Can We Celebrate the Set Free?

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT

I have been decluttering our home little by little for a few months. Though no one else seems to be bothered by it, and the rare visitor we have doesn’t care…clutter causes panic in me. It causes my brain to feel overworked and less at ease, so I am trying to eliminate it in my “safe space.”

As I was going through the number of cups in our cabinets, I noticed the 3 wine glasses I had been holding onto. I gently removed them, and packed all them all in a box. Loaded them up to take to our local Goodwill, and thought back to a conversation I had a bit ago related to weddings and wineries. My choice to attend, but to leave when the wine started pouring. During this conversation, I was told this was “judgmental and unloving.” Say what? To attend the wedding, but not the reception?

Was I really being judgmental by making a choice to stay sober?

I have been vocal in the past about my journey to living a life without alcohol. In written words, of course. Words on a page, or on a screen feel safe when something like your “vice” are being bared to someone else. Unlike others I have been spared the “staring in your face judgment,” though I know the words spoken off-screen to others about this choice have not been filled with grace.

When I have spoken in person about my decision to remain sober. This chosen lifestyle and the choices I make because of it…grace isn’t something I have received, either.

My choices are a choice to preserve that life. Not judge another’s choice to partake. Yet it’s often seen as the latter.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12, NLT

As I packed up those glasses, I also recalled providing my reasons…revealing wine was my “vice” of choice. I spent weekends away from my family at wine festivals, getting sloshed at all the tables, sometimes not remembering my actions or being appalled by them later. I would drink sometimes before my kids got home. My son at the time was hard to manage. Wine helped me manage his tantrums. Two or three glasses to “help me sleep.” Claiming it “calmed” me, or all those festivals were because I liked the “taste.” No…I was addicted to the substance that was allowing me to escape real life. A slave to the belief that it could make everything OK. The “Mommy-juice” that helped me cope.

Wine is a huge trigger. For me. Maybe not for anyone else, but for me-I can’t be around a bottle. And in my decluttering adventures, and on my path to who God has been revealing me to be-it was revealed that the glass is, too.

See, I filled them with tea. Or sparkling water. I was continuing to play the part of the past days when I drank a glass at dinner. Cleaned with glasses and glasses to rid my mind of anxious thoughts, and as I drank from one I longed for just one glass of the syrupy substance. Like the wine-filled bottles that were poured down the drain two years before…the glasses had to go, too.

It may not be your trigger, but it’s mine. You may be able to keep these glasses with no problem. The wine in your cupboard even. But not me. I had to make a choice to get rid of anything that could be used as a salve that could soothe. A salve that was not Jesus…ever again.

Is this judgmental? Or healthy?

And, I wonder…would you judge the woman who 2 years ago, was filled with confusion, doubt, a lack of faith, and riddled with anxiety and despair. The one who found herself falling down drunk in an out of town bar, broken bones and all. 6 years sober, and now not. All because she was triggered. Would you judge her choices harshly then? And knowing what she chooses now, would you continue to judge her choice to never get to that place again?

Or would you celebrate every step she makes to forward progress as she, or anyone who struggles daily with walking and living sober, so hope you will. As we so desperately need those around us to. Because what is good for you isn’t good for me, and that’s ok. I don’t need you to change what you do for me, or act differently around me, what I (we) really need is grace. Not judgment. I need understanding when I leave the party. I need understanding and support when I choose to grab water. I still want to be invited, but I need you to know I may not come. I need you to know I’m still fun, even better actually…because the alcohol doesn’t fuel my thoughts, behaviors and actions. I still need you to believe in me, not believe I think I’m better than you.

I need understanding when I come but then quietly depart your event. I love you. I want to celebrate you, but I love my sobriety even more. And I hope you celebrate with me the path I have chosen, along with so many who do daily.

Can you choose to celebrate those who make the daily choice to refrain? To remove triggers? Celebrate, even if missteps happen, without judgment, but with grace? We do need more of this-all around. In each and every one of our lives.

Really…it’s what helps keep moving any of us forward. It’s what helps us step out of our own judgement and into His grace. It’s what sets us free.

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