Meet My Sister

My hands have been frozen on the computer keyboard while I took in the pure profundity of this moment in my personal life and family life and, Lord, have mercy, my spiritual life. When I say that I am about to share something gigantic to me, I am not kidding. I am bug-eyed that this is really happening and it is everything I can do not to type these words to you from face down on the floor. My dear Siestas, it is my great honor to introduce you to my blood sister, with whom I was raised and with whom I shared a room for many years and many secrets. Some crippling. We have known much pain together and much devastation apart and were so close growing up that one of us could hardly be okay if the other were not. Today – and for this moment – we are both okay. And blessed. Redeemed. Forgiven. And, in staggering ways, restored. Only because of Jesus.

Years ago in a speaker/teacher workshop, the consummate Christian communicator, Florence Littauer, taught us to ask ourselves two questions before standing in front of an audience: “Do I have anything to say?” And, “Do people need to hear it?” I can confidently say today that, if Florence Littauer knew my sister and her story, she’d tell her to open her mouth and rarely shut it till God took her Home. Oh, Sisters, does she ever have something to say and do people ever need to hear it!

Please meet my older sister by three years, Gay Tuttle. She and I are two of five siblings who we love as much as we love each other. I do not know anyone well who has a more powerful and genuine testimony than Gay. Her rescue and revival flooded over into mine. God used her healing to add to mine. It is with the hope that God could use it to somehow impact you that I make this introduction.  My heart is pounding with awe and reverence as we release her story – and at times our story – to the public. In her words. I have not edited a single sentence. Here you will find the first of several installments of this story of redemption that, God willing, we hope to share with you over the weeks to come. I don’t want to put her into a time crunch but you could reasonably expect them about 1 to 2 weeks apart. Pray for her as she writes to you. Sometimes we have to relive to RE-LIVE.

As I put her out here for the eyes of multiple thousands, I beg you from the deepest part of my heart to take good care of my sister. This is huge for her and huge for me. Allow her the freedom to talk in the language that she presently speaks and with the terms she presently uses. I believe you will be so blessed. Very few of you Siestas need me to say this but, because I do not want to throw her to even two wolves, I ask you to please refrain from preaching to her. Instead, receive from her. Just let her share with you a vivid flesh-and-blood illustration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. These won’t be articles for legalists. These will be articles for people who do believe or who want to believe with all their hearts that “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)  If I didn’t believe you were the kind of people to embrace her with lavish affection, I’d never take this chance. But I know you, Siestas. I know she will be well cared-for here. By the way, she knows you a bit, too. She’s been reading the blog and many of your comments now for a year. So, without further introduction, my beloved Siestas, please meet my beloved Sister, Gay. I am now full-on crying.

 

Hi Siestas!  My name is Gay and I’m an alcoholic.  I’m not just any alcoholic.  I am a serious, hardcore, dedicated, classic, textbook alcoholic.  I drank just like that for thirty-seven years, all of my adult life, with the exception of the last two and three-quarter years.  Today I have 1000 days of sobriety, nights included, weekends too, consecutive, all in a row, no breaks, no slips and no sneaks.  Now, that might not sound like much of an accomplishment to those who have stayed sober all of their lives or for those who drink responsibly, but for ME, it is a flatout miracle from God!!

To be honest, Sweet Siestas, I have grappled with how to introduce myself on this most-esteemed blog until I almost didn’t come out here at all.  Because I have been “raised up” in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and in our beloved Mercy Street, a church that ministers to many in recovery, the word “alcoholic” just rolls off my tongue.  I don’t even think about it.  It feels right, it sounds right, IT IS RIGHT!!  It is a huge part of who I am and I own that.  My God-given, God-planned deliverance from it is my testimony and I believe with all my heart that there are those of you who have, at the very least, people in your lives who have struggled or are strugging with some similar experiences and need some hope.  That’s about as simple as it gets.  I am quick to blurt it out for another reason as well, possibly the most important one:  I do not want to forget.  I believe that in order to LIVE what I have been delivered to I must REMEMBER what I have been delivered from.

