Wrestling with Substance Abuse

How did you manage to come back to haunt me? My last words to you were “never again” would you shatter my world, but I heard the faint sound of glass tonight. Small pieces of my heart all too familiar with the fears of childhood. Yes, I know that you are only supposed to be a passing phase through life but to me you are so much more. A demon that crept past me–a smirk on your face and a familiar phrase on your lips that said “never say never.”


I remember so clearly when I walked away from you. I set the pace, and when I picked up speed you were just a distant, passing memory. At times I could refer to you as an ache in my heart but mostly you were a fleeting thought that stayed in the recess of my mind. As time moved on and the gap widened, you became just a speck on the distant horizon. Sometimes I barely noticed, but now it seems like you never left.

I cannot refer to you as something that sits on a shelf in a convenience store or stays hidden only to come out when no one is looking. To me you are tangible. You are a spirit. I actually saw you. You take on various forms but tonight you are substance abuse.

What is it about slurred speech, faltering footsteps, urine on the bathroom floor, and complete denial that can make someone feel like she is five years old all over again? It is no longer a paralyzing fear. Now it is anger. Pure rage. It was never supposed to be like this.

Something else strange happened tonight. You no longer got to my core. That part of me where I emotionally lose control and all my insides start to melt and dissolve. Sadness, pity and family betrayal but not total despair.

Breath, the breath of God. The breath that God gave all of us at birth started to flow freely and fully. Pushing the fear out of me and replacing it with something so simple. This breath is a spirit. It is the actual spirit of God. I am no longer willing to allow the old spirit free access to all of me because breath pushes out the fear and replaces it with God. Yes, the Spirit of God was there the whole time but I kept holding back, pushing Him away and catching my breath as if to hold it in hoping that would allow me to melt back into the shadows.

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A word, a look, an evil smirk. Standing there and looking up I would catch my breath and instead of breathing out the disapproving look it would catch inside of me and grab hold. They weren’t just words. They were long black fingers that would grab hold of my throat, starting to squeeze slowly. I could actually touch them. Cold and unfeeling. It wasn’t until after the words were said that the greatest damage was being done. The quiet time when I would replay them over and over again until they were carved into my brain. They stayed there untouched, taking up space. Space that I allowed them to share with all of me. Molding me into something that did not belong. Baggage that I did not ask to carry. I thought they belonged there slowly squeezing the life out of me. Not enough to stop living, but enough to stop living fully.

Judging is something that will not be a part of this. You did the best you knew how. Now it is my turn to make a difference, realizing that I am guilty of the same. When you are a child, you are a victim and you have no choice because you are not fully aware of what is really going on. Their spoken words are their unspoken thoughts of themselves. Their insecurities and problems are being dumped on you. In our adult life we can no longer be the victims. God expects us to work it out and forgive. In case you were told that forgiving is forgetting, it is not. Forgiving someone for the events that carved our souls is not a one time action. It is a daily renewing. Sometimes we have to do it every minute and sometimes we can go much longer, but it is a process that we must do.

Where do we find this freedom? God gave it to us at birth, and it is our job to use it the way it was intended to be used. Fully and freely, giving us the freedom to live a life without fear, stress and anxiety. It is a difficult job at times, but when we feel that our prayers are hitting walls could it be that the answer is already flowing?

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