From Death To Life
I was born in Glasgow, the youngest of five children. My father was a compulsive gambler and my mother is a recovering alcoholic. I was brought up to believe that I got my value as a person from what I felt and have consequently lived life trying to change situations outside of myself to make myself feel better.
By age three I was an accomplished expert in emotional manipulation, daily performed on my mother to get exactly what I wanted-I always won.
My family broke up when I was five and the next five years were spent living a very
chaotic and emotionally turbulent lifestyle, going back and forth between parents. During this time I experienced several forms of abuse and dealt with it by not dealing with it, going into denial, stuffing feelings and living in a fantasy world in my head. I felt and was rejected. God to me at this time was just like my parents, not there for me and unable or unwilling to protect me. I did not want to know Him.
Dad died when I was ten and we all moved in with Mom and my stepfather (now Dad) permanently. I was glad because it meant the end of the old life
and hope for the new one. However, the new life only looked better than the old one. Behind the "happy family" front, the abuse was still going on, emotional and sexual in particular. I was aware of the shame and guilt attached to my involvement in this but was prepared to ignore it in order to feel what I believed to be love and acceptance.
At thirteen I discovered I could get what I needed (love and acceptance as I understood it) by flirting with boys without having to get physical, so I threw myself into that and got out of the sexual stuff at home.
Several months later, someone told Mom about Dad’s sexual behavior with her daughters and the "happy family" mask fell off, the facts came to the surface, the marriage broke up and Mom became actively alcoholic. We "children," my two brothers, two sisters and I, developed our own coping behavior. Mine was totally deceitful, presenting the perfect daughter at home while on the streets I smoked, drank, tried drugs and by fifteen had a boyfriend of twenty-three.
I married at sixteen, he was seventeen. To me he looked the opposite of what was happening at home. He represented safety, security and real caring so I grabbed him and he became my god. We stayed together for twenty-one years.
Looking back over our marriage I can see clearly how I was total self-will run riot (as the big book Alcoholics Anonymous says).Very early on I began to display the consequences (, the sinful life I had lived and was still leading. I developed phobic anxiety and depression and spent several years addicted to prescription drugs, desperately trying to keep myself, my image and my marriage together. After completing "clinically successful" psychotherapy I came off the drugs and developed bulimia, running all the harder into trying to be perfect. Deep down I knew something was seriously wrong, but couldn’t afford to look at it because I did not know what to do about it. I tried to "find" God several times over these years, but always on my terms. I was too scared to accept the God I believed He was, so I never found Him.
I spent a further four years running from one addictive activity to another, living on the extreme side of life with no balance until one day in 1985 God "found" me. I do not believe I was looking for Him but I must have been open to Him, as without warning or forethought, I suddenly had a desire to find out what Jesus Christ had actually said. I spent two years reading the Bible and came to believe that Jesus Christ was in fact the Son of God who had died on the cross for my sins. I asked Him into my heart and turned my life over to Him. I knew I was saved. I was given an Intercessor by a friend of my mother’s and took as my own the total truth of Christ in me as me. It fit as the solution to the chaos in my life; I knew it was true.
Since then I have attended as many conferences and fellowship weekends as possible. I recognize the absolute need to be around like-minded people who can help me see through the unbelief in my life and I in turn help them see through theirs. I have learned to accept others’ view of myself as I am aware my own has been very distorted. Addictive behavior, which controlled me for years, has been arrested one day at a time by applying the knowledge that Christ/I does not need to respond to old temptations. I am grateful for the 12-step program I am in and see it as a description of how Christ lives out as me. I know there will never be a time this side of the grave when I can sit back and say I have "arrived"! There will always be temptation and trials to deal with. I rejoice in the knowledge that Christ/Christina has all she needs to handle anything God gives her. I have moved from a living death to an abundant life. Praise God.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 9 No 5
- Romans Six to Eight, Paul’s Key to the Liberated Life
- To Think About
- Editor’s Note
- The Committee
- Moments With Meryl
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- Book Review: Continuous Revival
- Questsions & Answers
- Perfect Containers
- God Always Gets His Way
- Powerless Over Alcohol & Life: Step 11
- The Mailbox
- You’re Only As Sick As Your Secrets
- From Death To Life
- Words To Live By