Addiction ran rampant in my household growing up. The instability caused by having a parental figure in and out of my home was too much for me to handle at the time. From a very young age, I began to try to fill the void they had left by binge eating. This was easy to hide due to years of competitive cheerleading, gymnastics, and any other sport I wanted to be involved in. In my middle school years, I began to experiment with strangers I met online. Even though pornography, lust, and other addictions were all discussed in my youth group, I did not feel comfortable sharing my issues with anyone. I experienced a lot of shame and self-condemnation because I was a girl struggling with what I thought was a “grown man sin.”
It was not until I left two different high schools because of sexual activity that I realized that the emptiness inside of me could not be filled by another human. This was the first time I remember calling out to God. Unfortunately, perfectionism and legalism took deep root in my life at this point. This is when I began battling my addictions in my own strength. I felt completely out of control. By the time I started college, I just decided to give in to all of my desires. This was the beginning of my drinking problem. It was all fun and games until I was raped. I did not realize at the time but any hope I had left in Jesus died in those moments. I began to drink even more. With all the food and alcohol, I was consuming, my funds began to run out quickly. I began to meet people who would provide for my habits. I found no worth in myself except the money I earned doing acts I did not even feel like doing anymore. Self-harm eventually turned into suicide attempts.
I found out about Mercy in a hospital bed. I honestly only applied to get my mom off my back. I walked through the doors of Mercy extremely angry and completely open about the fact that I only intended on staying for thirty days. A big turning point for me was when my counselor and the program director sat me down and asked me if I actually wanted to be here and I chose for the first time to let God meet me where I was at.
During my time at Mercy, God slowly revealed His character to me the more I pressed in. He showed me exactly where He was in those moments where I thought He had turned His back on me. God was there holding me. He also showed me that He was holding a friend of mine when they were in a similar situation. That shifted a lot for me. I started to see myself the way God sees me. My sins were paid for, so I no longer felt the need to punish myself for all the pain I had caused other people. God’s grace started changing my desires. I stopped desiring release and started craving the presence of God. God started breaking the cycles of addiction in me and the miracle happened in the breaking. I am so grateful to have a Savior and Lord who meets me in my brokenness.
After Mercy I plan to go back to school to get that degree that’s been on my heart. To the donors, thank you for everything. I do not know how much longer I would have survived if I had not come to Mercy. I am forever grateful for everything you provided for me during my healing process.