have you ever...

***This is the hardest, most painful post I've ever written.  Please be nice in your comments.  And if you start reading please read all the way through.  Thanks for being part of my journey.  Writing this frees me from a lot of shame I've carried for a long time.  Here's to healing from the past.***  

**Please also note that the events I will share and relay are of MY opinion and viewpoint as a child/young adult.  I share to help others who struggle with alcohol or who live/have lived with alcoholics.**  

Those who know me may or may not know that I never drink alcohol.

Those who know me a little better may think that it's a "good Christian" vs "bad Christian' sort of issue for me because of my faith.  It's not.  I think the choice whether or not to drink has nothing to do with if you love Jesus or not, at least not for "normal" people.

For me the reason is much, much deeper.  It's only been the last year of my life that I could even SMELL alcohol without having a near anxiety attack.  And that's a true statement.

You see I lived with "the alcoholic" and "the codependent" for eighteen long and hellish years of my life and suffered the results of their behavior for several more.  I firmly believe that my life would have been severely different had alcohol not been as much of my life as breakfast in the morning.    

Consider the following to understand my view:

Have you ever had to listen to late night arguments fueled by drunkenness?
Have you ever you ever had to lie about injuries to "the codependent" under threat of upsetting "the alcoholic"?
Have you ever gone years without seeing your grandparents (with multiple stints) because "the alcoholic" deemed them bad?
Have you had to stop shopping with "the codependent" because you know they shoplift?
Have you ever had to visit "the alcoholic" in jail?
Have you ever had to pretend not to know what pot looked like as "the alcoholic" grew it in your back yard?
Have you ever seen "the alcoholic" in handcuffs? 
Have you been molested on numerous occasions because "the alcoholic" couldn't keep a job and therefore had their family living under iffy conditions?
Have you ever listened to "the alcoholic" and "the codependent" physically fight and scream their way through the night...once the day before you graduated high school...with a friend sleeping on the floor beside you?
Have you ever had to shower in the night in the middle of a dark campground because "the alcoholic" was too drunk to know where he was pissing?
Have you ever been called a slut loudly in front of your best friends by "the alcoholic" because you said hi to a boy at the fair?
Have you ever listened to the rationale of both "the alcoholic" and "the codependent" behind the multiple affairs on each other?
Have you ever had "the alcoholic" have to go talk to "the codependents" employer because they were caught stealing from them?
Have you ever had all of your clothes dyed red because you washed your own clothes...because "the codependent" told you to wash them yourself?
Have you ever had to wait in the car while "the codependent" bought drugs for "the alcoholic"?
Have you ever been called within an hour of giving birth to be told that you are a terrible daughter and sister by "the alcoholic"?
Have you ever been held hostage in "the alcoholic's" home because you came home deciding that the Navy was not for you?
Have you ever been told that you were too dumb for college?
Have you ever witnessed "the alcoholic" piss beside the washer because he was too drunk to realize that it wasn't the bathroom?
Have you ever lived in a house where the tension in the air was so THICK that anyone who visited could describe it to you in as much detail as though it were a physical thing?
Have you ever lived in a home where you waited anxiously for "the alcoholic" to pass out so that the least stressful part of your day could begin?
Have you ever gone to school sick as a dog because it was better than being home?
Have you ever been picked up from school and taken to the home of your molester because "the alcoholic" couldn't be bothered to pick you up?
Has your home life ever been so bad that your best friends grandparents looked into how to get custody of you?
Have you ever had to leave cards and gifts in the middle of the road because "the alcoholic" stormed you out of your grandparents house because they found out that "the codependent" had been bringing you there secretly?
Have you ever been punished for telling the truth?
Have you ever had to constantly choose which parent's side you would be on...knowing that it would be used against the other parent?
Have you ever witnessed alcohol being bought with cash on a daily basis while you had to feel the shame of buying groceries with food stamps....because "the alcoholic" always knew more than their boss and couldn't keep a job?
Has every action you've taken been questioned at length and tears for "obvious" ulterior motives? 
Have you ever witnessed "the alcoholic" scream at your 8th grade teacher, in her yard, because you dared to write that she was "like a mother to you" in your journal, that they read and then held every word against you?
Have you ever been judged and abandoned by all of your family for choosing to step out of the ring and refuse to be hurt anymore...or for your children to be hurt?
Have you ever had "family is FOREVER" used as a way to make you feel guilty for not wanting to be hurt anymore?
Have you ever had to account for the actions of "the codependent" because "they are up to something"?
Have you ever poured your heart out, in a last desperate attempt to "fix" the relationship, sharing all of your hurts and pains from over the years, only to be called a crazy liar and advised to get help?


