“I never had the intention of becoming a drug addict. I saw things and did things I had been sheltered from my entire life. I was born into a way of life where God and the bible was the most important thing. I grew up a Jehovah’s witness, with a loving family who raised me by spiritual principals and a love for God. Around 16, I was put into a high school where I had friends who were Jehovah’s witnesses and friends who were not. My family always warned me ‘bad associations spoil useful habits,’ but to me that was just another restriction put on my life. I started to become very resentful at my upbringing. I felt that it was the reason I didn’t feel like I fit in and I blamed the religion for my alcoholism. I could not celebrate Christmas or date the boys I wanted to and I just felt different from everyone else. I became angry at God because I thought God was angry at me for having premarital sex, smoking cigarettes and drinking recreationally, all things that were punishable in the religion I had been a part of since the day I was born. I never felt connected to the religion I was raised in. For me, it was just what I was suppose to do. For awhile, I just went with the motions, trying to be a part of the way of life that was so important to my family. That way of life was not for me and I resented it. At that time, I thought that the Jehovah’s witness religion was the only option, as far as having a God in my life. I was either that or I was nothing, so therefore I chose nothing. A resentment at God is a dangerous thing for an addict like me. I had a growing empty hole in my chest, the space that had been previously filled with God’s grace. That hole in my chest was absolutely unbearable and the shame of dishonoring my family only brought me to darker places. Soon I was spending everyday trying to numb all of these feelings, trying to distract myself from the pain and anger I felt as soon as my eyes opened in the morning. I was exactly what my family never wanted me to be, a ‘junkie’ who cared about nothing except getting high, ‘how dark it is before the dawn’.
I moved back into my parent’s house after a couple years of couch surfing and the occasional dirty apartment. Living there drove me to my bottom even quicker, by seeing that I was not living the way I was suppose to. Shame, guilt and love for your family is a powerful thing. I finally confessed to my parents how I was living and they immediately went into ‘save our daughter’ mode. I was 95 pounds and all the life had left my eyes. I was a walking dead person and it was a horrible state for my loving family to have to see me in. They placed me into treatment where the real work started. I was afraid to believe in God because I felt I would then have to take responsibility for the terrible person I thought I was. But in treatment I was given a gift. My therapist told me ‘you are not restricted to believe only in what your family believes.’ This was an intriguing concept to me, I always thought it was Jehovah’s witness way or nothing at all. I was finally given permission to choose the God of my own understanding. It took me a few days to actually believe this was true but soon I got a sponsor and started to work the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. My sponsor also explained that I was free to choose my own conception of God, and that is what I finally decided to do. I created my own God who was about love and forgiveness. A lot of my concepts came from the religion I was raised in with a few little adjustments. I was raised with good morals and spiritual principals and once I had learned to accept my family’s way of life I was free of my resentments towards the Jehovah’s witness religion. I feel that being raised as a Jehovah witness gave me an upperhand in learning to live out God’s will. I was created to be a spiritual being but ultimately just let myself get in the way. I am no longer a Jehovah witness, but I do however have an amazing higher power who has brought me from the darkest misery to the most beautiful happiness. I have a great relationship with my family, we can talk about God and life without anyone getting angry and leaving the room. I was given the gift of my own conception of God and my life has been nothing but wonderful ever since.”