What it was like:

I started drinking at seventeen years old as a rebellious teenager (loved it), continued to do it through the “functioning” years (tolerated it) and moved on to radical self-medicating simply to kill the pain, much of which I caused myself (hated it).  I was given countless opportunities to recover and refused.  By the time I got serious and very scared, it was too late.  I was hopelessly addicted to alcohol, both mentally and physically, and I had lost the power of choice.  So I threw in the towel and proceeded to try to drink myself out of my misery and miserable existence, to death.  And I almost did, many times, but for the radical grace of God.  I lost my husband, my children, my job, the trust of my family, my home, my car, my driving privileges, my self-respect, my dignity, my values, my freedom and the list goes on and on.  I was confined to jails and institutions more times than I can count.  I thought I was a certifiable lunatic because WHO would drink after all that???  And that wasn’t the bottom for me; I ended up homeless and on the street (yes, outside!) for approximately eighteen months.

What happened:

God intersected into my life like a burning bolt of lightning and in the blink of an eye my story took an abrupt about-face and became His Story.

What it is like now:

A thousand days of sobriety and a God bigger than life Who requires a lot of WORK from me, have molded and chiseled me into far more than an alcoholic.  I am a loving and responsible mother, sister and friend.  I am a dedicated employee and member of Mercy Street who believes in its mission and lives it OUT LOUD.  I am a driver with a valid Texas drivers license and insurance, a car owner, townhouse dweller, volunteer, law-abiding citizen, taxpayer (ugh), sponsor, sponsee and recovery coach.  I sit on three committees that are a part of the Houston Area Recovery Initiative for the fourth largest city in the country.  I am a Servant and Lover of God who is fully dedicated to following His will for my life which is to share my experiences, both there and back, and offer hope of God’s deliverance for all who suffer from a similar seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

I hope to offer a unique perspective, possibly even tilting the axis a bit (in a good way), of an intimate relationship with this most Mysterious Jesus God who never leaves us or forsakes us no matter how far down the scale we have gone.  I love Him because He loves me, all of me.  He first loved me!  I had been taught that as a child and had sung Jesus Loves Me since I could form words.  Yet I had forgotten that while I was out there in the wilderness, pounding the hot concrete with bare feet.  I didn’t know the love, grace and mercy of God until I walked off of that concrete and began the journey out of the pit, to hope and a future, to FREEDOM.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,”  Isaiah 61:1-3

I am going to tell you my story, Sweet Siestas, if you care or dare to listen.  I promise I will be honest and candid, direct and to the point.  I will try my best not to ramble on about the problem without moving quickly to the solution.  For me, not just any alcoholic, there is but One Solution.  Not just any God.  It takes a God the size of the universe, bigger and badder than them all, to accomplish for us and through us what we cannot do for ourselves.  It takes the all powerful, all consuming, all merciful Crazy Love of Jesus and our full acceptance of who we are in and to Him.  It takes a willingness to do WHAT HE ASKS, which is A LOT.  It takes honesty and authenticity.  This is Who I Am and it only matters what God thinks because of Who He Is.  Then its Katie bar the door!  Here am I, send me, all of me, scars, limps and all.  And He will and He does because He loves us with a love that transcends all barriers and which is, well … indescribable.  Brennan Manning, my second favorite author, wrote these words in The Furious Longing of God:  “Employing adjectives such as furious, passionate, vehement, and aching to describe the longing of God are my mumbling and fumbling to express the Inexpressible.  Yet, I plod on.” Please bear with me, my Siestas, while I mumble and fumble to express the Inexpressible.

 

Dear Jesus God, You know that the absolute best prayer I ever prayed in my life was the simplest of all prayers:  God, Please Help Me!  I’m praying it again now, Dear Jesus.  Please help me to be effective in Your world and for Your glory and honor alone.  Please help me to shine the light of Jesus in the darkest night, to the wounded and broken who need a shred of hope because everyone needs some, Lord.  I love you with all my heart and soul.  I am Yours, all of me.  Amen.