In short...my heart was soaked in a brine of hurt and pain, bound together for the first 25 years or so of my life by alcohol.  It's hurt me more than any other thing in the world.  It has insulted me, pained me, caused me grief and caused damage to a level that I feel, at times, I have only just begun to heal from.  The scars from alcohol heal about as well as a wound that is constantly scraped with a rusty steel brush.

Because, in fact, it caused repeated hurts.  As I would begin to heal from one incident, I would be buried again under another.  Having never fully healed from the first incident, a new layer was added, then another and another and another.  25 years worth at least.  Or more.  I'm essentially, at my worst, a small child wrapped in a cocoon of pain and anxiety.  Layer over layer over ugly layer.  It's literally a crazy life.  

This previous life of mine still brings me shame.  I feel guilt over things I had no control of.  I have often felt dirty and less than.  Broken and worthless. 

I am still working through anxiety.  And self confidence.  And timidity.   I often struggle to speak up.  I sometimes still have anxiety asking simple questions.  All of these behaviors direct results of living with an alcoholic for so long.  You just never knew what would set them off, make them happy or put you on the wrong list.  You doubt every choice you make and decision you encounter.  Asking to go to a friends house (rarely happened) would cause days of severe anxiety and often I could never gain enough bravery to even ask. 

If you ever meet me in real life, you may notice that I take a while to warm up to talking.  That comes from years of being afraid to say the wrong thing, or too much.

I've had to un-train myself from sitting or standing with a completely closed posture, arms and legs crossed tightly.  Another result of living in fear for so long.

You see, I don't believe that "Family is Forever".  It was used against me for too long.

No, sir.  Not me.  Saying it that way adds a shade of entitlement.  Like "we're gonna be family forever so you better just suck it up and take what I give you".  That's what it has come to mean to me...at least phrased that way.

I feel like I have to work for my right to be part of my kids life forever.  I don't feel entitled to it.  I feel like they deserve my time and love and respect.  Not like "I'm not good enough" but in a they are my fellow children of God and they deserve to be treated that way, kinda way.   

I have the utmost respect for God choosing for me the parents that He did.  I know He had His reasons and I would never doubt them.  Amazingly, I've never had a "Why did you do this to me God?!" phase or moment.  I believe that evil exists in the world to show us how deeply, earnestly and wholly we need God.  The pain of my past has been the fetter that drives me to Him.  It defines my need for Him.

I don't suffer from un-forgiveness.  I was able to work through all of that.  What gets me are the random things that bring up fresh pain.  The normal events that spark a new flood of tears or hurt.  Seeing a friend with her mother.  Reading about someones great relationship with their father.

For a long time I was stuck in their cycle.  On repeat forever.  I chose to step away.  To step out of that cycle.

I had to choose between that family I was born into and the family I chose.  One was hurting the other.  And it had to stop.  It cost me a lot.  But honestly, I trusted and I've gained so much more.  God has given me many mothers.  He has given me many fathers.  He has filled my life with people who want to pour good into it.  His hand is here. 

I haven't heard from my parents since Aaron was about one.  They've seen him once or twice.  Moses has no memory of them.  I was the only part of the equation that I could change.  I lost my brother and my sister.  Both sided with my parents because of course you HAVE to choose in that family.  I also understand that they may not remember the worst of the years.  They were too little.  And for that I'm thankful.  Thankful that they get to go out into their lives less broken and wounded than I was.  I've lost most of my aunts and uncles.  All of my grandparents.  And to be clear, I don't think a single one of the members I lost are bad people.  Not at all.  Some are just people who let their sin hurt those around them.  Others had to choose sides.  And that's OK.  I can only make my own choices.  I just had to make a choice.     

And I would do it again.  The Peace and Joy that exudes in my home is measurable.  We laugh.  We love.  We have fun.  There is no tension.  There is no fighting.  Out of great pain came immeasurable Joy.  We're healthy.  We acknowledge our problems and issues and we lay them at His feet on a regular basis.   

