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. 351
    Maryellen says:

    Welcome Gay, thank you for sharing your journey so open and honestly. It brings me hope for my family. Alcohol has had its hold on my family for generations. And sadly still does.

    I look so forward to the rest of your story of hope, redemption and strength to the Glory of God !

    Blessings dear one,

  2. 352
    Becky says:

    I am so thrilled to “meet” you. Thank you for trusting us with your story. We love you already!!!

  3. 353
    laurie mcelroy says:

    precious gay – thank you, sweet sister, for sharing your heart so candidly. it takes courage that can only come from our precious Father above to open yourself up so honestly. i can not wait to get to know you better and hear more of your life and how God healed you and still carries you every single one of your 1000 days.. tomorrow is 1001!
    blessings to you! praying for you ~

  4. 354
    Angela says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I sat here reading with tears running down my face. As someone who comes from a history and family history of substance abuse, I think you are so BRAVE for sharing this.

  5. 355
    Trish Lenz says:

    Gay,what a testimony you have about how GREAT our God is and how HE never gives up on us! God Bless you, Bless you!

    The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love and rejoice over you with singing”! Zephaniah 3:17

    Blessings ~ Trish

  6. 356
    sherry says:

    I just thought of something…when you wrote that wanted to remember…it made me think of that song, “Heal the wound but leave the scars…” I think it’s sung by Point of Grace…BLESSINGS upon Blesssings!

  7. 357
    Gay Tillman says:

    You go, girl!!! I am, and most importantly, your Jesus, is so, so, so very proud of you!!!! Both mine and my husband’s family have been plagued with alcoholism and I have seen the devastation it causes and how hard it is to break away. You are right – only by the power of the Great I Am – can you break away, and you did!!!! You will bring much hope to millions!!! He has an awesome – Eph. 3:20 – plan for your future!! That is just the beginning. He has a treasure chest of miracles waiting to bestow upon you!!

  8. 358
    ULCARDSFAN says:

    Welcome Gay!
    I was at a LPL when Beth shared a message from the Mercy Street newsletter, I believe, and at the end she told us ( with your permission) that her precious sister had written it. Praise God for restoration and mercy and grace. Looking forward to “talking” with you more here in Siestaville!
    Love, Linda

  9. 359
    Tina Davis says:

    Welcome Gay!!! WOW!! Your story is so so so powerful! Thank you for daring to share to all of us your experiences. I was told how amazing you are and have even had the pleasure of meeting you quickly…don’t even think you should remember. It was just a privilege for me. Your testimony provides hope that some day family members of ours will have similar stories! It’s never too late for somebody and thank you for reminding us of that.

    You are an amazing writer…must run in the family and an amazingly strong woman…another family trait, I’m sure. I’m looking forward to reading more!
    Praising Jesus for your story and for you! 1000 days of sobriety! AMAZING!! Giving GOD the GLORY!

  10. 360
    laura russell says:

    Dear Gay,
    I am so honored that you are sharing your story with us Siestas…WE love you and are excited to what GOD has in store for us all

    With much love,


  11. 361
    Sister Lynn says:

    Dearest Gay,

    We love you dearly here in Siestaville! Thank you for your courage to share your testimony. I LOVE hearing about the mighty power of God – I look forward to reading your story of redemption.

    Know that your sisters Siestas are praying for you.
    With much love,
    Sister Lynn

  12. 362
    Valerie says:

    Thank you.

  13. 363
    Jamie in Katy says:

    Gay, thank you for your willingness to share what Christ has done for you. Alcoholism has so hurt my family, and I know that your testimony will minister to many. You’ve touched my heart, & I am praying for you, sweet one.

  14. 364
    Linda says:


    Amen and Amen. What a story. Without testamonies like yours there would be so many people without Hope. Thank you for giving Hope to Siestas on the same journey as you.

    God Bless!

  15. 365
    KatieBee says:

    Oh Siesta Gay – We love you!!! Welcome and THANK YOU so much for sharing your story….HIS story. Cannot wait to hear more from you 🙂

  16. 366
    Carol says:

    Precious Gay!! Welcome to the family of Siestaville and sisters who are here to love on you, stand with you and praise the Lord Jesus with you. Thank you for sharing your tesimony of what a BIG AND MIGHTY GOD we serve, of redemption and hope. I look forward to hearing more of your story as you share with us. We love you and Beth and it is such a pleasure to meet you. Praising God for you and the great things He has done in your life.

