121 Stories - Finding Acceptance

Examining The Importance Of Friendship and Fellowship In Recovery.

Lauren Rose
Mar 21, 2021    16m
Have you struggled to overcome addiction? This message of hope examines the importance of friendship and Christian fellowship in the process of recovery. This is one woman's real-life story of finding salvation and acceptance in the midst of her struggles. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Lauren Rose: 00:02 Hi, my name is Lauren Rose. I am from Colleyville, Texas minus a few years living in New Orleans, I have lived here almost my entire life. I was born into a Christian home, for most of my life we went to Harwood Terrace Baptist Church.

Lauren Rose: 00:18 In high school, I started swimming and I was a swim team captain, I was in AP class during that time. Because of the success I'd seen as a swimmer, swim meets had started becoming more of a priority, which meant that I was spending more weekends at swim meets than I was at church. There were college recruiters there, there were opportunities to advance to state. I was captain of the swim team, which was great, but my time for events that I was swimming slowly started to plateau. My friends were getting recruitment letters and I wasn't, and I thought, man, I really just don't fit in with any of these people. I'm not the smartest kid in the class, I'm not the fastest person on the swim team, and I was really just longing for some type of acceptance.

Lauren Rose: 01:11 Quite honestly, that's when everything started for me. When I went to college, I had already gotten in a habit of not going to church on Sundays, and my alcohol use had already started, and I really didn't know how to say no at that point. I wanted to be accepted, I wanted to get to go to the parties, I wanted to be cool, I wanted to have those friends. Ultimately that's what introduced me to a person, a man, that I developed a very unhealthy relationship with at that time. I had only smoked pot and drank alcohol at that time, but I was quickly introduced to a world of harder substances. We were taking risks that we normally wouldn't have ever done, buying drugs and really scary neighborhoods, oftentimes we were robbed, we'd been held at gunpoint. And yet, none of it was ever enough for me to stop and take a look at my life and think, what am I doing?

Lauren Rose: 02:16 Other consequences of things that he and I were doing was discovering that I was pregnant, and knowing at that time that neither he, nor I, were willing or able to quit our lifestyle to go through with having the baby. It was decision that we made instantly and quickly, and we did it without even thinking about any type of emotional consequence. We decided we were going to try and make it work, and we moved back home to Colleyville. I started going back to school, and I was getting a 4.0, and made different academic awards. But there was a major strain between my relationship with this person, and ultimately we decided to break up.

Lauren Rose: 03:21 I thought that if I numbed the pain with alcohol or drugs, that it would just go away, and I had also always used men as a way to cope too. I made the decision to move out, and not have a relationship with my parents anymore. And I, at this point, was so involved with drugs, that I was incredibly addicted to crystal meth, and I was involved with people who were selling it, and that was something that I essentially got involved with.

Lauren Rose: 04:01 There was a point in time when I went to rehab, and I started making a lot of progress there and started feeling better. My relationship with my parents was still very fractured, but they never gave up on me, and they loved me as much as they possibly could and supported me. One day when I was sitting in treatment, a very tall and handsome man walked into my life, and as strange as it is to say, I knew I was gonna marry that man.

Lauren Rose: 04:37 There's a saying in AA and NA it's a 12 step program, but the 13th step is, hey, I have a problem, which is the first step, and the 12th step is sharing it. So they say the 13th step is, hey, I have a problem, let me share it with you. Things were bad before I went to rehab, they got even worse afterwards, and it was absolutely amazing how quickly things started spiraling totally out of control.

Lauren Rose: 05:07 One night I was with two of my friends, and I was supposed to go and go on a run with them, but ultimately decided that I wasn't going to go, I needed to go home. I happened to turn on the news and see that my two friends had just been shot. I just remember being in the hospital and seeing them laying there, and one of the nurses was talking to me and she said, it's just such a shame, I have a son that's very addicted to this right now. And I looked at her last name, and I immediately knew who her son was. He was one of my friends, and I was so sad for her and ashamed. And it was like all of the sudden, all of these feelings that I'd been suppressing of guilt and shame really started to weigh in on me, and I knew at that moment that I should probably stop.

Lauren Rose: 06:11 A couple of days after my friends were shot, I had been clean for a couple of days and I thought, Hmm, something is different with my body. And after going to buy a pregnancy test with my then boyfriend, we went to the 7-11 at Glade and 121, and it was in that parking lot that I found out I was pregnant with our daughter Emma. My life immediately changed, I had already been in a mindset of I'm not going to do drugs anymore. And I remember actually thanking God that I was now pregnant with this baby, that I knew was going to essentially be the reason that I was finally going to stop using drugs.

