I looked at myself in the mirror, wanting to compromise in that very moment - so many things that I have so dearly cherished and determined in my heart to carry out with purity, faith, hope, sincerity and perseverance. Of course, I wasn't sober and I continued to not be. For the past year of my life, I've battled with my thoughts, my heart, my soul. How tragic to choose to surrender to fear and compromise out of feelings of unworthiness or completely become apathetic after being so passionate about something for so long - just because it's "scary." It's scary to completely fail at something you really want to succeed in, but what makes me cringe more than fear is the thought of passively and quietly hiding in the corner, crippled by the fear of man, lack of self worth, the torture of "what if's," invisible limitations, false humility, and lack of faith. As I've gathered all of the moments I could think of recently in which I've 'given up' or lowered my standards of living as a result of disbelief, fear, and doubt, my heart began to break.
I know it sounds ridiculous, but sometimes I lose sleep over contemplating if there are certain things that I should share, certain things I can act upon, different things I should do, strategies in how I can creatively carry out the dream(s) in my heart that have been dormant for so long, if this blog and sharing it will even translate to anything that makes sense or produces fruit, or if I should choose to put it all away and pursue something that makes sense and doesn't require as much faith. The truth is, I want to live in excellence, but don't know where to start and how to do it. So I've decided to start just by believing for it all to manifest, in it's perfect time and place. Belief is a powerful thing. Initially, it's everything. It carries me when I feel inadequate or unqualified, unprepared and underestimated. It is what has held me in the arms of peace in the midst of uncertainty, chaos, and disappointments. Out of this place, I have been able to do courageous things because of the hope and promise of beauty that faith provides.
Is it better to make a complete fool out of myself in the process of working to see a vision come to life as opposed to fearfully hiding behind my fear of failure or stay in the hidden boundaries of my predictable comfort zone where no one can see me mess up? If I don't continue to write, I'm a coward. Not because someone is reading or not reading - but it simply is something I know I have to do because it's in me to do it. Do you have something like that in your life where you know you just have to do it? I think I have to write and share for my own faith to grow. It's been what has helped me confront depression, release fear, and grow in courage, not just for myself but to see freedom for others. For long enough, I've sadly compromised the standards I've always kept dear to my heart for so long. Sometimes I contemplate running away from my dreams because I'm afraid of what it might require of me. I've latched onto the sweet yet fleeting comforts of busyness, distraction, companionship, and substance.
Everyday this past year, I fell hard. A simple doubt turned into disbelief, which then turned to hopelessness, which then produced a numbness complimented by a simultaneous longing to feel joy again. But then, I resorted to a quick relief and what I knew to be false joy - but it was the only joy I knew. So in desperation, I turned to alcohol. It was there and it was my best friend and comfort. I could never say "NO" to it. I daily began to look forward to how it provided escape and somehow made my problems disappear. We live in a happy hour social drinking culture. This was my justification, but I know I took it to another level. It damaged my soul. Just like some people can't wait to to see their significant other or do something they love, I would look forward sitting at the bar or having some drinks somewhere. I was in a relationship with it. I'm going to be honest because I'm not proud of the bad fruit that my dependence on alcohol has produced in my life. I'm embarrassed to admit that I can attribute my current debt to the many foolish nights of spending on booze and partying. Nothing was wrong with having fun and drinking, until it began to change my state of mind on a more permanent level.
I would never consider myself an alcoholic, but the fact that I didn't want to admit my dependence to alcohol made me wonder where the line is between someone who is addicted versus someone who frequently drinks or does so for recreation. Alcohol for me, always leads to other things, especially when I don't guard my heart. It's easy to justify and dismiss my dependence and reasons to drink as completely valid if I don't admit that I've been addicted to it. But the truth is, that isn't true. The desire to fill my momentary void(s) is very valid, but the relief in which I've sought out to fill my brokenness with distraction and temporary escape has been destructive rather than healing. My momentary voids only reflect a more permanent void. It's not the desire and longings to be filled that's bad, but there has been nothing more sobering and hopeful to me than the clarity I experienced immediately after admitting that I was dependent on what alcohol gave me and that it was not the solution. Even more difficult, was embracing the urgency in my spirit that exposed my need for healing in the right way versus choosing to sweetly escape in anxious desperate moments which I knew had unending consequences of creating greater wounds in my heart. I had to choose, and though it's not something easy still for me to say no to - I know I have to choose boldly and firmly. I am so weak to the temptation of alcohol and all that it gives me.
The death of my buzz has been a bitter surrender, but I'm saying a sweet goodbye. This is an RIP to my yolo attitude, false comfort, and false hope that it would provide me more than it actually ever did. The death of a buzz marks the birth of a freedom. Though my dependence on alcohol may not have been wholey and entirely, it was still a means of escape, of worship, of giving myself to something that didn't make me whole. A cheap and counterfeit version of real healing. Escape is never anything more than a temporary antidote. Numbing and self-medicating never truly heals pain and I've discovered that as me running away from it only made me lose so much self worth.. which then translated into shame and became a vicious cycle that triggered more destructive patterns. The only way to heal is to confront it, to feel it, and out of that place - discover growth and breakthrough in the midst of that pain. True growth happens when we endure. Why do we choose escape? Is it fear? I know a lot of times, I've been afraid to feel. We can only overcome fear when we confront truth. There's a thin line between using substance for recreation and occasions versus escape and a form of self-medication. I definitely experienced both and I know for now I have to say goodbye to both.
Alcohol made me a coward at times. When I hit a low point and drank more frequently, my heart began to harden, my dreams began to fade, my relationship with God began to fade and my anxieties began to heighten. My lifestyle became different - I became different. My heart would play tricks on me. I felt like a wave being tossed in the sea, but for moments, I felt good as the sweet bliss of buzzes would take me somewhere else. Somewhere in my mind, I've justified that being in the moment and being "buzzed" was liberating, until it began to enslave me. Seriously.
Most people have their set of things that make them weak. Sins, Vices, Secrets - in which our weakness to them can be directly triggered by related past hurt, insecurity, trauma, shame, or rejection, etc. Some of those very things that make us feel worthy also make us feel unworthy. Relationships, sex, drugs, alcohol, self image, career, etc. At the end of the day, we have to question where our identity comes from. What our values are. Where our worth comes from. It was challenging for me because I grew up in a family where alcohol was a part of the everyday norm. When I was younger, I saw how it destroyed the ones I loved and I promised myself at age 10 that I would never touch a drink - ever. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. At certain points, it was just fun, until it somehow I began to abuse it and allow it to change the very core of who I am and who I want to be. As a 26 year old, I'm choosing to say goodbye to the buzz and choose again, to re-align my heart with the things I once loved and were passionate about. This means saying no to a lot of moments I want to have "Fun." But because I've been so weak and dependent on it, in order to hope, dream, and passionately live again for the things I love and believe in, I need to end my days of buzz-ing and walk in clarity. I need a sober heart. I want a sober heart. I hope I can keep my word to myself and also provide courage to those who have certain strongholds in their lives to become free as I walk out my own freedom.
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” “Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”