The Essence of Spirituality

Berneta of Columbus, Ohio shares the inspirational, down-to-earth essay below.

Read, "Living Life on Life's Terms: The Spirtiual Journey of an Addict" for more on her story of spiritual transformation.

The Substance Of Things Hoped For

Hi, I am a miracle named Berneta, and I am an addict/alcoholic.

I am also a born again Christian in training, and it is truly by God’s grace that I have been set free!

As of this writing I have been clean and sober for almost 12 years! I have used and/or have been addicted to mood altering substances for most of my adult life.

What started out as social drinking and drug experimentation, around the age of 19, escalated into the disease of addiction.

By the time I was in my late 30’s my life was spiraling out of control. I was in and out of dysfunctional relationships and addicted to crack-cocaine.

There were many unfavorable consequences that resulted from the progression of my disease and addictive behaviors. I eventually served three stints in jail and had failed at two court ordered drug treatment programs.

At the age of 47 I was faced with the prospect of going to prison.

A perceptive probation officer, whose background also had a focus in addiction, saw my pain and struggle and therefore offered me a way out of no way - a one to five year intensive residential treatment program.

This rigorous recovery program, designed specifically for women, saved my life. God was doing for me what I could not do for myself.

About a year into this intensive treatment program I was introduced to the concept of spirituality.

At this time, I was not in a good rapport with God, so this took a little doing. It was suggested that I turn my life over to a power greater than me and my addiction!

Shucks, I was still mad at the God of my understanding for taking my mom away from me (she had a terminal illness), for my two failed marriages, and the bad breaks in my life.

You know the drill.

At first it was hard for me to surrender my will to this “God’s” will. But turn it over I did.

It happened one day while I was meditating at the Topiary Park. I was surrounded by nature and its awesomeness when it hit me. If this God can change the seasons four times a year, then surely He can change a wretch like me.

And that He did.

Since then I have come to know peace. I may not be what I want to be, and I may not be what I ought to be, but it is truly by God’s grace that I am not what I used to be.

Since my “spiritual awareness,” I have acquired two college degrees, gone on two vacations (Disney and a cruise were part of my original goals from the 60’s) and my book, “Living Life on Life’s Terms…” (which focuses on my spiritual journey from addiction) was recently published. God just keeps on blessing me - in spite of myself.

Yes indeed, God has graciously set me free!

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