All of that pain.  Years of it.  Years more of recovery.  That is why I don't drink. Ever.

I don't want to even give the smallest chance in the world that my kids ever experience even the remotest speck of what I did.   I'm not convinced that THAT seed of evil potential is not hidden somewhere in my DNA, just waiting for the chance to wake up.  I'm not willing to leave it to chance.

Have I had a drink before? Yes.  I did not get nearly enough in return to gamble with my kids lives.

That may seem severe to you.  And maybe it is but to win big you have to risk big.    

And at this point, I'm winning.  And I would take that chance again for the health of my boys.  All day long.   
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57 comments:

Kathy said...

(hugs) to you sweet friend. I answered "yes" to many of your "Have you ever_____" questions and each brought back so much pain. I agree with you completely and understnad your choices. I also know that many others won't. To them "family" means something totally different. My prayer is that you and I will understand where they are coming from and that very very few will understoff where you and I are coming from. I am so thankful that you are stopping this cycle from carrying on into the next generation. Sadly, that is all that we can control.

Al@PolkaDotsandPaisley said...

I respect the courage it must have taken to share this story. I too have an alcohol father, although his behaviour and my circumstances were nowhere close to the things you have endured and my mother sheltered my brother and I from a lot. Fortunately my father realized that "family is forever" isn't always the case and chose to get sober when I was in my late teens. I know the effect this has had on me as an adult and I commend you on having the strength to move beyond your past and create what seems like such a happy, love-filled home.

Rhonda said...

God love you for living thru that torture, that was the saddest thing I have ever read, no child should have to experience that kind of pain. You are so brave for sharing your story and are to be commended for giving your babies everything you never had. I hope you one day share your story with them so they know how grateful they should be for the life you have given them. My heart breaks for you that you had to endure that pain. Continue to follow his path and rejoice in all the goodness he has to offer. Xo

Lovelyn Palm said...

precious sister. so thankful that we can stand on who we are in Him. i'm so sorry for your pain. so, so sorry. yet, so thankful you realize Truth, are set on not allowing this to become generational sin & are feeling the beauty that is redemption.

sending you so much love. i'm really thankful for you and i pray right now that you sharing your story gives you more peace and gives someone else hope.

Bobby and Ashley Allison said...

Thank you for sharing and for your honesty. I am so sorry that those are your family memories. You have a chance to change all of that for your own family, and it seems you are doing a wonderful job of that. Let that be a peace to you each and everyday!

Amy said...

"And then she realized that the depths of love, courage, and grace within her friend were even deeper than she imagined (and she had imagined a pretty deep well). And she was so thankful for the opportunity to know her, this real life Wonder Woman, thinking 'isn't it lovely when you get to know exactly how happy the happy ending is . . . '" I know this post was hard. Thank you for sharing yourself.

Megan said...

Your story is one I have lived. You are an amazing person and I'm glad you shared your story with so many of us. Yoh made the best choice for you, and your family. No contact is what I had to do as well but for me it was the right choice so I could now live my life for me. Hugs and support as you continue to heal.

Megan said...

Your story is one I have lived. You are an amazing person and I'm glad you shared your story with so many of us. Yoh made the best choice for you, and your family. No contact is what I had to do as well but for me it was the right choice so I could now live my life for me. Hugs and support as you continue to heal.

Jennifer said...

“There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still.” - Corrie ten Boom

So thankful God met you in your darkness and is healing the scars in your heart. I have no words for the heartache I feel for you because of all you endured. No words... I wish there was no sin. Heaven will be glorious!

Tracy D. said...

You are SO brave! I also do not drink because alcoholism is part of my past as well...I dealt with a family member who abused it...and I think that I've actually grown to hate it. Your children are so lucky to have you. Even though it must be hard to have lost family because of this, think of all you have gained, and all that your children will gain because you chose to allow them to have the happiest childhood possible, surrounded by people who truly love them. Sharing your story will help many, I'm sure. You are a strong woman and such an inspiration

Tracy D. said...
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Kelly said...

Oh Crystal, words escape me. Sending you a giant hug, and I am praying complete healing for you. Thanks for sharing your story.
Lots of love

Tracy D. said...

