My Sister, Gay’s, Fifth Installment: Stepping Out On the Water

First Installment: Meet My Sister

Second Installment: The Functioning Years

Third Installment: The Maelstrom

Fourth Installment: Like Sunlight Burning at Midnight


The fifth out of seven installments from my sister, Gay, to you…


I was never the same after that night … and who would want to be anyway???

I think there is a lot of fear in change.  Fear of the unknown, of what we will become, of who we really are, of life, failure, being uncomfortable, not being good enough, pain, and how to handle or ease that pain.  Addicts and alcoholics have found a solution for pain.  For me and many of my friends, alcohol wasn’t just the problem; it was the SOLUTION.  So now, since I have anesthesized my pain for a lifetime, I am in FEAR, because the pain might kill me.  I might come apart at the seams.  And then what?  The unknown.  More fear.  I’ve been told that when the pain of holding on becomes greater than the fear of letting go, that THAT is when we become willing to give up the drug (the painKILLER) and step out onto the living water of faith.

I knew that I couldn’t stay in Sugar Land forever, that my time there was limited.  It was the FIRST TIME I had not had visions of grandeur, of being able to put my little family back together.  I had repeated that time and time again to no avail and had ended up in relapse every single time.  All I knew was that God had performed a miracle in my life that very night under the bridge and that I owed Him, my family and mySELF my very best shot this time, for THIS TIME, I feared, would be my last.  Otherwise, I would surely die.  My ONLY option, the only one this Miracle God deserved was for me to do what He put in front of me to do to the best of my ability, and what I became so aware of later was that where my ability failed, His took over!  He continued to supply me with strength and perseverance to endure the race He had set before me, one day at a time.

For three days, Tut gave me a roof over my head, a so-very-soft-comfy-warm bed to sleep in (ahhh), food to eat and a phone.  He did not make one call for me.  I knew it was my responsibility to get busy and find help.  I did that — it was what God put in front of me to do for those three days.  The only place in the Greater Houston Area that would take me with no insurance, no money and no I.D. was a women’s detox center in Pasadena called New Hope — so beautifully named, isn’t it?  Now, New Hope is not a fancy-schmancy place like my first treatment center was, in fact, it isn’t a treatment center at all.  It is a house for women to non-medically detox from alcohol (and some other drugs), getting fully sober and staying that way through living the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  My sweet sisters, God did not drop me onto the church steps to get sober.  He dropped me smack back into AA again — not weak, watered-down AA but what I love to call Nazi-AA.  New Hope does not play.  They require 4 meetings per day followed by hours of Big Book study (the AA text) followed by getting a sponsor and working the 12 Steps.  Period.  Or you get kicked out!  God knew that I had not HEARD all of the prior times He had put me there and He meant for me to HEAR this time.  He meant for me to hear that I was alcoholic and that He had provided a most wonderful solution for me that required work on my part.  He meant for me to ACT!!!

This reminds me of a scripture that Beth has memorized and taught on several times:

“Therefore get your minds ready for action by being fully sober.”  1 Peter 1:13.

I could turn those words around and say, “Therefore get your minds ready for sobriety by being fully ACTIVE.”

Sweet sisters, this disease lives to kill.  It is chronic, progressive and FATAL.  There is no wonder that a smaller percentage of us recover from it than fall victim to it because it is also a disease of DENIAL.  We continue to try to convince ourselves over and over again that WE DON’T HAVE IT!!  I believe that it is the enemy’s most powerful tool and that there is no amount of ACTION too great to arm ourselves with the tools required to fight it.  I also believe that the enemy is hateful, insidious and low-down enough to use our faith in the Power of God to keep us from using the very tools that He has provided for us to ARM OURSELVES!!!  I beg you do not under-estimate the power of this disease.  I watch the walking wounded come through the doors of Mercy Street every Saturday night, back in treatment again, back from jail again, back off the street again, and I wonder how many won’t make it back the next time.  I made it back purely by the extravagant, unlimited grace of God — I should have died out there.  My friend, Jerry, did die out there.  He drank himself to death and was found in a puddle of vomited blood inside an abandoned house in Texarkana, Texas alone.  He was 39 years old.  I know that he is with Jesus and I know I will see him again in Heaven, SOBER.  But, my friends, Christ means for us to have FREEDOM in the land of the living.

For you, LORD, have delivered me from death,

my eyes from tears,

my feet from stumbling,

that I may walk before the LORD

in the land of the living.

Psalm 116:8-9

I wrote these words to Beth as she prepared to go to a conference where she would speak about 1 Peter 1:13 above.  It is the shortest description of what I did to HONOR MY GOD and get to where I am today.  I have edited it just a tad here and there but, for the most part, it is in tact.

