Amber grew up in Longview, and graduated from Mark Morris High School. She is employed by OHSU, and works in the Casey Eye Institute in Longview. She began her training and employment in the optical department, and is now a receptionist there. Her two boys, Micah, 5, and Jonah, 2, claim any free time she has. She loves being with them as much as she can.
The House: As we talked about, the November issue of The House is focused on seasons of life and the challenges in change, including the steps we are learning about as part of the "Setting Me Free" series.
The video was saw two weeks ago about the major change in your life in the last year certainly speaks to all these things. In the video you shared that from the age of fifteen until you were twenty-five, you were using some kind of narcotic, and that in December, 2010, you ran out of money, became very ill, and pretty much came to the end of yourself being in control of your life.
Can you tell us what you think caused this drastic change in your life, beyond your circumstances? Amber: Running out of money and being very ill really forced me to look at my life. I know my prayers and the prayers of my family are what really made the difference. I went through sixteen days of withdrawal, and I was angry when the only person who knew I had been hiding this secret for ten years told my family and the doctors, but I am grateful now that she did.
The House: "Setting Me Free" talks about how "confession destroys the barrier of pride, creating humility." How have you experienced that truth? Amber: Every day I see something new that makes me think, "How did I not see that before?" I am confronted every day with something else that my addiction allowed me to hide from. I am grateful for the new life I have, even with all the challenges. I know I am growing in faith, and "one day at a time" applies to my life, and I’m glad it does. The House: We are very grateful to you for sharing your story with us. It’s a privilege to hear about your journey. Amber: I am grateful for an appropriate time and place to share it. I know it is important for my life and future, and for my children’s lives. And, I always hope there is someone hearing my story who is like I was, and might have the courage to surrender their life to God, and be able to receive it back from Him, but in the way He has for them.
The House: Another aspect of "Setting Me Free" is about patience, a word none of use likes much, because we know that means learning to wait on God and seeking His plan for our lives, when sometimes that is very difficult. What do you have to say about patience in your life now? Amber: I believe I am learning to trust Him, to "live and let live", meaning that I just need to live my life out, day to day, and not try to manage and control everything. I don’t have "new" plans beyond living one day at a time, working, playing with my sons, and doing the work it takes to remain sober. I know that change will come when God knows I am ready for it. The House: You are working, raising your boys, and going to NA meetings. Since we’re talking about changing seasons in our lives, are there some changes in yours? Amber: Yes! I’ve deleted my FaceBook account, leaving my cell phone off, at home or in my car, not holding it in my hand all the time, constantly checking for messages. I’m amazed at how freeing that is; not being "on call" all the time.
I check it a few times throughout my day, just to be sure I can be reached in an emergency with my kids or something, but I find my thought-life is not as anxious and "cluttered" as it was when I was constantly "checking in". I found that stuff I had been "sitting on" for six months, feeling like I didn’t have time to do, suddenly were things I had time for. It feels really good to not let "distracting electronics" dictate to me all day! LOL! The House: You’ve done so well with your recovery. What are the challenges you feel are on your horizon now? Amber: I still have to struggle with being with friends who are not in a recovery program, and might not need to be, but continue to have a drink. That is not something I can do, so being comfortable with them is hard. I also have a hard time with "having nothing to do". If I have a time like that, I usually fill it up with visiting family, taking my boys somewhere, like OMSI, anything but "doing nothing". It will be great when "doing nothing" is okay for me. The House: It is really wonderful to hear your enthusiasm for learning about your faith, bringing friends to EHA to hear what you’re hearing, and how diligent you are about your recovery. We are with you, and praying for continued healing and wholeness. Thank you so much for sharing your story again! It’s so clear that you understand how much we all need God in our lives, and that He wants so much for us to be free in Him to live the life He has in mind for us!
We will remember the word you felt was most important: SURRENDER!