You are SO brave! I also do not drink because alcoholism is part of my past as well...I dealt with a family member who abused it...and I think that I've actually grown to hate it. Your children are so lucky to have you. Even though it must be hard to have lost family because of this, think of all you have gained, and all that your children will gain because you chose to allow them to have the happiest childhood possible, surrounded by people who truly love them. Sharing your story will help many, I'm sure. You are a strong woman and such an inspiration

Amy Lynne said...

{{{Hugs}}} I grew up with alcoholic parents, but they were pretty much just into hurting themselves and us with words. For that I am grateful.

I don't drink either, not really since I have had my boys. I agree, I don't want to tempt fate. I am grateful you shared your story...so many others are out there too! You are doing amazing things! Keep it up!!

Tracy D. said...

You are SO brave! I also do not drink because alcoholism is part of my past as well...I dealt with a family member who abused it...and I think that I've actually grown to hate it. Your children are so lucky to have you. Even though it must be hard to have lost family because of this, think of all you have gained, and all that your children will gain because you chose to allow them to have the happiest childhood possible, surrounded by people who truly love them. Sharing your story will help many, I'm sure. You are a strong woman and such an inspiration

sara @ it's good to be queen said...

so proud of you. praying heaps and heaps of blessings on you. so so so very sorry that you had to live this life. the devil is horrible and hateful. praying that you find more and more freedom and peace.

Gina said...

Hi friend,
I love to drop in from time to time for your posts. The atmosphere here is light, fun, and full. I love that. I'm pretty sure NO ONE would ever guess the circumstances you came out of; what a testimony to God's grace!

Thank you for sharing such a fleshy, tender bit of your heart. I pray it touches and inspires someone!

Blessings to you,
gina at CampClem

alittlemoore said...

I had tears reading this. You are a strong woman. Praise God for his provision in your testimony. I understand about wounds becoming fresh and pray that the courage you had to share this speaks in a powerful way to your readers. Hugs.

Bunnyslady said...

I am so proud of you for sharing your story. It is our job to learn from our pain and make the world a better place. I had a similar experiance with my father and he is no longer a part of my life. Unfortunately he will never know how wonderful my life is or meet his grandchild. You are such a good Mommy. I am sure your children know that and can feel your love and strength.

alittlemoore said...

I had tears reading this. You are a strong woman. Praise God for his provision in your testimony. I understand about wounds becoming fresh and pray that the courage you had to share this speaks in a powerful way to your readers. Hugs.

tarynddavidson said...

This is a real blessing to read. Not because of your hurts, but because it shows that The Lord is stronger in you than anything in the world.
A pillar you are...
An example of what a mother should be.
I know I don't "know" you...
But to read your words, your life...
It is similar to mine.
And I Iove an Overcomer.
God bless.

April b said...

A big hug for you. You are a strong, brave and loving woman.

Marie said...

Thx for sharing something so private and deep. After I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I decided to break the chain of the brokenness and hurt I experienced in my family. We are a new creation in Christ and have the choice to break those patterns and not be defined by our past. God is SO good!

Barbara said...

You are an absolute testament to your faith. I applaud you for doing what is right for you and your family--despite what others think. Thank you for sharing your story with us, no matter how difficult is was. Sending love and prayers for you and your strong spirit.

April said...

I can't imagine how hard it was to share that and I can't imagine any decent person judging you for your choices. You did the right thing. Once you become a mom, only your relationship with your husband is as important-first priority is protecting your kids.

I hope you find this encouraging-My Grandparents were both alcoholics. My Grandpa found Jesus and healing. My Grandma had her leg amputated and eventually died of diabetes because she couldn't give up the alcohol. They divorced when my mom was 4 and because things were different back then, my mom was forced to live with her alcoholic mother. Her childhood was indeed painful and like you, she vowed to protect her children from such pain. As a result, my sister and I had a very safe, happy, protected childhood.

I admire my mom (and dad-he had a crappy childhood too) for her bravery to live above her past and not let it be an excuse to live in fear.

Your children will be proud to call you their mother and are being indescribably blessed by the brokenness the Lord is redeeming you from.

Jamie Thompson said...

