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. 201
    Jenn says:

    1000days!!!!! Praise to the Lord the ALMIGHTY! My husband was 6months sober when I met him 21.5yrs ago, and so I know what a God-sized work this number is. Gay, I’m ecstatic for you that, not only have you found freedom from bondage, you have found freedom from condemnation, ESP the sel-inflicted kind. You know Whom you have believed and are PERSUADED that He is able. A lovely beginning to your story. Keep speakin that truth plainly.

  2. 202

    Gay (and Beth), thank you SO much for opening your lives to us and sharing with us. I can tell it’s going to be amazing — in fact, it’s already amazing! And all I can say is we love you, Gay, already!

  3. 203
    kdc says:

    Brennan Manning is a serious favorite of mine as well. Welcome!! I look forward to hearing your story.

  4. 204
    Teri says:

    Gay – Hugs from a distance!!! You just did something so brave and powerful.

  5. 205
    Vicki says:

    Dear Gay – Congrats on 1000 days! That is so fantastic and I’m praising God with you right now. Thank you for sharing your story… I know it will be a blessing to all of us.

  6. 206
    Donna says:

    Thank you. It is a privilage to meet you and cannot wait to hear from you again!
    Praying God’s riches in Christ Jesus for you sweet Siesta.

  7. 207
    Lisa Elliott says:

    Thank you both – Beth and Gay – for sharing with all of us. God is indeed a BIG God. I can’t wait to read more of His story.

  8. 208
    Sharon says:

    Gay,… Beth,… I’m crying myself. I, too, have a sister (Need I say more?)

    Not only that, alcohol never has been my thing. Nor has drugs. But make no mistake, I’ve lived “under the influence” and been “drugged” around by sin to places no face-fixed-girl-upon-her-Savior’s would go to live in His freedom! I love God’s pursuit of His children! I love His determined persistence that continues still “working on me” after He’s saved them. I love that He saves. And that He’s still saving with every new next breath that we breathe. And I love how He uses our stories, our yuck, our horror, our ugly, to then go and tell another and bring Him ultimate glory as the Display of His Splendor that He’s so miraculous made us! What kind of God is the God that we serve!

    Gay, I’ve prayed about and wanted to meet you for years! What a pleasure and honor to finally be able to do so! Praise God for His continual GOoDness!

  9. 209
    Tami says:

    Thank you Gay for making yourself so vulnerable. My mom is newly recovering (3 months) and struggling with depression….the honeymoon stage of recovery came to a quick halt. I can’t wait to share your story with her! I will be praying for you. Thank you!

  10. 210
    Kayla Joy says:

    Gay, thank you so much for sharing and for your wonderful transparency. I am a college freshman, and right now am in a period where God is healing me and growing me from the failures of my past. To see the trust you have in him by willing to give him absolutely EVERYTHING is so encouraging!

  11. 211
    Ellen says:

    Grace and peace to you, sweet siesta in the faith!

  12. 212
    Karen says:

    Never read this blog but wow. What a testimony! Gay, I am so happy for you and your family. To think of all the prayers they haves prayed and too see a 1000 days of sobriety is a gift! Wonderful! Praise the Lord!

  13. 213
    Bailey says:

    Oh thank you so much for this. From my heart to yours Gay, thank you.

  14. 214
    Laura says:

    A thousand days. Wow. That is so huge! Incredible. Inspiring. What an amazing story of redemption. God is great!!!

  15. 215
    Melanie says:

    Dear Gay,
    I am so glad you have the courage to share your story with us. I believe that everybody involved in this blog community will be blessed by your words but for now, I hope you’ll be blessed by a few of mine. My father was the worst alcoholic I’ve ever known, and I’ve known a few. My very first memory of life on this planet is being held in my mother’s arms while she ran as fast as she could in the middle of the night because my dad was looking for his gun. My brother was holding her hand and struggling to keep up. It was not an empty threat; he meant to kill us. He was caught driving drunk countless times. Once, the police thought their testing equipment was broken because they couldn’t believe that anybody could be that drunk and remain Conscious. But praise be to the Lord Jesus, God got ahold of him and never let go. Only God could do it, and He did! My dad’s a walking testimony. And you are, too. Be blessed!

    • 215.1
      Lina says:

      I have almost the same memory of my dad as yours described here. Praise God for His grace and mercy! My dad has been with Jesus since 1994. He didn’t know freedom from his addictions on this earth but he knew the Lord and for that I am grateful.

