Oh, you guys, I cannot believe I have this incredible woman to share with you today. Let me introduce you to my in-real-life friend, Kate Armstrong.
Kate and I "met" last year during the pandemic when we both said YES to being on the PTA board at our elementary school. It was Kate's first year at our school, but two of her kids matched up in age with two of my kids and we became fast friends.
As we got to know each other, we shared our stories of God's faithfulness in our lives and I am so very thankful for her willingness to share her incredible story here with you today.
Okay, Kate - tell the readers a little bit about yourself.
My name is Kate Armstrong and I live in Allen, TX with my husband and our three daughters ages 18, 10, and 7. I grew up in Washington DC (the actual district NOT a suburb!) but have lived in Texas permanently since 2006. I proudly declare myself a naturalized Texan and cannot imagine living anywhere else at this point in my life.
Career-wise, it’s been a journey through different industries starting with consumer credit support, travel and event planning, but finally landing in cloud enterprise software. For the last 8 years, I have worked for SAP, a global company that provides business software solutions. I focus on internal enablement for our support resources, and I love it. On top of everything, I get to work from home which makes life so much easier on our family.
I was raised in the Catholic Church and my husband was raised Baptist. We compromised and joined the Methodist Church in 2011. We currently attend Suncreek United Methodist Church in Allen.
One of the most important things I like to share about myself is that I am a recovering alcoholic. I have been sober since March 20, 2017, and in some ways, that is the date I truly feel like my life began, and most certainly when my relationship with the Lord became a priority.
What do you feel like God's calling you to in life right now?
Since I stopped drinking, one of the things that has helped me most has been to share my story with others. For a long time, I felt conflicted doing this because I worried people would think I was seeking attention or sympathy.
But after almost 5 years, I am starting to learn that this can truly be a gift to others; revealing one’s own vulnerability, imperfections, and struggles can help give other people the confidence to address their own demons. This has become one of the most consistent ways I have been able to serve others, and I believe this is what God intended for me to do.
Has there ever been a time in your life when you had to choose to believe God - even when you didn't want to or feel like it?
OH BOY - this is an easy question to answer but often brings me to tears when I think through how my life has changed since finally accepting God’s grace and choosing faith over self-belief.
For years, I had a relatively successful career while raising my 3 girls along with my husband. In fact, I believed that I had FINALLY gotten myself back on track after a period of significant instability, poor-decision making and chaos throughout my late teens and early 20’s.
I had gotten a DWI in my late 20’s and told myself this was it, time to grow up and act like an adult. I was happily married for the second time, bought my first house, and felt like I was doing everything right. On the outside, it probably seemed like I was. But on the inside, I was hurting deeply.
I have ALWAYS been a drinker; my dad is German so I blame my high tolerance for alcohol on my heritage and the fact that I married into a family from New Orleans. Alcohol was central to EVERYTHING I did: My kid was turning 2? Time to order a keg! Attending a PTA meeting? Better not forget my YETI with crystal light and vodka!
I was extremely functional; I was able to keep my job, get my kids to school, and keep it all together. However, my relationships slowly started to crumble around me. I felt myself becoming resentful of everyone. I started lying about financial decisions with my husband, and then became angry and defensive when he would call me out. I became lonely when my family started to avoid me, and rather than try to understand why, I chose to believe I was the one being wronged.
I was totally unplugged as a parent. I had no idea what was REALLY going on in my girls’ lives. I didn’t know who their friends were or what they loved or hated in school or at home. Although we attended church regularly, I was simply going through the motions. I had not invited God into my life; in fact, I was purposely shutting him out at times. And honestly, I didn’t care about any of it. By the end, all I worried about was making sure my alcohol supply was full.
I can’t really tell you what sparked rock bottom for me, except to say that I had FINALLY had enough.
I hated the life I was living. I told my husband, who frankly had little faith THIS time would be any different than the other 79 times I said I was going to quit. But it was…and this time I dragged myself to an AA meeting, and heard for the first time what I didn't realize was the answer….GOD. Recovery meant I had to admit that I could not heal myself, rather, I needed a higher power.
Those first 7 months were BRUTAL. And I sure as heck questioned whether God really could get me through it. But slowly but surely, I came to finally understand that it was NOT about whether I had enough will-power or self-control to stop, rather it was my faith in HIS amazing grace. That’s all I needed!
Jeremiah 17:14 literally tells us this: “Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed, save me, and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”
My recovery hasn’t been easy, and there are many days where those thoughts of self-reliance and doubt start creeping back in. But I have learned to set myself up for success by reading the bible daily, attending church, and serving others as a reminder of my faith in the Lord. I realize now how skewed my priorities had been, and the lack of gratitude I had for all the amazing things in my life, especially my husband and daughters. The peace and happiness I have found since becoming sober is truly a miracle.
Sharing my story with others plays a huge role in my recovery as well - besides, when the whole world knows you're an alcoholic it makes it pretty awkward to order a drink in public. As I draw closer to God, I find myself being encouraged to share my journey more and more, both as an alcoholic, but more importantly, as a believer. I want others to know the joy, relief, and reassurance that comes with having faith in God.