Haven’t Had a Drink In 2 Years

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By the grace of God my life has been transforming for the last few years. After 20+ years of heavy drinking and chain smoking my life had finally spiraled to the bottom. My darkness lead me to sitting on the floor gun in hand sobbing desperately reaching for any hope to a better life. I committed myself to rehab which lead to a spiritual awakening where I turned my life around to face the light. I give God all the credit for this change in my life. I thought that I would die from the abuse I was inflicting on myself. My life now compared to three years ago is an incredible contrast and it’s because I started getting to know who Jesus is. I had a lot of regret because it took me almost 40 years to open my heart up. But I learned about the power of forgiveness and a peace that passes all understanding. I pray that no one has to experience what I went through. That’s why I share my journey. I don’t seek pitty or sympathy or need praise. I humble myself and lay out my life to share my truth that I had a huge hole in my soul and the only thing that has filled it is not a thing at all, it is the almighty God the father creator of Heaven and Earth. Accepting Jesus as my savior saved my life. I am thankful today I am alive and my heart is on fire! I thank God everyday that I’m better than I once was. I sit beautifully content in my imperfections knowing God loves me and the Holy Spirit dwells within me.

Reach out to people who might be struggling and see how they are doing. There is help and there is a better life. Down below is a link to my church the Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines. They have many out reach programs and services online.

The Lutheran Church of Hope

These art pieces below I displayed in 2018 at the Lutheran Church of Hope to share a glimpse of my walk in recovery. I had relapsed several times before this display and the Exodus exhibit were installed. But I forgave myself and tried again. Two years later I haven’t picked up a drink by the grace of God. Relapse doesn’t have to apart of your recovery. Seek help and follow Jesus!

Title: Dream
Created 2013
Acrylic mix media on framed canvas

Summer of 2013 I completed this painting for my boyfriend at the time who is now my husband. We had so much fun in the beginning with lots of drinks and laughs. Eventually the drinking became a daily thing where it ended up being lots of fights and arguing. The laughs faded and we realized we were out of control.

Unfortunately this painting became a target for me when we would get into fights. Which would end up ripped, holes punched in it and torn in to 4 ragged pieces. I saved them for a visual reminder of the damage alcohol has caused in our lives. I had no idea what I was going to do with these until this fall of 2018 when I was asked to share some of my art connecting to my recovery
Title: Fierce Love
Ripped painting created 2013
Cedar cross constructed September 2018
by Brent Zanella

I painted this piece almost 6 yrs ago for my boyfriend at the time who is now my husband. This painting is a surviving piece displaying the destruction my alcoholism leads me. Looking back I’m not sure which direction this piece was going because there is a lot of darkness and some really frightening faces. Which makes sense seeing that my struggle with alcohol has been a very dark road leading to deep depression and many thoughts of suicide. I’m not sure where I would be without my unconditional loving and supportive family. They have all showed me the power of God’s love and I have witnessed a strong foundation of faith from them which I believe has kept that little light i had left inside me burning.

I have walked for so long in the valley with the shadows of death. Sadly giving up hope. Despite all the darkness i have experienced, i have had a lot of things to celebrate and had lots of great times but without God the darkness was slowly taking over. I lost many so called friends which revealed who truly loves me. I knew that Jesus loved me but I didn’t understand til recently the trusting in him part and that the spirit lives within me. I just desperately prayed that God would take away the chaos and pain so I could live my life.

This painting sheds some light on where I was mentally at that time in my life. I had very little hope and dreams twisted in with a lot of depression and wanting to die. Without going into great detail I was literally consumed by alcohol everyday. I was becoming more and more depressed the deeper I went into the dark waters. I was drowning and i was holding on to the tiny bit of faith that i had. I was drinking very heavy for many years with most nights ending in black outs. So my memory is blurry but I remember enough and have dealt with the aftermath. I ruined pretty much every relationship I was fortunate enough to have.

I call alcohol the serpent in the bottle or the liquid devil. It had such a stronghold on me I thought it was going to kill me without a doubt. I can get very mean and destructive after a certain point when drinking. My husband and I would end up fighting a lot and this painting took the brunt of it all. I threw it over the deck a couple times, kicked, punched and ripped it. Seeing it sober crushed my heart everytime, I would never do that sober. It was hanging together only by strains just like me. Almost 4 perfect squares so I completed the tears and stored it away for I had no idea why until now. When I started painting for the Exodus display fall 2018 I layed them out and saw the cross. Immediately God told me to build a wooden cross bursting through this dark ragged disaster. My husband is a carpenter and he didn’t hesitate to help me create this vision that came from God.

I’m not proud of any of this but I’m not ashamed. I know I am forgiven. God has been calling me to share the raw truth with others. But more excitingly God wants me to share the best part. Which was finally deciding to turn towards Him, open my heart, and my ears and follow Jesus. When I surrendered and turned to God there was light in my heart and i know now that God is the hope through all the darkness! Jesus has saved me!

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