Lauren Rose: 07:05 After he got clean for about a year, we decided that we were ready to have another baby and get married. So again, it was these, okay, great, my life is getting better, I'm taking a step in the right direction, I'm doing normal people things. And it was shortly thereafter that we welcomed my youngest daughter, Madeline, we call her Mads. Eventually, it got to a point where I noticed that things weren't right. You could tell by looking in someone's eyes that, okay, your pupils aren't supposed to be that size, or why are you disappearing all the time? And there were several times where he just wouldn't come home for days on end, and that ultimately led to him making poor decisions, like having extra marital affairs, and ultimately, those things are what led to our separation.

Lauren Rose: 08:03 On the surface, all of the needs of my children were being met, and I was taking care of myself, I was a total wreck, and without really knowing what was going to happen next, I started dating other people while I was still married. It was so easy for me to justify what I was doing, when essentially I was ultimately having an affair too. I was so riddled with anxiety, and sleep deprivation, and depression, that my life was spiraling out of control, and I knew that I needed to get help.

Lauren Rose: 08:44 I remember after I would pick up my kids from daycare, and get them to bed, and, you know, do all my mommy things at night, I couldn't wait to get into my closet and just cry. And I remember crying there every night for a long time, and it was just my place that I could go to, I could scream into a pillow, and just wonder what in the world am I going to do? And I was talking to my psychiatrist and I said, please, you've got to put me on something stronger, you just don't understand, it's not getting better. And he looked at me and he said, there's nothing else that I can put you on. I remember in that moment being so scared and so depressed, I knew I couldn't go back to a life of drugs, that really wasn't ever an issue for me. But I just remember being so terrified, and thinking that I was completely out of options.

Lauren Rose: 10:14 It wasn't until later at night, as I was having another crying episode in my closet, that God actually spoke to me. And He said, I'm, what's missing in your life, and you've got to get good with me, or you're going to be stuck. When I was at a concert, somewhere around that same time, I was out with a single mom friend, and she asked me if I had heard about Lionheart. Upon registering her, and just getting to know some of the Lionheart staff members, Tara Sanchez and I developed a relationship, and she asked me if I had ever considered going to church there. And I thought, why not? I was just immediately greeted by people who seem to be happy that I was there, and people were actually talking to me. I didn't feel like I had on a Scarlet letter, and it wasn't like people were staring at me for being alone with two kids. It was, Hey, can I help you get somewhere? And how are you doing today? And people were talking to me at the coffee bar, and I was making relationships with people there who made it fun for me to go. There were other people there that I met along the way, too, that I felt comfortable sharing my story with. And there wasn't judgment, there was almost some similar experiences there, or people who are just willing to listen.

Lauren Rose: 11:47 I joined a life group, and I was the only single mom in the group, everyone else was married couples. At first, I thought this is going to be kind of awkward, I'm clearly the odd man out, but my kids immediately fell in love with all of the other kids in the group. During that time I learned what it meant to be a good wife, I was finally able to look at everything I had done in my relationship, and seeing the relationships between the different people in my life group, it was so encouraging to me to see that these types of relationships do exist.

Lauren Rose: 12:30 How cool is it that 121 is a place where we talk about just the brokenness and the depravity that people experience, and it's not shamed, it's look at what God has done, we're going to celebrate what God has done in our lives, and I just absolutely loved that. You can imagine how surprised I was when after sharing my story with the staff, I was asked if I wanted to have a job at 121. It was probably the biggest surprise of my life, I really thought you just heard my entire story, why in the world are you asking me if I want a job? Like you heard my story. So I thought, okay, sure, let's give it a whirl. Now I have been on staff at 121 since July of 2019.

Lauren Rose: 13:25 And it's been a really awesome experience for me to continue to develop relationships with absolutely wonderful Christian women, who love me and support me, and they love and support each other. This was things that I hadn't really seen before, I've always been blessed with having really amazing and supportive friends, but to have it in a Christian work setting has just been so good for me.

Lauren Rose: 13:55 Mads, going to Lion Heart was such an awesome experience for me, and the first Bible verse that she learned was Joshua 1:9. It was just a really sweet verse for her to learn, and it's just one that stuck with me for a long time, because it says, "Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." And it was just this moment of my then three-year-old child singing this Bible verse, but it was just God speaking to me and saying, don't worry, I'm with you. And being able to look back at all of my life, and seeing, wow, God really was with me the entire time was absolutely incredible. It was just one of those moments that you don't forget.

Lauren Rose: 14:45 I'm so thankful that my relationship with my parents has been restored in ways that I can't even begin to explain. All of the, you know, broken trust and bad decisions that I'd made over the years, they just forgave. And what a perfect example of Christ's love for us, where we are redeemed, and we are forgiven, and we are loved. The most powerful thing that my dad ever told me was, you're forgiven and I love you. And it was the most amazing feeling I'd had, because he just said, you're forgiven it's in the past. And knowing that that's how God looks at us too, and says, you're forgiven as far as the East is from the West. It's powerful.

Ross Sawyers: 15:51 Lauren is a child of God.

Lauren Rose: 15:51 Amen.

Ross Sawyers: 15:51 Lauren because you are His child, I'm baptizing you in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051