To Beth, August 2011:

It has been my experience that sobriety and action are symbiotic.  One cannot exist without the other.  I must get sober, e.g. put down the drink, detox, go into treatment, in order to perform the action required to stay sober and subsequently follow God’s will and purpose for my life.  It’s not easy!!  It takes a lot of work.  It takes a lot of action.  Today, I do what I do (Mercy Street, treatment centers, the Houston Council on Alcohol and Drugs, sponsor ladies and take them through the steps, go to meetings, share my testimony, experience strength and hope) for many reasons but the gift, the by-product, is that I get to stay sober and without sobriety I am nothing and I am able to DO nothing.

To document all the work that I have done over the last two years and four months is far more than you want to muddle through, believe me, but I will tell you this.  When God jerked me up off that concrete in mid-April 2009, He dropped me in AA, not in church.  I might have liked for Him to drop me in church but He didn’t.  I knew that I had blown all of my other chances, all of the other times that He had dropped me in that very same place.  I had to do something different which was ANYTHING but sitting around waiting for Him to heal me and DOING nothing.  I had to abandon my way and do it His way.  I had to unweave all of my plans and trust HIS PLAN.  Right there, right then, on April 20, 2009, His way for me was AA.  I could see that as clear as a bell, no questions asked.  He has required a lot of work from me, a lot of action, one day at a time, whatever He put in front of me that day.  It started with chores and following simple house rules followed by getting a sponsor and working the steps.  I believe that God has wanted me to do that work all along but that I was too stubborn or prideful or entitled or all of the above to do it.  I knew that it was working because at 90 days sober I not only had 90 days sober but the obsession to drink alcohol, which I had battled with for 37 years, had been removed.  Poof!  Just like that.  I was neither thinking about drinking nor thinking about not drinking.  It was not a thought at all.  I was calm and acting sanely and normally.  Step 2:  Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to SANITY.  Bingo!  Poof!  Done!  Now I have to STAY THAT WAY.  I saw that the work, the ACTION, was paying off more than I had worked (because God was working behind the scenes in my behalf) so I continued on that course of ACTION.

My sweet Sisters, I do not have the words or the white space to say what the process of working the steps did for me.  All I know is that as I wrote down and spoke out and prayed for my enemies and made amends to my loved ones and reached out to another alcoholic, the chains started falling off of me one by one and I was able to wiggle free.  The resentment, fear, unforgiveness, unwillingness, dishonesty, pride and pure-dee SELFISHNESS that had been blocking me from Him fell away and I stood naked, just as I am, in Grace and Gratitude and Awe and Light.  I stood in FREEDOM and in the Pure Love and Favor of God.  To quote Manning again, I had been “seized by the Power of a Great Affection.”  I had experienced a Spiritual Awakening (Step 12).  Talk about replacing the need to self-medicate?  I had found the SOLUTION.  I had found the Power or He had found me.  We had found each other, a match made in Heaven.

On a short walk to the nearest convenience store one hot morning in July 2009, I surrendered my life to My Jesus and promised to follow Him, wherever He may lead me, for the rest of my days and to do what He asks of me.  I spent a lot of time praying and asking God to reveal to me what His purpose was for my life until I finally figured out that His purpose is for me to stay sober, do what He puts in front of me each day, and to step through the doors that He opens for me, despite my fears and my inadequacies.  I didn’t realize at the time that each day was getting me closer to my destiny as I continued to put one foot in front of the other.  The days would turn into weeks, then months, then years and then ONE DAY He would drop me onto the church steps where He was leading me all along!  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD.

It is as simple as this, Ladies.  I had to do something different.  Albert Einstein is quoted as saying “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”  Since I had failed every which way I could possibly fail, I had to do everything different.  I had to do it opposite from how I had done it in the past.  I had not applied anything to my life — I applied everything to my life.  I had not been willing to get a sponsor and work the steps — I got a most wonderful sponsor and worked the steps honestly and wholeheartedly.  I had gotten into relationships that had taken my focus away from my recovery — I had NO RELATIONSHIPS.  I had not been willing to do long-term treatment — I stayed at New Hope for 5-1/2 months and then moved to The Women’s Home in inner-city Houston for 16 months totaling 21-1/2 months of solid, safe, quality care, sobriety and life recovery.  I had prayed to God to deliver me and then expected to wake up sane and sober the next morning and stay that way for a lifetime — I worked my head off day after day in accordance to His will for my life and was graciously given sanity and sobriety in return.

The National Association of Christian Recovery states this:  “NACR is passionate about joining the work of Jesus in the world — partnering with, instigating, resourcing, disturbing, advocating and influencing the manifold ways that Christ seeks to transform and liberate those in addiction.”  Manifold is defined as “of many kinds; numerous and varied.”  God has created and provided numerous and varied paths to recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous simply being one of them and the one that worked for this serious, hardcore, dedicated, classic, textbook alcoholic.  Whichever path you choose, do it with all your heart, all your strength and all your might.  I had to put sobriety first and foremost in my life for without it I had nothing and could do nothing.  By doing that, I put God first and He has honored that wholly in me.  Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  In my case, sobriety is His kingdom!  And He has stood by His promise over these 34 months and 3 days to usher in the rest of what I so desired and much, much more that I never could have imagined.

