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. 1001
    sarah birmingham says:

    Hi Gay~

    Just wanted to say thanks for the boldness and honesty .My mom has been a recovering alcoholic for the last 33 years. I am 37 , so praise God I do not have the scars of growing up seeing her drunk. What I do have is a deep understanding of the condition and a profound respect for those who by God’s grace learn to manage it. My mom took me to many meetings with her from the time I have active memory until about the age of 13.(she still goes ofcourse, it would just be wrong for me to attend) I heard so many stories, different details but such common threads. I can truly say I think I ” get it” . It pains me for those who cannot surrender it to God. I have a few in my life who sure need to. The thing is when brave people like you tell his or her ” story” someone may just be lead to.
    Looking forward to getting to know you through the blog 🙂
    Sarah from Lambertville, MI

  2. 1002
    Susan says:

    Oh Gay!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing your amazing testimony! God is truly at work.

    My son is now in treatment and we are attending Alanon meeting.

    So much to learn. But we are.

    I’m so proud of you…rejoicing and praising God for all He has done and will continue to do through you life.

    Beth…thanks for sharing your precious sister with us♥

  3. 1003
    Sharie says:

    Dearest Gail and Beth,
    I have three sisters. What a special gift from God! We truly share every joy and heartache from deep within don’t we?
    Gail, thank you for sharing your story. All Praise Be to God! and may He bless you ever abundantly for giving your life for His glory.
    And Beth, thank you for sharing your family with us.

  4. 1004
    Melissa says:

    Dear one, thank you for sharing your life story so honestly and transparently! I was near tears reading your story! How great is our God!

  5. 1005
    Donna says:

    Gay, I know your story of freedom and recovery will touch many people. I trust God brings you to a place of knowing that your pain and suffering are worth it in order to help someone else. Unfortunately my husband did not make it to that spot. He died 6 years ago as he tried (for many years) to bury the pain of his abusive childhood in alcohol. My prayer is that you will be able to save the lives of others who struggle in the same way. God bless you!!

  6. 1006
    Lisa M says:

    I’ve already left one comment but after reading through these, I feel compelled to leave another.

    To all those who are struggling and who are friends/family/spouses of those with addictions, I lift a sincere prayer in your name. God knows each of our hearts and he is faithful to heal and redeem us.

    Again, I struggled terribly with alcohol for a LONG time. But for the grace of God, I didn’t lose quite everything.

    Beth, I remember watching Breaking Free with my small group sisters and you pointed your finger right in the camera. I don’t have the exact words you used but you said “Sisters, I’m here to tell you, there is NO pit, no Addiction, No Pain that you can’t be healed from”. I have never been so touched and so in awe of you. I felt like you were talking face to face with me. I just shouted AMEN in the middle of small group. I am sooo thankful for his Grace and Mercy.

    After I turned my life around and was baptized, my mother wrote a letter to my Pastor. Her first line was “My daughter, Lisa M attends your church. She is 37. Until March of this year, I never thought she would live to be 38”. That truth HURT. It has taken a lot of praying and healing to get past the hurt I caused but with God, I have made HUGE steps.

    Gay, please keep telling your story. You NEVER know who is reading/listening that needs to hear what you say.

    I love you and God loves you more! Take care my dear sisters in Christ!

  7. 1007
    Nicole says:

    Yippee! I am soo encouraged after reading this. Praise the Lord for giving you the courage and strength needed to share your story. Keep on keepin’ on! The Lord is going to do big things with you Gay. Love you.

  8. 1008
    Kerri Norrod says:

    Precious Gay thank you for sharing your testimony. I look forward to hearing more of your story and what amazing things God has done in your life!

  9. 1009
    Sally Denton says:

    Dear Beth and Gay, I read this after doing the first two chapters of the James study. My dad was a recovering alcoholic who has passed away and I am the younger sister to an older sister whom I think of as I have begun this study. I loved what you said tonight “Sometimes we can know something is right, wonderful, and as it should be yet still be pierced by it” Thanks so much for sharing this. Much love

  10. 1010
    Melissa Woodruff says:

    Thank you for bravely sharing. What an incredible God we serve! I love your real-ness, it’s just what I need to hear.

  11. 1011
    Laura H. says:

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. Praise God for His love and faithfulness!

  12. 1012
    twinkle says:

    Welcome to Siestaville, mighty warrior. You are loved and accepted and esteemed here. We are a rag-tag bunch of passionate women in love with our Jesus God. You fit right in…

  13. 1013
    mmm says:

    Praise God for your life and for what he has done for you– and for all of us! Welcome!

  14. 1014
    Barbara J says:

    What a testimony you have for God. I have gone to a Celebrate Recovery Program thinking that there was nothing wrong with me because I wasn’t an addict, not counting all the other garbage that was keeping me captive. But girlfriend did My God do some work on me Amen. So you go girl look forward to reading your blog. Your Siesta in Christ Barb

  15. 1015
    AZ Beth says:

    Gay, you are SO BRAVE! Thank you, and thank you our precious Lord & Saviour for Your work through Gay. Oh how I love your honesty words of loss of “my husband, my children,” etc… Each of those is HUGE in and of itself, and you’ve allowed us to see a glimpse of that. May we too share in the “willingness” you’ve had, to do what “HE ASKS”. Thank you.

