Deliver Us from Darkness- Out Of The Pit Into Glory

Writer Author  Jean Madigan
Christian Article : Overcoming Struggles  - Fiction  No

Christian Author Writer This isn’t a pretty story with a fairy tale ending, because chemical dependency is never glamorous or fulfilling.

Thirty-five years ago, I put myself into treatment for alcoholism, because I hated the life I lived. I’ve been an alcoholic most of my life, but have been in recovery since 1969.

I stayed in treatment for three months, and then left against medical advice with a male patient. My husband divorced me and took custody of our three children.

I floundered for twelve more years, and got pregnant with my last child, now thirty- three years old. My life was a mess.

Treatment in those days dealt solely with the issue of alcohol and drugs, and didn’ t delve into the many problems with which most alcoholics and drug-dependent people suffer. The alcohol treatment professionals assumed we lost souls would iron out our kinks during the course of sobriety; some did, some didn’t.

One of my problems was low self-worth, stemming from childhood issues. I had an inferiority complex that manifested itself as superiority. But it was a façade, under which I hid all the guilt, hurt and shame I felt, due to not only my alcoholism, but other hidden things, too.

I was sexually abused when I was five-years-old, by a neighbor boy who babysat us. No abuse counseling existed at the time. My parents did the best they could with what they were taught in their own childhoods.

The feelings I had propelled me into a pattern of abusive relationships, in which I was told I deserved what I got. I did many things I knew were wrong, and compromised my values, all in the hope I would please people.

When I was sober two years, I accepted welfare assistance in order to care for my new baby, whose father was intermittently sober. That provided income for childcare and for attending cosmetology school. I graduated and became a manager operator and worked as a cosmetologist for five years. In the back of my mind, another dream surfaced.

I wanted to become a counselor, in order to help those who still suffered.

When I was sober seven years, at thirty-five years old, I applied for and received a student loan. I attempted to take counseling courses, but the welfare department balked. They decreed that I could only take technical courses, like bookkeeping, to continue receiving paid childcare.

My college instructor and I went to court against the system and won. I attended community college and graduated with an AA degree, and a chemical-dependency practitioner certificate.

I worked two jobs and went to college for two more years. By this time, I learned I didn’t need to be a victim of verbal abuse, and became more assertive in my behavior. My live-in boyfriend of twelve years left me and his daughter, for greener pastures . . . younger, more naïve women.

That hurt for a while, but I thank God now that it worked out that way.

I went on to four more years of college and got my BA in psychology, and my Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Reciprocal Degree, the highest I could go without taking management courses.

During my career as a chemical dependency/codependency/family and adolescent counselor, I helped many people. Some thanked me, others blamed and cursed me and some relapsed.

I know two things about alcohol and drugs. One, a person has to stay clean and sober long enough for his body, mind and spirit to rehabilitate. Sometimes it takes many years for that to happen. The tragedy is, many give up before complete rehabilitation occurs.

The other thing I know is, eventually one has to believe in a power greater than one’s self. Most addictive people have a hard time swallowing the idea of God, especially in the beginning. No amount of coercion or preaching will make them accept God until they’re ready.

Most often, the spiritual recovery of a chemically dependent person lags behind his physical and emotional recovery by months, perhaps years. This is true of any addiction, i.e., codependency, sexual dependency, and the like. In my case, it took thirty years for me to surrender to Him.

AA was part of my daily life for thirty years, and was founded on spiritual principles. It is compatible with the teachings of Jesus. The twelve steps of recovery, if absorbed and applied seriously, can help a person become accountable for his actions.

“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path…” (1)

While my career satisfied much of my need to help others, a void still existed in my life. That void, I now realize, is a longing for God.

One time, I joined what turned out to be cult in its infancy. After that, in 1972, I joined Jesus People Church, and for the first time, felt as if I had found my niche, but Satan stole the Word from me. I turned against all Christians; much like Paul did, before encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus.

For many years, I went my own way, not drinking nor doing drugs, but I still wasn’t happy. My solace, at the time, was writing, but I wasn’t getting anything published.

In 1996, I suffered two major heart attacks and serious operations on my bile duct and bladder, plus two hernia operations. My heart remained hard against the Lord. I couldn’t see God in my life, and I didn’t recognize His hand.

One of my sons persuaded me to read the Left Behind series of books, in 2000. He said they were interesting mysteries. After I read the first one, I realized he had become a Christian. I was hooked, and in March of that year, my husband and I walked into a church in Phoenix, confident we had found the answer.

For a while, I enjoyed a honeymoon with the Lord as a new Christian, but I couldn’t get along with some of the other believers, who expected me to change my lifestyle and habits overnight. We stayed in that fellowship for two years, attended bible study every Thursday, and church every Wednesday and Sunday.

Then we left. We didn’t seem to be good enough for them.

We tried attending a home church, but it wasn’t for us. But we finally found a church that taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and believed in grace. It’s been quite an adventure.

I’ve left out many things that only the Lord and I know about, things better left unsaid. I don’t want readers to think that now my life is a bed of roses.

By nature, I defend the underdog in every situation, hate hypocrisy, and lying, and I fight social inequality wherever I find it. Espousing such ideals gets me into a lot of trouble.

God said, “I chose you, you didn’t choose me. I chose you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last…” (2)

With His grace, I’ve tried to do that. I love the Lord with all my heart, and read the Bible frequently, although not every day. The biggest miracle of all? The Holy Spirit continues to work within me, and will continue to do so until Jesus returns.

And, I haven’t had a drink or mood altering chemicals for thirty-five years. The Lord is faithful to His promises.

“Great is His faithfulness. His mercies begin afresh each day.”(3)

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Country: United States
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