Oh, by the way, if you walk into the doors of AA pull your walls down, check your judgment at the door and open your mind, unlearn the habits that have been standing in your way to freedom and be willing to do things different, and hold on tight to the similarities rather than the differences.  Yes, there are non-believers in AA — they just might be in our churches too.  If I go there I might not only GET SOBER but I might, just might, be able to shine the light of Jesus in the darkest night by simply looking straight in the eye of a sister who is scared to death to step out on the water of faith, smiling warmly and saying, “Hello, my name is Gay and I’m an alcoholic.”  Hope.  Everyone needs some.


James 2:17

New International Version (NIV)

17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.


Philippians 2:12-13

New International Version (NIV)

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.




227 Responses to “My Sister, Gay’s, Fifth Installment: Stepping Out On the Water”

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  1. 51
    Beth says:

    Thank you Gay for being AUTHENTIC. I prayed for my brother who was a prescription drug addict for 25 years to come back to Jesus. Little did I know that it would cost him everything, his wife, his step daughters, his health, and so much more. He is now 5 years sober, and God is using him in AA and prison ministries. When I look at his life and hear about yours all I can think is…Beauty for Ashes.
    Truly our God is faithful to all that call upon HIS name.

    • 51.1
      Gay says:

      Beth — That is so awesome about your brother, I’m about to cry! I know that he feels exactly like I do, that he has been delivered from a fate worse than death, a living hell. Oh but isn’t it Beauty for Ashes. Thanks so much for sharing. Tell your brother for me, “You go guy!!”

      Loved you are,

  2. 52
    Anonymous says:

    As much as I appreciate Gay (and those in comments) sharing experience, strength, and hope, and pray that it finds someone (or many) and leads them to find help. I have felt a ‘nudging’ for these past couple of weeks to ask:

    This 12-step program has certain traditions that are what have allowed it to continue since 1935. They are the glue that has held the program together so that it can be there to offer hope and a life to those who have none.

    One such tradition in particular comes to mind involving anonymity at the level of press, radio, and film (which is the reason most refer to ’12-step programs’ rather than names and details) — for a variety of reasons.

    I’m wondering how Gay and Beth came to the conclusions they did to be *this* open and possibly crossing that line, and if respectful consideration to these traditions was given.

    I’m far from being a legalistic in church, or in my program, and tend to be one of the more ‘open’ ones……but God has brought this to my heart and mind with each installment. My understanding has always been that naming the name of the organization at the public level, especially when tied to a specific person’s sobriety, is definitely violating this tradition.

    So I’ve just wondered how Gay and Beth came to the conclusions they did regarding this and how they see it.

    Thank you.

    • 52.1
      Beth says:

      My dear sister, I can answer from this direction. I simply felt led by God to extend my sister, Gay, this platform to tell her particular story of redemption – not through any flesh and blood but – through Christ Jesus Himself. I left how she articulated it to her as I trust her so much and I have found it to be immensely powerful and instructional. She is so careful to say that this is the journey that brought victory for her and that each person must go with God in the path He has appointed for her/his freedom. (I realize that you were not asking about that in particular.) I’ll let Gay answer for herself as I am not acquainted with how the system works but it would seem to me that AA as an organization itself is anything but anonymous since its anonymity would make it unavailable. It would be the participants in the individual meetings who I thought must remain anonymous but I am a long way from knowledgeable about it. Your question is welcome here, Sister! And I felt the kindness and genuine inquiry of it. Thank you for your gracious approach! You are dear to us here. I hope Gay sees this and helps you understand anything further. God’s riches blessings to you.

      • Fran McCurry Plott says:

        Beth,Gay, and Anonymous-
        Anonymous has a valid question, as Tradition 11 of AA does state “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.” Gay’s telling of her story is not to promote public relations for AA. And it seems that a blog is a private tool for communication, not affiliated with press, radio, or film”.
        I hope that helps!
        Gulf Shores

    • 52.2
      Jill says:

      I think this is a great question. Bill W, one of the founders of AA, wrote an article in the 1950’s why AA is Anonymous. I hope I am able to succinctly sumarize what his thoughts were. When he wrote the article AA had been around for over 20 years.

      The goal for AA was for it not to become a for profit entity, nor even a not for profit behemoth. They did not want AA to be bantered around in the political world. ( I think all of of have seen this in recent months with some long standing non- profits.) They did not want it to take on a life unto itself and miss the point. They did not want people to become hooked on the drug AA, and become famous and use AA for their own personal gains or profit. Hence the need for anonymity.

