Finding Hope at Rock Bottom

Jana Greene was eighteen years old when she took her first drink of alcohol.

She remembers, “I had six in a row that day and I remember thinking ‘If this is how people feel when they drink, why isn't everybody drunk all the time?’”       

The daughter of teenage parents, Jana felt like a disappointment, as if she were responsible for the problems in her parents’ lives.       

Jana says, “My mom was very young and I felt like maybe she would have had a better life had she not had me.  It was a very chaotic household and at some point in my childhood, I decided that I would just be really good, and that would somehow make things okay.”

Jana excelled at school and always behaved.  She also joined a church youth group and eventually professed faith in Christ.  But even that became a way to make herself look good.  

She remembers thinking, “I could be good and not do drugs and not drink and stay chaste and bring my Bible to school.”  

Despite her constant pursuit of perfection, little changed at home, leaving her unfulfilled and exhausted.
Jana says, “I had an opportunity to have a drink for the first time in my life, and I was just so spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally toast at that point, it was that moment of just, ‘Forget it.  I'm just – I’m going to take a drink.’  It was automatically an alcoholic mindset.  It made me feel just other than anxiety-ridden, other than worried about my family.  It just made me feel what I perceived as normal, how a normal person would feel.”

Soon Jana was partying and drinking every night, often to the point of passing out.   Her faith seemed to no longer matter.

Regarding her faith, she felt “I didn't need that right now, you know?  ‘I've got this.  I've got this under control.’  And I just sort of avoided Christ for a while.”   

When Jana later married, she stopped partying.  Instead, she drank at night, hiding it from her husband.  

She says, “I just wanted to be alone with my drug of choice, drink however much I wanted, not be accountable to anybody for it, and it could be a secret.”

She finally found a reason to quit when they decided to start a family.  Within three years she was raising two daughters.

Jana says, “I wanted to be a mom more than I wanted anything in this world.  It felt natural for me to give up that one thing that had been my everything because I was preparing for what would be my everything.  I had a purpose.”   

She didn’t touch a drop of alcohol for six years.  But by then, the pressures of a failing marriage and responsibilities of motherhood had brought back the anxiety and pain of her childhood.  One night after putting the kids to bed, she decided just one drink wouldn’t hurt.

Jana says, “I poured a glass of wine and had the entire bottle.  It felt great to have the numbness that was so familiar to me.”

That scene would repeat itself every night for the next three years. Jana was powerless to break the cycle of dependence, even for the sake of her daughters.  

Jana says, “If I could have gotten sober for them, I would have gotten sober for them. Because every day I would wake up and say, ‘I'm not going to have wine tonight.’  And every single day I would have wine that night.  And then the old feelings of shame and guilt and – just really self-loathing, started to affect my spirit in a – in a big way.”

Her drinking was also taking its toll physically.  Then on January 3rd, 2001, Jana realized she needed Jesus to intervene.  

Jana says, “I found myself on my own bathroom floor, bawling and crying and totally at the end of myself, and I said, ‘Okay, Jesus, I can't do this myself.  I have been trying to do this myself.  I give it to you, I give it to you completely.’  And I felt His presence more tangibly than I feel yours right now.  He was there with me.  He was crouched down on the bathroom floor with me. There was no denying that He was going to redeem me, He was going to redeem everything.”

With God’s strength and the support of AA and Celebrate Recovery, Jana overcame her addiction and has been sober now for fifteen years.  As a writer and blogger, she ministers to others dealing with alcoholism.  Jana is grateful that even at her worst, she found love and acceptance through Jesus Christ.

Jana says that “Growing up and having accepted that He is the Savior of the world is a lot different than claiming Him for your personal friend and inviting Holy Spirit to take up the space that alcoholism left.  I'm forever asking for more of Holy Spirit.  That's really all I need.”  

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