My Sister Gay’s Third Installment: The Maelstrom

First installment. Meet My Sister.

Second installment. The Functioning Years.

My beloved Sisters, my coworkers and I have been praying hard for Gay as she labored to minister to you over this last week by reliving a descent into darkness. I ask for you to pray for her, too. True depth of ministry is rarely without cost. Can you imagine how furious the devil is at her?? Please thank God in advance for being her Shield and her Fortress, her Refuge and her Strength. I have no words to express my gratitude to her and my boastfulness in the Lord because of her. She is a true miracle. So am I. So are you. Oh, that we’d know it! In Tuesday night Bible study right now, we are making six stops in the Book of Deuteronomy to behold the divine law of love. To me, it is no coincidence that Gay handed in this entry on the very day that I am preparing a lesson on REMEMBERING. Once again, my sister. My hero.


From Gay…

Hi Sisters!
As I proofread the final draft of my last post, I was even taken aback at how NON-functioning the functioning years were! I thought my life was manageable because to the outside world, I appeared to be functioning (as far as I knew) but alone and inside my head, the battle raged. I remember driving to the liquor store one afternoon after vowing not to drink that day for the zillionth time and meaning it, tears streaming down my cheeks, wanting so badly not to WANT it yet consumed with the overwhelming NEED to have it. Understand, Siestas, that there are drinkers out there who are functioning and always will. They are what we alcoholics want to be. We are wannabees!  Bill Wilson described it so perfectly like this, “The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.”

There is no way for me to describe accurately or list wholly the events that occurred during the next ten years of my so-called life. I can’t even piece them all together myself. It was an endless cycle of drinking to feel “normal” or somewhat happy and functional, followed by not being able to stop at “normal,” followed by the negative consequences associated with intoxication (never positive consequences!), followed by more shame and guilt than I thought I could take, followed by self-medication, followed by more negative consequences and down the tubes I went. A maelstrom is defined on Wikipedia as “a very powerful whirlpool; a large, swirling body of water. A free vortex; it has considerable downdraft.” Although I had been severely warned yet still believed I was EXEMPT, I was beginning the swift descent into pure, alcoholic destruction and SELF-destruction.

By this time, my little “drinking problem” was becoming blatantly obvious to the outside world, my extended family included, and I was confronted. They dragged me out of the closet kicking and screaming and, as you can imagine, it did not go well. My response to that was outrage, blaming them for what they had done to CAUSE me to drink in the first place (all the way down to my parents!), withdrawal from the family and isolation.  Alcohol had moved itself up my diseased brain’s priority list to the Number 1 position. It came first, period, end of paragraph. No matter how much I wanted my children to come first, the alcohol was FIRST!! It screamed at me to feed it!  I did have a few periods of sobriety during this time, mostly in treatment, and I prayed for God to deliver me but I never did what God had put in front of me to do time and time again, so I never found the freedom that He had waiting for me on the other side. Because “Faith without works is dead, Gay!” (James 2:17) Consequently, each period of sobriety was followed by still worse relapse followed by more of the same.

It went something like this:

In 2002, I asked my employer of many years for a 6-month leave of absence.  Tut and I were finally able to live on one income and I was exhausted!  I had worked hard with virtually no time off since Zach was 2 years old and he was finishing his junior year in high school.  I needed rest, quality time with our children and, besides, I needed to put this blasted drinking problem to bed once and for all.  What do we say about an idle mind being the devil’s workshop?  Bingo!!  I quit working — He worked OVERTIME.  I had too much leisure time alone, no coping skills and no tools to fight the battle raging inside my head.  I had no relationship with God although I attended church every single Sunday morning.  I had no support group.  My friends were all at work and I had withdrawn from my family.  And, very key point, I had the disease of alcoholism.  Perfect cocktail (pardon the pun) to bring down the proud, the entitled, the exempt.  My drinking moved into the early afternoon, then morning, then round the clock. Alcohol quickly invaded every nook, cranny and pore of my existence.  I laughed and cried with it, I raged and soothed with it, I celebrated and mourned with it, I went to bed with it and I got up with it, I loved it and I hated it.  When I asked for an additional 6 months of LOA because I was too sick both mentally and physically to go back to work, I was denied and laid off instead.  I had survived every single downturn that my company had been through.  My life was there, my friends were there, my self-worth was there.  My heart was broken.  Again.  More medication please!!

In 2003, I went to my first inpatient rehabilitation facility in the beautiful Texas hill country.  It was one of the finest treatment centers in the country and not cheap!  It employed the best Big Book instructor I’ve ever heard to date, even now.  Some of his words got through and I related more to what was written in the book, however, I still had not reached a place of full surrender.  I was still different, special, proud.  I would not humble myself to do the work that was asked of me — to do as thousands had done before me who had STAYED SOBER.  That stuff still did not apply to me.  Not to ME!!  I stayed there 28 days at a cost of $16,000.00 (its more now!) and could not wait to order a glass of wine on the flight home.  After all, I had abstained 4 full weeks.  I had proved that I could do it.  Let’s celebrate!  I was drunk when Tut picked me up from the airport and he was livid, to put it mildly.  A few months later, he asked me to leave the house that we had lived in for 17 years and where we had raised our children.  Zach had just graduated from high school and Josh was 8 years old.  I moved because I could not argue with him.  I knew I was out of control and I knew why he was asking me to leave.  Although I tried to justify and rationalize and blame HIM, I knew the truth in my heart.  It was not a safe environment for the children.  Period.  I walked out that door and never returned for any significant time period until about 1025 days ago in mid-April of 2009 — almost 6 years later.  The loss of my little family, Tut included, was by far the greatest loss of my life.  My feelings after the death of my mother (which I never felt, by the way) could not hold a candle to the heartache and grief I suffered at putting my family on death’s altar.  I was never the same after that.  I not only had given up the desire to control. I gave up hope.

During the following years:


  • I was charged with 3 counts of Driving While Intoxicated which left me incarcerated in the most overcrowded county jail in the United States of America, Harris County Jail, which holds 10,000 inmates.  By God’s pure grace and mercy, I did not get a felony conviction on the third charge and did not kill anyone!  I could have; I should have.  But God.
  • I lost my driving privileges and owed the State of Texas $7,800.00 in surcharges to reinstate them.  At this point, it did not occur to me to give up drinking.  I would give up driving instead!
  • I received a 23-page Final Decree of Divorce from my husband of 22 years while I was incarcerated.  I could not appear to protest it and wouldn’t have been able to anyway, even had I been free.  It granted full parental custody of our minor child to my now ex-husband giving me supervised visits only.  It contained a Permanent Injunction that prohibited me from going to Josh’s residence, school, or any extra-curricular activities.  I was able to call him or write to him ONLY with his father’s permission.
  • I went to 3 more inpatient treatment centers, all state-funded, the last being in Galveston and long-term.  After spending 4 months there, I was successfully discharged at noon and in the liquor store before closing time that very night.
  • I lived alone and tried to drink myself to death many times in 4 different apartments after leaving my home in Sugar Land.  I walked out of all four of those living spaces with nothing but the clothes on my back, leaving everything behind.  I lost all of my personal items including pictures, jewelry, keepsakes, high school memorabilia, artwork by me and my children, furniture, appliances, clothes, etc.
  • I lived in one halfway house in Galveston 3 different times.  Again by the grace of God, they had allowed me to return after I had relapsed twice.