      Having said that, without talking about AA you can’t help others who are in need of help.

      I do believe in my heart of hearts, that secrecy and shame and pride keep many people in the chains of terrible strongholds. I know when I am honest. Really honest about who I really am- I get better. There are people I love that have been ravished by alcoholism. When they get to an honest, and in some ways public, discussion of their disease they get better.

      I believe open dialogue is awesome. I hope I did not over step or over reach-

    • 52.3

      It is the individuals in the program who must remain anonymous. They can reveal themselves but not each other. That is to keep the individual participants safe. Any individual is free to share his or her own story outside the group if they want to. They just can’t share anyone elses story or even the names of the people they see at AA meetings. I hope that helps. Again, that’s so everyone who comes feels safe. If they’re okay with their name being associated with AA they can share that if they want. I’ve never been shy about sharing my involvement with recovery groups, but others don’t want people to know that they go to these and that has to be respected.

    • 52.4
      Gay says:

      Hi Anonymous! — I would have been surprised if someone out here hadn’t challenged me on the 11th tradition. I thank you for that! I’m thrilled that someone is looking out for this most esteemed and beloved “12-step program.” I assure you that I would have only broken an AA tradition through ignorance. I have not only worked the steps, I have studied the traditions and as I re-read the 11th tradition in another book published in 1952 in preparation for this installment, I searched for anything that might suggest that I was stepping over the line. I think the short version of the tradition speaks for itself. “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.” This is simply my story, Anonymous. To tell it without speaking the words Alcoholics Anonymous would be a lie. It is nowhere near public relations nor promotion, and certainly not for monetary gain. I have broken only one person’s personal anonymity, my own. I find it no different than most speakers that I hear tell their stories outside of the rooms and many authors including a best-selling author whom I have quoted at least twice on this blog. I do so appreciate your comment and KUDOS TO YOU for being protective of a program that has and continues to SAVE MY LIFE and the lives of others. I was sure to say on my last post, not to protect myself but because IT IS TRUE, that “God has created and provided numerous and varied paths to recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous simply being one of them …”

      On this blog and everywhere else God leads me, from the beautiful Memorial area of Houston to the dark and dismal streets of downtown, there is Only One I promote:

      “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” Jude 1:24-25

      To Him be all honor and glory and majesty. And to Him alone!!!

      Together with you in the journey, my Sister,

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you to everyone for your comments and insights.

        To Beth and Gay specifically, I want to thank you for recognizing the spirit with which I raised the question. I share my story as well and so consider for myself where the 11th tradition line is. I was looking for the reasoning behind the open-ness of the posting. To get another perspective. I’ve gotten that — and so much more.

        I appreciate your graciousness and welcoming the question. And your attention and response.

        Much love and wishing continued sobriety & sisterhood,

  3. 53
    Kayla Moore says:

    Thank you!

  4. 54
    Buffie Baril says:

    God bless you Gay. I hope you are able to turn this into a book to help even more people.

  5. 55
    Sarah says:

    Wow. Amazing story. Thank you for continuing to share your story with us, Gay! 🙂

  6. 56
    Alisha says:

    I loved what you said..”I’ve been told that when the pain of holding on becomes greater than the fear of letting go,that THAT is when we become willing to give up the drug (the pain KILLER) and step out into the living water of faith.” The pain of holding on to tightly to my 20 year old son (physical and mental pain – worry & stress can kill a person) and not being willing to give him over to God, simply because I fear what God will allow to happen to my son before he is willing to humble himself under God’s mighty hand. I have been going through this season of life for 3 years but more dramatically in the past 8 months. I am continually hearing from many sources, it’s time to let go. And God is bringing me to that place where the pain of holding on is greater than the fear of letting go. Thank you for being another voice, another source for God to use and speak to me. And for the sister who wrote earlier Brittany….Get help, Don’t give up, lifting you up in prayer……DONT let the enemy have the victory ! Kick him in the teeth and swing that sword of the spirit, the word of God – that’s what I call action. Love you sweet sister.

  7. 57
    Roberta says:

    Dear Gay,

    What a powerful, moving testimony! I look forward to reading each segment. My father was an alcoholic and struggled with the disease till he was in his 70’s. He did attend AA and became sober and was able to stay sober the last two years of his life. I have struggled with anxiety and fear and shame from growing up with an alcoholic father. I am learning a lot and relating to what you are sharing with us.

    My brother Rod is an alcoholic and has been in and out of rehab several times. He has been involved with AA for the past 15 years or so and has stayed sober. Praise God. However, he is living a sinful lifestyle and needs God to touch him and set him free. I would appreciate it if you sisters would lift him to the throne of grace.

    To God be all the Glory for your testimony Gay! God bless you!

