My Story: Overcoming the Drunken Monster Within

I’ve spent some time in the dungeon of self-hatred. The term was only a few short years but let me tell you, it was hell down there. A prison-of-sorts where my worth was beaten repeatedly. My image so bruised that it even hurt to look in the mirror. It was sorrowful time, a contemplative pit of disgust and shame. A time when the choices I’d made with my own free will caused me to trip and fall, the long way down.

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Some of you know bits of my story. The pre-Me was a girl who’d enjoy any excuse for good time. Drinking was my desired gateway to fun. Oh, it was all in good spirit, I told myself. Most of the time (but not always) I was able to juggle the drink and the façade of self-control pretty darn good. Just a carefree girl with a forecast for fun, I told myself.

But the untold truth was like bubbling magma. What many did not know is that the beer swallowed cold was feeding a monster. A monster of generational alcoholism, a monster with haughty eyes and a lying tongue.

Oh, in those early years the monster’s voice was so affirming. It’d tell me such grand things about myself. It’d tell me how beautiful I was and how deserving I was of ANYTHING and EVERYTHING I wanted. I only needed to relentlessly pursue and I could have it all – the whole world, yes! As the consummation ensued, the voice would coil itself around my spirit and make me feel like a twelve story building.

Come morning, I hated that damn monster. And myself.

True enough, as the years carried on I began to chase after another baby Love. It was the heart of God. As I sought, I learned. Until oh-so-softly another voice began to emerge. This Gentle one, it wasn’t pushy. Heck, though, it spoke truth to me that sometimes stung.

“You are my ambassador,” the Gentle voice would say. “This (drink) is not good for you. When will you let it go?” The question always circled like a white dove returning home, into the palm of my hand. It was always up to me as to what I’d do with it.

Even still, despite the Gentle voice and despite my personal academy of seeking, from time to time I’d feed that monster. Without fail it pushed and bullied its way into chambers of my heart, attempting to conquer its foe, the Spirit of God.

I discovered that the monster had an uncontrollable appetite to devour the other Living occupant of my heart. And so it began, this epic battle for dominance. Back and forth like a sword-drawn Tarzan swinging from a vine. Back and forth, with each pass the Spirit hacked away at the choking weed – monster. Back and forth, with each pass the monster attempting to spew poisonous lies.

“For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. “ – Galatians 5: 17

It takes time; the sanctification, the cleansing, the killing of monsters. The death of it all was a process. The finality, grotesque. The most severe pain I’ve ever felt in my whole life. The grief – a dark tomb. For me, this self-death of drinking was my plummet into the dungeon of self-hatred.

Thanks be to God who rescued me from the pit with His right hand. Though that place was dark, the Voice was with me saying things like,

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.” -1Peter 2:9

You see, when the monster died, my body felt like ash. But let me tell you, in that good-long-hard-season the Lord God made me whole again, this time, into a new creation. Yes, He did that. I can’t believe it’s been nearly eight years since He destroyed that monster within but He did, and I’ve never known such freedom. Praise be!

And do you know what? He can do that for you too. You’re never beyond His reach. Never. I believe that some of you have been living under the monster’s thumb for far too long. You’re tired. You’re lying in the pit of self-hatred, perhaps.

Dear brother or sister, listen, God’s unfailing love for you is so vast that there is nothing you can do (or nothing you’ve done) that can remove this Love. All you need to “do” is turn your head, look to Him, repent, and let Him lead you into a new (better) life. No regrets.

Amen.
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And Now, A Lesson in Death

In case you’re wondering…I’m still writing that dang book. The novel about the girl in Ireland. Yeah, that one. Last week I was hung up on a scene so I decided to break things down. Again. This is my new game plan.

Well, it’s the same game plan just re-written for the 100th time, in a different format, with different colors. I know your wondering. Did it work? You betcha! Unstuck and pressing on.

A few days later my 16 year old daughter was reviewing my colorful set up and asked, “What does die to self mean?”

I stopped writing and looked up at her. That feeling, mothers you know it, the one where you feel the teachable moment coming on. The air becomes thin. A quiet pause is stretched. I imagine magical sprinkles of {invisible} inspiration floating down from the Heavens, prickling the skin as it lands.

I answer, “Die to self? It means sacrificing {to the point of death} your selfish desires. For example, in my story the main character wants this one thing more than anything in the world. Yet, there is this other thing… The stakes are high. She needs to make a choice. Will she choose self? Or will she die to self?”

There are two kinds of death. Physical death, where the soul and spirit depart from the body. This kind is inevitable. It is our future. It is absolute and inescapable. The other kind is Spiritual death, where pesky sin separates our soul from God.

Dying to self is a Spiritual death.

It requires a 180 degree turn around. This is hard to do. Especially when the stakes are high. We want one kind of lifestyle. Yet, the desire to shake the peskiness remains. It’s a longing. For some of us, the separation from God is hard. We wonder why we do what we do…when it’s not really in line with what we want to do. Huh? Am I making sense?

Let me explain. Five years ago I quit drinking. For one reason and one reason alone. I needed to die.

Making the choice to quit drinking has NEVER been for any sort of legalistic reasons. I didn’t do it because I thought it was the good Christian thing to do. I didn’t do it because I think drinking is bad. I didn’t do it because anyone made me or pressured me to stop.

I quit drinking because the pesk was killing me. Spiritually speaking. Having one or two never really worked for me. The truth is that another person emerged in my drunkeness. She was ugly. Selfish. And when my physical body rejoined my Spirit after a hasty night…I didn’t really like her a whole lot.

But the death took time. Layer upon layer. Slowly, in a great span of time God called me out of that pesky entanglement and into something new.

That death. Oh, that death was painful. Yet, my God was faithful to me and never let me go.

“These scars ain’t pretty but there a part of me… These marks tell a story of me down in the valley and how you reached in with your grace and healed me.” -Mandissa

It’s about beauty from ashes. Being reborn into a new creation. Stepping out of old skin and trusting that the new has a perfect purpose for you.

Only YOU in your inmost being know the things being willed of you to lay down and die. It’s a matter of choice. The stakes are high. What will you choose?