In August of 2007, while at R-House in Galveston, I finally got a much-needed break after a few weeks of sobriety.  I interviewed successfully and got a great job at the Galveston County Courthouse as Administrative Assistant to the I.T. Manager (Information Technology).  Since I had an I.T. background from my last place of employment, it was right up my alley.  I was excited about the opportunity and had hope for a future.  Finally!  I was also very optimistic about getting on with “normal” life and giving up living in treatment centers and halfway houses.  I quickly put down a deposit on an 1894 Victorian four-plex apartment, all hardwood floors, very nice, walking distance from my new job.  I was also dating a really nice man (big red flag!) from a Narcotics Anonymous group in Galveston.  He was funny, well-liked, and had solid sobriety.  It wasn’t the first time I had gotten side-tracked with a relationship.  I would invariably put the relationship first, rather than the sobriety, thinking that the love of a man would be enough to sustain me through anything, especially a SOBER man!  I later saw that I had a pattern of putting anything, everything, even the important things BEFORE sobriety, and that I would always, ALWAYS end in relapse and inevitably lose those things. I moved into my apartment on a Friday and tried to contact my so-called “boyfriend” on Saturday.  He did not respond.  He did not respond for hours.  He had gone to a recovery function without me.  I was furious.  How do I handle furious???

Drink, of course.  I will never EVER forget this, my last relapse.  After all I had lost, after all of the bullet points listed above plus more that I can’t even remember, after all of the warnings and having been beaten down time and time again, I STILL THOUGHT that I could do it one more time and that no harm would come of it.  I slung my purse over my shoulder and headed out the door at a fast pace to the liquor store to get … a pint, of course!  By the time I got there, I had talked myself into a fifth because I wouldn’t want to return should I need more. I bought a quart, drank from it on the way back and the beast came forth!!!  I called in sick to work on Monday, again on Tuesday, didn’t call at all on Wednesday or Thursday and got fired on Friday.

I was baffled, confused, embarrassed and had no way to pay next month’s rent.  After countless vain attempts at asking for help from my family with promises of sobriety in return, I didn’t even ask for their help.  I was homeless a month later and outside with the others who were both wandering aimlessly and drinking themselves into oblivion because they/WE could not face another day.

“The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From His temple He heard my voice.” Psalm 18:4-6a


(End of third installment. To be continued soon in the fourth installment.)

Sisters, this is back to Beth now. That’s one incredibly powerful entry, isn’t it? Revisit Gay’s words, “I gave up hope.” Many of us know what that’s like. Oh, how the enemy of our souls delights to walk us to that despairing place one step at a time. You are welcome to respond to Gay in your comments to this post any way you feel prompted but, in addition, I’d also like to ask you to consider doing something else. Consider sharing a time when you, too, had given up hope…

but God….

Maybe somebody needs to hear just a few lines of your story, too. You are treasured here at LPM. And, far more significantly, you are the treasured possession of the God of all Creation. Believe Him about you.



436 Responses to “My Sister Gay’s Third Installment: The Maelstrom”

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  1. 51
    Brandi says:

    I grew up in a dysfunctional, abusive and neglectful home. I realized in my early 20s that I had NO IDEA what real love looked like or felt like. I don’t think I ever had hope of being loved. I think I just accepted the fact that there was something fundamentally wrong with me and I didn’t deserve it. Less than a year ago I started praying that God would show me what love looked like and He sent an amazing angel to me that loved me just because. He gave me tangible proof of what love is and in a moment of acceptance, years of hopelessness were broken and hope surged anew! I’m not sure she’ll ever fully recognize the power her few words of love have had. God bless her!

  2. 52
    Gail Lutes says:

    Dear Gay:
    But God. That really says it all doesn’t it? A number of years ago I battled a severe form of clinical depression for several years. The usual drugs only caused an allergic reaction or worse. I was put on an experimental drug that kept the darkness from completely engulfing me. Suicide walked with me every day offering such a quiet calm false peace. The dosage was increased until I was at the maximum. My therapist informed me that there was nothing else to be done and that in all probability I would have to be institutionalized and there would not be much they could do for me even then. Reading this you would think that I did not know our Saviour personally then or that I didn’t have a relationship with Him. How wrong you would be for it was snatches of scriptures hidden in my heart that would surface and keep me from harm and His arms that held me up out of the pit. My sister invited me to a weekend retreat with her friends. Not something that I was anxious to do but I did go and while there I was healed quite miraculously;instantly! Did I continue to need medication? Yes. But that blackness was totally gone. All thoughts of suicide totally gone. Little by little my mind healed and I was eventually off all medication. Man had condemned me to a living death. But God has given me life….abundantly! Oh and a P.S. to this is that the experimental drug that I had been taking was removed from the market because one of the side effects that was being experienced was death. Yep!….BUT GOD!

    • 52.1
      Kathy says:

      Thank you for your post- I have a beloved child who has “struggled” with clinical depression for over 14 years- he is still alive and he/we have tried everything- Prayer has been a pivotal piece of the journey

      Your story gave me the hope “but God” can happen for my child- Blessings

  3. 53
    Gretchen says:

    Dear Gay,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have some family members who are alcoholics and your insights into the disease are very helpful as I pray for them. You are a living, breathing miracle of God and I know He has big plans for you, sister.

    Beth, it’s funny that you ask for times when we might have given up hope. I have felt hopeless today as a matter of fact. An area that I was having some real victory in over the last year and praising God for has become a full on battle again and I am so afraid. I don’t want to go back and yet I feel pretty helpless to walk in victory again. But God…

    With love and prayers,


  4. 54
    Warm In Alaska says:

    Gay, again, thank you so for sharing. A number of years ago I had come to a place of hopelessness in my marriage. It had turned abusive. But God. He intervened and during that entire season of my life (9+) years, He showed Himself over and over and over in the most real, unmistakable, glorious ways. I.Lived.On.His.Every.Word. And He was enough for me. More than enough. Just like He’s been for you.

    Our marriage was spared and saved and today (just a wee example) my husband had the day off and we spent it snowmobiling under the crispest, sunniest (weird in February), winter day. God is so good. One thing I learned during that season is that even if the outcome of my marriage had been different, if it had ended; that wouldn’t have affected God’s love and faithfulness towards us. His love is bigger than my marriage (though I am very grateful our marriage survived).

    Gay, I really admire your courage to come onto our blog and share such intimate details of your journey. You inspire me. Sending you hugs and love from up north ~

  5. 55
    Yvette says:

    Thank you for your transparency, Gay. My dad was a “drinker” (a term he liked to use to cover the real problem of alcoholism)and drank daily until my mother confronted him one last time to stop or they would divorce. My father passed away in 2009, but had lived the last 25 years of his life sober. It was truly the best days of his life and he gave full credit to God for His healing and restoring power.

    In my own life, I have had to have hope in Jesus through a very difficult life experience. Approximately three years ago, my son came out to me about his homosexuality. It has been a time of learning to hate the sin in one’s life yet love, love, love the sinner. I have learned a lot about myself, about others (some are not kind) and I have grown in ways I never would have without this struggle to see beyond what I can see. The Lord has shown me through many different experiences that HE is the One who can change any heart! While I believe this lifestyle is not God’s best for my son, I also believe that God is the God of HOPE! I place all of my hope in Him, all of my anxiety about this situation is laid at the foot of the cross. While some think I am crazy to that that someone who is “into THAT kind of sin” are beyond hope, I know that His hope is ever-present, if we but turn and repent. This is true of any sin….yes, I said any sin. When my son came out to me he stated, “I’m finding out who my real friends are.” I responded, “I think I’m gonna find out who mine are.” Three years later, there are still those who talk, those who judge and those who question my parenting. Out of the darkness that surrounds this type of sin, there is the light of Jesus shinning into his life when I embrace him as my son…not as “my son the homosexual”. How often in my life has Jesus reached past my sin to take my hand and show me the way once again to His throne of never-ending grace? Too many to count!