  16. 216
    Anon says:

    Gay, thank you for sharing your story. I am looking forward to reading the rest of it. I have addiction issues as well….with food. I am in the midst of fighting this long battle. Just can’t seem to overcome. Your story gives me hope as I read through all you had lost and made it through with God’s help. Praise God! Rejoicing with you in your freedom =)

  17. 217
    Ina says:

    Oh, the wonder and glory of answered prayer! What an encouragement to get a glimpse of a changed life. Congrats on 1,000 days of hard work and thank you Jesus for 1,000 days of freedom!

  18. 218
    Kim Kauffman says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us! I can already tell that God is going to use it in my life. This was such a blessing for me. Looking forward to reading the rest.

  19. 219
    Bethany says:

    So awesome!!! I can’t wait to read more. THANK YOU for sharing your story, Gay. (By the way, incredible writing skills must run in the family!)

  20. 220
    Kelly says:

    Thank you somuch for posting this. This is only the 2nd time I have written on this blog. By reading this Gay,(with my eyes burning tears) I know there is hope for my four adult children who have turned their backs on God, they are lovely children, but need to know God loves them tremendously. Thank you soooo much:)

  21. 221
    Sandra Hanrahan says:

    Praise be to our God for the testimony of your life, may He continue to lead you and give you the strength and the words, as you share what He has done for you and your family, I’m looking forward to read the rest of your story in the weeks to come, and I will pray for you as you continue to be a witness for His glory! Hugs

  22. 222
    Sandy says:

    I’m the older sister and although we did not experience alcoholism we do share the love of Christ that binds us all together. Thank you Gay.

  23. 223
    mariel says:

    Oh bless bless bless Jesus! Your story and testimony is needed for so many! Preach on, sweet Gay, preach on!!!

  24. 224
    Julie Reynolds says:

    Sweet Gay, thank you so much for sharing your testimony with us! I am humbled by your words.

    I have prayed for you several times over the years, at every Bible Study or LPM event where Beth would mention a family member who was in the pit of sin, I would pray for you and for my mentor/friend Beth and the ache in her heart. It is such grace to me to finally hear from you.

    While listening to the “Eat, Pray Love”series I almost wrecked my car the first time I heard Beth tell of your healing and deliverance. I was so excited for your whole family. I am overjoyed to hear your words, your victory dance so to speak!

    I love you Gay Tuttle! and although we havent met, I hope one day to be able to rejoice with you in person over His grace and mercy in our lives. If you are around the SSMTCelebration – I hope to hug your neck!!

    And “Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us—to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 HCSB)


    • 224.1
      Beth says:

      Hey, Julie! It may have been Gay I was talking about at times who was “in a pit” but it may have also been one of a few others. Grin. Our extended family is very colorful, you might say, but hardly anybody out-sinned me. However, that was most definitely Gay I was boasting in the Lord about in Eat, Pray, Love. So glad you rejoiced with us! We’re honored to serve you!

  25. 225
    Janet Cline says:

    1,000 days – that’s something to celebrate – woohoo!!
    Thank you so much for your transparency. Can hardly wait to read the rest of your story!

  26. 226
    Rhonda McClellan says:

    Dear Siesta Gay, Thank you for sharing with us. How unselfish is the sister who will share her testimony for the glory of God’s Kingdom. Your words will bring comfort, encouragement and healing forth in another precious life. It’s the domino effect that God created! (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) I love that we can know that Jesus takes our hurts and turns them into a redemption story. Praying for you and with you as you minister to others. You are loved! Jesus bless you!

  27. 227
    Patty says:

    I am celebrating and rejoicing with you! Thank you for sharing your story!! I can’t wait to hear the rest of your story! But God!

  28. 228
    Redeemed says:

    THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. You have no idea how badly I needed to hear this today. Although my story may not look exactly like yours, I am just as desperate for the BIG GOD you so wonderfully speak of! I needed to be reminded just how close He is today. THANK YOU!

  29. 229
    Annette says:

    “Just let her share with you a vivid flesh-and-blood illustration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”. – that is exactly what I took from even this first entry. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing Gay.

  30. 230
    Wendy says:

    Welcome Gay! I am honored to read your story and rejoice with you in the power of Jesus’ healing love!

  31. 231
    Amy says:

    One of my best friends is a recovering alcoholic. He now has 145 days of sobriety! He will tell you that the only reason he has any sobriety is because of the grace of God. Gay you are going to touch so many lives with your story! Thank you for having the courage to speak!