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1,529 Responses to “Meet My Sister”

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Comments:

  1. 1401
    Melissa Brown Walls says:

    Siesta’s, I grew up with you and your family. I graduated with Tony in 1977. I went to your movie theater many a Friday night. I grew up in a Christian home singing Jesus Loves Me, too. My father taught at OBU for 36 years and is also a Baptist minister. I too fell and I too was rescued by Jesus. Years and years of bondage until I gave Him all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I walked away from everything I ever knew into an ocean of faith and He carried me, nurtured me, saved me and I will never be the same. Your story is so beautiful. Thank you for having the courage to share it.

  2. 1402
    Cathy Weil says:

    Gay, It’s 4 in the morning and I happened to run into your courageous article. I needed to hear your story this morning. I am 62 and have just realized an evening drink is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury. I’ve been feeling lonely and in pain. I sit beside my overworked husband at night and that drink fills the void of dwindling companionship. I know how to go to God and I haven’t been going there. I hope I’m not bitter and turning my back on Him. You stated what you’ve lost through alchohol and what you have gained in Christ. I think I better get my big girl panties on and run, run, run to God and stop this insanity. Gay, thank you for being here for me with your life story this morning. I will try to draw my life back with the help of your beautiful witness. I love you for doing this. Cathy

  3. 1403
    Cathy says:

    Gay, It’s 4 in the morning and I happened to run into your courageous article. I needed to hear your story this morning. Thank you for your honesty and for your witness.

  4. 1404
    Lyn says:

    Hi Beth & Gay

    I am currently attending the James Mercy Triumphs bible study series at our local church and had heard Beth mentioned about how it was the greatest miracle in her life that her sister Gay was freed from the bondage of addiction. It gave me hope, and I am hopeful that I would experience that same great miracle in my life. I have a brother who is suffering from drug addiction, and it breaks my heart to see what he is going through. Every day is a struggle for him, and I can feel the hopelessness and voidness in him every time we talk over the phone. I have sent him your testimony, Gay, and I pray to God that the Holy Spirit will lead him to read it and be blessed, inspired and motivated by it. I know nothing is impossible with our God.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I pray that someday, my brother will be able to share his own testimony of deliverance, and that will be the greatest miracle of my life.

    God bless,
    Lyn

  5. 1405
    LaVada says:

    Hi Gay,
    Thank you soooooo much for sharing your testimony!! I too struggled with alcohol for a good bit of my adult life. Long story short; I had my first taste of alcohol at the age of 14. It took me down a road of distruction that I NEVER want to travel again!! I am attending Beth’s Bible study on Believing God at my church we are going into our 6th week tonight. I have had a testimony for a little over 6 years now and through this Bible study God has spoken to me that it is time for me to share this testimony. I know there are plenty more just like you and I who need to hear our stories. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story. I look forward to hearing more from you.
    Your Sister In Christ
    LaVada

  6. 1406
    Frances says:

    Praise Jesus that He opens our eyes and hearts and changes our lives. After sitting in church for years, I realized I should love Jesus more. I asked Him to help me love Him more. I was led to Psalm 139. I prayed the last verses as my own prayer, “Search me o God and know my heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts, and see if there’s any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. This led me to Rom 12:2 …do not be conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of your mind. After many promises to stop drinking, I made my last promise to read His word into my heart daily. I believe God’s word is fully true and know he is transforming me. I have four years of sobriety. I love Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.

  7. 1407
    Rebecca Smith says:

    Dear Sweet Siestas, You have given me much hope and faith to wait upon the Lord. I will continue to pray for God’s will in the lives of those I love, who also struggle with addictions. I must remember that it is God and God alone who can rescue and deliver. Continue to grow stronger through the word of the Lord.

  8. 1408
    Christy says:

    I want to share two poems with you that I wrote when someone I loved revealed an addictive sin they were caught in and how it affected me at the time.