    Thank you for your willingness to speak truth and to rely on the One who can change anyone in any situation! Amen!

  6. 56
    Marie says:

    Though I have never experienced intoxication from alcohol, I have been high on my own thoughts before to such a degree that it hardened my heart. I lost my young brother several years in an accident and I haven’t been able to properly grieve, or even feel, his loss. The point made about your own loss and inability to feel the tragedy of death was profound to me. In Jesus, I know there is hope that He will rescue me from this hardened state.

  7. 57
    Joni says:

    Hi, Gay,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is hard to read–I know it was hard for you to relive that dark time and write about it. I also went through a dark period. I looked at the year 2002 in your story and did a double-take. That was the year I lost my job due to panic disorder. I had asked for an extended leave of absence to get myself back together (as if I could) and was refused. At the urging of my physician who said I needed a year off, I resigned. I totally relate to how you felt losing your job…your friends…your life. I was a workaholic and a successful, award-winning school teacher. Losing my job meant I had lost everything I had worked for for 12 years.

    My husband, who was fighting blindness from retinitis pigmentosa, could barely see but he was still holding down his job, and I felt so guilty that I had to quit mine. I felt I had let him down. He was the one going blind, and I was the one not able to cope. I hated myself for being so weak. I felt worthless. The panic attacks I experienced left me feeling overwhelmed, defeated, ripped of self-control, and terrified of the next time I would have one. I saw doctors and counselors but no one seemed to know how to help me. I had been the victim of mental and physical abuse growing up, but when confronted (at the suggestion of my counselor) my sibling refused to take responsibility for what happened in our childhood years. I forgave her, just like I always did, because I didn’t want her to be mad at me.

    In 2003, I fell into deep depression. I tried not to, I scrambled every day in my brain to keep out of the black pit inside me, but finally I just couldn’t do it any more. My life looked all black to me. I don’t know how many days I sat on the couch not speaking to anyone or answering the telephone. I can’t remember when I stopped getting dressed. I was tired all the time. When I walked I felt as though I was walking underwater. Then I started staying in bed because I felt it was my safe place and because I didn’t have any energy. It seemed an effort just to breathe. My husband came home exhausted every day from struggling to see. My youngest son living with us would take him to work and pick him up and then go to college or to his part-time job. We all lived in the same house, but we were living separate lives. I felt emotionally cut off, and I didn’t have the energy to try to fix it.

    One particular morning my husband had gone to work, my son to college, and I was alone. I still remember looking into the dark pit of my mind and I just couldn’t fight it. I was so very tired. I held my head in my hands and spoke out loud, “No hope. No hope.” My psychiatrist couldn’t help me, my counselors couldn’t help me. My husband couldn’t help me. And then I thought about the pistol in the gun box under my jewelry armoir. Somehow I thought if I could just get the gun out and hold it in my hand everything would be all right. Just thinking about holding the handle in my palm was comforting to me. So I tried to remember the combination to the lock. I couldn’t remember if it was a four-digit combination or a three-digit because I rarely opened it. While I was trying to remember, I suddenly saw a tiny star appear in the black well of my mind. And I heard a thought in my head say, “Jesus is the light of the world.” For a moment, I was confused because I was trying to think of a number and these words appeared. What did they have to do with numbers? And then I realized what was being said to me. Jesus! I had forgotten all about Jesus! I KNEW He could help me. I cried out to Him to save me and then I fell back on the bed and slept, exhausted from the effort.

    When I woke up, I could breathe again. The heaviness that weighed my body down was gone. And so was the black pit. Instead, there was like a brownish haze over everything. I knew Jesus had heard me. I knew He would help me. I asked Him to help me get out of bed, to go brush my teeth, to walk into the living room. I was able to do all those things. Day by day, as I leaned on Jesus for strength, I was able to do more and more. There’s a lot about those days I don’t remember, but I will never forget that tiny star shining against the blackness in that deep well in my mind and those words, “Jesus is the light of the world.” I was never alone, even thought I thought I was. Where there is Jesus, there is light. And where there is light, there is hope.

    • 57.1
      Robin in New Jersey says:

      Wow, Joni. What a powerful testimony. I have tears in my eyes. “Where there is Jesus, there is light. And where there is light, there is hope.”

  8. 58
    Lisa M says:

    Gay, you are such a precious soul. I thank God for you and for your story. When I first started going to church, I was scared to tell others about my past. However I have learned that God wants me to share my story of redemption – just as he wants you. Praise him – for he is WORTHY of all our praise.

    March 14, 2010 was when I just about gave up hope. I know we are not supposed to ask God to show Himself, but I was lost. I was seriously considering suicide (again – I still have the note I wrote on the 13th). I won’t bore you with all the details but I did ask God to show me something that told me He was trying to use my experience (staph infection that should have killed me) to show it was Him. Within 30 minutes the poison started pouring out of my body (through holes – almost like a mini volcano that it pushed through my skin). I cried and asked him to take it all – my addiction and my fear. He did. Thank God for his love and mercy. I was able to stop cold turkey with no side effects – other than being able to laugh at satan to this day. I open my freezer and see the 1/2 bottle of absolut vodka that is still in there. With God, that is my “gotcha”. I can look at it every single day and know that God killed the monster in me.

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are such an inspiration and an example of God’s love and redemption.

    My small group starts James this Sunday night and I CAN NOT WAIT!! God is good!

  9. 59
    Ernestine S. Bonicelli says:

    Your story is very interesting to me, Gay, having come so close to it myself. Only God and my mother kept me off the street, out of jail, and praise Him, not killing or maiming anybody. Could even have been my boys, as they were in the car with me drunk many times. Only He knows why He does or allows what He does in each individual life. I am rescued from that pit, have not had a drink in 25 or 30 years, I forget, am 79 now and forget a lot! My boys are doing well, exhusband has gone to be with the Lord, and I am living my faith daily, by His grace. I love your sister so much and I am so glad that she has HER sister back!!!! She has blessed my life to the max, there are no words to express. I even had the blessed pleasure of meeting her one time and having a picture made with her!!! She is so, so special. And so are you. God be praised for what He has done in your life, and continues to do.

    • 59.1
      Beth says:

      Ernestine, I can hardly express how thankful I am for your activity on this blog. Girl, when I’m 79…89…99, I want to be in active ministry and community with people in Christ. You are solid gold to me here. May Jesus continue to thrill you.

  10. 60
    Darnell Williams says:

    What a picture of alcohol: cunning, baffling, powerful!! Those words also apply to our invisible adversary, the devil and his angels! Praise the Lord that his work on the cross provided the VICTORY once and for all over sin and death!!

    He is amazing, Gay, and to God be ALL of the glory for bringing you through what you’ve been through. I celebrated eight months of straight sobriety today and my heart hurt and tears streamed down my face because your story could have been my story had I not surrendered when I did. I am blessed to have my husband of fifteen years and three beautiful, healthy children and a roof over my head.

    Jesus has continually been impressing the word HOPE on me this past week. I told my husband all about it (as a witness and straight from my heart…you see my hubby does not attend church with me and I’m wondering if this hope I spoke to him about on Saturday was maybe one reason we all ended up at church together yesterday?)

    I am looking forward to seeing how our awesome God restores the years the locusts have eaten in your life and in my life. May our Lord continue to bless you and bring others to Him through our witness…xoxo

  11. 61
    Jamie Wyatt says:

    Such a powerful testimony–
    I’m praying for Gay to finish quickly, so I can share the entire thing with a couple of people who need to hear it, ASAP!