    Love in Christ

  8. 58
    Janet from FL says:

    Gay, Thank you for this REAL description of what it takes to get sober and stay sober. There is no quick fix. I shared your 4th installment with 2 ladies in the same Bible study (Beth’s James study), who have sons addicted to alcohol or drugs. I thought it would give them hope. Now, I will also give them a copy of this to share with their sons about what they need to do to stay sober. They have struggled with going off, getting sober, and then going back on the drugs/alcohol. They didn’t give the necessary time or work needed. Thank you for being bluntly honest.

  9. 59
    peg nichols says:

    Thanks Gay for your testimony of God’s amazing grace and His mercy which is new every morning…my dos (date of sobriety) is 4-19-91…you do the math…God’s grace and mercy for me has been my anchor all these years.

    • 59.1
      Gay says:

      Hi Peg! — We have a birthday coming up, girlie! I went to New Hope on 4-19-09 and had my last beer on my way there so reeeeally I haven’t had a drink since 5:00 p.m. on that day. But, my sobriety date is 4-20 because it was my first full day sober. You know all that! Hehehe. CONGRATULATIONS, my Sista!! My Siesta!! God is good and His everlasting mercy endures FOREVER!!! Oh I love Him so.

      Together with you in the journey,

  10. 60
    Anonymous says:

    In April of 2009, my own mother-in-law met the same end as your friend Jerry. Alone. Drunk. Dead. She was 59. Left there for a week, before anyone knew since she has single-handedly pushed every person out of her life. Children, grandchildren, friends, everyone. And she has pushed hard.

    It propelled a two year storm in the family…specifically in my home, as my husband (one of three of her children) dealt poorly with the ramifications of that tragity.

    Praise God, Gay, for your story. Oh may it bring hope…Living Hope…to those on the path Jerry and my mother-in-law (and you) were on! May there be more survivors than victims! For HIS glory!!


    • 60.1
      Gay says:

      Anonymous — I am so sorry that happened to you and your family. This is a frightening, FRIGHTENING disease. I hate it with everything in my body. I wish there were more people who survive it, Anonymous, but I fear the victims far out-number the survivors. I think those statistics must be from treatment centers, etc. How would they know in a million years how many people who have survived outside of treatment? And I know there are those that have. God only knows. All I know now is that I SURVIVED! I have recovered, now I have to stay recovered. God’s given me the tools, just have to keep using them and depending on His almighty grace, power and strength. And His unfailing love of a sinner like me. He is so good and so kind and so merciful. Simply Amazing!!!

      Loved you are,

  11. 61
    Susan says:

    Can you just hear the rejoicing in Heaven! Let my rejoicing Spirit join the Anthem!

    Bless you Gay! Extending a warm embrace from Tennessee.

    Thanking Jesus for Hope and new beginnings.

    Glory be to GOD ALMIGHTY!

    “the chains started falling off of me one by one and I was able to wiggle free” Yes Lord!

  12. 62
    Marie says:

    “Hope. Everyone needs some.”


  13. 63
    Sharon says:

    Wow! Just as powerfully said as all the other posts that you’ve shared! How GOoD God is to turn our ashes to beauty! How God He is to not only forgive our sin, but to redeem it and use it to bring Him Glory. So much of what you said reminds me of the verse that says to, “Turn from evil and DO good”! It doesn’t say, “turn from evil and do right.” For when you’ve turned from the evil, you’re turned to the right. It says instead to, “DO GOOD”! And I think that that’s so often where we fail. We forget the DO! The DOing of GOOD… because with that do-ing it fills and brings more healing!

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, Gaye! We’re so blessed because you’re willing to do so. Oh, the stories we each could tell! Thank You, Lord God, for the Savior You sent!

  14. 64
    Melanie says:

    Thank you, Gay, for sharing your story. Someone is further along today in their journey to freedom because of your courage and boldness in telling it. Satan wreaked havoc on both sides of my family thru alcoholism BUT GOD broke those chains and brought freedom, restoration and healing. The newest generations of our family never have to know that burden again. Never stop telling your story for there’s great power in it, both for you and for others.

    Rev 12:11 – “They (believers in Christ) overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”

    Jude 1:24 – “To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

  15. 65
    Janice says:

    Thank you for being you and keeping it real. Your honesty is uplifting and your story is touching my heart. Know that you are loved beyond measure by our most AMAZING GOD…by many others and of course… by me! xoxoxo

  16. 66
    Erika says:

    Today I told my husband I’m not the exception when it comes to food addiction. I need to walk in humility and I am so encouraged about your installment today. I am doing the work of faithfully staying in therapy, meeting in support groups, and exercising. This is my second week and I needed the encouragement that the work will with Gods grace help me walk in freedom! Blessings come to Boston and preach on HOPE we need it!!!

