It's just like God. Tarrah was hiking with her husband in Moab, Utah to celebrate the completion of one year of recovery. That's an amazing milestone when you consider that Tarrah had been basically drinking since high school (and now she is a grandmother). Coincidentally (not really), the verse of the day on her husband's Bible app was Psalm 18:2.
I'm not sure if you can appreciate it from the pictures, but Moab is striking for its rock formations. These structures that have been there for thousands of years remind us just how small we are and how temporary life is. Their beauty and majesty leave an undeniable sense of awe. It's a stunning backdrop for God to remind Tarrah that His personal hand brought her through her first year. And it's a promise that He will continue to strengthen and defend her. What a perfect way to celebrate!
Tarrah joined me on the She Surrenders Podcast and shared her experience with what it was like to complete one full year of sobriety. A recurring theme of her first year was being steady.
This was a year of a lot of change. And she was vulnerable enough to admit that it kind of threw her a bit. If we are not careful, these are the types of things that can drive us back to alcohol. Some of her friends moved, her daughter graduated, and another daughter had a baby! It's easy to feel left out when everyone else seems to be moving forward... but the steadying hand of God assured her that it's okay to just be still sometimes. I think we all need that reminder every once in a while.
Here's another crucial discovery. This one hits home for me. Her husband said of the change in her since becoming sober:
"It's wonderful to know that when I come home I know who you're going to be."
Tarrah puts it this way - before, she was a mixed bag of extremes. She could be angry, filled with anxiety, or overly happy. What an emotional roller coaster for both of them! She said, "Now who I am is the same every day." I can imagine there is a much greater level of peace that fills the house now.
I know I did this to my Craig, too. I can't imagine how stressful it must have been to come home after a long day at work NEVER KNOWING whether I would be calm and sober or "sick" and he would have to take care of everything - the house, the kids, the dinner. It's horrible to think about what we put our loved ones through when we were drinking.
"Recovery is better than I thought." - Tarrah
Tarrah made an important discovery about sobriety. The things she was fearful of losing were no longer important. And then there were things she didn't expect that were like little gems throughout the year.
Here are a few gems she didn't expect to experience:
While drinking, the alcohol was the main focus, while everything else (such as a graduation) was the parenthesis (see what I did there?). With the alcohol out of the equation, the graduation (or new grandbaby or other important life event) takes its rightful place as the main focus.
Another gem: "My life is rich with laughter." Unexpectedly so. Who knew so much joy was waiting on the other side of addiction?
Third, she shared that having better relationships was another surprising benefit. "I know what I expect, and what is expected of me." Some people who have never had a drinking problem don't even know how to communicate their expectations, so this is huge. This alone reduces a lot of life's stress and anxiety.
Feeling the confidence to set a new goal of reading through the Bible in one year(ish). After being a Christian for so long, Tarrah thought it was about time she read the whole book.
Here's a big one: no longer having to compartmentalize her faith (I did this too). For Tarrah, making faith a part of everything, including her recovery, has made all the difference.
I loved her last words "You should find your tribe. I'm glad Sherry is part of mine."
PS - Joyful Surrender is our place (Tarrah's and mine) where we've found our tribe. If you're serious about recovery, come join us!