  12. 62
    Midge Edmond says:

    Your story is heart wrenching because it is so close to what I walked through with my husband. Fortunately, he did not end up on the street and he managed to go through a rugged rehab center and see God’s hand. I have seen so many never make it out alive, I praise God for your recovery!

    God has been good to us but my husband’s health has deteriorated over the last few years all during a time where I have been unemployed and unemployable it seems. I am struggling to keep from falling down that tunnel and being sucked down and down into the land of hopelessness. And just recently it has become clear that I must stay home to care for my husband, so that terribly narrows my options for employment. I have tons of experience and would be a great employee, and in my light moments I know God has that one I need, I just have to keep reminding myself!!
    Your story of courage and finding work that has purpose is a great encouragement!!
    I can’t wait for more.
    Thanks for being transparent and a message of hope.

  13. 63
    Rebekah says:

    Precious Child of God Gay, His promises are true you shall not be ashamed you keep your head high (we are the head and not the tail. There is not one of us who has not sinned..ALL fall short of His Glory. Thank you for sharing and between the depths of sadness and sorry reads an amazing love story of Gods pursuit of His Loved..lost Child. God will/is Bless You and be a shield you and restore what the Devil stole.
    Psalm 5:11-12 was my meditation this morning feast on it.

    Peace be with you

  14. 64
    Sarah says:

    I lived abroad in a city that ironically got voted “saddest city in Europe” right after I left and I can definitely vouch for that. It was the hardest, loneliest, most depressing period in my life. It’s weird seeing that in print. I was depressed. HA! I said it. I’ve never typed that before. I was depressed. I lived in Europe with fabulous culture and never felt more alone despite what I told people, I have never been in a darker place…yet little by little the Lord has redeemed!! I was determined to be as miserable and lonely as possible because of things I couldn’t control…BUT, GOD…oh, sisters BUT GOD redeemed and determined…and that year abroad ended up being one of the best things that in my short 23 years has ever happened to me…Philippians 4:11-13. Love you all.

  15. 65
    Sheila says:

    An amazing story of God’s great faithfulness , what an inspiration for so many others

    My story of losing hope happened six years ago when our third child, a baby girl named Brooke, was born silently after a traumatic emergency delivery. The darkness that came was overwhelming as I had two other children to look after. there were days when I would wake up and wished I hadn’t . I wanted so much for the pain to stop. The anger and disbelief that God had allowed this to happen was unbearable. But in all those moments He never let go, he sat right beside me and wiped my tears, listened to my screams and never allowed the waters to overtake me. this was a high risk time for addictions, divorce just because of the emotional state I was in, but He protected me (us) from all those things and protected my children during those dark days. My relationship with Him became more real and deeper. Even now as the wound is healing, but the scar remains….He is ever present. Thank you Jesus

    • 65.1
      Sarah Marion says:

      No one can walk in shoes identical to another, but I empathize with your pain. My oldest son died at birth and would be 16 at this time. You are so right to say the scar remains. Jesus does heal the open wound. He frequently turns this intense pain into ministry. I am glad God let us post back to back.
      Praying for your complete healing.

  16. 66
    Sarah Marion says:

    I was pregnant with a baby that the doctors gave no hope of living and warned I would lose the child any day. The doctor’s declaration of no hope rang in my ears day and night. One morning at 2:00AM, after wrestling with the diagnosis all night long, I declared that “I HAVE HOPE” even if the child died. Jesus Christ is my hope and nothing could take that away. Not even intense pain on earth. I would see her in heaven. I had lost several children already and knew the pain would be terribly intense but God would hold me tight. She LIVED and we tell everyone that we can her story.

    Gay, thank you for allowing God to have the glory of your story!

  17. 67
    Susan says:


    I sat at my computer in early January trying to write Beth a letter wondering how I might be able to hear more of your story. I was listening to the cd where she revealed that her dear loved one who had victoriously battled the long war of addiction was you, Gay … her blood sister. The overwhelming love I heard in her voice for you and for God sent shock waves through my veins. As I wrote the letter, I cried over my shattered life and then laughed at the joy I felt knowing she would somehow understand. I listened to the lies in my head and hit delete not send! The day that I looked at my email and began reading Beth’s introduction to you on this blog, my skin shivered and my heart quickened knowing that I would be reading a story that would be similar to mine… I began to tremble as I read. Would my story be worse than yours? Your story is my story! Mine began as a fairy tale became a horror story and today is a REDEMPTION story. My story is perhaps not as far as long as yours…but our GREAT AUTHOR is WILLING and WRITING and I SURRENDER daily . My alcoholism has taken a lot and shattered many lives: deeply wounding the hearts of two beautiful boys and loving husband of 19 years, destruction of a God filled home and marriage, financial burdens (5 fancy rehabs), DUI convictions, jail terms… short periods of sobriety, long periods of sobriety and many devastating relapses… years of shame and guilt for All of us. BY the AMAZING GRACE of GOD I too was spared the horror of physically injuring another person, but my family lives with the emotional scars! Who was I? : loving wife and mother,good friend, Sunday school teacher, Bible study leader, PTA volunteer, Garden Club, Etc., genuine lover of GOD and of life…Who did I become? : shell of a human being with no hope, no peace and no identity – full of shame and guilt…who drank over every emotion….Who am I today? My name is Susan, I am an alcoholic, I AM a dearly loved child of God humbly learning to walk in His ways…trusting and waiting…my hope is fixed on Him…and OH how I praise HIm! OH how I love Him and HE LOVES ME! My family and I are still living with the consequences of my choices, but today I take my pain and my circumstances to my Heavenly Father- He ALWAYS embraces me with His Healing LOVE!

    Thank you Beth and Gay for blessing us with the honesty of your lives! I however, want most of all to THANK THE READERS OF THIS BLOG, your acceptance and love for Gay has been a treasured gift to me as well – as I learn to open my my heart again to the love of dear friends who I thought would never understand! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you…you give me hope! GOD IS SO GOOD!

  18. 68
    Amie says:

    Gay, I know how painful this installment must have been for you. I remember clearly a time when I was pregnant with our 2nd child and had reached the end of my rope. I had been abused in many ways since my birth and did not know where to put that pain, even though I was a Christian. As a child I would try to smother myself to death so I could be with Jesus because at Sunday School they said He loved me. I could not even talk to my husband about the pain I was in, I don’t think I even knew myself. I put our first child in her high chair with some cheerios and I got a knife..but then the phone rang. I don’t know why I answered it but for God. It was a Christian mentor who felt led to call me and I told her what I was going to do. She told me to pick up the baby and go stand by the curb and to do it right then, she was coming to get me. She picked us up and took me to see a Christian counselor. God saved my life for a purpose, but I did not realize that at the time. I got through those times with the help of the counselor. Years have gone by and I am now in therapy hoping to beat this thing. I know the victory has already been won, but the hurt is so overpowering. What I know deep down about God and His promises needs to be at the surface as well. I want so badly to beat this thing and to be used by God.

  19. 69
    Pamela McDonald says:

    Dear Gay,
    How courageous of you to share this very painful part of your life with us. This brought to mind a song a very close friend of mine wrote. Part of the chorus is: “He’s still touching blinded eyes, He’s still causing dead men to rise. I thank You, Lord, for the working of Your hands.” I praise Him for what He has done for you!

    My husband and I are experiencing a hard time right now with our daughter who is in her sophomore year in college. We have learned that she is hanging out with a crowd of partiers and there has been a great deal of drinking going on. We have also learned that she has been lying to us on a couple of issues. She has always(until recently)been a loving daughter and done so well. Addiction runs high in both our families, so we are fearful she carries that gene of addiction. I have felt so consumed with worry that it is becoming almost debilitating. I am in constant prayer and staying in God’s Word, but still have that pull to try to “fix” this. I have to keep reminding myself to “be still and know that I am God.”

