Hope Replaced my Desperation

By Misty J. Grimes © 2012

The first time I remember getting drunk I was 10 years old. According to my father, I was actually eight months old--he'd put liquor in my baby bottle. My parents divorced when I was four, and my father returned to Georgia and eventually remarried. My sister and I went to live with my father and his new family when I was 9. During my two and a half years in Georgia, my grandfather sexually abused me, and my alcoholic father emotionally and physically abused me, as did his wife. As a child I didn't understand any of this. I looked for a way to cope and to forget. My father provided the perfect outlet I needed to survive.
During one of his weekend poker parties, where alcohol was plentiful and easily accessible, I asked my father if
I could have a beer. Without hesitation he handed me a 44 ounce Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull. I was 10. I took the beer into the living room, sat down, popped the top, and drank the whole thing. Then passed out. The next morning I remembered the sensation the beer had given me: It allowed me to forget, if only temporarily, everything that was happening to me. For the first time in years I had a night of rest, a night free of fear and nightmares. From then on, whenever I got the chance, I would steal a beer or two from my father's stash, go to my bedroom and drink until I could forget and rest peacefully. 
Drinking to forget and cope became a pattern in my life. Even after I escaped Georgia things back home with my mom weren't much better. My mother was an alcoholic and drug addict who often had wild parties. I had easy access to alcohol and drugs. I began to drink more and added drugs to my repertoire. By the age of 17 my life was spiraling out of control, but I didn't care. As long as I could drink and drug when I wanted to, needed to, I was okay...or so I thought.
In 1985, after my first year of college, I was academically dismissed because my GPA was barely above a 1.0. I went to college because that's what Mom and my step-father wanted. I didn't care about any of it; I just wanted to party as much as I could. While the alcohol and drugs initially helped me to escape, the more I drank and did drugs the more depressed I became. It got harder and harder to block out my haunting childhood memories. Soon thoughts of suicide crept in. I attempted it for the first time when I was 17, yet was unsuccessful. No one even noticed. I attempted suicide many times over the next three years. These unsuccessful suicide attempts led me to drink more because I would tell myself over and over, "You can't even kill yourself right."
In August of 1986 I ended up back in Georgia in college on probation status. Still I continued to drink and was on the verge of being kicked out again. Thankfully, God had other plans for my life.
Looking through the newspaper one night, I saw an advertisement for a Sandi Patty concert. As a young adult I had been in and out of church so I was familiar with her and her music. I decided to attend. The night of the concert I was deeply depressed. I planned to end my life. I knew that for the first time in my miserable life I would truly be at peace. That was all that I ever really wanted. I determined not to fail again, no matter what I had to do. After the concert, it would all be over.
I walked into the auditorium with my head hung low, staring at the ground. I didn't want to make eye contact with anyone. As Sandi Patty began to sing I wanted to run from the building, but because there were several people on either side of me, I kept my seat. I hoped the concert would end soon.
Then it happened.
Sandi began to speak about her experiences with sexual abuse and how, with the Lord's help, she had come to terms with it and been healed. Tears came to my eyes. Slowly I lifted my head and saw her standing on the stage. Something drew me out of my seat when they invited people to come forward and give their lives to Christ. Hope replaced my desperation. A desire to live quelled my wish to die. I arrived depressed, staring at the ground. I left with my head held high, a smile on my face and a new lease on life. No longer did I see death as the only way to peace. I knew I could find, and had already experienced, some of that peace, while still breathing.          
I used to ask myself where God was when all this was happening to me. Why didn't he stop it, prevent it, and protect me from it? As I began to participate in church and Bible studies, I learned God has given us all a free will, and some choose to use it to hurt others. When I saw my life from God's healing perspective, rather than through my years of hurt and pain, I understood he was always there. He feels our pain. He catches every tear we cry. There were times I slipped back into my old ways, but God intervened and brought me through. Rather than live as a victim, I began to live my life as a victor.
We can't change our past, but we can change how we respond to it. As I did, you can hide behind alcohol and drugs, or other self-destructive behavior, wishing you were dead and seeing that as the only way to find peace. You can run from your past or embrace it, and realize that what others meant for evil, God intended for good. When we embrace Christ and let Him control our lives, he redeems our past and more: "...at one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know Him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun" (2 Corinthians 5:16 – 17, NLT).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Misty Grimes lives in Milledgeville, GA with Terry, her husband of 10 years, and their 5 rescued dogs and 3 rescued cats. She attended Georgia College & State University graduating in 1990 with a BS in Psychology, earned a BS in Journalism in 1997, and in 2007 a BA in English/Creative Writing. She is founder of Eagles Wings Ministries, and has a speaking/teaching ministry, and does freelance writing. You can contact her via email at gsezine [at] gloryandstrength.com. 

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