  17. 367
    sister sheri says:

    Dear Gay, thank you for being bold and sharing the miracle that you are. You are providing hope for so many. Not just those with problems like yours, but with anyone who might think that there is NO HOPE. Jesus is it. He is the ONLY WAY. I love that you want to boast about Him. I love Him so much and love reading how He treats each one as precious. Looking forward to hearing more of your story… and His story, too!

  18. 368
    Kendra Schwartz says:

    O my stinkin’ word! I am so happy for you! Praise God! You indeed give us hope for my meth/alcohol/pot addicted 46 yr. old sister….shame on me for giving up hope! Thank you for your story and for bravely baring your heart to us. Congratulations on 1000 hard fought days!

  19. 369
    Mary Painter says:

    You are much loved sister and it is an honor to meet you. I can’t wait for the rest of your story to unfold before our eyes in Siestaville. You are brave and we will hold you with the most tender of hearts.
    Loving you,

  20. 370

    Wow! I love you already Siesta Gay. That was so well put. Can’t wait to read more and can’t help but think He has great things in store for you! Thanks for sharing.

  21. 371
    Donielle Mann says:

    Welcome home Gay! Welcome home!

  22. 372

    Oh Gay, its Allison, your x-alcholic friend met you a couple of years ago at Beth’s study and share I had gotten off the sauce in May 2009. Oh Gay, wow, your story, so deep, so real and that God brought you up and out of the bit and what a blessing to have a such a wonderful sister, Beth, who hung, hangs right on to you and prayed and prayed and stayed and stayed and stayed and never gave up just like Jesus but it was Jesus in her that never gave up. Jesus in you never gave up, though you gave up. I can relate. Thank you for letting me see how bad it got for you and thinking there is no deep so deep that he can’t go deeper still, that was from Corrie Ten Boom, but so true and reminds me of you, what a blaze, what a heart, what encouragement you are to me!!!! YAH Love you. (do you remember me? I hope so. hehe) Allison!

  23. 373
    Joy French says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and yourself with us. I will look forward to hearing more about your journey. Much love – joy~

  24. 374
    Linda says:

    Wow, the Lord is being magnified through your story! We thank Him for prompting you to tell it. The Isaiah portion of scripture you shared is so beautiful and it is one I memorized two years ago right before God called me to minister to inmates in our city. I’d never been in a jail prior to that but God is bringing people into His kingdom every week there. He is setting captives free and releasing prisoners from darkness. I look forward to the rest of your story. I hope you know what a loved sister you are here in Siestaville.

    Will you be at the SSMT event this weekend? I have an extra spiral if you need it to get in!

  25. 375

    x-alcholic friend (I hope that made sense!) X- from Alcohol but friend!

  26. 376
    Sarah S. says:

    Oh, I am simply tickled to finally meet Gay! Girl, come on in here and let us {{hug}} you!! Want to hear God at even more work? I am going through the remake of David: A Heart Like His with my ladies group at church. At one point in the video, Beth says that her sister is there that night, and she (Beth) can’t wait for the day that she (Gay) will be able to share her story, but it’s Gay’s to tell. I remember thinking, “Well, that sounds like an amazing story full of God’s power. Can’t wait to hear that!” Gay, thank you SO much for sharing God’s work in your life!