    Thank you for your testimony and please help us pray for our daughter.

    • 69.1
      Robin in New Jersey says:


      I have been were you are. It is very difficult not to worry. But from experience, I can tell you that worrying changes nothing, but it does make you sick. I am not judging you. I do understand. Pray, pray, pray, and try to leave it with HIM. Our children need to make their faith, their own. They need to live and learn. I KNOW how hard it is to stand by and watch. God is a God of HOPE and there is always hope.

      Prayers for your daughter and you too!

  20. 70
    wmh says:

    Gay, I, too, have been in a position where I had no hope. I am not an alcoholic, although for a number of years I worked on becoming one, but I was in such a deep dark pit of depression that all I could do was get up out of the bed, lay down on the couch and cry. I thought God had forsaken me. I had lost everything – I was fired from my job, sold my mobile home for about $3,000 less than I owed on it. I had moved (at the prompting of a friend that was afraid that I was suicidal) to the Atlanta, GA, area just to come back home where I was able to get an apt in a HUD subsidized building for a VERY small amount of rent. Then it got worse. I have essential tremors, have had them since before I was 14 years old. But these tremors manifested as constant severe head tremors – meaning my head is in constant, up and down, motion. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me and other times, it drives me NUTS!! That is when I found myself in that pit. I had found a job but was in intense pain all day and was going to the ladies room for 15 min at a time to cry because of the pain in my neck, back, and arms (long story). So I felt like I had to quit. I hit rock bottom. I felt like I had lost everything I ever had. All my friends had either moved away or had decided I was not worth fooling with anymore and all my family was too busy to have time for me… I have never been so low in my life. So God sent me to a neurosurgeon to talk about doing a procedure where they insert these foreign objects in your brain then insert batter packs in your chest to hook up to the things in your brain to supply their energy. No thank you!! It might now work well, but I was, at least getting used to it’s idiosyncrosies – my brain, I mean… I was not going to allow somebody to put foreign objects in there… A few months later, after a series of events, I found myself calling a very good friend of mine that lives in Charlotte, NC, now, asking her to pray with me/for me and I gave my life back to God. I have a relationship with him now that I did not know was even possible!! It isn’t the life that I dreamed of living. It isn’t the life I used to live. But it is the life that God has given me to live right now – and I will, with His help, live it to the very best of my abilities. But God… took me back – – He didn’t have to – – I had turned and walked away from Him for 20 years – – but God took me back.

  21. 71
    Michele says:

    I feel like I am cheering a champion on as I read. This is so powerful. I thank God for you. At 3:30 in the morning while I pray and ask God to open the door to employment for me so that I can support myself and my four year old daughter; your story helps me to understand how our God cares and tarries with us.

    But God.

    • 71.1
      Beth says:

      Michele, I am asking God with you to please open that door to employment for you. May He astound you with His faithfulness.

      • Michele says:

        Thank you Beth for praying for me. How awesome our God is – I was confirmed for a project starting tomorrow morning. I had to respond and give my praise report. Your ministry provides such nourishment to me.

        But God.

  22. 72
    anonymous says:

    I just want to firstly, give great thanks for the freedom of testimony. The power in bringing light into the darkness, and the ways it speaks strength into the lives of ourselves AND our sisters and brothers fighting the good fight in Jesus. Thank you, Gay, for your transparency. I give thanks for you, my sister.
    As for me, cycles of addiction are one thing I’ve become all too familiar with. My story isn’t one riddled with the challenging background of abuse or neglect. No…my childhood was very well cared for, in all honesty. But lies abound anyways..don’t they? What I’ve learned is that, my personality is a passionate one. And with that, have come vicious cycles of placing other things before God. Things that have become idols and snares in the trap of a heart that so desires to pursue God, because I was made for deepest intimacy with my Saviour and King. But it’s so easy to feel that it’s gone unmet sometimes…isn’t it?
    My “but God” story is not one I’ve shared often, but one that I hope brings strength to any captive. In college, I’d been walking faith out in relationship with the Lord for only 4 years. I was pursuiing a very technical degree, which didn’t require me to think much about other people, because I’d learned to dislike them very much. After all, they carried the power to harm, right? At this point, I’d learned to distrust all men. All I knew of them was an exacting presence which suffocated my complexity between my strength as a woman and my innocence and purity as a child of God, dancing in the fields of his joy. I hated them. Because they didn’t love me for me. Or at least it didn’t feel that way. No…I had to be on top of my game at all times for them. I had to perform.So for the longest I learned to objectify them. Make them physical objects. If I could make them pant for me physically, then they held no power over me. It’s the…”do you think I’m hott” game, that requires no depth of real intimacy or vulnerability…or emotional connectivity.
    What happened after was a season of the deepest darkness I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. In the midst of pouring out my heart and soul for ministry and my school in college…I had become very close with a great friend of mine. She’d been there through everything. In fact, for someone who had learned not to rely on family as a source of emotional support, but who was deeply emotional, I’d learned how to love people alongside this woman of God. She showed me that it was ok to love others. But in that season, I became dependent on her. And close behind dependency, and a season in which we were to be separated, we panicked and became physically intimate. Our conversations became controlling about who else we were talking to. Jealousy always followed. Tears most certainly did as well. I began gaining weight and hiding my shame in a closet. Even close friends asked if something was going on. They were watching my countenance shift to deepest depression. But I was stuck in a bed of lies and torment. I could say nothing. And there would be no freedom in that place.
    But God. God pursued my heart. He broke the chains of sin and death. He broke me free from this dependency, and captured my heart in a way I’d always longed for. In fact…he took me all the way overseas to do a thing of separation and total surrender and focus to Him. I told the first person my story while no longer even on the continent. And…the response was much brighter than I had expected. I feared shame…that’s why I kept silent. But in the loving arms of the Father, and out in the light, there was none to be had. The darkest season in my life, gave way to the deepest pursuit of the Father. He has ravished my heart and spoken into the deepest most broken places of my heart…and the pursuit of my heart has never ended. And I’m happy to say that men are no longer a thing I fear. No..because my Daddy has spoken so sweetly to every lie the enemy ensnared me with from every root of brokenness in that way. No…I am simply a woman who has walked the darkest road I’ve ever known. And the Lord brought me light. And FREEDOM! My fears slowly fade away while his truth reigns. But God!

  23. 73
    anonymous says:

    A time I have given up hope…I am there. I believe God is hope,I know He is, but after years of no change I am fighting sliding into despair. My marriage is painful and ugly. My husband explodes in rage and then its like nothing happened and he is a calm and even nice. He is an expert at twisting what is said, blaming me for anything and everything. If I repeat back what he said he denies it and acts like I am crazy. Again I’ve said we need help or a divorce and he agreed we would go talk to someone. Well he didn’t mean it and I am sure he thinks I will stay put. I really need to get out-I feel such shame, I feel trapped, I feel fear as he rages. We are older- I see this anger in a couple of my grown children, it has taken a toll in all there lives. I hate that I didn’t leave when they were young.
    The Bible studies have been a life-saver for me. Thank you, Beth. Gay, you are a treasure and God richly bless you for loving others enough to be so honest! My heart goes out to others who have posted and I care and whisper a prayer for you. Jesus, you alone can bring healing and we love you and thank you for holding us.