    Questions that long to stay unanswered;
    Fit the puzzle; pieces black.
    Oh that God could change the truth.
    Purge the picture…take it back.
    Who said ignorance is bliss?
    But will the truth now set me free?
    Should I hold back as my world crumbles?
    And all my dreams now strangle me?
    Nightmarish images mar my da,
    My pain cries out while I’m awake;
    I long to sleep the dreamless death,
    Where wanton thoughts no longer break.
    And yet I sacrifice my grief;
    Onto the altar… This I lie,
    Pain and fear, memories bleak…
    Oh Crucible now purify.
    I weakly raise my cross assigned,
    I carry it willing or not.
    I walk with Jesus up the hill;
    From where this grip on life is wrought,
    Hidden in His cross, perfection,
    This weak-kneed sinner wants to hide;
    And let go what I lost in life,
    That in His rising, I’ll abide.

    Father I can hardly stand the grief.
    Memory floods my mind with poignant pain;
    With a respite rarely brief.
    I cringe in horror in my soul;
    Retreat from life; relief in Heaven my only goal.
    I’ve never re known such total pain.
    It’s hard to see, what’s to be gained.
    My heart’s so heavy. I feel so sick.
    I long for comfort… Oh Jesus…swift!
    And yet my claim in my weak faith;
    That I will praise, though you may slay.
    My God you know my greatest sin,
    My blackened life, my soul within.
    Yet even now…you know for me;
    Depth of my struggle,
    Is to forgive…sins of another.
    And how I measure all his sin,
    I will be measured in the end.
    Oh dearest Father! I am weak.
    Place in my mouth, heart words that speak!
    To glorify from this weak vessel;
    Restore! Oh heal! The pain I wrestle.
    As you’ve loved me,
    So I can win;
    Let me forgive,
    My loved one’s sin.

    The problem is now that person is me. I am the one who fell into an addiction. I have that self loathing. I stumbled recently, on music and words written by Rich Mullins. God has used the way he lived, the music he wrote and his communication of God’s love of me as undeserving as I am.
    Your story has also encouraged me. I give all my failures to Jesus. I thank Him thatmHe led me to your struggles and losses and gains. I thank you for the courage to share it.

    • 1408.1
      Christy says:

      I’m sorry, I am a can’t type and I don’t know how to punctuate poetry. Please forgive my typographical errors.

  9. 1409
    Linda says:

    We will take good care of her, Beth!

  10. 1410
    Shanna McDonald says:

    “Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto thee”. So blessed by your story Gay. I drank for 17 years and will be celebrating 4 years sober in a few days. I love, love, love to hear how the Lord Jesus saves. When I first got sober it was a deal I made with the Lord…lol. I told him I would give him 6 months, but I needed him to understand alcohol was not the problem (oh the denial). I literally went into recovery betting God that he was wrong. Oh my goodness, how I was proved wrong. The blessings that sobriety brought me is indescribable:) One of my favorites is the reconciliation of my marriage after a 4 year separation that eventually had led to a divorce. The Lord provided me with a great, and patient, sponsor who walked me through the steps of recovery. Being a binge drinker it was often hard for me to see the similarities in my addiction and not continue to say, “well, I don’t drink everyday”. I’m so thankful for the principles I learned in AA and the gift of the Holy Spirit to learn to apply those principles to my life. Anyways, may you be blessed by the Lord our God, all the days of your life.

    Shanna

  11. 1411
    Cheryl Schulze says:

    Hey Beth Moore. I am in need of getting a book of yours to help me get my walk back with God. I just don’t which one. I am hoping you can guide me but I am too ashamed to say what has made me go astray but with all the counselling i have had, i just know i am on the wrong track. I would really appreciate some help. Please give me a mail back. I hope this will benefit me. Kind Regards,
    Cheryl

  12. 1412
    KAREN CUNDIFF says:

    U HAVE DONE A BEAUTIFUL JOB…ITS ENCOURAGING ME A LOT. I’M A FOOD ADICT WITH A LOT OF SUPRESSED HIDDEN PAIN. I SO NEED THE LORD’S HELP TO OVERCOME. I EAT TIL I’M SO STUFFED AND MISERABLE. I HATE IT. GOD BLESS YOU FOR OVERCOMING….NEED PRAYER TO OVERCOME

