Speak Out with Caroline: Embracing the New

Image provided by Caroline Kagia

Change isn’t always easy. Many times though, it is inevitable and eventually works out for our good. Change could also come about as a result of choices we intentionally make. Choices that we will later look back on and be grateful for taking the bold step towards the freedom we have been searching for – knowingly or unknowingly.

My 20-year struggle with alcoholism had taken me to hell and back in many aspects of that word. Had someone told me earlier in life that I would become an alcoholic, I’d have laughed it off. That, however, became the case.

You see, no one ever thinks that they can go down that ugly road. A road that’s dark, dirty, full of anxiety, self-hatred, self-sabotage, broken relationships, lost opportunities. A road that many, unfortunately, are unable to make a U-turn from. It is as slippery as it is dark.

My resolve to change was as a result of hitting rock bottom. I needed to get there for me to realise and accept just how close to the grave I was.

With the little strength I had left, I chose to fight for my life. I chose to fight for my freedom. I chose to change.

Change felt scary. It meant saying goodbye to alcohol, which had become my ‘god’ and best friend for two decades. Change meant letting go of acquaintances I had made in the many years prior to my going in for treatment. Change meant learning to forgive the people I felt had wronged me, seeking forgiveness from those I could, and most importantly, forgiving myself. Change meant learning to love me because I obviously didn’t.

The day I walked into a treatment centre, was the beginning of new chapters in my life. Chapters that had been open for far too long were finally closing. New ones were being written – ones full of hope, positivity and sobriety. A new lease of life had been handed to me by God.

Time and time again I have said that my three months in treatment were the best days of my life at that point. I learned to really listen to me. To speak to me.

Most importantly, I learned to speak to and hear from God.

I learned to talk to and with people all over again, for I had forgotten how to do that. Prior to treatment, my conversations had been with the seller at the liquor store, the drunkard at the liquor store and my bottle. Trust me; when you have sunk as low as I did, your brain begins to shut down slowly, and your conversational skills boil down to zero.

Dealing with my underlying issues was probably one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to do sober. With the help of God and my therapists, I was able to tear down the strongholds that had kept me in chains since childhood. You see, most addictions, be they substance addictions (alcohol/drugs) or process addictions (sex, pornography, masturbation, gambling, eating disorders, etc.), stem from a place – normally from childhood.

Dealing with childhood trauma is something many people run away from. Hence, another reason why so many find themselves ‘stuck’ and in a cycle of bad relationships, bad jobs, bad circumstances. They can’t tell why. However, if they delve deep into their history, they may find it has something to do with their childhood.

On leaving treatment, I cried. I cried because I had finally let go of the old and was entering into a world unknown. How was I going to live life sober? How was I going to deal with life’s issues without running to the bottle or to a cigarette? Would I make it? What if I didn’t?

God has been very good to me. He has been and continues to be faithful even when I have failed Him. His Word promises that He will NEVER leave nor forsake you or me. He continues to watch over His Word to perform it.

He also promises to honour the desires of our hearts. I have been blessed with a very good and strong support system – family and friends – to whom I’m accountable.

My life has changed for the better and to the glory of God. By sharing my story openly and unashamedly, doors have opened in places I never imagined.

Making that transition is not magic. It doesn’t take place overnight. It requires diligence and a deliberate effort to make it a day at a time.

Baby steps, prayer and intentionally surrounding myself with people who genuinely desire the best for me are the steps I’ve taken to get me to where I am today. Change continues to work for my good.

We’re still at the beginning of the year. It is not too late to make that U-turn. Make the deliberate effort to allow change to work for YOU.

You are worth it!

You are GREAT!

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