Sunday, October 14, 2012
Made Whole by Jesus
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) -- While Erin is alcohol free today, that hasn’t always been the case.
Erin said when her biological father abandoned them, she was left with her half sister and adopted mother.
She continued, “I was the constant reminder to my mother of the infidelity that took place in her marriage that led to the divorce, and the sad reminder to my sister of why daddy was no longer with us. I was always reminded of how misplaced I was, and how much my mom regretted keeping me.”
Erin said living in an affluent neighborhood didn’t help, either. “My sister and I were the kids no one else could play with, since we were the only ones in the neighborhood who didn’t have a dad around. My sister blamed me for her friends no longer coming around, and my mom for why her friends looked the other way. That’s why I got involved with the ‘outcasts’.”
The drinking continued in the military, Erin said, where to fit in, be cool and just cope, she continued to drink. When she got out of the military, she was in a bad marriage and continued drinking. That, she said, led to her being unable to fulfill her obligations to her children.
“I was shunning all of my responsibilities,” Erin said. “I thought that escaping was the best thing to do. I drank more to deal with problems I was creating for myself. The more I drank to escape my problems, the more problems I created for myself and my family.”
Erin said she wasn’t passing out drunk. She was what is referred to as a “functioning alcoholic.”
However, Erin said, she would also get jobs bartending, not exactly the best employment for an alcoholic. She continued, “I would be drunker than some people I was cutting off serving. But I never really passed out. I just got to the point where I would get drunk enough to either get really kind of violent, or just to lash out at people because of the pain I was feeling.”
Erin said she also gained weight and had a lot of self esteem issues, which caused her to push people away.
She said, “I’d rather be drunk and alone than put myself in a position to be hurt again.”
I asked Erin about her husband. She described him as a drinker, into drugs and rarely around.
Erin said, “I guess I did marry my father after all. My mother of course blamed me for my marriage being bad, and questioned me about why I had children with this man.”
She continued, “My childhood would always be brought up. ‘You’re stupid.’ (I graduated with a 3.75 GPA). ‘You’re lazy and worthless.’ ‘You’re fat .’(Mom isn’t exactly skinny). ‘You’re a terrible mother.’ (Like mother like daughter). She threatened to have my kids taken away if I didn’t shape up.”
Erin admitted that the bottle became her comfort as opposed to her husband and children. She said, “I broke my word to my children and made promises I couldn’t keep, and knew at the time I wouldn’t keep them.”
Erin said because she could hold a job and pay her bills, the idea of being an alcoholic never really occurred to her. She said it wasn’t like she was drunk and sleeping under a bridge. She added, “I thought I was better off than they were. They could see the consequences of their choices; I couldn’t.”
I asked Erin if she had any influences in her life who told her that maybe she was drinking a bit too much.
She said at that time she didn’t. She wasn’t raised in what she would describe as a religious household, even though her grandfather was a minister.
She said, “I had to develop a relationship with God on my own, which now I see was a blessing. However, then I turned from God and believed there wasn’t a God because if there was why is my life so terrible? I separated myself from God and had to find my way back to Him.”
Erin said her second husband helped her do that by giving her a better life and hope. And nine years ago, she said, he helped her stop drinking. However, Erin said, while she was better, she was not fully healed. That was to change.
“A little over five years ago, I gave my life and everything to the Lord,” Erin said. “He took away the drinking and the urges. (However), when I went to work … I was attacked again by the enemy and started losing faith because of things that were going on there.”
I asked Erin if there were any precipitating circumstances that caused her to give her life to Jesus. She said it was drinking and realizing that God had a better way for her to live.
She said, “This wasn’t the life He had planned for me. He had a better one-with no stress, not abusing my body, myself the way that I was. God had been with me the whole time. I just never acknowledged it.”
Erin said she came to Albuquerque, where she said she began to lose her faith and wanted to start to drink again.
She said, “I couldn’t see it as a test of faith, I just saw signs of losing faith and letting the actions of others guide me. I forgot the life God wanted for me; that He had taken those feelings away and I needed to get back on the right track and path. I left the job and went back to Iowa to help my mom who had cancer.”
After Erin’s mom got better, she said she and her husband decided to return to Albuquerque. They joined our faith-based life recovery program, as she felt she needed to strengthen her relationship with the Lord.
I asked Erin how that’s been going. She said, “It made me look at my life closer and brought out some issues that I hadn’t seen in my life. It brought me closer to God as well. It makes you realize God’s will for us and the way He wants us to live and treat each other, and for us to have a happy life, not an addicted life.”
Erin is now working in our front office at Joy Junction as a receptionist. She said she is blessed to have the job.
“I’m able to share my story and my experience with other people,” Erin said. “I’m able to give them some hope and encouragement, and tell them what Joy Junction has done for me and my husband and what they have to offer.”
I asked Erin where she thought she and her husband (as well as many others) would have been without the services offered by Joy Junction.
She said either living in a tent, under a bridge or in jail. She added, “In extreme cases they could have been dead from alcohol poisoning. Myself, I know in Iowa there’s no shelter like this available in the whole state. They have only one place to go and they split up the family. It’s not faith based; it’s just a recovery program.”
I asked Erin what she would say to the thousands of donors who make Joy Junction (which doesn’t receive any government funding) an ongoing reality.
She said, “I would say just continue that, because without their blessings, we aren’t blessed. I’m from Iowa, so I’ll use an example of planting corn. You plant a seed, just a little seed, and with that seed a corn plant grows. On that plant there are ears of corn and with those ears of corn a whole family can be fed. So with just one tiny donation a lot of people can benefit. Everything they donate is just a true blessing for us here.”
I asked Erin if she had one wish what it would be. She said to continue on the road she and her husband are on currently.
“Hopefully now that I have a job her, that we’re able to actually fulfill the transitional living option,” she said. “That we can get out and get our own place, and be able to share the love that we’ve experienced and tell our story to others.”
Joy Junction Resident Services Manager Joel Steen described Erin in two words: diligent and faithful. That’s a pretty good recommendation.
Thank you for allowing us to have a positive input in the lives of Erin and her husband. If you’d like to donate to Joy Junction, or read about more lives touched by this ministry, go to www.joyjunction.org
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