Inevitably, we all make mistakes and do things we wish we could forget. But I would submit to you that God redeems those dark moments to help others.
“In the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths.” – Drew Barrymore
So if you are holding on to shame and regret, hold also to the hope that God is bigger. As we step forward, inch by inch, this too shall pass. And if we can lean into the Lord, He will not let our shame overcome us. He will redeem our missteps and make us stronger for them.
This is exactly the case for Lori. She was once a slave to an alcohol addiction, but today she is a tender follower of Jesus and devoted recovery leader. I have included one of her stories for you here. Her transparency is nothing short of tremendously brave. The stories she shares on her blog, Flying Sober, encourage me and help me to remember that no hurt is too deep for God to heal completely.
Beware of the Hair Salon
On the way to the airport this morning I watched as several men crossed the road adjacent to the Davidson County Jail. I pass this road at least once a week. The faces change, but the pain can always be felt. It may be in their dirty clothes, their faces, the words on the cell as they beg someone to come get them. But the pain can always be felt.
This is always a familiar sight, and sometimes brings back memories of my own journey. This morning, I think of a particular time that my drinking didn’t quite turn out as I wanted…..surprise surprise surprise.
It all started at the hairdresser. You wouldn’t think anyone could get into trouble at a hairdresser, right? Well if you are an alcoholic like I was, then the idea seems quite reasonable. I was trying out a new hairdresser in my home town. Everything was going smooth. I had been sober for a few days and managed to make my appointment on time. I talked with the stylist and we agreed on the type of service I would receive that day. First highlights, where they put these beautiful tin foils all over your head along with a solution that lightens your hair to the desired shade.
If you are a seasoned highlight recipient like I was,you also know that the more foils, the more highlights hence the better look, hence the higher price. So…ultimately, if you can afford it, you want your head to look like a sate light dish of tin foils. Especially if you are going for the “natural blond” look like I was.
Anyway, the agenda for the day was highlights, cut and style. But before we got started, oh my……..I couldn’t believe what my eyes beheld. Here comes a women carrying the most beautiful bottle that I had ever seen at a salon. “Would you care for a glass of wine?” wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine…………………………….. Her voice seemed to echo in the room with that one word…..wine.
Without hesitation, I said yes.
I learned later in recovery, that this was the first mistake that I made. You might think “a duh, you said yes?” No, my first mistake was the thought. As an alcoholic, in my mind I have but a few seconds to make life saving choices. Sometimes, these choices can’t be made alone. At that split second, I could have excused myself and called on a recovering friend, played the events forward in my head (play the tape through) or my favorite just “Run, Forrest, Run!”
Of course I could have called on The Lord, but at that point in my recovery, I wouldn’t have listened anyway. I needed God with skin. Please don’t misunderstand; I’m not saying my recovery friends are playing God for me. What they are doing is holding my hand and walking with me until I can find God and surrender my will to him, on my own. God uses people in recovery to help others find peace with him as they have. We have a saying in recovery “To keep it, you have to give it away.” I have found this to be true. I have also found that once I started giving it away, it became one of my greatest joys.
But anyway, back to the Salon and my beautiful bottle of wine. The woman says “I will get you a glass.” Glass? How about the bottle and a straw? Why dirty a glass? But I wait patiently and she brings me this wonderfully full glass of red liquid. I have a sip…I sip..I sip
I slam. Oh Miss? Could I have another? That was just fabulous! May I see that bottle as well? I must try that year at home. After the 3rd glass (I think) my hair is all up in the tin foil sate lite, and starting to bake, uh process, lol. Oh my goodness, I need to get my phone from the car. Yes I know I have foils in my head, but, what the hoo….this is 2005 live a little Lori. In my car, I just happen to keep an emergency bottle of Vodka, oh dear….
My last clear memory, is being in the bathroom at the salon, and slamming Vodka straight from the bottle, no straw needed. My hair processes, and the stylist cuts and styles my hair. I tell her I love it and go again to the bathroom. I change back into my clothes, and slam a bit more vodka. I walk out of the bathroom, through the front lobby and out the front door into the mall. There are some great small shops inside The Factory and now that I have a great new hairstyle, I am feeling pretty good. (May also have something to do with the Vodka)
I browse around one store and decide it is time for another restroom break. In the restroom I have another “swig” of Vodka….bottle…restroom…fog…..bottle….fog…..policeman….policeman….policeman…….
Oh Miss? Miss….Miss….Are you alright?
Oh yes, I’m OK, I uh, I uh, I’m just not feeling very well.
Yes Mam someone called us and said there was a drunk lady in the Restroom.
Oh no Sir! I’m not drunk! I just had some wine at the hair salon. It must have not agreed with me so well.
Yes Ma’am the salon called us as well. Appears that you also did not pay your bill.
Oh Dear Me!….I am sooooooooo sorry!! I….uh….uh…have the cash right here in my purse……I must have forgotten. Oh I’m so sorry, I will just go pay them.
I understand Ma’am. I think you need to come with me.
Oh that’s OK! I have my car here. I will just pay the salon and head on my way……my BMW is just parked out front.
I will make sure you pay the ladies, but I need you to come with me first.
Sir, I can just wait here a while if you think I’ve had too much wine. I will pay the salon, and shop a bit. I’m feeling better now. Oh did I tell you I have a BMW? I also know Toby Keith, I can get you concert tickets…..
Ma’am, you need to come with me.
I guess you don’t want Toby Keith tickets….
The fog started to lift a little by this time. Something about silver bracelets seemed to wake me up a bit. So we head to the Williamson County Jail. Ironically this is the same jail that 8 years later I lead a Celebrate Recovery meeting for the women once a week But on this day, something entirely different was happening.
The officer lead me into the jail. I’m still shocked that he is going to actually book me. My photo is taken, I am finger printed and searched. I saw my booking photo sometime later…a great hairdo with one side pushed completely flat to my face, I guess from lying on a bathroom floor. Wow…what class!
I am lead to a small room with a bench, the handcuffs are taken off and the door is shut and locked. I am alone, and no bottle to comfort me. I lay down on the bench and cry. I must have passed out because the next thing I hear is Mrs. Payne, your husband is here to get you. I don’t remember much of the drive home, only the look on my husbands face. He looked tired and lonely. I was destroying myself, and this beautiful man who was so unfortunate as to fall in love with me.
Temptation comes from our own desires which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions, and when sin is allowed to grow it gives birth to death.
I am a wife, mother, and Flight Attendant with a major airline. I am passionate about God, and serving others in the area of Alcoholism. After 9 years of struggle, I have been sober since June 2006.
|Ginny Priz is a Christian coach, writer and speaker. Ginny has overcome her own drama with a birth defect, alcohol, panic disorder, and codependency. She has a passion for guiding others toward the same peace and freedom she has come to experience. Ditching drama is possible for anyone “armed” with God and the Serenity Prayer! It’s never too late to start your own Serenity Journey.|