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.


1,534 Responses to “Meet My Sister”

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  1. 601

    Studying Acts of the Apostles in BSF this year I have come to see that God calls ‘you and your household’. I have seen it over and over and that is the first thing I thought of when I started reading our post. Acts 16:31 is one of my memory scriptures from this year and I am believing God for my whole family.
    Gay we are so glad to hear your story and rejoice with you.

  2. 602
    Sharon says:


    I’m praying that God will bless you through this process. At my church, the women’s ministry calls these stories “grace stories,” because they allow God’s grace to shine through to everyone around us. When we share what God has done in our lives it allows His glory to shine through and gives hope to others who are struggling with similar experiences. I am also praying that God will send people who need to hear your story to this site when you are sharing.

    Thank you for being obedient to God’s call! (You’re a beautiful writer!!!!)

  3. 603
    Susan says:

    Gay, I don’t ever comment except to post a memory verse. However, just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for being a sign post to our Great God. Thank you for reminding us that the best prayer we can pray is, “God, please help me.”. Thank you for being honest.

    To God be all the glory.

  4. 604
    Joy says:

    Thank you, Gay, for sharing your story. Look forward to chapter 2.

  5. 605
    Martha Lancaster says:

    Welcome home, Gay! I can hardly wait to see what Jesus does next in your life. Thanks for sharing.

  6. 606
    Joani says:

    Welcome & praise God!

  7. 607
    Joan says:

    I have seen this time and time again…The Lord truly is the lifter of our heads. He restores our dignity and gives us a future and a hope. How amazing is our God!! Beth, I have three lovely sisters that all love the Lord. Isn’t it fun? Love to you both.

  8. 608
    Barbara says:

    Wow, Gay, THANK YOU so much for sharing………..

  9. 609
    Vikki Green says:

    Good Morning, Beth and Gay!
    This is the day the Lord has made! We will rejoice and be glad in it!!!
    Thank you for your honest transparency and love that you have shared. I personally look forward to your testimony, Gay, and love your voice as it sounds like my heart in so many ways. I may not have experienced alcoholism and only by the grace of God, but what plagued me was unforgiveness, bitterness, offense – my whole life until recently. The words you have shared are how I feel about myself. Thank you, for your humbleness…for your purity in truth and for serving the Lord! Thank you for your obedience to Him in writing to us. I can only imagine the people whom this will touch… Lord Jesus, please bless Gay and Beth abundantly for their open and obedient hearts! I pray favor love, peace and blessings upon them now in Jesus’s holy name! Amen.

  10. 610
    Sarah says:

    thank you for sharing!!! My husband is an alcoholic and I cannot even begin to express the hope that you have caused to be in my heart!!!! Thank you!!!!

  11. 611
    Rebecca says:

    Welcome Gay – it is a true joy to meet you, and to join with you in praising our Great God through your story. All glory and honor to Him,

  12. 612
    Penny says:

    Dear Gay

    Thank you – you are so brave and give such honor to God through your story. My dear friend’s husband struggles with a life of denial over his addiction and it was so encouraging to read your story of HOPE. We all need to share how God has worked to redeem us and free us from the pit – the timing just has to be right. Praise God for His timing that is always right. Welcome to Siestaville – so blessed to hear more…

  13. 613
    Janice says:

    Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow. It has been an honor and a pleasure to witness your growth through the 1000 days and nights of sobriety. You indeed have a story to share with others that will first bring us all to tears and then to our knees. I thank the good and ALMIGHTY LORD for weaving our lives together.
    Thank you for taking a leap of faith, for hearing His call and allowing Him to speak through your fingertips. You will touch the lives of many as you walk through your story her in Siestaville. Know that I love you and am so very, very, very proud of you GAY. May you continue to walk in His light and love for all to find HIS GLORY. XOXOXO

  14. 614
    Amy says:

    My dear Beth and Gay:

    I have a friend whose sister cycled back out of defeat last fall with the birth of an uplanned baby. She cycled back in this month when her boyfriend got out of jail. This family is like yours–perfect on the outside. Who would have thought?!

    I have told my friend so many times in the last week how I wish they could hear your story.

    I first heard the beginning of it in Tampa, almost two years ago. And now, in God’s perfect timing, I receive this blog email at 2:00 in the morning, only five days after first telling my friend how much his sister could benefit from Gay’s story, yet almost two years after I first heard about it. God is so faithful. I was sobbing as I forwarded your email/blog to him. Oh, how he loves us to time this this way for this beloved family.

    Thank you so very much for your willingness to share. God is using it in mighty ways. Oh how I wish I could hug your necks!

  15. 615
    Mona says:

    Well, now that I can see what I’m typing [sniff, sniff] 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your redemption story. I’m looking forward to reading every part. It is a hope story for me, another reminder of God’s love for us and that He finishes the work he starts. I have loved family who have forgotten that love as well, but I know he’ll finish what he started in their lives. Blessings!