I simply have no words. This post is both terribly heartbreaking and yet full of hope and joy. Thank you for sharing such an intimate and difficult part of you life with us. You are a treasure and I know God will do amazing things with your story being told.

Jennadesigns said...

I needed to read this post today. I struggle daily with putting up a happy face and, on the other hand, being real. I'm noticing others be a bit more real and it's encouraging. I've watched you build your business over the years in awe at how you accomplish it all while juggling your beautiful family. You've always had my respect for that. But today, you've gained more than that. My thoughts are with you and your family ... and they will continue to be.

I've had what could only be described as dysfunctional at best, regarding a childhood. I actually don't consider that I had one at all. I have been molested, raped and fought for 15 years for justice, which I was fortunate to have received in my late 20a, for one of the men. While I believe strongly I am a survivor and what I went through made me who I am today (and most days, I kinda like me) ... what I carry with me is clinical depression - sometimes controlled with meds, other times not so much. I have been suicidal and I have even subjected myself to ECT treatments. Recently, I've been just trying to put one foot in from of the other. I'm going to be real - it's been bad lately.

It's post like these that make doing that a little easier. Understanding that I am not alone. In blogland, it's sometimes hard to remember that, as so many curate only "happy" and "perfect" on their online presence. I can respect the reason for doing so, but I can relate to you - and others out there - who have chosen to be real.

Please, keep being real. You have no idea how much power there is in that and the ability you have by doing so to impact the life of someone else.

And keep making those Hohos, because I've got a little girl of my own who I KNOW needs one. I'll be getting on your list! (Who am I kidding, there are days I need a life-sized one!).

Brein said...

You are an amazing person and have become stronger where many people would lose faith and crumble. You are an example to all and your sheer appreciation and love you have for your husband and boys reminds all of us to honor and appreciate the most important people in our lives. I appreciate you sharing your story and admire you very much. God bless!

Lady O said...

Lots of love to you... You are so deserving. xxx

Shon said...

Thank you for sharing your heart.

What an incredible person you are. I know that God is using your story now to heal, to touch someone who has gone through what you did.

God bless you and your family.

thereinventedlass said...

How strong you are to make that choice! *hugs*

Martha said...

Thank you for having courage to write this beautiful post. And I pray that your healng may be complete, and your home and family always filled and saturated with the love and peace that comes from God.

Jessi said...

My heart bleeds for you because I can answer yes to so many of those questions as well. My mom had me when she was 14 years old and was an alcoholic from the get go. I am 26 and she has been sober for almost 4 months this time. Her last sober stretch lasted almost 3 years....so when she started drinking again, I was completely devastated. My father passed away from a combination of alcohol and drug abuse, too, though he was never really a part of my life. My step dad helped raise me and he is also an alcoholic. Siding with parents, fighting, all that is what I grew up with as well. My mom once chased me outside when I was about 9, jumped on my back and beat me in the back with her fists and then locked me out until my step dad got home a few hours later...my sister and I at 11 and 9 years old were walking around town without coats and wearing sandals in the winter because we had no place to go, because our mom was wasted partying somewhere. We would stay wherever we could and lived off of .25 cent little debbie cakes with the little foodstamps we could get from my mom when we saw her. I once had one of her drunken friends hold a gun to my head and hold me hostage. I can sympathize with you on so many levels and I'm so incredibly sorry. I don't trust anyone for this reason. I'm so sorry you had to go through that but I also know that it has helped shape us into the amazing people and mother's we are. I am so incredibly thankful that our children won't know ANYTHING even close to what we went through. Hugs <3

Alicia said...

I first read this entry last night and afterwards didn't know quite what to say...still don't. I can't even begin to imagine how strong you must be to have built the life you have with your own family now. You may not always feel strong and those decisions were probably very hard but you can see in your boy's eye you have made the right decisions. You keep popping into my head today and I just had to say something...I can imagine that was a hard post to write. I hope it helps many to hear you be so honest and open.

Beverly said...

Sweetheart, I'm so sorry. I cannot even imagine what that was like. I was luckier than you and I will thank God every day for it. I'm so thankful that what you learned (not to be) will be passed on to your children. Aren't they lucky and blessed? How I wish I could give you a hug. I will never forget what I read and I'll think of you often. I will also think twice about people I see and meet and what might be behind those frightened eyes. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. May God continue to bless you each and every day of your life.