  13. 1413
    jess says:

    I just stumbled across this today. I know it is a couple of yrs old. I just wanted to say how thankful I am that you are so courageous in sharing your story. I am a closet alcoholic and addicted to pain medication. I have been mostly alcohol free for 18 months. Had a few slips but not many. I have cronic pain and have been on pain medication for 3 yrs or so and have abused pain medication for 3 yrs or so. It started to control the craving for alcohol and before i knew it i was hooked on both. Very few people know about either. Thankfully i have had some wonderful people praying for me. I attended a bible study with a friend (sorry Beth not one of your studies, although i have done Ester, beautiful study!, and am doing David currently and loving it!, and have read Breaking Free and When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, that one was hard!) while i was still very much in the middle of my alcohol abuse and the last night the leaders came around and prayed for each person individually. When they got to me i told them i had a drinking problem. The next day, June 10th, was my day 1. After about 6481 day 1’s. I was not honest with them about the drug abuse and have been battling it since. I have come forward with some women at my church about it. I am in almost constant pain and do need meds for pain. But have only abused it 2 times in the last 6 months. It is a daily battle and when i take my eyes off God I start to drift. I know my God is my healer, my redeemer, my savior and i am falling more in love with him. I have been running from him since i was a teenager but finally at 39 I want to serve him with the rest of my life. Thank you for being willing to share your story! It means so much to know I’m not alone!

  14. 1414
    Judy' says:

    I am so proud of my Jesus!! If we will be honest we all have something that keeps us from Jesus. Mine was the desire to be good and failing. Then I thought that because I wasn’t good that He could not love me! Then He began to show me that He did not expect me to be good on my own. All He required from me was to trust Him and He would guide me. “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make you path straight.” I was 32 years old before I accepted this truth and regret the lost years. At the same time He alone redeems our lives from what we deserve to blessings that we do NOT deserve. To God be the glory, great things He has done. I know God has blessed you for sharing your story, Gay.

  15. 1415
    Laura (Annie) Ferguson says:

    Dear Gay,
    Your writing is so good.
    I am what the Bible calls a drunk and I am in the middle of a hangover.
    I have been to a few AA meetings years ago and Celebrate Recovery meetings more recently.
    After first reading your blogs I was convinced I was done with alcohol.I am going to read it again and resolve again to stop drinking alcohol.
    I am inconsistent in reading and studying God’s word and do not allow the past to stay in the past.
    Anyone who reads my reply is welcome to pray for me.
    Thank you so much for your honesty and that you were not successful in your desire to drink yourself to death.
    Annie

  16. 1416
    Laura (Annie) Ferguson says:

    I want to keep up with you for a while because I have decided to stay sober.
    Gay, your story has touched my deepest heart and soul and I am sober for 5 days.
    It is amazing to me that in the Spring of ’98 I was introduced to your sister, Beth by way of A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place. It was shortly after my 25 year marriage ended. At the time my ex was giving me false hopes of a reconciliation and that was what I was praying for.
    I was greatly encouraged by the study and really sat through the videos with my jaw dropped, at least in my heart.
    As the hopes my husband gave me were FINALLY dashed forever I felt like I had been rejected in the worst way for the second time.
    I began to drink with a passion, off and on, while continuing in various Beth Moore studies.
    While listening to the videos your sister would mention the struggle that you were in and described your earthly losses. I WOULD PRAY FOR YOU! ha! Sometimes while drinking.
    When I read your blog (twice)I felt as though we were friends because I had prayed for you often.
    Isn’t that the most absurd thing? A drunk Christian praying for someone to be saved from alcohol and the lies of he enemy. I have told a few people about your sweet story in the last few days. I am still awestruck by the power of God and so very thankful. I am determined to continue a sober life.
    Your blog is a reference for me now and I will be in touch here for my own accountability in the future.
    Your testimony gave me hope to stay focused on the cross and the chains that were broken there.
    Words can never express my gratitude for Jesus sacrifice.

    In Freedom
    Annie

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