  32. 232
    Christy Pond says:

    Wow, powerful story! God bless you for being brave enough to share it! Thank you so much!

  33. 233
    Becky says:

    Hello Gay, good to met you, and welcome to the blog. Congrats on your 1,000 days of sobriety.
    My dad was an alcoholic, Oh how wonderful it would have been if he had trusted Jesus like you did, and allowed Christ to take that from him.
    We may not share the same struggle, but we all have something that controls us from time to time. Thanks for sharing and reminding me that no matter what the struggle is, Jesus can and will heal of us it totally, we just need to ask for his help and allow him to do so.

  34. 234
    Jima says:

    Bless you. Thank you for sharing!

  35. 235
    marita says:

    Thank you Beth for sharing your Sister, Our Siesta Gay.
    Thank you Gay for sharing your story. Looking forward to reading more.
    Thank you God, for Beth and Gay and their desire to glorify you!

  36. 236
    Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I am a recovered meth addict. I completed Teen Challenge in April of last year. I can totally relate to this story and can’t wait to hear more about the freedom you have experienced and are experiencing now. Praying that God’s strength would overwhelm you both throughout these next couple weeks!

  37. 237
    Dona says:

    Gay,such a blessing to meet you! Your story leads me to praise the Lord, and gives me the anchor of fresh hope for some folks I have been praying for! Thank you so much for the encouragement. Blessings and favor from God, our Savior!

  38. 238
    Volleyball Ginger says:

    all I can say is WOW! Thank you Gay for sharing with all of us Siestas! Our God is certainly being glorified through your testimony. Perhaps we’ll see you at the Celebration this weekend…..

    Wetumpka, AL

  39. 239
    Meredith says:

    I love you Gay! And so thankful to have you and your family in my life!
    I look forward to seeing how God uses you for His Kingdom purposes. He truly turns our ashes into beauty!

  40. 240
    Kathy says:

    Thank you for sharing and look forward to hearing the rest of the story of God’s work. It takes real courage for you to share and I thank you for that.

  41. 241
    Christy says:

    Gay, thanks for your post. I am 1,262 days sober (not that I’m counting!). Still striving to find how I fit in the church. I love Jesus but feel more comfortable in the “rooms” than in the sanctuary. I recently got told I can go to church or meetings… Not both. I’m trying to figure out recovery and being a part of a church. I need to hear your story… So do my still suffering friends.

    Thanks sista.


    • 241.1
      Alison says:

      Congratulations on your days sober! You can have both…check out a Celebrate Recovery in your area. It is a Christ-center recovery program.

  42. 242
    Casey says:

    Welcome Home Sweet Siesta Gay!!

    Your willingness to share your journey humbles my heart and gives hope to my prayers for those I love still in the wilderness.

    Bless you dear Siesta!

  43. 243
    carmen says:

    ::huge hug::

    much love from my heart to yours

  44. 244
    Jennifer T says:

    Oh Bless you for sharing! Your story is amazing. Praying for you, siesta… especially at night.

  45. 245
    Nancy says:

    I have tears of joy in my eyes and my heart is bursting with the courage and honesty of your journey. Thank you.

  46. 246
    Amberley says:

    Praise be to God!
    Thank you, Gay, for for sharing your story – HIS story!
    You are LIVING PROOF that our God is a God of miracles! It is such an encouragement to me to hear how God works in and through our lives and through prayer. Thank you for the blessing of sharing your testimony! I can’t wait to hear more!

    Love, Amberley

  47. 247
    Sherri m says:

    Thank you Beth and Gay for sharing life with us. God so used you to speak a word to me today. I am a new creation in Him as well and He confirmed to me through you that I need to share my story with whoever will listen. I must be willing just as you are. Thank you.

  48. 248
    Lisa says:

    Gay you are an amazing daughter of Christ! Thank you for sharing your story. I lift you up as I do all the Siestas today. We all need our Great God to bring us through for His glory!

  49. 249
    moosemama says:

    Hi Gay!
    You are loved, accepted, and most welcomed in this community! So looking forward to getting to know you!


  50. 250
    Heather says:

    Thank you for agreeing to share your story with us, Gay. Although your painful story will undoubtedly bring us to tears, your story will also help us all to shed our own private tears about the hurts that eventually showed us that we are nothing without Jesus Christ.

    I thank God every day for your sister Beth and how her ministry affects my life. And just from your brief introduction, I have a feeling I will be adding you to my list as well.

    God bless you as you travel this road. And remember that all of your sisters are here for you.

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