Amber Enns said...

thank you so much for sharing this and being vulnerable. i can relate to some of the 'have you..' it is so amazing hoe you have trusted the Lord to carry you through and that you are able to live your life for Him. Blessings to you.

nic said...

oh crystal. i'm so sad for those years and all that pain, but glad that you still choose Christ (because oh, how He's chosen you!) today.

i've just been introduced to you, but i ache and cheer for you, both.

Gevay Piercefield said...

Your words resonate with me. I am not in contact with my father due to his alcoholism. He has met neither of my sons. I don't drink either. I want my cildren's lives to be so much brighter than the darkness I came from. I am thankful that I know Jesus and the forgiveness and joy that comes from His presence in my life. I am thankful I can share Him with them. Thank you for being brave and sharing this.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Proverbs 31

Mommy2Sophia said...

Crystal, I normally don't comment, probably mostly due to my own insecurities that revolve around acceptance, but I felt lead to comment and share my thoughts with you after you so bravely shared such intimate and raw details about your past. I now stay home trying to create a good and meaningful childhood for my two little girls, but before being a mommy, I taught both elementary and middle school. I can honestly say that I had a really good family life growing up, but struggled greatly with social experiences and trying to fit in at school. I never felt like I belonged. I became a teacher partially to help other kids that struggled like me. In my teaching experiences, my eyes were opened up in a small way, that other kids didn't have good home lives like I did. That good home life was probably what helped me turn out okay, and get beyond the hurts I felt at school, but sometimes I would feel broken knowing that there were students of mine out there that went home to terrible things that I could never really imagine. I am sure you would have been one of those kids I would have wanted to reach out and be there for :-) I just wanted to let you know, 1) that I am sorry that you had to endure those things as a young and vulnerable little girl, no one should ever have to go through what you did, and 2) I think this post really helped me understand the person that you are and why you do what you do. I always enjoy reading your posts, especially when you decide to talk about "unpopular" things and just put your feelings out there despite what others might think. As a mommy, I feel I have very similar beliefs about raising children like you do. I always admire your energy and I am amazed by what you are able to accomplish, both around the house and with your kids. I say this not to compare us, but to just let you know that I now understand why you pour so much into your babies. You truly parent with a purpose, with a purpose to give your boys everything that you never had and to make their childhoods full of wonderful memories. So that they will never have to experience anything remotely resembling the childhood that you experienced. I feel that I finally understand, what makes you tick and what drives you to live the purpose-filled life you have chosen. So thank you, thank you for opening up and sharing something difficult. You have give me, a virtual stranger, a clearer picture of who you are as a person and I must say that I like and respect you even more now than I did before I read this post tonight. I sit here rereading what I have written, wondering if I should just hit delete, trying not to let my own insecurities hold me back from sharing what I hope will bring you some encouragement. So I will be brave and hit publish and just hope that I have been able to convey my thoughts to you in the way that they are intended, truly heartfelt. <3 Lisa

SK said...

Wow. What a life you had, and now have. *big hug*

Janel said...

So very glad you got to know Christ and that he delivered you from that. The scars are just that. Proof you survived and are alive. Alive to share his word and spread hope to those who feel there is none.

The first three years of my life my mother was married to my biological father. He was a horrible alcoholic and very abusive. I have two very vivid memories of him. The first, I was two, and he was shaving in the bathroom while arguing with my mother. My mother was caring for me and my baby sister when he came out of the bathroom and proceeded to slap her. I followed him back into bathroom with hands on my hips and firmly told him to never hit my mother again. I turned on my heel and went back to comfort my mother and sister. My mom left him for good shortly after that. The second memory is a trike for my third birthday. Never saw him again after that. Mom remarried and my stepfather adopted my sister and I. He is my father and is the best dad ever. My parents too became born again Christians shortly after that. I grew up in a happy healthy home. Yay.
But my mother revealed something to me a few years ago. My birth father was so awful that when I was an infant and in need of comfort, when crying, he would come into my room and smack me so hard on my little body that my body would bounce up off the mattress. How cruel is that. I do not have children. Couldn't have children physically. Love them dearly but never had a burning desire to have any either. I have always been thankful for that because I would never want to abuse a child in anger because that is how my very early newborn infant days started. I have many nephews and a niece and have never wanted to hit them, so perhaps I am being a bit harsh on myself, but it is something that lives in my subconscious. I dislike that very much.
Thanks for sharing your story Crystal. There are many, many, many of us that have overcome that life. But so many more that live it everyday and pass it on to their children. It's a horrible horrible cycle. This story will reach someone who can make a positive change through your testimony. Even if its just one, it is one less. Bless you sweetie for being brave and speaking your truth.

derekcindyterp said...

