I have sat here and tried a million different ways to write this blog, and I’ll have you know, this is my very first one EVER. So it being my first blog I wanted to sound both brilliant and funny, not too much to ask for, right?! So what do I do??!! I over think it to the point of absolute writer’s block….lol…So at this point, the night my blog is due, I am willing to set aside my silly need to sound brilliant and just briefly tell you about how the Lord has graciously moved in my life in the last few years.
I truly believe that most of us experience some kind of pain growing up, and although it may look differently in our lives, to some extent it feels similar. Well, the pain I experienced growing up started with the death of my father at the age of six. Looking back I believe that the greatest tragedy of it all was never being taught that it was okay to be sad or that it was appropriate to talk about it. Therefore, I went through my childhood feeling insecure, abandoned, lost and incomplete. Now amongst my father’s death I had several other things that I struggled with throughout the years such as low self-esteem, an eating disorder, being bullied, and seeking validation through men, gosh, I could go on and on, but I realize that this is a blog and not a novel. My reasoning for telling you this is because I had no outlet for how I felt, no voice to put words to the things that I felt or had experienced. For me, part of growing up was learning that women do not express emotions, even over the greatest of tragedies, and if we did, it was in a private place such as in the shower. This modeling shaped how and what I did with my emotions for the next 25 years of my life.” Stuff them Brittani, they are not valid, no one will understand, so put a smile on your face” all the messages my uneducated mind kept replaying and replaying over the years until one day….I found something that would not only silence the unhelpful, repeated thoughts, but would also numb the pain of existing all at once. What was it I found that at the time seemed like an absolute God-send??? Drugs. I used drugs on a consistent basis for 14 years of my life. I used because it seemed to be the only thing that made all the pain that I had within me go away. Over the course of my active addiction I cheated, lied, stole, manipulated, used people, took my family for granted, and neglected my children. I am not proud of any of this but to not be honest about how I lived would take away from the work that the Lord has done in my life.
So, are you ready for some hope? Well, Today, I celebrate 6 years clean and sober and that has only been possible through my Savior Jesus Christ. I never imagined that there was anyone who could fully love and forgive a broken girl like me. When I accepted the Lord into my heart He changed me in a way that I never imagined possible. My life has switched from a purely self-centered way of life to a life that I am able and willing to be present for other people who are struggling with addiction. It can only be the work of Jesus to take the brokenness of my past and use it for good. This journey has been hard, joyous, different, painful, beautiful and most importantly something that I have learned to experience without the use of a substance. For me, learning what it means to be a woman meant learning that there is strength in my tears, that there is courage within grieving, and most importantly that even in, through and during my desperate times of brokenness, there is beauty.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Brittani currently lives in Warrensburg with her wonderful husband and children. She graduated in December from UCM with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She has an amazing career that she loves as substance abuse counselor at the Recovery Lighthouse. She feels blessed beyond measure with a supportive family and countless friends who she would not trade for anything.