Self Expression Magazine

Empty & Used Up

By Doulalovelou
Picture There comes a time in the recovery process where you are just over it. Over the struggle, over the constant back & forth, and over feeling like a failure.
Each time you slip or relapse you make a renewed effort & you have a strong sense of purpose. “THIS IS IT,” you think. “This is the time where it's really going to stick. First I'll make it through one day sober, then two, then ten. And before you know it I'll be looking back two years from now with a sense of victory & freedom. GO ME.”
You feel good. You feel ready.
Then day seven hits and the detox begins. You have an itch & it needs to be scratched. You know you shouldn't give in. Logic & faith tell you that God is providing a way out. But you can't see it or you choose not to see it. You struggle. You battle.
And then you fall.
Moments after acting out, you regret it. You cry out to God & curse your addiction & crumble at the feet of Jesus once again.
And the cycle begins again. Round and round you go until you get to a point where you just feel empty.
Empty and used up.
You have nothing else to give. No more strength, no more faith, no more self-control. You know that something has to change, but you aren't sure what.
“Surrender it all.” You hear His still, small voice. You hear it, but don't listen.
“No God, I can do this on my own. I know I can.”
“You cannot. Alone you are powerless. Alone you will fall. Alone, this wretched cycle will continue. Surrender to Me. Let me be your strength. Let me fight this battle.”
More round and round.
You move through a conversation with God that reveals just how deep these strongholds go. Your stubborn feet stand their ground insisting that you don't need help or justifying your behavior to make yourself feel better. Resisting the Spirit because you just don't want to let go. Your addiction takes the pain away. Only momentarily, but those pain-free moments are what keep you coming back for more. You fear what will happen if you truly
But inch by inch God gains ground. His truth pierces your heart and you know... He is the only answer. You begin to let go, you find a way to release your addiction into His open hands.
It's scary. It's painful. It's debilitating.
You feel so many things at once: RELIEF. FEAR. PEACE. ANXIETY. You know that by surrendering that things will change. THEY HAVE TO CHANGE. You don't know when or how, but you trust in the process.
Slowly, your cup begins to fill. No longer do you feel empty and used up.
Instead you feel full of the Spirit and at peace with where God is taking you. You look at the calendar and realize that you've made it past the seven day mark. You know that it's just the beginning, that tougher roads are ahead, but this milestone, as small as it may seem is HUGE.
Some days feel like mere hours long, some like years. But they pass and as they do, your strength grows, your body detoxes, your mind renews, and your heart is mended. You're humbled again and again as you realize just how powerful God's love is, how sufficient His grace.
You look back at your years of struggle and wish that you'd have listened to that still, small voice sooner. “If only,” you say to yourself.
Oh yes, the sneaky “If only.” The voice of the serpent telling you that you could have done better. Reminding you of all the times you failed. Drudging up the shame, the guilt, the despair. The great deceiver knows that this simply “If only” could potentially derail your recovery.
Remember that God's timing is perfect.
Remember that your recovery is a journey & journeys take time.
Remember that healing requires sacrifice, surrender, and that sometimes it takes us a long time to get to a place where we're able to do that.
Remember these things and those “If onlys” will fade. Remember God's goodness, His unending love for you, His mercy and you will remember to rely on Him for strength and self-control. Remember this and you will find freedom, hope, and healing. Forget and you will find yourself back in the pit, empty and used up once again. And you're worth more then that. SO MUCH MORE.

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