  16. 1016
    Kathy says:

    So nice to “meet” you, Gay! Thank you so much for your willingness to “open your mouth and rarely shut it til God takes you home”. Your obedience will bring glory to Him and will encourage others in their own healing.

  17. 1017
    Roe says:

    BEAUTIFUL….can’t wait for more!

  18. 1018
    Ada - Lovin Him says:

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring testimony sweet Gay! What HOPE you give to those of us who have loved ones living in the pit of addiction – Our God is more than able to rescue them too as we lift them to His loving and mighty arms! Praising Him for all He’s done in your sweet life and all He’s yet to do in each & every one of our lives as we join you in crying out, “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. and AMEN!

  19. 1019
    Steph says:

    I had tears in my eyes after reading the first 10 words of your story- Gay you are so courageous- So So looking forward to hearing your story……Love, Steph

  20. 1020
    Nancy says:

    I hope you heard the simultaneous and glorious siesta shout that just went up in your honor and to the glory of God, sweet sister!

  21. 1021
    VIvian says:

    Dear Gay,
    Thank you for sharing your story. It encourages me not to give up as I continue to pray for one dear to me who continues to allow chemical addictions to control his life. I know the struggles from the side of loving one who is in that cycle of defeat. I appreciate your allowing me to be one of many who gets to hear your heart and give praise with you to the One and Only, our Savior, Jesus, who does show us that all things are possible to him who believes! So glad to call you my “siesta!”

  22. 1022
    Sharon says:

    Gay, it’s so nice to meet you!! Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. Everyone needs hope at one time or another.

    Beth, thank you for sharing Gay with us.

    Both of you are a blessing.

  23. 1023
    Sparki2003 says:

    My dearest Gay,

    Jesus is SO proud of you; daring to tell your story in such a way ! I am very proud of you, too.

    I am a very grateful Al-Anon, so I have some knowledge on this topic. I doubt that I need to remind you that alcoholism is a disease and is such a horrible addiction that takes hold of so many “good” people . . .

    I can imagine that these past 1,000 days have each started on your knees before our Lord Jesus; one day at a time…

    And, un-beknowst to you,or me, for that matter; I have been praying for you ever since your dear sister, Miss Beth, during one or more of her Bible studies or former Water’s Edge SS classes, shared that “one of her relatives” has needed prayers to be released “from alcoholism’s grip” several years back now.

    I vaguely recall hearing that “this relative” had become sober at some point in time; so ever since that time I have been keeping that individual in my prayers. However, I have never been able to find out how Miss Beth’s “dear relative” has been doing in regards to his/her fight for freedom.

    SO, it makes me feel SO very excited to finally be able to “hear” how you are doing !!! Especially in this kind of a way – One thousand days, sister ! Let’s pray for 1,000 more; one day [and/or one moment] at a time, shall we ???

    I am honored to finally “meet you”, Miss Gay !

    I honestly have no clue as to how difficult this journey has been for you; however, I do understand how it has been for me to wake up each morning and “to choose” to put my faith, and my life once again into Jesus’ hands, and to let HIM guide me, and not the other way around …

    In Christ’s Love,

    Jennifer O.

    Janesville, Wisconsin

    [formerly of Houston, Texas from 1995 to June 2004; and officially became “God’s kid” in April 2003 — Praise the Lord !]

  24. 1024
    lizlacy says:

    Thank you for putting this out there, there are so many people out here that are living without hope and wanting it, because of Jesus and your willingness to share your story, it is being offered. He is going to use your story for His glory. Praise Him!!!

  25. 1025
    Kimberlee J. says:

    The beauty, strength, and courage of Jesus is in you!
    Keep abiding in Him and keep sharing your story.
    The Glory of God is certainly revealed in you today.

  26. 1026
    Mary M. says:

    Thank you, thank you Gay for sharing your story. I had first heard Beth speak of you at a Living Proof event a year or so ago. As a believer trying to recover, I prayed that one day we would hear your story. May God bless you as you share. You have no idea how many women you will help!

  27. 1027
    Maryann Plesnicher says:

    Dear Gay,

    First off, though I have been reading this blog for quite some time, and though I have been blessed, uplifted and encouraged by it….I have never left a comment. However, your post today was so real that I just wanted to encourage you to continue on. I’ve not struggled with alcohol addiction though my grandfather did..mightily. I wish he could of lived to have read your words. Thank you for the courage to share. I will look forward to reading more of your story, you write so well….I’d say a book is in order. God Bless! PS Thank you Beth for introducing us to your sister. You too bless my life through your blog, your books and Life Today.

  28. 1028
    nlynch says:

    Many blessings to you and your family. What a journey you have been on! You are one strong lady. Prayers to you all as your story unfolds to us.

