At the young age of 13, Karen discovered that eating and purging made her to lose weight. At 15, she got drunk for the first time at a party. From there she began switching off between the two, and ultimately found herself struggling with a full-blown duel-addiction to both.

When binging she felt freer and able to drown out life’s realities and sorrows, and then during the purging there was an adrenaline rush with the secrecy and carrying out the purging. But after there was also extreme depression and guilt that followed.

By the time Karen started college she was regularly participating in both addictions, and her freshman year she hit rock-bottom. In order to pay for her food and alcohol she would skip classes during the day and work. Then, at night, she would try to drink away the sorrow and stress that she was missing school. After her first semester she brought home her first failing report card and ended up confessing to her parents about the eating disorder. They were very supportive in wanting to help her recover and so, after just one semester, she dropped out of school to get professional help. Over time the eating disorder did get better, but she always “kept it in her back pocket” to use as a stress release, never fully ridding herself of either addiction.

In 2002, she became a believer, and  over time God put people in her life that brought her closer to Him.

But just becoming a Christian didn’t instantly stop her addictions, it took a few years of hard work and wrestling with it  before she was able to kick her habits, but it all paid off. In 2009, she officially received real recovery from both of her addictions.

George notes that it took him 7 years to fully overcome his addiction – it’s important to know that even if you’ve been struggling for years with trying to overcome an addiction you’re not alone and not a failure if you keep falling. A lot of times it’s one step forward and two steps back, but you just need to keep trying.

It takes a willingness to depend on Jesus. You can’t do it on your own. And you need to accept and be willing to know and trust that it’s going to be a process.

If you are struggling, remember that God is crazy for you and He wants a better life for you. All it takes is a simple “yes” accepting what God has done for you, and by taking small acts of trust in Him you build your relationship with Him. Slowly but surely he will take you where He wants you to be. It’s not easy, but there is hope.

Now, Karen is very active in her recovery and has figured out what she needs to do to stay sober. She continues to meet with her own sponsor who has provided her with a lot of counsel, and also makes it to a certain number of 12-step meetings every week.  Additionally, she teaches and leads at her church’s recovery program and also manages the church’s communications where shares others’ stories and the good news.

Karen’s Story

Today’s Step: 7 – Humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings

7th Step prayer: “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of me usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do your bidding. Amen.”