  16. 616
    Village Sister says:

    Welcome Gay! It is wonderful to meet you!
    I’m not an alcoholic but I am a former pit-dweller too, washed free in the blood of Christ just like you. I am honored to hear your testimony & am cheering you on as you step out in beautiful courage to share it. May God bless you lavishly as you tell His story in your life – and I know He will.
    Oh & I must tell you….Brennan Manning is dear to me too…from one Mercy-drenched ragamuffin to another…love you girl! 😀

  17. 617
    pattibee says:

    Shine On Gay. Welcome dear Siesta! Cannot wait to hear your story. God Bless You.

  18. 618
    CT says:

    God bless you, dear Gay. Praise the God of changed lives. Thank you for your courage and your honesty. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  19. 619
    Kim says:

    Oh I don’t know where to start. Thank you for taking off the mask and being real. This is such a blessing. We all have our own struggles and if we could all just be real with ourselves and others how truly blessed we could all be. I heard Casting Crowns song “Who Am I” this morning and this is so fitting. Who Am I, That the Lord of all the Earth, Would Care to Know my Name, Would Care to Feel My Hurt…. Not Because of Who I Am, but Because of What You’ve Done, Not Because of What I’ve Done, but Because of Who YOU ARE!!! God Bless You! Can’t wait until the next post.

  20. 620
    Kim Lee says:

    Gay, OH darling child & daughter of THE KING, what a joy it is & will be to read your story! Welcome to the life God has intended for you & only you. What a wonderful family you have to love on you & pray for you! We welcome you with open hearts & many tears of joy. Love & Laughter, Kim

  21. 621
    Sandra says:

    Glory be to God!!!

  22. 622
    Suey Caldwell says:

    HI Gay bear.( Beth’s friend Suey here.) THANK YOU SO MUCH
    for telling your Heart out. Way to go. Prov 3:5,6
    About 2 1/2 years ago Beth spoke at HFBC bible study and it got my attention to start praying for you hard. See i
    gave up on my older sister. I stopped praying for her. That nite at church I began praying again for Patricia my sister.
    God has restored so much answered prayer in your life Gay Bear. My sister lives in heaven now after 10 months and
    we had such a sweet relationship the year and a half before she died of a broken heart and over medication.
    cya soon Gay..You are such a dear and you are in my prayers, love SueC

  23. 623
    Sandy Royals says:

    Sweet Gay,

    We celebrate your freedom in Christ!! I received much of my spiritual growth around the tables of Al-Anon until I could bear to “fit in” to a church family. It was there that I learned to be real and to take risks by exposing myself and my brokeness. Years later, I have learned like so many fellow sojourners, that God does not waste one minute of our pain. He redeems, restores, and sends us flying “on Eagles’wings” to others that need what we have received. May He richly bless you as you share. We are with you…but more importanly…He is your strength and your song!!

  24. 624
    Lorri says:

    All I can say is – WOW – you go, girl!!!

  25. 625
    Leah Hayes says:

    ((((HUGS)))) Gay ((((HUGS))) and one for you too Beth (((HUGS) As I think about my family there are more people addicted than not. We lost my brother about a year and a half ago through the compounded effects of addiction.

    The Bible is not a collection of stories about good people who had it all together. It is about a collection of people whose lives were being dashed to pieces on the rocks of sin and about Jesus who went out there to fetch them to safety and to restore them to wholeness.

    We need to be done with window dressing Christianity and be real about what it is that God wants to do in and around us. He came to restore us because no matter how hard we try, we just can’t do it on our own.

    (((((HUGS)))) again to both and to each Siesta out there struggling with your own brokenness and that of those you love.

  26. 626
    Lisa says:

    Thank you Gay, for being straight forward and honest before us here on the blog! I know that God has a plan for your life! I pray that if there is anyone out there with any addiction on this blog. That they will see by reading your stroy that there is hope! As long as we have the breath that God gives us we always have hope! I am proud of you and your accomplishments! Reading this made me think of my loved ones who are struggling with the same problem. I pray that they too one day will be able to have the same accomplishments! I am Praise the Lord all mighty for what you have overcame! Excited to hear the rest of the journey! Love and Hugs and my prayers

  27. 627
    Laurel says:

    Thank you Gay for sharing your story – I look foward to many more blogs from you! May God continue to bless you and use you in a MIGHTY way!!

    Lots of Love!!!

  28. 628
    Susan C says:

    Dear Gay, I am so thankful that you have found the way in Christ. I have been praying for you for years. Beth talked about your situation, never saying you name. She was just broken hearted for you. Therefore, the prayers. God is good and has answered in a great way. Love to you both. Susan

  29. 629
    Cherry Himstedt says:

    Bless you for sharing your testimony with all of us. PTL for what He has done in your life. To Him be the glory!

  30. 630
    Monica says:


    May your words and transparency touch as many lives, if not more, than your sister, Beth. Stay strong in Him.


  31. 631
    Robbie says:

    God bless you, Gay. Thank you for telling your story. I look forward to your future posts on this site and reading about our Great God.