    • 73.1
      Karen says:

      Dear sister in Christ,

      You posted as anonymous but God KNOWS YOUR NAME and holds you dear in his heart. You are engraved in the palms of his hands. And he is the redeemer of people and of people’s messes! Never forget that you are indeed “in Christ”, seated with him in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6) and your life is “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3. Jesus, thank you for holding my sister and hiding her life in God.
      God feels your pain, he sees your tears, and he cares. Just as he heard the Israelites crying out in Egypt, he hears you. And he cares. I pray that he will comfort you, will guide you, and will bring you into times of deep joy in him as you continue in his Word. Check out this link, which may be helpful to you:
      Where there is Jesus, there is always hope – hope that will transcend your pain, your fears, your hopelessness! He WILL NEVER leave you or forsake you. Cling to him and you are clinging to hope.
      Praying for you, my dear sister.


  24. 74
    Sue says:

    but GOD…it is all that I can write now…I will pray for you to continue to feel GOD’s love and care…

  25. 75
    Shannon says:

    Gay, I have been following your story, and I have been on pins and needles waiting for each entry since Beth introduced you to your siestas. God orchestrated the timing of your third entry so beautifully for me as I was finishing up my homework for week two of Mercy Triumphs. I had to face my own deformed desire (addiction) right square in the eye. My addiction is not alcohol or drugs, it is food. Tears streamed down my face as I read your story tonight. I connected the many diets and expensive health club memberships as my “rehabs” and really connected with your story. When you wrote “I raged with it and soothed with it. I celebrated and mourned with it. I went to bed with it and got up with it, I loved it and hated it” …. as I read this it completely described my battle with eating outside of hunger, binge eating to soothe the empty places of my soul.
    Gay, I just want you to know that your testimony will not only reach alcoholics….but many others. My deformed desire for food is destroying my life, and I am desperate, I am at rock bottom, and ready to give up all hope. BUT GOD is SO ONTIME with Mercy Triumphs and Your story…..I am holding on, I am not going to give up, I have a precious little family to that needs me, Gay thank you for your story. Thank you for your transparency. Thank you for sharing. Your entry was God breathed as was my homework tonight in Mercy triumphs.

  26. 76
    Barbara Ball says:

    This entry has brought tears to my eyes. I used to volunteer at a jail doing a bible study with the women. Many suffer like you did (alcohol and drugs). Thank you for sharing.

  27. 77
    Danaly Payne says:

    Mrs. Gail,

    I am reading your entries from the perspective of the child who was left behind because my parent chose alcohol over me… or at least that’s how I felt.

    I am now 35 years old with a family of my own and a relationship with the Lord but still struggling with forgiving that parent. The pain caused by alcohol and drugs runs so deep. It pours over into my own journey as a parent. I try to convince myself that I can forgive and move on but I don’t need to seek a relationship with them. Then I get a glimpse of God’s mercy and grace for my own life and I am convicted that more is required of me. I’ve been begging the Lord to give me eyes to see my parents through His eyes, to help me love them.

    You haven’t mentioned how things turned out with the then 8-year old boy you left behind but as I read your story I am filled with compassion not just for you but for my parents. I think the Lord is using the story to bring healing in my relationship with them. May His will be done.

    Thank you for sharing.

  28. 78
    sherry says:

    A couple of years ago I lost hope when I started to truly feel the (appropriate) repercussions of some very sinful decisions. I wondered if I could truly ever be at peace again, have a pure relationship with God and HIs people again, and so on. Never felt pain like that before: unrelenting and seemingly unending. It was like living in a fog…But just as He is always faithful, God’s never-failing grace and amazing intervention of love brought hope back a glimmer at a time. As you can tell, I’m babbling here and I don’t even know how to put words around it…but God is so, so good and I can testify to that (though not eloquently!)…Thanks Gay for your words of encouragement and REAL-NESS and opening up the door to bring healing in ways only God could put together!
    Love you and the sisetas!

  29. 79
    Diane Bailey says:

    Wow! You are an amazing women! I am so proud of you! Beth has every reason to call you her hero! Bless you, Bless you, Bless you even more so than the beginning

  30. 80
    cindy says:

    Gay, I cannot wait to read the 4th installment. I’m sure your story is eye popping to most, but not so much to those of us who battled the beast. Let’s say, I can relate. Though my story is different, the gist is the same. The beast destroys.

    My hope-loss moment came November 7, 2009. In a very short period of time I had been laid off (for the 3rd time in 5 years), my home had gone into foreclosure (had to leave it that week), my 4 year relationship ended, my temporary housing plans fell through, I had to file bankruptcy and had no money to put down on any other place to live.

    My two teenage boys and I had worn out our welcome at friends homes and I knew, that night, I had to either point my car out of state to go to my parents home, or find a homeless shelter.

    I dropped my boys at the library and movies, one each respectively and sat in the park contemplating my options, drinking wine, of course. I had been in the “process” of quitting for 6 years, so my pattern at that point had become to be sober for up to 4 months at a time, then when life got to be too much, relapse for a month. Believe me, I’ve been in the “around the clock” drinking cycle you described, but that’s where I was at that time.I was in a month long relapse and paralyzed with stress, fear and indecision.

    Anyway, I was drinking wine, and trying to decide what to do. I was in a pit of despair. How could this have happened? What was I going to do now? I got in my car (drunk) and noticed I was passing my favorite church. With tears streaming down my face I cried out to God, “WHERE ARE YOU!?!?” The bells rang. I felt heard. I went to pick up my boys…..

    Long story short…..within minutes I was arrested for drunk driving (a godsend if there ever was one) and WITHIN 24 HOURS of crying out to God, I was in the most beautiful home I had ever lived in. A stranger who heard of my plight at a bible study offered me, a stranger, her newly remodeled, vacant home for free for 3 months telling me, “If you can afford the rent in 3 months, you can stay”.

    I put down the bottle vowing not to let darkness enter my beautiful new home. I haven’t touched a drop in over two years. No cravings, no nothing. It was war on “The Beast”. I realize now that my addiction to alcohol was Satan’s attempt to not only dim my light, but kill me. I believe that. I was on my way to death. Instead, I began thriving in every way. I started a business. Today, more than two years later, I am still in that home, I was able to start paying rent within that 3 month time frame, my business continues to thrive. I now give workshops to women starting over in mid life, have been asked to speak to various groups and am expanding my business to employ women who need a hand…..I recently met a wonderful, strong Christian man who is showering me with love. It is something I most certainly was not looking for, but the icing on the cake of my beautiful life. I feel more love and joy now, at 51 years old, than at any other time in my life that I can remember.

    God is not only good, God is a miracle of greatness. God saved me. God heard me. He not only gave me shelter, he gifted me with a gorgeous home. The miracle of my life astounds me. God heard. I thank him every single day for what he did for me. I ask him to show me what he wants from me. “Lord, open my heart and my mind so that I understand your word and can live it. Push me in the direction I should go. Be with me…..”

    I love my life now more than I can say. I owe EVERYTHING to God. for those of you out there still struggling. It is so worth it. Life doesn’t just get better, it becomes more than you ever imagined once you walk away from the beast, for good.

    Again, an online support group I believe helped me save my life is: They’ve been my lifeline for years.

  31. 81
    Amber Moon says:

    Dearest Gay – I am speachless, crushed, and over-joyed all at the same time. I cannot imagine the agony you lived through but God has declared you victorious girlfriend!! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your story with us. He is being exalted through you!

    A year and a half ago I start experiencing anxiety attacks, though it took a long time to figure out (and admit) what was happening to me. I was too “level-headed” for anxiety attacks and it took God putting me on my knees to acknowledge the problem and get through it. I was (my version) of miserable for what seemed like “forever” and struggled getting myself out of bed and to work each morning. My husband thought I was unhappy with him and I got angry at him for thinking that way. I needed a rock, not a whiner, but praise God, we made it through! My Lord and Savior picked me up out of that pit and set me down on THE Rock and he’s covered me in His infite love while He’s revealed some of the reasons why I went through that season.

