Simone, 22, Alabama, USA
[As told to Then God Moved editor Adira Polite]
When I got to college, I fell deep into sin. I was running from a lot of trauma and now that I was out of my parents’ house, I was “free” to finally “live it up” and distract myself from all of my pain. There was nothing stopping me — not my parents, and certainly not the rules of their “religion.”
At first, I drank because everyone else was drinking, but it quickly turned into a means of self-medication. I drank heavily every weekend, sometimes until I blacked out. I recall very little. Then, marijuana entered the mix. Again, it began as a social pastime, then I became dependent. I blew my money on weed and smoked all the time, whether my friends were around or not.
I eventually realized that my weed habit was out of control, so I weaned myself off of it. But, before long, I’d replaced weed with sex. It wasn’t just that I liked it; I was addicted to it — both the feeling itself and the validation. I was having sex three, four, five times a day; I’d wake up in the middle of the night to get it. This continued until I had a particularly bad experience, which scared me into finally weaning myself off of sex, too.
It appeared as if I was overcoming my addictions, but I was nowhere near recovery. My sophomore year, I was prescribed a sedative for an upper respiratory infection. Without hesitation, I used them to get high and, when I ran out, I found more. I was in such a low place and I looked only to drugs and my boyfriend for comfort. Of course, they couldn’t satisfy and with each passing day, my desire to live faded.
Finally, one night, I cried out to God. I had no faith at the time, but I hoped He could hear me. “I don’t know what you want from me, but I can’t take this anymore. Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it.” Without missing a beat, the Holy Spirit whispered, “Break up with your boyfriend.” Looking back, it’s clear that this was a test. God knew that my boyfriend was my main comfort, just as alcohol and drugs and sex had also been. By asking me to let go, He was asking if I was truly ready to let go of my idols and vices — everything that was keeping me from Him.
I obeyed and entered singleness, for the first time in my life. During these past few years, it’s just been me and Jesus. I’ve learned to listen for and follow His voice. I’ve grown in discernment. And as I’ve learned to trust in Him, all of my addictions and coping mechanisms have disappeared. Jesus literally took my sins and strongholds onto Himself. It’s just as Scripture says: “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
All of my emptiness, the Lord has filled. He’s helped me confront the things I was running from and He has been faithful in healing me. He’s even restored broken relationships in my family! I’ve been gifted so many relationships with godly sisters and brothers. God is so, so good — and His goodness remains true, no matter what we ourselves have done. “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good For His mercy endures forever.” (Psalms 136:1)