  32. 632

    I love you Gay and welcome to Siestaville! So thrilled to celebrate 1,000 days with you!!! I recently heard of a song that was written from a prayer Brennan Manning had written in the book you mentioned. I’d never heard of Brennan Manning before this song; but the song has totally captivated my heart – it’s called Abba by Jonathan David Helser – it’s on youtube and I think you may like it too. God bless you dear sister. And a (((hug))).

    Were you at DS Lexington last year? Just wondering 🙂

  33. 633
    Sarah Elizabeth says:

    Dear Miss Gay,
    Thank you for your courage to speak and your transparency. I am very excited to read your story and know that you are already dearly loved by this community!

  34. 634
    Melissa Ford says:

    This is great. This is powerful…keep sharing. My mother-n-law and sister are both alcoholics…one recovering while she sits by and watches her husband party on and the other living a very scary and hurtful life. Thank you for your honesty. You are a great writer and your words and expressions carry a familiar tone 🙂 Thank you!

  35. 635

    Dear Gay,

    Thank you for sharing parts of your journey. Wow, I am so looking forward to hearing more. What is Mercy House??

    Until we surrender to Jesus’ saving grace and God’s will (and many times for years afterwards) we are all addicted to something –a substance, a person, materialism etc… (hence the need to Break Free as your little sister says).

    Keep sharing HIM to everyone— everyone needs to know the WAY out –from addictions to freedom!!!!

    Together on the journey!


  36. 636
    Catherine Westby says:

    Praise His Holy Name! Thank you Gay for sharing, for glorifying, for praising, for testifying, for magnifying, for inspiring, for encouraging: for being bold for Christ.

    As for me, who still has a loved one walking the path of destruction from which you, sweet Gay, have been saved {oh Lord Jesus help my brother}, you remind me afresh of the hope for him in Christ. Let me never tire nor grow weary of praying.

    Thank you Beth for trusting us:in so doing you have blessed me greatly today!

  37. 637
    Marge says:

    it’s a true pleasure to hear your story Gay. I am also an Alcoholic in recovery and took my last drink 2-18-91. I became a Christian several years after getting sober and loved your entry today. It does take effort and action to stay on the right path and I am thrilled you are fully entrenched in service work. I can tell you are in love with recovery and know first hand that is when the miracle happens. Looking forward to hearing from you again soon! Love, Marge

  38. 638
    Patti says:

    Be Blessed!

  39. 639
    shannon conner says:

    I love you Gay! way to go!!!

  40. 640
    Carol says:

    Praises! Praises! Praises! Hugs, blessings and gratitude to you and for you, sweet Gay !

  41. 641
    Karen says:

    What a beautiful testimony, of Our God love. Thank you for sharing with us and welcome Gay!
    I was once in the pit, but Our God is faithful.
    Be blessed my new sista in Christ!

  42. 642
    Lina says:

    I read here often but rarely comment…meeting you compels me to write. Thank you for your beautiful honesty and your desire to serve our Lord. I come from a long line of alcoholics–I live in the same town with my brother but am estranged from him due to his alcoholism and self-destruction (and the destruction of his family–a wife and four daughters and little granddaughter). You give me hope. Keep writing for us! With love and respect, Lina in California

  43. 643
    West Texas Girl says:

    I want to hug you, Gay!…and be hugged by you! My addiction is food – may I find deliverance in Him as you have! Thank you for sharing….isn’t our God just so crazy amazing???

  44. 644
    Lorraine says:

    Praise Our Lord!!! He is good all the time! Can’t wait to read the rest.

  45. 645
    Shelli says:

    O Siesta Gay, there could never be a more beautiful you! It is indeed an honor and a privilege to meet you and hear your story! Thank you so much for sharing it with us! Please know that you are covered in Siesta love!

  46. 646
    Living4Him says:

    Blessed words that give such Glory to the Lord.

  47. 647
    Tara says:

    Wow!! And gorgeous, gorgeous words!! I can’t wait to hear the rest of your beautiful story, Gay!! How precious you are and how magnificent is our God!! Welcome home, sweet thing!! You are beautiful indeed!! 🙂

  48. 648
    Kelly Watson says:

    Thank you so much for your strength and courage! God is going to do wonderful things with your story. Lives will be touched and His glory will shine.
    You are loved, supported, and prayed for here.
    Bless you!

  49. 649
    Mary says:

    Bless you, Gay. Thank you for trusting us.

  50. 650
    Cynthia Singleton says:

    Wow, all of you to Him! That alone gives me strength!!!!!!! I know how hard that is. Dying is freedom!! What your big sister says is true, What God thinks of you is what matters more than anything else. I am so proud of you! I promise with my very being I will be there for you. I going to ask God if He would promt me to pray for you when you need it any time day or night, 24-7. Wow, all of you to Him, BIG BIG BIG BIG THING!!!!

    Cynthia, Aynor,SC(Near Myrtle Beach, come visit I’ll be there for you )

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