    • 66.1
      Luain says:

      there is an amazing new church in Boston called StoryHeights – my step-daughter and son-in-law planted the church there and started services in September – they would be honored for you to join them there and find HOPE in Christ. Go to for info and if you go, tell them that “granny Lu” sent you!

    • 66.2
      Gay says:

      Erika — WONDERFUL! I encourage you to persevere and push through. It is WORTH IT!! I lift you up in prayer this very morning. You go girl!

      Together with you in the journey,

    • 66.3
      Maureen says:

      Oh stay with it sweet sister!! Although we clearly feel the enemy on our heals as we move closer to God concerning our addictions/issues…we know Jesus is already up ahead and our PERFECT cheerleader waiting to scoop us up in His powerful arms at each tiny victory!! The cool thing is that He’s there if we take baby steps or leaps backward too…as our Siesta Gay has professed!! YOU can do ALL things THROUGH Christ who strengthens you! (Paraphrased…Phil. 4:13)

  17. 67
    Jennifer T says:

    Gay –
    Sending this installment to my friend with a brother drinking himself to death as we speak. God is so glorified in this story. Thanks again for sharing it.

    Today, I was surprised at how much you spoke to me. I am not an alcoholic – but I could easily be. I’ve definitely got the makings of an addict and I know how to numb myself/escape my life when I feel overwhelmed.

    Your words: “Addicts and alcoholics have found a solution for pain. For me and many of my friends, alcohol wasn’t just the problem; it was the SOLUTION. So now, since I have anesthesized my pain for a lifetime, I am in FEAR, because the pain might kill me. I might come apart at the seams. And then what? The unknown. More fear. I’ve been told that when the pain of holding on becomes greater than the fear of letting go, that THAT is when we become willing to give up the drug (the painKILLER) and step out onto the living water of faith.”

    That makes SO MUCH SENSE TO ME – and my addictions wouldn’t turn a head. But God most certainly wants me free of them!!

    You again, “I believe that God has wanted me to do that work all along but that I was too stubborn or prideful or entitled or all of the above to do it.”

    Yikes – do you have a camera in my house? And later…

    “I saw that the work, the ACTION, was paying off more than I had worked (because God was working behind the scenes in my behalf) so I continued on that course of ACTION.”

    Gay – boy am I hearing you today. I am honestly afraid I just don’t have what it takes. I’m too A.D.D. or lazy or something for change to happen and – darkest fear: MY KIDS WILL END UP JUST LIKE ME.

    That is the tug-o-war in my mind. BUT GOD. I’ll hang on to that hope and maybe, just maybe, I’ll take action.

    Thanks again for speaking into all of us addictive-types’ lives.

  18. 68
    Cindy says:


    Is there anything someone could have said/done or not said/done to help? I am paralyzed with uncertainty in dealing with an alcoholic due to the denial, defensiveness and what can turn into an attack. I do not want to keep this person at arm’s length but feel they are not safe. Any insights are most appreciated.

    Thank God you are back among the living!

  19. 69
    Tanya Hoffman says:


    Hope….thank you. I have a step-brother currently in jail for drug possesion and distribution. I cling to the fact that there is hope for the broken-hearted and freedom for the captives in Jesus name!

    Thank you for sharing your story of hope.

  20. 70
    Tara G. says:

    What an encouragement! I am rejoicing with you!!

  21. 71
    Christa says:

    Gay, this is such a blessing to have the privilege of reading your story. And you are truly such a good writer (family trait I suppose). I think as readers we sense throughout your story where God is calling us to be sober and to deal with even the smallest areas of bondage in our lives. Thank you for that. And I love how you describe just living one day at a time and doing what God puts in front of you.

    Praying for you that the Lord will continue to use your life to bless others.

  22. 72
    Kendra says:

    Whew! Action. A lot to think about here. It is all too easy in our society today to settle into complacency. And inaction. I’ve been there all too many times myself. Thank you Gay, for continuing to let us in on this tremendous journey that we might glean wisdom from your experiences.

  23. 73
    Missy says:

    Thank you, again, for your willingness to share your story. I haven’t struggled with alcohol or drugs, but I do struggle with stubbornness, selfishness, “my way” thinking, and other things that I believe are keeping me in a pit of depression and constantly feeling unsatisfied. I could just bawl right now. I’m so sick of ME. Reading your story, I realize that instead of continually asking God for what “I” think I should do or what “I” think I need, etc…, I’ve just got to lay it all down and ask Him what HE wants me to do and then take the ACTION that He tells me…one day at a time…because what I’ve been doing for years now is just not working.
    I do praise God for your recovery and for the many lives you are touching now through your story. Wow. Also, knowing that you struggled for 37 years but God STILL was able to restore you brings SO much hope to so many. After so many failed attempts, I think we feel like we’re a lost cause. Your story definitely gives us HOPE…and I’m about to bawl again! 😉
    Bless you Gay!

