I was 18 when I lost my innocence. There were no angels singing, no celebrations afterward. Actually, I had been saving myself for marriage. I felt empty. Spent. Dirty. As if something inside of me that I had been fighting to protect had been taken from me.
Looking back at things, I’ve had a lot of experience with that emptiness. It became a constant companion, because I had sinned against myself. I became acquainted with drugs, alcohol, I started to face addiction issues. Maybe it was because I no longer wanted to feel the pain of the abuse I had suffered as a teen. Maybe it was simply because the last piece of me that I had been saving for someone was lost. Maybe I was just lost.
The shame, the guilt, the lies I told others, I began to tell myself. I couldn’t separate truth from fiction. Everything that I had tried to comfort myself with, it had all come crashing down. Now that that’s out of the way, I feel as though maybe I can offer some real-world advice. This will not be a biblical post– a rarity for this site, but I am quite tired and mentally not prepared to look up a lot of biblical citations at the moment.
Let yourself feel. If it’s shame, sadness, anger, emptiness– you need to let those feelings run their course. You can have a drink after the feelings have passed. Drinking during this period always made me drink a lot more, more often, which led to more shame, more guilt, more anger– and certainly more emptiness.
Talk to someone– preferably a trusted friend or a family member that has experience in your specific area of hurt and whom you know will not judge you. Make sure you clarify from the outset whether or not it is okay for them to share your experience with others.
Get it out. If you need to cry, do it. This is important, because if you don’t allow yourself to cope, it will build up. Attempting to shut out your feelings will only make it worse.
Understand that it’s going to hurt for a while. That’s my final piece of advice– but it’ll be okay. This too shall pass.