(joyful mysteries: We met. We were both theatre misfits, and crazy about God. We’ve sang in every establishment we’ve ever been in together. We both have laughed so hard together we’ve peed our pants. We have went in and out of each other’s life…always friends, even when our paths were different. I’ve always been honest with her, even when it’s hurt.  The only time I’ve gotten a standing ovation is after singing with her. We will always be friends. Thank you for sharing your real dear friend.) 

“Since my heart was embittered and my souls deeply wounded, I was stupid and could not understand; I was like a brute beast in your presence…” Psalm 73:21-22

In the last few years my dad has often told me, “Erika, where ever you go there you are.” I always learn the hard way in most every important life lesson and he knows that. At first I kind of brushed him off. My dad and I while close don’t always agree. We both feel very deeply. So our “truths” can be stubborn, especially when expressing them to each other. Both of us are addicts. Different kinds of addicts, but addiction is the same no matter how it rears its ugly head.
My first addiction was throwing up. It made me feel better. In 2000, after a series of events my first addiction brought me to a 106 day stint at “Remuda Ranch”. A rehab center for eating disorders.  I was almost “excited” to go to rehab. I was positive it was going to fix me. While in rehab they diagnosed me with several things. I’m not going to go into great detail…but by the time I left rehab for an “eating disorder” I was taking 8 different pills a day. Prozac, resperidal, Adderall, just to name a few. I left feeling better and I was convinced that my next chapter in life was going to be easier. 
Here lies the ugly head of addiction… If you don’t get to the root of the problem and only put a small band-aid on it, it’s going to reappear. While I know longer had the desire to throw up… I was no longer capable of “checking out” the way I had when I was practicing my E.D. So I found a new friend in alcohol.  

The last 14 years have been a series of trading addictions for a new one. Convincing myself as I healed from one that the next one was new. That they weren’t at all related. 
Basically, I checked out on life. I was angry, bitter, lost, and tapped out on addiction. While the medicine I had been prescribed can be helpful…it is not meant for long term use. My 8 pills in 2000 had increased to 14 pills on a daily basis. I would cry out to God and ask him to help me…but I would never DO anything to change my circumstance. At 35 I had high blood pressure, early onset diabetes, pain & anxiety management issues, & migraines.  I was numb and didn’t really care about anything. While I maintained a semi-successful life and exterior, I was dying inside. It started to eat it’s way into my everyday life. I had moved a couple times to “change” my circumstance but always ended up in the same scenarios. My location was different, but my addictions were the same. So I did the “logical” thing and moved 2,000 miles away from everyone I knew….
“Wherever you go there you are…” 

“Why are you downcast my soul, why do you groan within me? Wait for God, whom I shall praise again, my savior and my God.” Psalm 42:11

When I was 2000 miles away I finally cried out in pain to God. It was almost a “war” cry. I fully saw what I had transformed into. I was a shell of a person. I didn’t feel anything, I was checked out, and I didn’t care how my actions affected anyone. I was alone and there was a huge thunder & lightening storm that lasted for 6 hours. I watched all of it and sat on a balcony over looking the Gulf of Mexico and decided I was going to change. 
I did some heavy research on getting off anti-depressants, pain pills, anxiety medicine, & getting healthy. Slowly over a 4 month period (with the grace of God, my doctor, support groups, and the support of my family) I got off of everything but my heart & headache pill. 
This is where things got real. Emotions I hadn’t felt, experienced, lived, or even understood in 14 years came barreling at me. I went from feeling nothing to feeling everything. Even when numb I thought I felt deeply. It was nothing to the parade of emotions I was feeling for the first time in so long. I cried, wept, screamed, and felt defeated. However, for the first time I am happy to be “alive”. When I look at the sky it’s like seeing it for the first time. Sometimes I am so struck by the beauty around me I have to stop and praise God in the moment. It’s like I have new eyes. I still have a long way to go and a lot of healing in my relationships and in me. God is so much greater though. His timing is perfect. I’m not hiding from him anymore. I’m not hiding from anything. 
This is the “most REAL” I’ve ever been. My clothes are a bit tattered and there may be a little dirt and snot on my face. This is me. I’m Erika. I’m an addict. It doesn’t define me though. My worth is in him who picked me up at my lowest and brought me back into his arms.

“Yet I am always with you; you take hold of my right hand. With your counsel you guide me, and at the end receive me with honor. Whom else have I in the heavens? None besides you delights me on earth. Though my flesh and my heart fail, God is the rock of my heart, my portion forever.” -Psalm 73:23-26

Erika’s bio is general right now…working to pay her bills, and open to whatever God has. She is in a State of being Redefined…