  24. 74
    mercy says:

    Gay, ACTION was the key for me also. Everyday I made a commitment to stay sober, I took whatever ACTION my God put in front of me. After almost 4 years of being sober, I still stay in the ACTION mode. I love our God, and one day you and me sister will meet our savior, redeemer, provider, warrior, ACTION provider and we will worship at his feet with thanksgiving, for nothing feels as good as being sober.

  25. 75
    Recovery Chic says:

    I am so blessed to share a similar story of redemption from the despair of alcoholism and addiction to a life with Christ–it is an adventure that I almost missed. I don’t want to ever forget that the best my thinking got without Jesus in my life was drunk, high, loss of jobs and home, almost divorced, seperation from my beautiful son, and ALOT of hurt! I finally came to the end of myself July 28, 2009 and gave up and let God in! Thank you for sharing!

    “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for which such sacrifices God is well pleased” Hebrews 13:16

  26. 76
    Michelle says:

    Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by God’s goodness that words cannot express. I believe your words describe God’s love, grace, mercy and gives a visual as to what heaven will be like, levels of revelation of his Glory. It just keeps getting better & better.

  27. 77
    sherry says:

    ACTION…thanks for the blessing of this note…

  28. 78
    April Lopez says:


    Thank you again for sharing your testimony!! What an Amazing Saviour we have 🙂 Blessings to you sweet sister.

  29. 79
    Elizabeth says:

    Gay –
    Your story blows me away. I believe there is a nugget of something wonderful in each installment for every reader. It makes me smile to think of the love you will be shown in the coming days as you bump into Siestas. Praising the Lord for your testimony to his faithfulness and proud of you for your action. You are a beautiful asset to this community.

  30. 80
    Dian Sustek says:

    I am so proud of you, Gay. I know it’s the grace of God and Him working in and through you, but I am so proud of you for speaking the truth and sharing it with others. You are amazing and beautiful – a woman of grace that loves the Lord, Every breath you take shows others how great is the Father’s love. His forever – di

  31. 81
    kendal says:

    “this disease lives to kill.” the play on words here is so powerful. your story is riveting. i couldn’t open it at my work and couldn’t wait to get home to read it. so glad you are sharing.such important work.

  32. 82
    Maria says:

    Gay,I wish I just heard this sitting down somewhere so I could go up to you and give you a BIG SIESTA FIESTA HUG!! 🙂 I was thinking this morning about how many times Jesus had rescued me. That supernatural power of His Spirit coming over me more times than I can count…. grabbing a hold of that vice, and heaving it out of the way!! Nothing like the Power of Jesus. He breaks every chain!!! Glory Glory Hallelujah!!! We are forever grateful to our King!! xxoo..blessings to you sweet sister!!!

    In His Grip,

  33. 83
    Lynda Rickey says:

    Gay, I am longing to hear the rest of your story. Love you, Lynda

  34. 84
    Sharon says:


    Your story is so full of God’s grace! Thank you for being brave enough to share it…God is using your willingness in powerful ways.

  35. 85
    Susan says:

    Gay thank you for shareing your journey with us. I am so thankful for you. I often wonder what to do when I see people on the side of the road asking for money. Is it best to give them some, give a can of food, or not do anything. The Bible study in James is teaching me I must do more, but I am not sure what would be most helpful. I do not want to enable them to buy drink with the money I might give, but would like to help in some way.

  36. 86
    Kathy says:

    Gay, I’m BLOWN AWAY- the fact you and Beth have such a God given gift to express yourselves- my oh my-
    I think we have to acknowledge- it is not only your story that speaks to the power and love of our Lord- it is also that you two can “paint on the canvas of life through your writing” and share in a manner I’m not sure I have experienced at any level in my education or in my 62 years of very involved living

    God Bless YOU and again- I do not have the words to express my appreciation for the regal and articulate manner you convey such a grande hope to each of us by the power and wisdom of our Christ- WOW- please continue to share with us via Beth’s blog- what a team at LPM! Lots of love and blessings to you and yours

  37. 87
    Leslie says:

    Thank you, Gay. I so appreciate your sharing your story and taking every mask off of addiction. I was born into a long line of alcoholics, and lived my whole life thinking that if I could just be a little more understanding, a little more “perfect, ” then Mom and Dad would stop drinking, and our family could be normal…just like my friends’ families all seemed to be.
    I look back on the secrets, the embarrassment, the shame that alcoholism brought into my life, and it is still overwhelming. None of my family ever had the guts to do the steps. Arrogance was rampant….. Two of my siblings died very early because of alcoholism- related problems. The solution my family came up with to deal with their deaths was to numb themselves with alcohol even more. Makes perfect sense to them…its all they know.