    As soon as that season “ended,” a new one began where my best friend of 15 years turned her back on her family and me for an alternate lifestyle. I work with her which makes the situation excrutiating. HOWEVER, our God reigns!! He continues to comfort me and guide me through this constantly reminding me that He is my Fortress, my Shield, my Redeemer, my BEST FRIEND FOREVER.

    He is so good to us Gay. His love is infinite and we are beyond blessed to be His today!

    I love your heart!!
    Your Siesta,
    Amber Moon

  32. 82
    Sandy Royals says:

    Gay’s life is truly evidence that we deceive ourselves time and time again…and have plenty of help in the process. But God…He will not permit one tear or tormenting night to be in vain! Keep testifying to His grace and mercy, Gay!

    My time of hopelessness was in 1993. My marriage was in the pits and I had two young sons. My husband, a child of an alcoholic, was heading toward his own “maelstrom”. I was ready to bail but I did something for the very first time in my life. I asked a friend to come and pray with me. She did. Later that day, I was listening to Kay Arthur on the radio and I will never forget her words…”someone out there is considering leaving their marriage, and I’m telling you to wait.” It was as if God Himself had blasted that over my radio. I pulled off the side of the road and wept. This began my own journey of healing. I went to counseling, I attended Al-Anon, and I began to wear my Bible out. Fast forward to 2012…we have 3 terrific sons and a great marriage! There’s much to the story between those 19 years, but for the sake of time and space…BUT GOD!!!

  33. 83
    Nina says:

    Just really humbled by your willingness to be so candid for the benefit of others. Don’t have this story, but am mindful that the enemy looks to devour all of us…thank you for being used to help others. Blessings…

  34. 84
    Carol says:


    Thank you so very much for your testimony. I find so much hope in it, and so much love.

    I have a daughter that has been through too many life experiences, and although she seems to be doing better now, there is always that nagging thought about how easily her life could again slip back into unhealthy patterns.

    She says she is a believer, but it is not really obvious.

    I so often think of the picture Beth painted about us getting in the way of God’s plan, where I am to get on my knees, and keep throwing my football of anxieties back to my God, because He is the one in charge of it all.

    Thank you for your courage to show us how Jesus can take a broken life and transform it into something glorious.

  35. 85
    NurseRae says:

    Bless you for baring your soul and sharing your story with such transparency.
    It is so nice to know “hey, I’m not alone in this!” I’ve read through many of the comments and it is obvious that your story is reaching people!
    Thank you for being willing to share.

    And but God I’d be right there with you..

  36. 86
    Tanya Hoffman says:


    Thank you so much for being willing to share your story with me. This blog community is a “safe place” for many of us to be ourselves and not have to always have it together.
    It must be terribly painful to have to revisit a time in your life that you would probably rather forget, but you are sharing it for the Glory of God.
    I for one am grateful that God does not want us to get ourselves together and then come to Him, no dear sisters He wants us now…..BIG HUGE MESS that we are!!!!

    BUT GOD!!!

    always…in every situation


  37. 87
    Margie by the Sea says:

    II have learned, like you Gay, that if I am still and listen, I will hear His voice. And I also learned as you have now, that next step is to take what He is saying and put it into action and not let the world drown out the only Voice you need to hear. It was in this way that my marriage of 36 years, broken apart and irretrievably damaged, was rescued. All human counsel; friends, lawyers, and even my Christian counselor who I dearly love and respect, told me to end it, to save myself and move on. BUT GOD …

    His voice was telling me over and over that although I was the innocent party, His will was for me to ask for forgiveness from my husband for any way that I might have failed him. It was in this humbling of myself before God, that the seed of reconciliation was born. And the greatest gift was that through my listening and obedience, my husband came to the Lord.

    God meant it for good. He uses it all, Gay. You have been through the Refiner’s fire and I share in the joy of a “golden” girl.

  38. 88
    Kathy says:

    Gay, thank you for your amazing and powerful posts- words cannot express what your courage and redemption means to all of us- I know that except for “but God” there is no hope

    May you and yours be blessed in a mighty way dear Sister in Christ

  39. 89

    Gay, Thank you so much for sharing. Reading your story is such a blessing. I am praying for you!!

    But God…I am so thankful when at this time in my life, I don’t even know what to pray for, with groanings too deep for words that the Spirit Himself intercedes for me and will get it right. I believe that and that is my hope. Even though I don’t have a clue right now as what will happen, He does and I am just want desperately to do what His will is. I am so thankful that God is who He says He is…and that He is bigger than I can even imagine. That is my hope.

    I am blessed to read through this post and what the other Siesta’s have shared. Thank you so much.

    In His love,
    michelle in VT

  40. 90
    Dana says:

    What a powerful story of God’s redemption. What courage you have Gay, to share your story. May many be given hope to find help and healing in Jesus.
    Many times in my life I have felt hopeless-admitting to myself and others that I had been abused as a child, loosing two children to miscarriage.
    But God. He has brought such healing and hope to me!

  41. 91
    Jodi says:

    Thank you Gay for sharing your story each read has blessed me tremendously. So many people have similar stories but are afraid to talk about it or confess it to others. Alcoholism has always been prevalent in my family (though no one admits it:) so of course as I grew into a young woman I married a handsome, charming man who also turned out to be an addict/alcoholic. Seven years of active addiction left me feeling alone & hopeless but the Lord did an amazing work in Him and in me and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was not to leave my husband so I didn’t and man has God honored that! Our life is certainly not without challenges and sometimes relapses but each time it gets better and better & God has never left us. God has filled me with a spirit of forgiveness and most of all of acceptance. He has given me the power to show grace and mercy to my husband just as Jesus does for me everyday. Today, my children get to live with their Momma and Daddy & my husband is sober and we are making it day by day. Alanon and AA have also been instrumental in both of our recoveries and we will celebrate ten years of marriage this summer. We are living proof of all God can do with a life and within a marriage. He never lets go. So thankful:)

  42. 92
    KK says:

    Sweet Gay, thank you. I can’t put into words how I’m feeling. I’m sorry for your losses, they were great and I don’t know how you are standing but for God and Him alone. Thank you for coming back and openly saying thank you to Him.

    I lost Hope as well and God stepped in for me too. It was a desperate time in my life but I KNOW HE WAS THERE FOR ME and He NEVER condemned me. Only the enemy does that. Man that set me free when I realized the difference.

    Continue to shout from the mountain top that our God is good, compassionate, faithful and NEBER GIVES UP ON US!

  43. 93
    Brittany says:

    I am usually just a lurker on here loving all the post and sweetness but I just have to let you know. Tomorrow I take my mom to Teen Challenge at 9am for her induction. She has been an alcoholic as long as I can remember. I’ve been praying for years about 17 actually that she would come to know the Lord and lay down the drinking. After a story much like your own she has will spend the next year focused on God and His Word at Teen Challenge of Alabama. Part of her decision process included me sending her your first intallment on this blog, that I happened to get one day she was at her worst of feeling hopeless! She already has a heart for Jesus and is in the most broken but beautiful place in her life. She’s glowing! You know the glow of a new believer when they’ve been rescued from so much! His love and His finger prints all over her!

