2016-34 Testimonies

Leaving a bitter past behind

Apr 22, 2016 Testimony

Now I really am a joyful and peaceful person. I don’t try to force affection or closeness

I come from a large, Catholic family. I’m almost twenty-five years old. Our family only scraped by financially, but we never experienced any pathological problems like alcoholism or drug addiction.

At school, I was always full of complexes. I was embarrassed about everything: my looks, my clothes, what I was saying and how I was saying it, etc. This led me to avoid socialising, and I never really found a place for myself among my peers. With hindsight, I see what was behind my complexes, and not just mine, since my sisters started having similar problems while they were growing up – even though we didn’t look worse than other girls. Even though our father (whom I love very much) was a fine, honest person and never abused alcohol, he none the less made a few mistakes in the way he raised us, but there’s no one who didn’t make a few mistakes in life. Our father was always a very strict and demanding person. He never (and I mean never!) praised us, and often criticised me and my siblings. Neither did he manage to show us affection. I never heard any compliment from him. I remember when I was still a small child (about six years old) and I had gone to bed and closed my eyes I used to imagine that my father would come in and kiss me on the forehead and tell me: “good night my little princess. I love you”. Unfortunately, my dream was never fulfilled.

When I was about sixteen years old, I started my first adventures with alcohol. Thanks to my cousin, who was always a very adventurous person, I managed to make a few friends. Unfortunately, they weren’t the most reputable companions. They showed me how you could really have “good” fun with alcohol. With a little bit of alcohol, my complexes slipped away. I became a sociable, talkative person. It was easy for me to initiate contact with boys. I tried to get even the slightest affection from them at any cost. Now I see that that desire for affection and closeness at the time was overwhelmingly important. Even though I always considered myself to be essentially devout, between the ages of sixteen and nineteen I made some serious mistakes. God was definitely not my highest priority at that time. When I committed any sin, I tried to justify myself and quash any remorse.

When I was eighteen, I met Martin, whom I went out with for about two years. Martin was an alcoholic, although I wasn’t aware of this in the beginning. I fell very much in love with him. When he wasn’t drinking, he treated me well, but those occasions grew ever fewer. After drinking a couple of beers, Martin changed so much that I could barely recognise him. He started flirting with other girls, drove the car while drunk, and tried to convince me to have sex with him. I resisted this at first, but after a while I submitted a few times, which I now strongly regret. At the time, it seemed to me that I was simply showing him how much I loved him, but that really isn’t what true, responsible love is about.

After half a year of being together, Martin revealed to me that he had been unfaithful to me with another girl. I became desperate, was endlessly sobbing and thought about suicide; I couldn’t calm down. Martin cried with me. He apologised and explained that he didn’t know what he was doing, because he had been drunk. I was so much in love with him that I forgave him, but set the condition that he couldn’t touch a drop of alcohol for a month. That much he did for me, but after the month he started drinking again, and very large amounts.

He was unfaithful to me several more times, which I only found out after a long time. The time of my relationship with Martin was a period of great suffering for me. I had trouble sleeping every day, always wondering whether he was drinking again, whether he had made it home, whether he was being unfaithful again, etc. But I was so much in love with him that I couldn’t bring myself to leave him. I was in such a state that I would have done practically anything for him if he would only quit drinking. But I couldn’t deal with his alcoholism. He kept telling me that he loved me and that he was trying to quit, but he just couldn’t.

In leaving Martin, I also broke with my entire ugly past. I entrusted my life completely to God

I went looking for help from my family, from doctors and from psychologists. I prayed a lot and often sobbed into my pillow. I called out to God for help, for some escape from this situation. My parents were very worried about me, seeing me in tears so often. I went to mass more and more often, as well as to confession. Only looking at things from the perspective of Christ’s cross could I see any sense in all my suffering. I finally realised that if Martin wouldn’t recognise that he was sick and submit to treatment, for all my good intentions I wouldn’t be in a position to help him. I finally proposed an ultimatum: either he went for treatment, or we were through.

Martin insisted that he wasn’t sick, that everyone had a right to drink, that it was normal, and that he wouldn’t go for treatment. It was a huge wrench for me, but I finally decided to leave him. In leaving him, I also broke with my entire ugly past. I entrusted my life completely to God. Alcohol no longer has any attraction for me; I no longer socialise with its kind. A couple of months after ending our relationship, I went on a pilgrimage to Częstochowa and took vows of abstinence for the intention of addicts, vows of total abstinence for the rest of my life. I can be proud of the fact that it has already been three years since the last drop of alcohol passed my lips. I often pray or fast for the intention of alcoholics and addicts. I don’t forget to pray for Martin and his father, who is also an alcoholic. I found out recently that Martin suffered a serious pancreatic infection and was in hospital for several weeks. He finally came to understand that he was an alcoholic. I think that this will be the first step towards his starting to get treatment and stopping drinking.

My relationships with men have changed completely since that time. God is most important for me now, because I know that if He is my first priority, then everything is in its right place.

Now I really am a joyful and peaceful person. I don’t try to force affection or closeness. I believe that God will find a suitable prospective husband for me at the proper time. For a few years, I have been praying to St Joseph for a good husband. It is my great wish that he will be a person completely devoted to God, so I try to be patient and wait for him.

Jesus I trust in You!

Natalie