mom holding wine next to photo of same mom with her family on a dock
‘What’s my PURPOSE?’ I audibly heard, ‘Quit drinking...

‘What’s my PURPOSE?’ I audibly heard, ‘Quit drinking.’ This was NOT the answer I wanted.’: Woman shares journey to sobriety alongside close friend

mom holding wine next to photo of same mom with her family on a dock

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“It was a simple question, and one I had been asking for quite some time. ‘What is my purpose, what am I supposed to do in my short time on this Earth?’ Then, this one time – I got an answer: a clearly, audible voice that was undeniable. Allow me to set the stage.

I grew up going to the Northern Neck of Virginia to a small cottage built in 1946 by a grandad I never met. It sits on a hill above the Wicomico River at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and is as close to heaven on Earth as I have found – and I have wanderlust, having traveled extensively! Yet there is something about this little, non assuming cottage on this gorgeous body of water. The smell will grab you first: sweet grass mingled with the salty, briny smell of water bursting with crabs and oysters.  Next will be the near constant breeze unmistakable to being on a large body of water accompanied by the gentle waves lapping the beach. Sunsets are unreal and usually include a sailboat or two moored just beyond the dock seeking a safe, quiet night of rest! It was here one morning that I again asked Papa God, ‘What is my purpose?’

woman holding drinks in the water
Courtesy of Heidi Hopkins Bellerjeau

This particular morning, my two young children were splashing and playing just behind me in the shallow water and I had hopped in a kayak to paddle a bit and enjoy a morning conversation with Papa God. It was a particularly quiet morning, water was slick as glass and there really was no breeze… just the giggles of two littles and me looking out to the vast horizon – with one question! That ONE question! But this morning – He answered. In response to my simple question, ‘What is my purpose?’ ~ I suddenly felt a strong wind and audibly heard, ‘Quit drinking.’ Needless to say this was not the answer I wanted, I honestly would have preferred, ‘Go to Haiti and adopt 10 children’ and I am embarrassed to say, I would have been quicker to obey the latter.

woman kayaking
Courtesy of Heidi Hopkins Bellerjeau

A little history here is probably needed. I grew up in a party city; partying was encouraged and accepted. I started drinking when I was 15 and only stopped when pregnant with our two children. I remember being thrilled when my OB said a glass of wine a week was fine during the second and third trimester! Goodness I savored that glass and promise you it was something buttery and rich like a Rombauer or La Crema Chardonnay.  Most would not have ever thought I had a problem with drinking, I mean our culture celebrates it! Especially as a companion to motherhood!

Mommy Sippy Cup
Rosé All Day
Mommy Needs a Drink
If you combine wine and dinner, the new word is WINNER

woman holding a wine glass
Courtesy of Heidi Hopkins Bellerjeau

I could go on and on – but you get it and I know you have seen it. You may even, like I did, proudly wear the t-shirt! I am also blessed with a very active and creative brain which has served me well in my career, but can be hard to quiet! I used alcohol to self medicate for years and slow down my thoughts, also using it as therapy… lots of things I didn’t want to face or address were much easier numbed! But Papa God had a different plan, and somehow it was linked to my purpose?

I would like to say after I heard His answer to my question, I immediately paddled into shore and never drank again. But no – I strolled up to the cottage and fixed a Bloody Mary; a really good one with beef broth, Worcestershire ( which is really hard to spell), fresh lime, pickled green beans, and of course my good friend Tito. But goodness Papa does not let go and for the next year and a half I struggled and fought against that nagging feeling in my gut and on my spirit! I would quit for two weeks and say, ‘See, I don’t have a problem! I think you misunderstood my question?’ But I knew and I knew and I knew He wasn’t going to give up on me.

It was December of 2017, exactly a year and six months since that fateful morning in the kayak, when He used a dear friend as His hands and feet. I was at a friend’s house out of town getting ready for her 40th birthday party, of course sipping wine and cocktails the entire time as part of the pre-party!  Another friend (we will call her Butter as she is the Butter to my Biscuit) texted she was going to pop by with her gift but wouldn’t be attending the party – I was really excited to see Butter so was really disappointed she wasn’t going to attend! I asked her WHY and she said she would fill me in once she popped by! Once she arrived, she pulled me aside and confided that she had quit drinking and wasn’t ready for a party where everyone would be drinking. Butter was someone I would have NEVER expected to hear this from – Butter barely drank, especially compared to my level of tolerance which I had always been very proud of – insert eye roll. Why did she quit? She left shortly after, and of course I thought of her the rest of the night.

couple holding drinks
Courtesy of Heidi Hopkins Bellerjeau

The next night was another party and I decided to stay home at my friend’s house while they went out and text with Butter. As I sipped wine by the fire, Butter filled me in on how she felt in her spirit Papa was asking her to quit her occasional glass of wine and of course she had no idea why – sound familiar? The more we texted, I felt very convinced that this was my time – if Butter was on the wagon, I could jump on with her and we could snuggle in for the ride together! So December 17, 2017, I quit. There is no explanation for how I did it over the next year except that I was carried – I could ask Papa God to take away the desire and He would.  I literally asked when I took a sip of Topo Chico on Christmas Eve to give me that light headed feeling I loved from the first sip of a martini and guess what – I received it, but guess what else? I didn’t like it, I realized sometimes we have to remember to be able to move forward and I realized that feeling of being out of control was not one I needed. HE LITERALLY CARRIED ME! Looking back at the significance of the date – December 17, 2017, the number 17 in the Bible symbolizes ‘overcoming the enemy’ and ‘complete victory.’ There are no random coincidences in life – coincidences only happen when we pray!  He used Butter in a HUGE way and it all unfolded on the day He chose.

group of people sitting on the dock
Heather Rolin Photography

In the 3.5 years since it has become very evident that quitting drinking tied directly into my obedience and thus my purpose. Obedience is the key to clear and true self knowledge. I have grown more over the past 3.5 years than I have in my entire life – my relationship with my family, my success in my career, the new friends I have met and the friendships that He has gifted me are undeniably life giving. Yet the peace that surpasses all understanding alongside the love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and SELF CONTROL are the greatest gifts I have ever enjoyed. Oh and that purpose – well, sometimes we have to shake things that are holding us back from who we were created to be in order to be a salt and light in a sometimes dark world. When the world is telling you that drinking daily is the only way to ‘mom hard’ and ‘mom well’  – perhaps just ask the question of the one who you should truly be listening to, but be prepared – you may not like the answer!”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Heidi Hopkins Bellerjeau from Loxley, Al. Follow her journey on Instagram and her website.

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