  44. 94
    Laura S says:

    Gay,….but God, I picked up my first drink at age 13 and didn’t stop until I was just shy of 33 ~ 7 years baby! ~ but God…one year into sobriety I started doing Breaking Free while on my 1st 4th step..That was exciting! Only by the grace of God did I get through it because somewhere toward the end of Breaking Free reading Psalm 107 and realizing He does set us free from bondage, I received an anonymous letter telling me many things about my now ex-husband. But God…I did not drink. But God…I tried hosting thousands of pity parties but did not dwell there.

    I read your story and praise Him for your truth, praise Him that His light shines forth because there is so much freedom in sobriety!

    In Christ,

  45. 95
    Joan says:

    You go Gay!!! I praise God for you – you are Living Proof that Jesus is alive and in the job of redemption!!! I thank you for your courage and strength – know it must be difficult reliving that – but know you are blessing and encouraging us with the power of your words!!! You rock Gay!!!

  46. 96
    Barbara says:

    Thank you for your honesty! There is freedom in honesty.

    Although not an alcoholic, I have Bipolar II Disorder. Before marriage and kids, and after, I had similar experiences to you because I wouldn’t seek help. Just recently at the pleading of my husband I went to a psychiatrist & am now on the path to recovery.

    You speaking about no relationship with God but attending church is profound. I tend to think of my time in that as treating God like an idea and not my Father. As I function more my relationship with God functions more and there is peace!

    Keep writing and God Bless You!

  47. 97
    Robin in New Jersey says:

    Thank you Gay for sharing your testimony. God will use it to help so many, as already evidenced by the comments here.

    I grew up with an alcoholic father, who would never admit he was an alcoholic until the day he died at the age of 64. He always said he could stop whenever he wanted to. At times he would stop drinking for a couple months, go on a diet, and then he would start again. He was a functioning alcoholic. He never missed a day of work, never got pulled over(he should have)and always paid the bills on time. We always had a roof over our heads and food on the table so he thought he was fine. As an adult, I didn’t see him very much, we had moved to a different state. After 34 years of marriage, my mom told him to get help, or she was leaving. They were divorced 6 months later. I remember as a teenager, thinking he was having an affair because he wasn’t home much. He was down at the bar on the bar stool having an affair with alcohol. Several years ago, I entered counseling, and I so wish my dad could have had the counseling he so desperately needed. He was from the generation of just suck-it-up and keep hanging in there. To this day, I do not know what his demons were. My mom has no answers, he was man of few words. I drank while in high school and college because it’s what I saw all around me. I made the decision in my twenties to never drink again. I hated the way I acted when I drank and when someone said to me, “You sound like your dad, HA HA!” That was all I needed to hear. I made a decision not to drink. When people ask why, I tell them the story of my dad, I say, “But by the grace of God, it would be me too.”

    But for God, my husband and I would have been divorced by now. September 11, 2008, some things came to light about the double life he was leading. It was a huge betrayal and a very scarey time for us and our family. Because of that betrayal, our lives changed drastically, but one thing that didn’t change was that there is always HOPE and God is always with us, even when we don’t see it.

    but God…

  48. 98
    1 choirgirl says:

    Oh Gay. I know about losing hope! I too was held captive and lost, but instead of alcoholism, it was in a world of depression and post-traumatic stress from being molested as a child. I could not incorporate it into my Christian upbringing, so I hid it until I married at 22. Then I proceeded to live 3 straight years of a nervous breakdown/hell that included every diagnosis under the sun (depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, possible schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, you name it). I tried about 30 different doctors and counselors, about 50 different medications, and nothing helped. I lost my job, husband, even my best friends, and tried to overdose twice.

    BUT GOD!! BUT GOD!! BUT GOD!! HE SAVED ME!! That was about 18 years ago, and He restored to me my sanity, my dignity, ALL that I had lost, and much more. I can’t get through a day without Him, I love Him so much. Thank you Jesus!!!

  49. 99
    April Jones says:

    My “but God” time occured in December of 2007. My father, my hero, my mentor, my friend – died 5 days before Christmas in a small plane crash. It was, to say the least, tragic (on a side note, the story Beth tells in the third session of the James Bible Study is almost impossible for me to listen to – I have exprienced that anguish first hand). It was not a private experience – the crash made a big splash in the media because the three men on board were quite well known in the community and it was the Christmas season. My father was a mighty man of God, he was a pastor and was much beloved throughout the community – I am highly biased, but I think he was just plain great!

    That time, as you can imagine, produced a whirlwind of emotions, but two strong forces seemed to pull me in opposite direction internally – peace and bitterness fought hard against each other. Each was an option and I could have easily have give in to the bitterness that so wanted to control my life – bitterness at the pilot, the control tower, the plane, the weather, whatever was available! But GOD! He filled me with His peace and comfort at that time – it was like a flood that washed the sour taste of bitterness completely way.

    I can truly say I never fought with bitterness again after God’s peace took up residence in my soul – there were many days of sadness, confusion, anger, loss, grief, and even anguish – but never bitterness. I am so thankful for that gift! I am thankful I was somehow smart enough to reach for it and take it! That wasn’t in my own strength either.

    In addition, about 2 months before my father’s death, I met the man who would become my husband. God knew – in his perfect plan – that I would desperately need the strength, comfort and wisdom of a man who loved God more than anything in this life – and he brought him to me in advance of this very difficult season I was about to enter. But GOD!

    We married in the spring of the following year and have been doing life together for nearly 4 years. I praise God for him every day. He showed me grace, mercy, comfort, peace and love in human form while God was doing a mighty healing in my heart.

    I miss my dad greatly – I wish he had the opportunity to know my husband and to know my 2 year old little girl Arden Whitney – but I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW that he is with our heavenly father and we will meet again.

    Throughout the time following my dad’s death a scripture passage that he had inscribed in the Bible he gave me one Christmas continued to revolve in my spirit – it is the Priestly Blessing from Numbers 6:24 – 26

    The LORD bless you
    and keep you;
    the LORD make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
    the LORD turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.

    And HE did – even in the midst of the worst time of my life – I knew God was blessing and keeping me – His face was shining upon me and I was filled with his Grace and Peace. BUT GOD – there is no other way to describe that peace He alone can bring – BUT GOD!

    Thank you for the opportunity to hear your stories and share mine own – we serve an awesome Savior!


  50. 100
    Linda says:

    Your life is truly a testimony for “But God”. May God continue to bless you as you continue to share the amazing love, grace and mercy of our Lord.

    I am struggling today to not loose hope. All last year I worked with my brother who was falsely accused of child molestation. It has become our society’s way for revenge. Don’t like your teacher, coach, step-parent, ect then file a complaint. These false accusations also make it harder for the true victims of this crime. I lived in an unsafe situation for 11 yrs growing up so I know the terror of molestation.
    All last year we prayed the charges would be dropped. The trial was Dec 2011 and my brother was convicted and the only evidence presented was the testimony of his accuser. Which I realize in many cases like this that is the only evidence. My brother passed a polygraph and a computer voice stress analysis (CVSA) but neither of which could be admitted. We filed a motion for a new trial and that was denied last week. He was sentenced to 47 years. His sentencing report came back very positive but not sure if it was considered by the judge. My brother is being moved from the county jail to the department of corrections tomorrow. We have started the long process of appeals which takes years and a lot of money which we don’t have. I feel so helpless to help him but we are his only chance. I am a firm believer that God can use any situation to bring glory to Him. My brother has held firm to his faith and has already made a big difference in the lives of inmates and deputies at the county jail. I am praying God uses this to make a mighty change in his accuser’s life and use my brother to reach out to those in prison who don’t know our Mighty Father and for the Holy Father to protect my brother until we can have him with us again.
    Thank you to all who read this through. We need your prayers desperately.
    Clinging to the last shred of hope,

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