A Season For Change


Something has happened inside of me lately. I don't know if it is the Christmas spirit or just a new gratitude for a life that I have been given. If you knew me, you would probably wonder if I am a lunatic for I don't have much materially.

This change didn't come overnight. I used to wonder if people really can change but I am here to say they definitely can. Whether you believe in God, as I do, or not, seeing is believing. I am a product of all that has happened to me, good or bad. I believe we are all inherently good but sometimes life throws us for a loop and it takes time to work it out, especially when addictions are present. Old habits are indeed hard to break.

In my case, I had drank alcoholically for many years. I know for almost fifteen years straight I drank daily from sun up to sundown, until I became physically addicted and was sleeping a couple hours, waking up and drinking, then passing out again. I got to the point that I couldn't distinguish between day and night. I would go to bed with my 2 liter bottle of whiskey on my night table. By then I wasn't even bothering to mix it. I drank beer as a chaser and wondered daily if it would ever end. I wanted nothing more than death. I knew it would come quietly and I would have no more pain.

This time of year was particularly hard for me. I had lost my children, if fact, nobody in my family was speaking to me except my dad. I had no friends, they had long ago left when I started getting violent at the least provocation. I was alone, no, not quite. I had my only friend, my bottle.

Then I developed cirrhosis which was caused by not eating while consuming vast amounts of alcohol daily. I had alcohol poisoning several times previously to being diagnosed but that didn't sway me in the least. Unfortunately, cirrhosis hurts. I turned green and lost control of all my bodily functions. I was hospitalized and knew a peace I hadn't known in years. I thought I had been given sedatives because it was such a beautiful, soothing feeling. My doctor told me later that she expected to sign my death certificate. I wasn't supposed to make it.

I know now that it was God who had come and stayed with me and I had no fear. I wanted to die but He wasn't going to allow it. He had other plans.

It was as if the old proverbial light bulb flashed, it happened so suddenly! I realized I wanted to live! With all my problems forgotten I knew I could do this thing called life. It was a moment of clarity! I started praying like I never had before!

I won't say my life changed immediately after that but it did start improving. My body became stronger physically and mentally. I put myself on a health regimen of exercise along with the right foods and vitamin supplements. I had gotten down to 98 lbs. (I am 5' 5 1/2 in.) And I started slowly gaining weight. When I went for my six months check-up, my doctor said she didn't know what I was doing but to keep it up.

I became so healthy that my liver started functioning normally. Actually, I gained too much weight and have a hard time even today keeping it off. I still suffered from bouts of depression and realized I had a lot of anger still inside me along with unforgiveness. I couldn't forgive me and still have some trouble with that.

Today, as I look at my twinkling little Christmas tree, it is hard to imagine that was me I am writing about. I feel so blessed every day God allows me to have. He really does restore my soul. I am beginning to get my self respect back. I see now that I have so much to be thankful for. Times when I feel down, and it is hard sometimes, I think of all I have been given. I found hope when there was none, I thought.

Isn't that what this time of year is all about? Hope? Anticipation of a brighter tomorrow. This feeling must have come from down deep inside of me for I didn't know it existed. It had been hidden for so many years right along with love, faith and joy. I had none of those for I had no future. I simply lived in the past and dwelled on things I was unable to change instead of trying to change the things I could. I had to learn to accept my lot in life and find ways to be happy with it.

I realize today that happiness is a choice. I can choose to be happy or I can sit and dwell on the negative. I am learning to control my thoughts by thinking of positive things and living in the moment. This comes with practice and I still know I can't let my guard down and this all takes time. God didn't create all this in one day. I know that my sense of time and His are vastly different. I believe my entire lifetime is but a fleeting moment in spirit. I just wake up every morning and do the things that need to be done in that day. I can't live in yesterday because it is gone, or tomorrow, that hasn't even happened yet.

People are another problem entirely with me. I do get out and about more these days and am beginning to actually enjoy myself. Shopping is a real thrill this time of year. Even for those of us who don't have a lot of money to shop, it is still good to go just to be around others who will sometimes take time to stop and chat for a moment. God has sent me many angels I have met in unlikely places like the city bus that otherwise I would have never seen.

I started early developing my Christmas spirit. I realize how much I have. My friend Nelson came back into my life after almost thirty years. I still don't have it all, however. My three children, whom I adore, are grown now and I have a grandson by each but don't get to see them. Some of my family talks to me though there are still some I may never have a relationship with but it is okay with me today. My daddy who is 88 now, still loves his daughter and has always done so. I appreciate him so much more now than ever. I keep my focus on the positive.

I love Christmas carols and listen to them a lot. I find myself singing along and just enjoying the feel of the season. I love all the sights, sounds and smells that come with this time of year. I intend to relish each one. This is the time we celebrate the birth of Christ and I intend to enjoy it! For many years I didn't even look at the decorations I was so filled with hate and now it's like seeing them for the very first time and I am, in a way. I've learned it has nothing to do with what you get, it's what you give. I am finally able to reach down inside and give the love that I so selfishly hoarded for so many years. I am becoming able to share some of this joy I feel that I never thought was possible. I am so thankful to my Savior for giving me this chance to live. It is a daily learning experience. What comes easily to some as a child didn't happen to me until I was middle aged. I believe that every little thing I went through was for a reason. A lesson learned through strife is not easy to erase. And, yes, I do believe in miracles.

Sharlett F. Hunt Sharlette863@aol.com

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