  27. 377
    Anonymous says:

    Oh, wow! I love hearing your story and can’t wait to hear the rest. I come from a family of 8….6 kids….2 of my siblings are addicts who are both in recovery right now..THANK YOU, LORD!!!!! We grew up in a Christian home and in church hearing about Jesus our whole lives. I don’t remember a time where we weren’t memorizing Scripture. My dad is a doctor and my mom a stay at home mom. Everyone thought our family was perfect. Addiction can happen to anyone….churgoing or not!!! My siblings don’t have 1,000 days yet but I am hoping and praying they will! My brother has a little over a year and my sister has about six months. My brother also lived on the streets…and spent some nights in jail, too. There were many nights when we didn’t know if he was alive. We listen to his stories now in awe and my goodness, how he loves Jesus! It is AWESOME to see!!! And, one of his favorite authors is Brennan Manning, too! 🙂 I am so so thankful for people like you, Gay, who have been there and KNOW first hand what it is like to be an addict. You can help others because you have been there! My sister wants to help others, too. She gets it. When Beth was writing at the beginning of this post, I had tears in my eyes because I know how wonderful and what a relief it is to have a sibling back on track! God is so good and works miracles and both my siblings recoveries have been just that…straight out MIRACLES from the Lord!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story!!!!

  28. 378
    Climber Mama says:

    YEPPIE!!! You are so loved and welcome here & I cannot wait to read more! THANK YOU for letting your light shine all around the “blogging” neighborhood & beyond – we are all so encouraged. 1000 days…that is something to shout the GLORY! May His love continue to light your path and release His plan – much love! Heather =)

  29. 379
    Trinna says:

    I praise God for you, Gay! Thank you for sharing your story with us. Our God is amazing.

  30. 380
    sharon says:

    Thank you Gay, Iam so humbled and honored to be able to read your story. Praise God for what He has done in

    your life and for what He will do through your willingness to share your story. God Bless you in a might way!!! Can’t wait to read more from you.

  31. 381
    Marcy says:

    Hi Gay, my name is Marcy and I am a supporter 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story…and praise to Jesus!!! I had the honor of attending 2 meetings with my sister over Christmas vacation…she just completed 8 mos. at a TC, and it’s a miracle too, she is alcoholic/addict and when I had given up hope of ever getting my sister walks the King of Kings!!! You keep on sharing because God knows there are so many who need to hear it. Keep doing the hard thing sister.

  32. 382
    Janice Lee says:

    Gay – Welcome! I am reminded through your words that our scars and wounds, the deliverance and grace God has lavished upon us, is part of each of our individual stories and in sharing the not-so-glamourous parts we have the opportunity to give God the glory and praise and point others to Him!

    How often it just seems easier to deal with our crap and then let shmae hide the fact we ever had anything to deal with – all the while missing the opportunity to share Christ’s redemptive love with others.

    Thank you for the courageous reminder today to be willing to step out in faith and share with others!

  33. 383


  34. 384
    Judy Googins says:

    Dear Gay, Thank you, sweet Siesta, for sharing your story and the victory that God is giving you through his grace. You are doing just what Paul encouraged us to do in II Corinthians 1:3 :”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” You are letting God’s comfort flow straight through you!!I am both the daughter and the mother of alcoholics. My son has been in recovery now over 90 days, and I am thanking God daily for answering my prayers on his behalf. I look forward to hearing more of your story. Welcome! Welcome!

  35. 385
    Laurie says:

    Hi Gay! Bravo girlfriend. I can’t wait to hear God’s story through you.

  36. 386
    Laura Lyn Benoit says:

    Hello Gay,
    Thank you for trusting Him enough to share your story with us. We all have our stories, and it was your sister, Beth, who gave me the courage to get real with Jesus… and then finally share my story with others. And then women would come out of the woodwork to share their stories with me. We need each other and it’s healing to be in a safe environment – of non-judgementalism – like our Jesus. It’s a freedom to be free and totally forgiven. I rejoice with you & the journey you are on!
    Many Blessings to you Gay!

  37. 387
    Becky says:

    I am so eager to hear your whole story. We have a dear family member who is an alcoholic who we have been praying for for years, and honestly, this story cannot have come at a better time. My family needs to cling to Hope, and hearing your story will remind us that we still have Hope, even in the midst of a lot of pain and seemingly unanswered prayers. Praise God that He is faithful in your life and, yes, in the life of our dear family member!

  38. 388

    Dear Gay,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story here. It means far more to me than you could know. I so look forward to hearing more!!
    Our God is so good and so faithful. Yes I have hope, but sometimes it seems so faint…My heart is so full now after reading. Thank you!

