For years I struggled with alcohol abuse as the result of many things, including an emotion dysregulation disorder. About 2 years ago, I decided to pursue a treatment plan that required me to look at some painful truths and take responsibility for learning to deal with life in healthy ways. I was terrified about having to face the dark parts of myself head on. As I had in the past, I often turned to alcohol to blow off steam and to numb out the vulnerability I felt. Eventually it became apparent that alcohol was getting in the way of healing and that if I wanted to pursue life to the fullest, I would have to stop drinking. This was a difficult decision to make because I had never gotten a DUI and the majority of the time, alcohol helped to create fun memories and provided stress relief.
There were numerous times when I just wanted to run and go back to a life where I was only pursuing instant gratification. In this season, I kept sensing that God was giving me the word Stay as a life motto and so I ordered a giving key with that word. There were weeks when I wore the necklace daily. I would often run my fingers over the word when I was struggling to have hope. Strangers prayed for me at times and said they felt they should encourage me to Stay with the path I was on because soon it would be worth it.
One of my biggest supports came in the form of a sponsor through Alcoholics Anonymous. She taught me coping skills and helped me balance freedom and responsibility in sobriety. Without knowing this part of my story, she told me that the mantra she says out loud at the end of each AA meeting is "Stay." It was another road sign to me that I was on the right path and that God was with me.
Last November, I took celebrated one year of sobriety. As a thank you, I gave my Stay Giving Key necklace to my sponsor. I am excited to now order a new key to signify that I am now in a new season of life and following God to new adventures.