.

Reading back over this, I’m not sure I should post it. I wrote it to sort out my mess of thoughts and keep from going crazy. But maybe it will help someone who reads it find the strength to run to God and get the help they need to break free from whatever has a hold on them.

Please do run to God. Addiction doesn’t just affect you. It affects whole families, and in truth, the whole Body of Christ. Don’t bury your head and let another person’s addictions get a hold on you either. I’ve done that for too many years. I’ve enabled destructive patterns to continue because of my own wounds and needs.

Needs I didn’t take to God. Needs I thought my husband could and should meet.

But he can’t.

God can.

And He is.

Please pray. All I can see stretching ahead are unending waves of hot sand. Please pray I’ll listen to the Lord and stay in His arms. And that one day He will use all of this for His glory. Like Moses on the backside of the desert for 40 years. I pray God will use me to lead others to freedom. That prayer frightens me as much as it calls me. But God’s been preparing me for this journey for some time.

I now (thanks to one of my awesome youth girls) have a little jar of beach sand at my desk. It reminds me that there are other places beside the desert in my future.

And that is a promise for every one of His children. In John 14 Jesus reminds us to trust in God and talks about His Father’s house. He says, “I am going there to prepare a place for you.” And in John 16:33 He says, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

“O Daddy, strengthen my legs for the journey and my heart to trust You and love with Your amazing love. Amen.”

20 comments:

razorbackmama said...

Praying Amy! Don't give up!!!

Kimberly said...

I'm praying for you too.

Heather said...

Amy, your loving Daddy will never leave you or forsake you. Big hugs for your bravery, and prayers for you along each step of the way. You are being lifted up daily!

Amy Wallace said...

Kirstin,

Thank you for your prayers and friendship! I had no idea you had a blog. What fun! It was nice to see your little ones smile.

Amy

Amy Wallace said...

Kimberly,

Thank you for praying. It means a lot that you would take the time to post and let me know.

You have some beautiful pictures of nature and your kiddos on your blog too. Thanks for sharing them.

Amy

Amy Wallace said...

Heather,

Your encouraging words made me smile. Not sure it was bravery or desperation, but I know I needed to step into the light completely and ask for prayer.

Thank you so much for praying for me daily. That's a commitment and a gift. It means a lot!

Amy

HeyJules said...

Hi Amy. I've been "peek-a-boo'ing" in on your blog for a couple of weeks now and I have come away with the feeling that you can get through anything you set your mind to.

Keep giving God your sadness, your fear for the future, and the same honesty you have already lived up to in your life and watch him return with a pitcher full of love, unquestionable happiness and overflowing joy. What goes around comes around...and those days where your biggest problem was what to cook for supper will be back in no time. Hang in there, girl.

Amy Wallace said...

What a post! Thank you so much for "peek-a-booing" here for the past few weeks. Your words are immensely encouraging.

I've enjoyed reading your blogs this evening too. Your journey through the book "Praying for Purpose" is honest and full of life. I'm so glad I found your site! Isn't blogging something else? ;-)

Amy

Carla said...

Amy,

I am praying for you!

Amy Wallace said...

Thank you so much, Carla. Your prayers mean so much!

Love,
Amy

Baby-sitters-R-Us said...

Amy,

Hey, girl. This is good stuff. I'm praying. Thanks for sharing.
Mary

my_Romancer said...

I want to say that you are amazing!!! I can feel pain and fear!!! I wish I could have something 2 say!! God is bringing me into pain, and i'm afraid!! A lot of pain!! But you, you keep fighting and holding on!!! Thanks, if you have helped one person it would be me!! Sometimes I feel like I am the only one who is going through what I am going through that is a Christian, but it's not true!! God has walked before me and helped me through everything! I just don't want to go through this forever!
love you so much and will be praying for you so much!!
christin

Amy Wallace said...

Thanks Mary! Knowing that you are praying helps so much!

Love,
Amy

Amy Wallace said...

Christin,

You are a treasure to me! I know you are struggling too and it is so very hard. Life hurts at times, so much that we do want to give up. Please don't! God has good on the other side of what each of us are facing. I hang on to the fact that God is good, no matter what. That's a lifeline for me in times like this. God is good. Keep running to Him. He'll take you through.

I love you!
Amy

Sher said...

Amy - I am interested in this program as my marriage is a mess. Can you email me direct and let me know more information about what you really thought? Thanks so much.

Amy Wallace said...

Sher,

I wasn't able to find your email from your name or blog links. But if you click on my archives for March 2005 and scroll down to the post titled Checking In there are links to the Smalley Intensives. The posts after that titled The Fear Factor, The Place of Grace and Borrowed Hope all provide some details of my experience there.

Hope that helps!

Amy

GeegleMoo said...

Great information on your site folks. I also am working on a natural healing advice site. I'll bookmark yours if you bookmark mine. You can find it at natural healing advice.
Again, nice site folks...I'll be baak...:)

Steve Westphal said...

You have a great site here. Would you like to contribute some info or articles about drug rehab center michigan
at my site?

TheDevilIsInTheDetails said...
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Gordon said...
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