So thankful for you that with God's grace and blessing you have been able to turn your life of unspeakable pain and heartache into a Christ centered, love centered, happy home. God's Grace and love is so overwhelming, and I'm so happy for you that you know that and experience that :) There is NOTHING better....Thanks for sharing your story, I can only imagine how difficult and scary that was to do. May God continue to bless you....

Megan O. said...

I'm not sure if I've ever commented here before but I couldn't not leave a note acknowledging that I read your story and that I commend you for sharing it. You are truly a picture of strength and grace. God bless you and your family. And, a side note--you are a really good writer.

Amy Bell said...

Dear friend,
Thank you for showing your story. There are no words for the healing that God has done and the way you show Him in your life. You are one amazing woman and I am thankful for you!!

xoxo
Amy

Judy said...

You write beautifully Crystal.
My husband had to make a similar decision years ago for our family. Although he wishes things had gone differently, wishing didn't help and he has no regrets. Still, it feels awful to know that there are family members who think we are terrible people for making that decision. I don't think that ever goes away.
Just look how God has blessed you, in so very many ways!
You are blessed, and you know it - doubly blessed!
Thank you for sharing so deeply of yourself.

The Carlisle Connection said...

I, too, had a father that was an alcoholic. Long story short....when my mother left him we were all relieved! I have never had a drink of alcohol and am better for it.when people ask why I don't drink I say, "my dad drank enough for all of us!" When he died I was expecting my 3rd child and felt like I could finally be free! Thanks for your story!

Smilie girl said...

Thank you for your brave words. May they help many people. Some times, tough choices need to be made to stop the abuse. Good for you. Lots of love to you.

Alice G said...

After I read your first post about this, my husband found me crying. I couldn't really explain how my heart ached for you. I will continue to pray for you and for all the little unseen souls that need prayers. Mothers and grandmothers and annonymous people all over the world pray every day to ease the hearts and souls of all of the souls that have no other persons to pray for them. God knows the sorrows of your hearts and will heal them. With much love and many prayers, Alice G.

luci said...

thank you for your honsety here - and well done for being able to walk free. May you sing and dance and leap for joy as you continue to walk in freedom, knowing where you have come from. I can relate to some of your past from my marriage. The past exists to remind me of the peace and joy I now have. We are brave survivors. More than that, we are called to live life in all of it's fullness.

Randi Jo :) said...

Crystal -
I'm so glad I stopped in here to check on you all and scrolled down to see a link to these particular posts (parts 1 & 2). You are very courageous to share your heart & story like this & I am praising Jesus with you for all He has done in your heart, in your home & life. He perfectly authored your story to be one of beauty & redemption, love & healing. I am sorry for what you endured but I thank God with you for the testimony & how He worked it all out for your good, as He always beautifully does. It does my heart such good to see you all so happy & blessed & full of His love & joy. God's plan is perfect & good!! To God be the glory!!
Randi :)

Randi Jo :) said...

P.S. The last I checked on you a few years ago - I think you all were looking at a relocation & new home? I am not exactly sure - just wanted to let you all know I think about you and pray & wish all God's best for you. I pray God has given you peace & contentment in whatever was the end result of that particular journey!

I also was kind of expecting you to have a baby # 3 or # 4 actually! ha! We still live in North Carolina & history has repeated itself and we have 1 boy & 2 little girls now - just like I had in my family growing up. God has been so good to us - though we are so undeserving. He has healed so many wounds & made so many things right.

I also think back on the time *we* had of internet discussion & 'issues' and cringe with guilt & shame for bad decisions - but then praise God for His healing love & renewing of our minds & hearts & how He DOES work all out for our good. I know one thing I for SURE learned from that experience is to communicate a lot LESS over the internet ---- and a lot more in person or phone ha! So much of our problems in our relationships are misunderstandings, miscommunication & hiding behind distance communication. God is good & I know I will see you all in eternity and our relationship will be healed & full & I will be able to call you friends. God bless you all. Thanks for reading.