  29. 1029
    Sue says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It took courage, and I am so proud of the work you have done. Thank you for walking with Jesus to be sober. May God be close to you, shower you with His love and comfort you as you walk with Him….especially n sharing your story that follows HIS STORY.

  30. 1030
    katiegfromtennessee says:


    I wish I had the words to say to you the emotions I’m feeling right now. I am completely moved by your God story. It really is for freedom that Christ set us free, that is what I have to cling to too. I thank God for you and your encouragement to me…

  31. 1031
    Pamela Harris says:

    Praise God! Thank you, Gay, for your vulnerability and honesty. You are loved! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  32. 1032
    MaryJo says:

    Precious Gay,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us! You are a blessing.

  33. 1033
    April says:

    That is awesome! That is being Jesus and sharing His love!

  34. 1034
    Vickie says:

    Thank you so much for telling your story. This gives me so much hope for one of my children who is in denial. Every time I start to lose hope for him God gives me strength to keep on praying and believing that some day my son will have a story just like you, Gay. Thank you so much.

  35. 1035
    Joanne Davis says:

    “Not just any God. It takes a God the size of the universe”….thanks for that!

  36. 1036
    Joanne says:

    You are an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of your testimony. You have encouraged me. Thank you.

  37. 1037
    Kim says:

    Gay, you are a courageous woman and it is my honor to read your story. Thank you for taking that breath and using your past to shape my future. May the blessings of the Lord be OnYa!

  38. 1038
    Nancy Roach says:

    You are so courageous and precious!
    What a wonderful story you have.
    Keep up the great work with Jesus!
    Praise to HIM for setting us free!
    Love and prayers,

  39. 1039
    Stacey says:

    Wow. You are so brave to tell your story. It is no small thing. For some reason us women are always comparing ourselves to each other whether it be our hair style, shoes, makeup, etc…….. and sometimes even our faith. I’m the world’s worst. I guess sometimes comparison can help us to try harder in areas that really matter like our faith. One of the things I’ve noticed is it seems like the women that have such a beautiful story are the ones that have been through some STUFF. Life is messy and those of us who have gotten it all over us seem to have a love for him like no other. Here’s the thing though if we don’t share the STUFF, I’ve noticed that he is not glorified to those around us. I applaud you for sharing. The fabric is His weaving of your life is going to be unbelievable. I’m so sorry for what you have been through but so happy that you are able to glorify him in a way that others may benefit. God Bless

  40. 1040
    Victoria says:

    Gay & Beth,
    Thank you so much for BOLDLY sharing your story with us! i loved the part that this won’t be for legalists… i cannot wait to share your story and God’s miracle with several people that I know are in total bondage. Gay, I am a former pit-dweller myself and I now lead a bible study class and am experiencing what God can do and has done in my life. i will pray for you to stay focused on the one that set us free. PLEASE keep sharing your miracle with us! God bless you!

  41. 1041
    heather says:

    Hi Gay,
    Looking so forward to reading your story. Thank you for your boldness and honesty to share here with us. Many blessings and love 🙂

  42. 1042
    Diane Ringenberg says:

    Welcome. Welcome Home.

  43. 1043
    Kate says:

    Dearest Gay,
    Thank you for your courage to share. I am passing your story on to a friend who needs hope right now. The Lord is using you to help others.
    I am confident that God will continue to bless you in your obedience to use your story for His glory! xoxo

  44. 1044
    Carolyn says:

    Oh, Gay. Praise God for your miracle. Thank you for sharing, and Beth, thank you for being a vessel and allowing your sister, and sister-n-Christ, to share through your blog. God is Still the God of miracles!

  45. 1045
    Nancy, Georgia says:

    Greetings Gay, God Bless you. There is Victory in Jesus! I am excited to hear your witness. Love, Nancy

  46. 1046
    Shaunessy says:

    I’ve been reading this blog for over a year now and believe I’ve only posted once. This is a blessing. I don’t know how many times as I read these entries tears get sucked out of my face. 🙂 I love that you shared your sister Beth. I love that you shared your heart Gay. I love that our Lord God is mighty to save! Thank you. And I’ll shout a little “Whoop Whoop” for a thousand sober days. Awesome. Can’t wait to read more!

  47. 1047
    Michelle V says:

    Thank you, Gay for sharing your story with us! It touched me in ways you will never know. I will be praying for you! I’m looking forward to having you as part of the Siesta community! You are a beautiful inspiration.

  48. 1048
    Valerie says:

    So glad to hear your story, and look forward to more of it! Know that you are doing God’s work in sharing your testimony…you are also completing the steps, are you not? So happy and proud of you!

  49. 1049
    Kristin says:

    I praise God that you are “getting out there” and sharing your story! I have no doubt that the Lord will use your testimony to bring many souls in His kingdom. And I also believe your courage will encourage others to share their story too. Thank you!

  50. 1050
    Jill_in_AL says:

    Any sister of Beth’s is a siesta to me! I’ve haven’t read your part of the post yet but before I even did wanted to send you love and hugs and joy and blessings, J

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