According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs cost our nation 428 billion dollars in related costs from crime, lost work, productivity and healthcare each year. In 2012 an estimated 23.1 million Americans needed treatment for a problem related to drugs or alcohol, but only 2.5 million received treatment.
The statistics of domestic violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse and mental health problems in America are also staggering. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 4 adults could be diagnosed with a mental disorder such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder, OCD, PTSD, social phobias, eating disorders, ADHD and personality disorders.
Many Americans suffer from debilitating life controlling problems. Often, they suffer in silence, living half a life, feeling there is no hope for change.
I was one of those statistics. Growing up in a home of dysfunction, where I felt inferior and alone. Divorce played a part in my feelings of inferiority. I felt abandoned by my father and unloved by my mother. Heap the sexual abuse by my step-father on top of all that and I was left with a mess of problems that followed me into adulthood. Poor self-esteem, insecurity, inferiority, anxiety, fear of coping with problems, fear of being alone while being paralyzed to trust anyone; this was my existence.
I stuffed all the bad things that had happened to me into the closet and learned to survive. That’s all I did, survive from one day to the next. I was taught to put the past in the past and move on. You pull your boot straps up and get on with it.
I would hope for things to be different as I plunged headlong into one destructive relationship after another. It never was different, I continued in the same pattern over and over. Bad relationship decisions, abuse of alcohol and drugs. All the time telling myself I had it all under control as my destruction continued.
I felt unloved, alone and without hope until I met someone that changed everything for me. I met Jesus. He cleaned up the devastation of my life and set me on a different path. I began to thrive instead of survive. As I continued to allow him to change me, my life also changed.
Married to an amazing man for the last 10 years has allowed me to pursue my passion for writing and helping others. It has allowed me the time to learn and overcome my own struggles. There have been some wonderful people along the way who have helped me find my way and repair my life. But most of my success came as I studied biblical principles and applied them.
I have been fortunate to have the availability of time to volunteer at different organizations and gain knowledge in helping others. There have also been some great leaders who have invested in me by mentoring me. All of this eventually led me to start a ministry of my own called Restoration Road. It’s a place where we help others overcome their struggles through education and other types of assistance.
My heart is to help others gain the freedom I am now experiencing. Life doesn’t have to be about survival. God wants more for us. He wants us restored and thriving.
Sherri Watt is the President and co-founder of non-profit ministry Restoration Road in Lees Summit. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.