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Beauty from Ashes

This is so good. @jl.devilliers - truly an amazing person, and an amazing story. 

"Fifteen years ago I was an angry teenager. I was living with my alcoholic father and grandparents. We lived in a one bedroom apartment. My bedroom was their dining room. Fifteen years ago you would have found that angry teenager lying on her back, on the mattress on the floor where I slept. You would have seen that my angry face was tear stained. You would have seen that my eyes were empty. My heart was empty. You would have heard me cursing the very God that I love so much today. I was lost, hopeless, and so damn angry. Angry because my father was an alcoholic. Angry because we had lost our home and all our possessions. Angry because we didn't have money. Angry because I had to ask strangers for money to buy electricity. Angry because I lied to my friends about my home situation. Angry because I couldn't be a normal teenager. Angry because I had to be a parent to my father. 

My anger turned into a secret depression. A downward spiral that involved underage drinking, self-harm, an eating disorder and a sense of worthlessness. I took my anger out on myself and a God I was so sure didn't exist.

Things didn't improve. Restricting food turned into bulimia. Blades were broken out of shaving razors. Drinking turned into a way to numb my anger and pain. I became an actress, a comedian. Hiding behind a laugh that was too loud and a smile that made my face ache. 

My high school years were also turned into a nightmare. I was bullied, made fun of for the way I dressed. I was called fat. A loser. A weirdo. 

Basically, going home or to school was hell.

I didn't really see a point in living, but for some reason (God) I did.

I finished high school.

I turned 18.

By now my grandmother had passed away. My father was still unemployed, verbally abusive and an alcoholic. 

I won't go into much detail, but I did end up living with my mother. Only because I couldn't keep my living situation a secret anymore. I couldn't keep on feeling guilty if I "left my father". If I had stayed, I don't know what would have happened to me. 

Things improved, I mean I got an actual bed to sleep in. I didn't have to check if my father had passed out with a cigarette in his hand. But I still felt such guilt for "leaving" them and living a "better" life.

I carried on drinking. All the time. If I wasn't drinking, I was throwing up the food I ate or patching up wounds I had created on myself.

This went on for years. 

Even after getting into the best relationship of my life (a relationship with my Heavenly Father). He showed me grace, love I've never experienced before and SO much forgiveness.

Still I couldn't forgive myself. I couldn't forgive my father. I couldn't rid my mind and heart of a childhood that left me scarred, not just physically.

I started dating my bearded best friend (est 2007)

I studied for a teaching degree (2009-2012)

My father passed away from his addiction (2012)

I got my first teaching job (2013-present)

I got married to my bearded best friend (2013)

And still, I struggled. I was fighting off so many demons. 

Guilt I couldn't rid myself of. 

A hatred for my body I couldn't escape.

I started drinking even more. Ironic for someone who saw their father lose everything from his addiction. Including his life.

My eating disorder was still active. I was struggling with depression. 

Life was better. I was happy on the outside, but inside I was still fighting for happiness, forgiveness and my life. 

This year (2016) things changed.

It took me to the age of 27 to actually face the demons head on.

In June I ended up in a treatment facility. I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and adult ADHD. 

I stopped drinking.

I stopped throwing up.

And it's been more than 180 days since I had any form of alcohol.
And it's been more than 180 days since I've made myself throw up.
I am happier. Not just on the outside. 
When I smile, my face doesn't ache because I'm forcing it. 
When I laugh, my tummy DOES ache, but because the laugh is real. 
When I think of my childhood now, I don't blame myself. Instead, I see the little girl that I was and all I want to do is hug her and say to her that it was never her fault.
When I look at my life now, I'm excited for the future.
In the last 6 months my heart has been broken, but built up again.
I have felt true freedom.
The kind of freedom that my Jesus bled and wept for.
I have a long journey still ahead of me.
There have been and there will be days where I will cry, I will still have to fight. 
The difference is that now I WANT to fight.
I want to keep on fighting.I deserve happiness.
I deserve to LIVE in FREEDOM.
I deserve to not feel ashamed of my past.I want to share my story.
I want to share what God has done in my life. That He was never a father who abandoned me, but who was there even in my darkest moments.
Without Him, I wouldn't have this story to share."

My story, the very short version.

By Jade-Lauren de Villiers.

It's truly amazing what God can do. Share your #soberstory here - we'd love to post it for you!


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