    The ugliness of my family’s alcoholism has always seemed too painful to re visit…it made me feel so vulnerable. But somehow….reading your words brings a sense of understanding, and dare I say it? Healing. I can read from your words of how lost and numb you felt in the addiction, and I have a compassion for my family members that I can honestly say I have not been able to touch before.

    I thank you, Gay. I’m grateful for you in this community, and the impact of your words on the Siestas.
    I’m so proud of you. I join your sister in praise over our Savior’s faithfulness with every prayer we release to Him. Well done, Gay! May God Bless your honesty.

  38. 88
    Suzanne says:

    Such beautiful, hopeful, tough, loving, honest, soul baring words of truth, hope and Light.
    You my friend bless my socks off! You ROCK! Loved YOU are!

  39. 89
    Angela says:

    You will do it, Jennifer! You can stumble along the path, but you will get there! You don’t have to believe in yourself. Believe in yourSavior. He loves you! He’ll help you. Go girl!

  40. 90
    Tracey Knight says:

    “I also believe that the enemy is hateful, insidious and low-down enough to use our faith in the Power of God to keep us from using the very tools that He has provided for us to ARM OURSELVES!!!” ~this stood out, Gay, b/c it made me wonder how many things i’ve been lazy about all in the guise of “trusting God.” s/times He calls us to step aside & watch Him BE GOD. but more often, He calls us to trust Him enough to STEP OUT & DO WORK with Him.
    thanks for this. we love you!!!

  41. 91
    WendyBrz says:

    We’re so thankful that, through Him, you’ve been doing the hard work!

  42. 92
    Ruth from North Idaho says:

    “…..the chains started falling off of me one by one and I was able to wiggle free”

    Beautiful words, Gaye. Thank you so much!

  43. 93
    karen says:

    Gay thank you for sharing your ongoing recovery and may God continue to give you His power and freedom.
    We all need some power and freedom right?
    To God be the Glory !!

  44. 94
    Bridget says:

    After reading this segment – I just wept. Not out of sadness – but out of a heart filled with thanks.
    Thank you, God, for healing Gay so that she can share YOUR testimony of saving grace with thousands and thousands of others, including myself. “For such a time as this”…from the book of Esther…God’s timing is spot on perfect. My heart is overflowing with sweet gratitude for the encouragement He is giving through these blogs. Thank you, Gay, for giving to the Lord. I am a life that was changed.

  45. 95
    Brenda says:

    Thank you.

  46. 96


    “Thank you” is my simple understated response.

    I am honored to read your story. Completely honored.

  47. 97
    Kimberly says:

    Gay, thank you so much for yet another peek inside your struggle of addiction. I’ve read your blog posts to my husband each time I receive the notification because I have an addictive personality and can relate on some levels. Alcohol, food, work, even to a particular person that I’ve broken free from (thank you Lord!). I still struggle with food but the others have been easier to overcome because of what you said in your post “…when the pain of holding on becomes greater than the fear of letting go, THAT is when we become willing to give up the drug (the painKILLER) and step out onto the living water of faith.” When I realized if I didn’t change, my husband would leave, my daughter would suffer and all because of one common denominator, ME, I realized I needed to put God in control of my life and let Him guide me day by day.

    You are such a beautiful person, Gay and I thank you for sharing your story with all of us. Your story of healing and redemption will not be one I will ever forget. God bless you, sister!

  48. 98
    Barb says:

    Dearest Gay- I have been prayerfully, lovingling reading your life as you pour it out to us. Only God can bring beauty from ashes! Praise Jesus!

    The paragraph that begins with your short walk to the convenience store in July of 2009 instantly brough to mind one of Oswald Chambers devotionals “My Utmost For His Highest”… which maybe NOT so coincidentally may be found on the day July 28th. I’ve included it below. May God continue to bless you and others through you!:

    “He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side . . . —Mark 6:45

    We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.

    What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.

    God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.

    God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.”

    • 98.1
      Steph says:

      WOW. Thank you, Barb. My 85-year old mentor calls him Ozzy and these words hit me right between the eyes. I am always looking PAST this moment instead of realizing that it is in itself precious if I am indeed walking with Him in it.
      Bless you!

  49. 99
    Barby says:

    ………I love reading each installment Gay and Beth. I got to hear my friend speak at a local program. When she said…..”God never wastes our pain”……I loved it, and now listening to your journey…..I think about that statement. I would imagine that you have encouraged many…..and more to come. Thank you for sharing your mess with us so openly. We are all a mess in some ways. You help me want to stay open and not put up walls!

  50. 100

    Gay, yours is a story of hope. The kind of hope that only our God can provide. My husband is a recovering addict and he, too, shares a story of hope and forgiveness and redemption. It is a story that only Jesus can write. I praise Him with each of your installments for allowing you to be used to share your testimony with so many.

    “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

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