Even Good Women Get Hooked

"I decided to check in for treatment, like you suggested," my friend Diane told me over the phone, her voice noticeably tired. "I'm all packed, but I still don't understand why I can't take perfume with me." I pictured Diane's flawlessly made-up face and stylish haircut, signs of a woman who appeared to have it all together, not a serious alcohol addiction. She had two children who sang in the children's choir at church and a husband who chaired the missions committee. I knew my response to Diane's comment would painfully highlight that she wasn't packing her bags for a ladies' retreat.

Gently I explained to my friend, "The treatment center doesn't allow perfume because it contains alcohol."

Diane sighed, then whispered with aching uncertainty, "I guess I'll see you when I return next month."

I'VE HEARD this anguish many times before in my counseling practice. As the women who come to see me wrestle with their addictions, they ask: "How did this happen to me?" "What will my friends think?" "What will my church think?" "Am I as alone as I feel?"

When I too was caught in the destructive throes of alcoholism years ago, I asked these same questions. On my first visit to a counselor, I sat on a brown leather couch across from a man in a purple shirt, hoping for help and caught in a trap: I was desperate to drink, yet desperate to stop. How could I tell this stranger a secret so intimate no one but my husband knew? A collage of incongruous images flashed through my mind: trash cans crammed with vodka bottles, canned foods packed for the elderly; lubricated arguments laced with hateful words, Sunday school lessons articulately delivered. I saw a life splashed with alcohol—and immersed in the church.

Member access onlyYou have reached the end of this Article Preview
To continue reading, join now for free and get complete access.
orJoin Now for Free

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

Free CT Women Newsletter

Sign up for our free CT Women newsletter: CT's weekly newsletter highlighting the voices of women writers. We report on news and give our opinion on topics such as church, family, sexuality, discipleship, pop culture, and more!

Read These Next


Join in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter

May 25

Follow Us

More Newsletters