This is a re-post of Lucy Ann Moll's review of "Mending a Broken Heart", Kc Hutter's memoir about her battle with alcoholism. As with my own bondage with alcohol and bulimia, Kc discovered that Jesus was not only "the answer", but that He had given His life to set her free and make her His own. I am re-posting it here as it is the most inspiring, truthful account I have read recently about overcoming life-dominating sin through the power of Christ's love.
Mending a Broken Heart: ADDICTION
When you hurt, you sometimes look for relief. . .in a bottle. This relief, this pleasure plays peek-a-boo. You see it then it’s gone, obliterated.
Kc Hutter, author of her memoir A Broken Heart, flirted with alcoholism. She began drinking during her first marriage while her husband traveled out of town week after week. She drank with friends. She drank when she wanted to feel better about herself. She writes, “I drank a lot of vodka and developed a ‘come here, go away’ personality. This made me feel safe.”
This is the sixth post in the “Mending a Broken Heart” blog series. You can read the other posts (on divorce, a child’s death, and other losses) here. You can learn more Kc’s book and buy it here.
An addiction is bondage of the heart and body to something that produces immediate pleasure and relief, but at a price. This bondage is to “feel good now.” Rather than submitting to Christ’s rule, an addict bows to the “feel-good” god that is her preferred object of achieving pleasure and relief, however fleeting.
Indulging in it becomes the addict’s greatest treasure, the one thing she’d choose over anything or anyone else.
Her body deteriorates over time. Her soul experiences pain with each indulgence.
By God’s grace, a self-described “booze-happy” woman — yes, Kc — who had become a Christian and read the Bible and prayed to Jesus finally hits bottom and turns to the ultimate Healer for help. Listen:
Holding a glass of vodka with a floating olive had always made me feel glamorous. Isn’t this what actors do on TV and in the movies? At a cocktail party, a happy hour, or visiting a friend, I often heard, ‘Do you want a drink?’
After years of drinking, my stomach would hurt and my head pounded every morning. My heart filled with anguish and sorrow. What words did I say last night? Did I lose control and embarrass myself? I wondered.
Many times I tried to quit drinking on my own. All of my attempts failed, even thought I knew the pain of having a loves one killed by a drunk driver.
Finally I prayed, ‘Lord, take the need of alcohol from me, make the taste repulsive.’ The Lord heard and answered by prayers.
Yes, even Bible-reading Christians succumb to addiction. Easy to break the chains of bondage? No. But God can and will pull you out of the pit when you submit to Christ’s rule.
You can become addicted to almost anything: food, sexual gratification, exercise, money, power, praise, shopping, pain pills, and so on. It’s idol worship. In the life of an addict, Christ is rejected and sin becomes master. People will be ruled by something. It’s our nature
The addiction cycle begins when a person wants to avoid pain or feel pleasure–or both. She medicates her distress and discomfort.
She indulges without concern for the consequences. Sometimes her conscience is pricked; a warning flag waves, a Holy Spirit correction. If ignored, and she indulges, she will get a momentary lift or numbness. Then reality sets in: Her indulgence failed to solve her problem; it only make it worse. Shame and regret, regret and shame.
What to do?
Seek pleasure? Avoid pain?
If she indulges again and again, the addiction cycle becomes entrenched. A sick pattern. Depending on the substance of addiction, she may develop a physiological dependence and experience symptoms of withdrawal without it.
The problem is deeper than physiology, however. It’s a spiritual disorder of disordered worship.
In A Broken Heart, Kc outlines the “how” of breaking the bondage of addiction. You read it up top and I repeat parts here:
1. Kc recognized booze enslaved her, and she experienced healthy guilt leading to repentance: My heart filled with anguish and sorrow.
2. She realized the futility of her way of dealing with her addiction: Many times I tried to quit drinking on my own. All of my attempts failed.
3. She asked God for help, humbling herself while she worshiped God: Finally I prayed, ‘Lord, take the need of alcohol from me, make the taste repulsive.’
Please do not misunderstand me. Shaking an addiction is difficult. Kc tried many times, remember?
My mom was addicted to cigarettes and managed to quit a handful of times, only to light up. Again. She died on a frigid January night long ago. Heart disease by puff after puff after puff –this is what her cardiologist told me, in nicer terms. I wish I could have held her hand when she breathed her last. I love her so.
Me? I confess to people-pleasing. An addiction to what others think of me. I have repented of this ugliness and once in a while I return to this vomit like a dog, and repent again.
I rejoice with Kc that vodka never got a hold of her again. She asked God to make alcohol repulsive to her. He did. And she found healthy God-honoring ways to deal with her pain. You can too. Do you believe this?
About Kc and New Life
Kc was brought up in the church but did not have a personal relationship with Jesus until after her second divorce. She told the Lord in prayer, weeping and clutching her uncle’s Bible: “I’ve made such a mess of my life doing it my may. I forgot how much you love me. Forgive me.” God gave her the strength to pen a memoir and the hope to guide those who are hurting and without hope to the Mender of Broken Hearts.
Kc is married and lives in Washington State. She is the mother of two adult sons, one of whom died of cancer and is now with the Lord, and a grandmother.
A Few Questions
1. Have you or a loved one struggled with an addiction? A substance like alcohol or cigarettes? Or an addiction like people-pleasing?
2. How has addiction pulled you down? Financially? Relationally? Emotionally? Spiritually?
3. Are you willing to denounce your addiction and choose to put God first in your life?
Hope for You
Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife?
Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises?
Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine,’
who go to sample bowls of mixed wins. . ..
In the end it bites like a snake
and poisons like a viper.
(Proverbs 23:29-30, 32, NIV)