Thursday, October 27, 2011

Speaking the Truth

It has come to my attention that not everybody believes that it was a good idea for me to share my news with the world. Like it would have been a better idea to keep it all to myself and hide in a corner in shame. That's what I'd been doing for the past 5 years, hiding in shame. I knew how risky it was to share. I knew that there would be people who wouldn't understand, who would judge me harshly and think me weak and be ashamed of me. I'm ashamed of myself. Anything anybody thinks about me now is nothing compared to what I've already told myself.

I've been thinking over the last couple of days about my decision. Should I have told? Couldn't I have just went to AA and not said anything to anybody? Every question of doubt that floods my thinking comes back with a resolute reminder that I did what I had to do. I've been thinking of the woman at the well. When Jesus told her all she'd done, basically held a mirror up to her face and revealed to her what she already knew about herself, things that she should have been ashamed of and probably was. She didn't let any dust settle under her feet before she was telling everybody what had happened to her. When you barely make it out of a tragedy with your life, you're going to tell people. That is what I did.

Alcoholism is so misunderstood, I'm learning just how much. The ONLY people that understand are other alcoholics. Sometimes when I'm sitting in a meeting, I look around me at the other souls in the room and am so tendered to think of their story, what brought them here. They are from every walk of life, every financial class, every level of education and every age from the very young to the old. There is this one older guy that is almost frightening looking and... my heart melts when he speaks. I begin to wonder what I would have thought of him had I just seen him in a public place. Would I have judged his appearance? Would I have avoided him? Yet, we share this common bond and have suffered the same pain. Aside from all I'm learning about the disease itself, I'm learning so much about humanity. Good and bad.

When I left my first meeting, I had to go to Walmart and I felt like every person in there was viewing me differently. Did I have a big sign on my head that said ALCOHOLIC? Was it that obvious to the world that I was broken and sick? Did I have toilet paper on my shoe? I know that it was just my ego, my self doubt and fear. The people didn't care where I'd been. They were just going about their lives. After I blogged about it all, then I started to wonder, what people were going to think. I had lovely responses from people that I already knew would support me, but what about everybody else? The people that said nothing. The people that look at me differently now. What are they saying, what do they think? Then God whispers, "it doesn't matter". It doesn't matter! IT DOESN'T MATTER!!!

I did what I had to do. I did what God wanted me to do. I stepped out of my grimy pit and told the world where I'd been. Those who received this news and look down upon me with disdain have their own pits that they are dealing with and, it isn't my problem. If writing about it is helping me heal and if I help just ONE other has all been worth it. All the ridicule and misunderstanding by the haters and the pious aren't worth my tears. I'm confident that I'm doing the right thing. I've been keeping this dark secret for too long and, now that it's out, I'm going allow God to heal it right out in the bright sunshine, not hidden in a dark corner. People don't have to like it. Jesus stands at my side and dares those without sin to cast the first stone. I am broken, beaten, frightened, and humiliated. And in the midst of my pain, Jesus is there. He is all I need. He is the guardian of my soul, what can man do to me?

This is going to be a long, difficult process. I'm dealing with things I wasn't expecting to have to deal with but am learning to take each issue as it comes and allow God to deal with me over it. This is something I don't know that I would have ever learned to do had I lived my life with no trouble or sickness. I can see to the end of the road, and there is a blessing. There are many blessings along the way but I have to do the work. I have to do the HARD work. I am blessed beyond measure to have the love of others and the patient and sweet understanding of my family. Even if every person on the planet abandoned me and scoffed in my face, I still have Jesus. I still have the unfathomable love of my Creator, what more do I need.


  1. Jen! I'm proud of you. You just keep on keeping on! I respect you for sharing and I think the love and support of friends who know just serves to lift you up! I have followed your blogs and your posts and feel like we are long lost friends. We are certainly connected via your church and my relatives. I seriously think your dad was put in ministry to "crack tough Whisenhunt nuts!"
    You know, when you first posted about a battle with alcohol, I started wondering what life lesson God is trying to teach through this. I know there is always a reason and I feel, a lesson. Maybe the purpose is to help another at AA. Maybe it is simple to strength faith and trust. Only God knows.
    Hang in there. I'm glad you shared. I know you were led to. I also know that there is no shame in what you are experiencing. The shame would be NOT standing up and taking responsibility and dealing with the issue.
    You are a wise and strong woman. Proud of you muchly!

  2. Satan is very crafty, and his favorite weapon is shame. it's so easy for him to keep you immobile by threatening you with all the damage your admission will do to your loved ones. this has the potential to keep you in a petrified state for YEARS, slowly spiraling ever downward, and taking even more of your precious life with it. i can assure you, tho, that the embarrassment of your loved ones will pale in comparison to the relief and joy that they and you will experience once you give this problem completely and totally to God.

    you are GOD's, dear Jennifer, and your Higher-Powered, ABUNDANT life and sobriety are God's gift back to you, in exchange for your admission of utter powerlessness over this sin-drenched condition of alcoholism. you are in good hands --- His. the only way to turn your back on God is to accept that shame.
    so DON'T DO IT! :)
    you are much-loved, and God will never be "disappointed" in you. He already knew all the mistakes you would ever make, and then went right ahead and made you anyway. God never "shames" us. if God used shame as a tool, He would never have sent His Son. (why send a Redeemer if debasing and reproaching us will straighten us out?)

    you're on the right path, one step at a time.

    love you,
    - Martine