Tales of Triumph - Carly's Testimony
When I was young (I recall this starting around 8 years old) I started believing lies about myself. Lies that told me I was unwanted, worthless, unlovable and that I just didn’t belong. Those lies stuck with me over much of my life. When I was 12 my parents divorced and I fell into drugs and alcohol and promiscuity as a means of escape, not just from reality but to try to silence the lies. For me, the drugs and alcohol and men “worked,” but only for a short time. I became a Mom just before turning 17 and thought maybe I’d have a new life that was healthier. It didn’t take long for me to fall back into addiction. The love for my children wasn’t enough to stop the pull back into drugs and alcohol. I found myself in a relationship that was my first experience with horrific domestic violence. Because I believed the lies about myself, I thought that was what I deserved, that was life’s best for me. As the addiction went on, the consequences grew; losing jobs, my children, all of my belongings, stable housing and more. I found myself in various treatment programs, I tried self help books, therapy, 12 Step programs and had periods of time where I would stop using, but would always fall back into darkness. At 7 years clean and sober I remember thinking, I’d “arrived”… wasn’t using or drinking, was married and living a comfortable life by the worlds standards, yet I was still so full of guilt and shame.
I attempted to end my life on 1/1/2012. Two attempts as a matter of fact. Even then, without knowing the Lord, He had His hand in it and saved me from myself. I remember waking up in the hospital and then the psych ward thinking “I’m such a failure, why didn’t that work.” As a consequence to my actions I got divorced, moved out into a little apartment that I refer now to as my self-made prison cell. I fell deep, the deepest I’ve ever been, into addiction. I wasn’t allowed to see my children and so I spent day in and day out feeling angry and sorry for myself. I would wake up each morning and my first feeling or thought would be anger, upset that I was still alive and tired from my lifestyle but not knowing how to stop. During that time I also starved myself and dramatically lost a lot of weight. It was a weird thing in my head where it was a self-punishment, since food is nourishment I didn’t believe that I deserved even that. Fast forward to August 2, 2012 I found myself with an abscess on my leg and in the emergency room. The nurse there was having a hard time finding a spot that she could place an IV due to my own intravenous drug use and I remember her finally finding a spot and saying to me “Carly this is like your lifeline you need to not do drugs right here.”
The doctors were saying words like septic and surgery and possible amputation and I was really scared. I called my ex husband wanting to speak to the kids but due to my actions there was a restraining order and he reminded me of that and hung up. While waiting for surgery I was arrested by the Marion County Sheriffs Office in my hospital bed for violating the restraining order. A few other circumstances and events transpired there in the hospital that fueled the feelings of being so alone and of worthlessness. I called an old friend of mine, a recovery mentor and counselor that I always called when I was ready to stop using (she would help me get to treatment, help me get my kids back or whatever else was going on.)
This time was different. This time she told me that there was nothing else she could offer me, that I already knew all the things I needed to know and that I already have received all the treatment I would need to receive. This time she told me that I needed to figure out who God was, that He was my only hope. I remember so vividly the depths of my despair in that moment as I hung up the phone, feeling so alone and tears running down my face. I cried out to God and I told Him that I didn’t really know who He was but that if He was real I needed Him to change my life because I couldn’t do it anymore.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Just as the Holy Word says, God heard my cries and He answered them. Shortly after being released from the hospital I met who is now my husband and he invited me to church. I had gone back into my routine of going to 12-Step meetings because I knew that the program would help me with abstaining as it had numerous times in the past. Again God intervened as in October of that same year (2012,) The Most Excellent Way started up at our church and my husband invited me to start coming. At first I didn’t want it to interfere with my 12 step meetings which was Monday through Friday, but I started coming a few weeks after it started and for a while I would go to The Most Excellent Way on Mondays and then my other meeting the other days of the week. It did not take long for the things of this world to grow strangely dim.
I realized that my heart was changing from the inside out as I learned more about who God was and who He says I am, and all the power in His promises by jumping into his word each Monday night at The Most Excellent Way. I stopped going to those other meetings, not because someone told me to, but because I realized I didn’t need them. I was plugged into church and women’s discipleship, receiving biblical counseling, and have had my life invested in by fellow believers who continually point me towards Christ. Today I get to say (with confidence in the Lord) that I am redeemed, holy, chosen, beloved, which combat all of those lies I believed about myself for so long. I don’t have to identify as an alcoholic, or a drug addict, or someone who is a compulsive gambler or shopper or anything else.
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
The Lord has restored all that was lost and more. He allows me to help serve Him by serving with Most Excellent Way and my passion today is to allow Him to shine through me to illuminate a dark and lost world. All for His Glory. He has faithfully used all of the darkness from my past, relieved the guilt and shame from my heart around it, and has put people in my path that need to hear how He transformed everything. How He saw me through all of those past experiences and healed me from them.
“Let your light shine before men, that. they may see your good works, and. glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
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