Karin Marie said...

I know how you feel and a lot of those questions you ask I can say yes too. And I totally understand fear, anxiety and over thinking anything and everything. I understand not having parents in my life and having to break that cycle and choose to not drink or do drugs (my family was ruined/is ruined by.both) I have had wine but I still feel guilty and think its in my DNA that id want it more and I want the best for my girls and choose them over it anyday. I can relate so much to your post! Don't feel guilty at all and if anyone comments negative that's very judgemental of them. You are such a strong women for overcoming what you have! I understand its a battle everyday and new hurt and pain that comes up. I wish I could hug you because I think this post was meant for me to forgive and be the best wife and mom. Thank you!!

Karin Marie said...

I know how you feel and a lot of those questions you ask I can say yes too. And I totally understand fear, anxiety and over thinking anything and everything. I understand not having parents in my life and having to break that cycle and choose to not drink or do drugs (my family was ruined/is ruined by.both) I have had wine but I still feel guilty and think its in my DNA that id want it more and I want the best for my girls and choose them over it anyday. I can relate so much to your post! Don't feel guilty at all and if anyone comments negative that's very judgemental of them. You are such a strong women for overcoming what you have! I understand its a battle everyday and new hurt and pain that comes up. I wish I could hug you because I think this post was meant for me to forgive and be the best wife and mom. Thank you!!

Karin Marie said...

I know how you feel and a lot of those questions you ask I can say yes too. And I totally understand fear, anxiety and over thinking anything and everything. I understand not having parents in my life and having to break that cycle and choose to not drink or do drugs (my family was ruined/is ruined by.both) I have had wine but I still feel guilty and think its in my DNA that id want it more and I want the best for my girls and choose them over it anyday. I can relate so much to your post! Don't feel guilty at all and if anyone comments negative that's very judgemental of them. You are such a strong women for overcoming what you have! I understand its a battle everyday and new hurt and pain that comes up. I wish I could hug you because I think this post was meant for me to forgive and be the best wife and mom. Thank you!!

Faith Manuel said...

What a beautiful post! I love that you asked to read it fully. I am notorious for partially reading things, but out of respect for the first few lines, I complied and I am so glad I did. I am also a non-drinker because of a family history of alcoholism. My grandfather was ALWAYS drunk and as a result, my sisters and I were not allowed to spend much time with that side of my family. When we did, we all made decisions to never drink. I have never tasted alcohol. My children also have a loving, happy, healthy home with a mom who is always present. I now have an 18 year old who was never exposed to alcohol. He is now a college freshman with roommates who are heavy drinkers. To my disappointment, I learned that he has had drinks. Because he has never been exposed to the ill effects, he does not have the same caution that I had. I don't regret it though. He has seen a sober life in me and knows for sure that full happiness is available without drugs or alcohol. I must continue to pray that he won't depart from the way he was raised. Thanks for sharing your story of forgiveness and healing. Blessings to you

Jackie said...

I followed to this post from your one earlier today. I made the same decision about not drinking alcohol, ever, for the same reasons as you. I saw what alcohol can do to a family and I never wanted to be in that position again. I know it is in my DNA and the odds are stacked against me. I know I would like it too much. We share some similarities of our early years. The difference is that we were able to get out of a bad situation early. I know that God hates divorce, but seriously, it was the best decision our Mom could have ever made for the sake of our lives. Had we stayed I have no idea what my life would be like now, and I am so glad that I will never have to know. I have the life I have always wished I could have had when I was a little girl. All of that has made me stronger, to be the person I am today. I struggle in areas: making friends, knowing what to say and how to say it, that question anxiety you mentioned makes so much sense. I had no words for why something so simple can cause so much stress. You have helped me name it. I wish you continued healing and strength in your decision and life. "Greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world." -1 John 4:4

Rhonda said...

Hey girl,
I've been working through some similar issues with a Christian counsellor and he recommended a book for me "The Wounded Heart" by Dan Allender. It has been extremely helpful for me and is written with God at the center of this healing process. Check it out!

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