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I'm Not an Alcoholic, but I've Quit Drinking.

Hi She Surrenders followers, I'm Lieza Bates, Sherry's IT girl. And by IT, I mean I.T. As in technical and marketing support. (I'm the Robin to her Batman for all things She Surrenders.)

Sherry asked me to write a short guest post about my recent decision to no longer drink.

Just a little backstory quick a minute: I don't come from a family of addicts, I'm not an addict (well, unless caffeine and reading count,) and I don't have a history of alcohol abuse. I socially drank in and after college, and would have the occasional glass of wine with dinner or when I was unwinding for the night. All pretty "normal" stuff for alcohol consumers.

Then, last year came and was a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Some of the best things in my life happened to me, and some of the worst. I have three younger children, and when my last one was born three years ago, I unknowingly started sinking into postpartum depression. Depression does run in my family, so I probably should have started to see the signs earlier. It took me two years to finally hit such a low point, that I realized I needed to seek medical help.

**Side Note: please please don't wait if you are struggling. If you're exhausted all the time, don't feel like yourself, or are constantly overwhelmed, please seek out your doctor. If they brush it off and say it's nothing, get a second opinion. No one is better off without you.**

As I was going through the process of sorting out where I began and my depression ended, I found myself putting extra wine bottles in my cart at the grocery store. Or my husband would tell me he'd had a hard day and I'd think, "Yeah, me too." So, I'd pick up a six pack on my way home "for him." Meanwhile, that evening, he'd have one beer and I would have three.

My social drinking with my friends turned into a way that I could escape. I would look forward to nights where it was "just the girls." No kids, no responsibilities anymore and one glass of wine was really more like half the bottle.

Late last year, I hit an all time low with my drinking. It was for a bachelorette party in Chicago (time to parrrtttyy!!) and I drank to get drunk. I was out of town, away from my family, I could do what I wanted and no one would get hurt. Right? Um, no. Not true. I became a different person that weekend, and it was the ugliest side of me I hadn't seen in decades. The person that went to Chicago was not the same person writing this blog post. I criticized and made fun of someone I deeply love.

You might think, "That's not a big deal. You were joking around while you had a few drinks. Some people take things too personally." And that's what I thought too, or rather, that's how I excused and justified my behavior. But the look in her eyes still hurts now when I think about how I treated her. That's not who I am. That's not who God created me to be.

And so, I was done letting the devil have such an easy time getting into my head. He's already conniving enough, why do I need to help him by lowering my inhibitions? I apologized profusely, sought reconciliation, but only time and God's love and grace will heal those wounds. I damaged something so wonderful, simply because I was drinking and "having fun."

A few weeks later, I think I had a glass of wine at the rehearsal dinner and that was the end of it. I didn't enjoy it like I had before. I didn't want to go down that road again.

This past January, I was baptized for the second time in my life, but the first time as an adult. I renewed my vows with my Lord. I had broken my end of our commitment to each other (as I have done, and will do again) but I wanted to wash myself clean of that lifestyle - that way of thinking: drinking to escape.

I no longer need to disappear or escape or run away when I'm overwhelmed or worn out or had a long day. I need to dive into, run towards, and wrap myself up in the arms of my Savior. Now when my days are long, or I have less than enough to give, I close my eyes, think of all the joyful moments I've had that day, and imagine him holding me. I strongly encourage you to do the same.


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