    In His love,
    michelle in VT

  39. 389
    texatlast says:

    What a powerful testimony you have. God has worked in your life in ways I have never known, but just to hear of it gives me hope for family that still struggle. My dad died almost 6 years ago from alcoholism. It is too late for him, but I will continue to pray for other family members. God is good all the time. Thank you so much for sharing with us. God bless and I’m glad to meet another wonderful siesta


  40. 390
    Barbara says:

    I am forever grateful for the timing of your story. I look forward to hearing how Almighy God has restored you. Oh HE IS A GOD OF RESTORATION. I have a friend who can’t make it 1000 minutes right now and I intend to share your story with her. Pray for Francis….I love you already :)Barb

  41. 391
    Pat says:

    Welcome Gay! Thank you for sharing your story with us. I have tears in my eyes. Your story resonates with many of us, having experienced family, friends, and ourselves in hopeless addictions. Our Lord is so good and gracious! May the Lord bless you always!!

  42. 392
    Angie says:

    Thank you, God for sisters! Thank you, Gay for your transparency! You have no idea how many people you are helping today with your openness and honesty. This is my favorite post I have ever read on your blog, Beth and I have being a part of this blog community for years!

    Crying happy tears with you!
    Angie in Michigan

  43. 393
    ForeverHis says:

    Gay, welcome to Siestaville! I am so thrilled to “meet” you. Thank you for sharing your story. I have prayed for you even before I knew who you were and our wonderful God is so faithful. I could hardly get through the blog without crying tears of joy for you and Beth. What a wonderful miracle. I so look forward to hearing more from you. Praying for you and your ministry. It is needed so badly in this desperate, scary world. Thank you again for sharing.

    Phil 4:8

  44. 394
    Kristi says:

    This will bring MANY WOMEN and MEN hope! YAY for God in you, Gay! Also, I can tell you and Beth are sisters cuz you talk (or write as it were) alike! 😉 Love you both TONS!

    Kristi in Oregon!

  45. 395
    Kristi says:

    What an incredible story! Thank you for sharing your experience, strength, and hope!! I look forward to hearing more of your incredible journey! My husband is a recovering addict, with almost 2 years of sobriety. I, personally, have found my own recovery in the rooms of Al-Anon and celebrate 3 years in program next month!! Thank you for hving the courage to share your story!! God bless you!!

    One Day At a Time,

  46. 396
    Elizabeth says:

    To God be the glory, great things He has done! Thank you for your courage to share – what a blessing you are to so many people walking this road. May God continue to speak through you.
    Love – Elizabeth

  47. 397

    ANOTHER WRITER!!!!!!!!!!!! How glorious! I can’t wait for more and I am praising Jesus with you for His mighty grace!

  48. 398
    sweet anonymous says:

    Dearest Lord Jesus,
    Thank you for our precious sister Gay. How beautiful she shines for you. Thank you Lord that the feet that once carried her over the hot pavement have carried her into your sweet embrace once again, and now carry a message of hope to those who have felt so hopeless. Thank you Lord for the seed of hope planted in my heart for my alcoholic family and so many others. How lovely are the feet of them who bring good news. I pray for your anointing on Gay and I thank you Lord for the mighty work you are going to do through her. I for one can’t wait to hear about it. Be blessed dear sister and welcome to Siestaville! We love you!
    In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  49. 399
    Jan says:

    Hi Sweet Gay, Welcome to Siestaville. We are so honored that you have joined us and are sharing your experiences. We all have much to learn from you. I have listened to your little sister speak for many years and have grown tremendously in my relationship with God because of her bible studies. I can tell that you are a wonderful writer and storyteller also. Thank you for sharing your story. I love you, sister.

    Thank you, Beth, for sharing your sister with us.

  50. 400
    Andrea Porter says:

    Dear Siesta,
    Hope, Hope, we all need that and you are a living testament to that very thing. What courage you have, what generosity, to share your story with us, I am humbled by your courage. Thank you and please share more of your story, it is inspiring. Sing it Siesta
    !!!!!!!!! Loud and proud, you have, in my opinion, earned it by losing your life to our savior and gaining a new one, from our mighty God. You ROCK!!!!!!!!! 🙂
    With Much Love,

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