“The future is dark, with a darkness as much of the womb as the grave.”
― Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark
For a girl who is afraid of the dark, I sure did spend a lot of years there. I spent 18 years to be exact, struggling in my addiction. During most of my addicted years, I could go long periods of time sober with alternating periods of bingeing and abusing whatever drugs I could get prescribed. The last few years of my addiction were definitely the darkest as I spiraled out of control into daily drug use. Those days were the days when it felt like the light just could not break through to my soul. I tried to pray and felt like my prayers never made it past the ceiling. I laid in my bed and wished it would just swallow me up like a coffin being laid in a grave. I wasn’t really wishing for death. I had just lost the will to live. What I had really lost in the dark was HOPE.
Can I go anywhere apart from Your Spirit?
Is there anywhere I can go to escape Your watchful presence?
If I go up into heaven, You are there.
If I make my bed in the realm of the dead, You are there.
If I ride on the wings of morning,
if I make my home in the most isolated part of the ocean,
Even then You will be there to guide me;
Your right hand will embrace me, for You are always there.
Even if I am afraid and think to myself, “There is no doubt that the darkness will swallow me,
the light around me will soon be turned to night,”
You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes.
For You the night is just as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes. Psalm 139:7-12 (Voice)
Though I had lost hope, praise Jesus, hope was not lost. You see, the Lord was with me. In the words of Psalm 139, He is always there, even in the darkness. He was with me when I was a child living in the darkness of abuse. He was with me when I was a teenager living in the darkness of anger and rebellion. He was with me when I was a young wife and mother struggling to be the perfect version of someone I thought others expected me to be. He was with me when I chose to give in to the pain and numb myself at the expense of my kids and my husband. He was with me when I made the choice to begin a new journey…a journey to recovery.
My recovery journey has truly been a journey of recovering me. I don’t know a better way to describe how it feels than through a movie analogy. In the beginning of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and Toto are in the black and white world of Kansas. Through a strange turn of events, a tornado comes and moves the house along with Dorothy and Toto to the magical land of Oz. Who does not remember the moment Dorothy walks out of the farmhouse and into the technicolor land of Oz? You know, when Dorothy steps out in amazement and declares, “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” It is one of the greatest cinematic moments of all time.
That, my friends, is what my recovery journey has been like. I walked around in a black and white world in my addiction and miraculously in my recovery, the world is now technicolor. Not just my soul was made new, everything old became new. I heard the birds sing and it was beautiful. Moments spent reading children’s books with my girls were soul-fulfilling. The sky looked more blue and the grass more green. Chocolate, well it was just good. I remember the first time in my recovery that I cried spontaneous tears of joy and it felt refreshing. Easter Sunday during that first year was the most meaningful Easter I have ever celebrated.
Don’t get me wrong, the darkness is still out there. During the years I have been celebrating my recovery, I have experienced pain and dark days due to financial struggles, family issues and deaths of loved ones. What has changed is me, my perspective, my heart. Now, I know and am assured of the fact that even if I go to the darkest of places, the Lord is walking with me. The darkness is still dark, but because of hope it feels more like a womb or a chance at a new beginning and much less like a grave.
Kristi Hutchison, Author
I am a wife, mom of 3 girls and a big ole beast of a dog, ragamuffin, wannabe writer and blogger, who enjoys hiking, reading, baking, and wandering off the beaten path. I am a survivor of childhood trauma and have been celebrating recovery since 2011. I am one of the multitude of ragamuffins "who so wants to be faithful, who at times gets defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, who wears the bloody garments of life's tribulations, but through it all clings to the faith." ~Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel