From the time I was a newborn, I was raised in church. I was brought up to believe in a God who loved all of His children, regardless of their shortcomings or mistakes. The older I got and the more immersed I became in my faith, the more I also began to realize that I wasn’t like most of the kids around me. I dated boys, but never felt connected to them or attracted to them. I thought something was wrong with me. It wasn’t until age 17 that I realized it was because I was gay.
When I turned 18, I came out of the closet with my first girlfriend. We faced heavy judgement from the Christian influences around us, and it ultimately pushed us away from the church, and from God altogether. After we broke up and I relocated to the state of Georgia at age 19, alcohol became my higher power, and sent me on a downward spiral that I was sure I’d never recover from.
During the 5 years I spent in active addiction, I found myself in many dangerous situations. I made terrible decisions, I let people use me, I used other people, and I was depressed and suicidal. I acted out in anger and hurt a lot of people. I self harmed in the form of an eating disorder that I struggled with silently, and even spent a week in a psych ward for an unsuccessful suicide attempt. I still continued to drink after that. I had no motivation to live a better life because my self-worth was nonexistent. I didn’t believe I was worthy of true happiness, and my dreams always felt so unattainable. I thought I’d never amount to anything, and that I would die with a bottle in my hand, never living up to the potential I once believed I had.
In January of 2018, I went hiking in the mountains of South Carolina. I had just recovered from several nights of binge drinking in a row to celebrate the new year. I found myself on a quiet mountaintop, higher up than I’d ever been before. I’m not sure if it was the elevation or if I was just tired of being tired, but I found God on that mountaintop, and realized He never stopped loving me. He’d been protecting me all along. I dropped to my knees and surrendered all of my pain and suffering, and decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I’ve been sober since that day with the help of God and the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, and my life has been forever changed.
Fast forward to a little over a year later. I am one year sober, living in Nashville, making more money than I’ve ever made, financially stable, and in the beginning stages of entrepreneurship. My bills are paid early, I have food in my cabinets and in my belly, I have real friendships, and I experience healing every day. My relationship with God is stronger than ever before, and so is my self-worth. I’m PROUD of who I am as a lesbian, and as a person. I’ve come a long way, but I still have so much more to learn. I am not perfect, and still have things to heal from, but I’m surely not where I used to be. The beautiful part about rock bottom is that there’s nowhere to go but up.
I used to be ashamed of my struggles, but now I talk about them openly and honestly, because I know they can help other people. It makes it all worth it to me if I can give hope to others, or keep another person away from the bottle, the blade, or the gun. In my darkest moments, I certainly never believed that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel, or that an amazing life was out there waiting for me. But I was wrong, and I’m so glad I’m still here to admit that. I’m so glad I never gave up.
We are only human… But we are so beautiful, and every moment spent on this planet is a chance for us to spread that beauty to someone else. It’s what we’re here for! We all have stories that are meant to be told. I pray that you will also have the courage to share yours one day.
Story submitted by Kyler