“Me Too”

Art by Pamela Joyce
Art by Pamela Joyce, used by permission

Not long ago my husband Dave came home from meeting with a friend who is going through an unwanted divorce and is in a lot of pain.

“You know,” he remarked. “It’s amazing how it works. I’m sitting across from this guy realizing that none of my successes in life are of any use to him. It’s only my failures that are helpful.”

That’s so true, isn’t it? Our personal achievements, though wonderful to us, are rarely all that valuable to hurting people. Instead, it’s our past mistakes and brokenness that bring the most hope to others. If God brought us through, maybe they can make it, too.

I forget this so easily. A couple hours before my interview on Tuesday, I stared out my hotel window, gulping back fear, trying to sense God’s reassurance. I kept waiting for him to say, “You’re going to do so great!”

But instead, he reminded me that I’m not there to impress or perform, but simply to say to some folks out there, “Me too.”

Look at me. I’m just like you, and I too found myself in a place of desperation that I never imagined possible. I too, spiraled into addiction despite being a Christian. I too, couldn’t seem to fix or change myself. And yet here I am today…

 Author and fellow recovering alcoholic Brennan Manning writes, “One of the most healing words I ever spoke as a confessor was to an old priest with a drinking problem. ‘Just a few years ago,’ I said, ‘I was a hopeless alcoholic in the gutter in Fort Lauderdale.’ ‘You?’ he cried, ‘O thank God!’”

This story reminds me of when I met Susan. I was still in the depths of my drinking and Susan was marrying one of Dave’s best friends. When she eventually admitted that she was an alcoholic in recovery, my first reaction was to cringe: How embarrassing for her! 

And yet, in some secret place deep inside of me, her confession lit a spark of hope. If she could be happy in recovery, maybe I could too.

Of course, Susan had no idea how God was using her in my life. So maybe, “Me too” isn’t just something we get to say, but a posture of vulnerability we get to live every day.

Sometimes I wonder if this isn’t part of why God sent Jesus. It would help to explain why he had to endure so much suffering, pain and humiliation. Why he had to face every temptation known to man, be rejected, reviled, and betrayed by a beloved friend.

Maybe Jesus was God’s way of saying, “Me too.”

Author: Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

Heather Kopp is an author and blogger who writes about the intersection of addiction and faith. Her memoir about her recovery, Sober Mercies, was published by Jericho, a new imprint of HBG (Hachette Book Group) in Spring 2013.

47 thoughts on ““Me Too””

  1. This is fantastic, truly fantastic. Love the priest’s “thank God!” – that so made me laugh.

    Valuable, inspiring post.

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  2. Probably better not to replace certain words! Comfort in Suffering

    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.

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  3. Hi Heather,

    Thanks Heather, A friend of mine e-mailed this to me. Very interesting. I also am a friend of Bill. By the grace of God I have not found it necessary to take a drink sinc 1-20-90.
    We do here a lot of I got sober and now my life is perfect stories. I wish them well. My experience has shown me that often they get perfectly drunk again.
    Often I share what Paul told the Corinthians in 2Co 1:3-7 “Blessed be the God and Father of our
    Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.” In JESUS Name, Amen. Stephen Harris

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    1. Stephen, I so appreciate your comment, and this verse is of course the perfect one for this post. Someone else brought it up too. It’s such an amazing promise, so comforting. And you are so right–getting sober doesn’t make life peachy any more than becoming a Christian does. Life is hard and painful and wonderful. We get to keep experiencing God redeeming our brokenness, though. And it happens most when we pass the comfort we’ve received, as this passage points out. I love hearing from new readers, so thank you!! H

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  4. Maybe its your just playing with words, but Jesus did not come say “me too”. He did not endure all the pain and torture so we could identify with Him because of our sin. He was sinless! Before Christ the Jewish people sacraficed pure innocent lambs in order to atone and restore themselves to God. Jesus was the ultimate sinless lamb, the final atonement for us to accept and be restored. Jesus was God’s way of saying how much He loves us!

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    1. There you are! I kept thinking someone was going to take me to task on that. But I disagree with your point, I’m afraid. I think God was identifying with our humanity in sending Christ, wanting us to see another side to him–Jesus said, if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. That said, I don’t like to argue Scripture. My blog is a personal one where I often toss out ideas and maybes and conjecture about spiritual topics. I think this post resonated with a lot of people because deep inside we do sense in Christ God’s willingness to identify with us in our humanity and pain. Not with our sin, but with our temptations and hurts and sufferings. I’m sorry if my sensibilities offended you, Daniel. I hope you keep reading and I never begrudge an objection like yours. Like I said, I was half expecting one. Have a great day, friend.

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      1. Not at all offended. I am not objecting, I am responding to my spirit reacting to this post. He wasn’t tortured and ripped apart to identify. He was crucified for our transgressions and to be the Lamb of Atonement for mankind! But Christ was not tempted and never sinned. My un-comfort is when people try to distort Christ, which is in no way what I believe you did or intended. However you did have someone then post scripture and literally changed some of the words to fit his point. That is what can happen when we take Truths out of their context. His comfort is not about His ability to identify with us, but heal & save us through Him! His comfort is not about His ability to identify with us, but the fact that He loves us and died for us even as He knew we were, are and will be sinners! That is the great consolation to our earthly afflictions!

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  5. “You know,” he remarked. “It’s amazing how it works. I’m sitting across from this guy realizing that none of my successes in life are of any use to him. It’s only my failures that are helpful.” Simple, yet so powerful. Let Dave know that I just may need to borrow that line … I feel it. 🙂 Wonderful post.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your heart, Heather! It’s powerful to ponder how nothing is lost in God’s economy. I tend to focus on the successes but, truly, I do learn more in the failures and missteps. Thanks for the reminder!

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  7. Thanks for setting a “me too” example, Heather. I continue to balk at posting on my blog when I think I have written too honestly. I’ve been sitting on a post for two weeks and thinking, “Why do I have to tell this? And who wants to hear it anyway?” I just got my answer, which happens a lot over here. Keep them coming. 🙂

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  8. Yes yes yes. I remember walking in the door of Al-anon (I really wouldn’t call it walking- more like dragging myself) and there sat a beautiful group of women who were laughing and talking about how crazy things were in their homes. They were telling my story! I remember the moment I knew I was not alone. It washed over me like a warm bath. And I stood a little taller.

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  9. *No matter how far down the scale we have gone we will see how our experience can benefit others*. (I didn’t check my quote, I might have paraphrased) But, yep. We can be a light, sometimes just a tiny spark in the darkness for others. Sometimes the tiny spark is as bright as the sun in someone else’s dark= place. That was so, so true for me when I started to heal from childhood sexual abuse. In the beginning I had n0 idea what was going on. All I knew was that I was in a really dark place and I could not see any light. Tiny littlittle gave me hope that I might, someday, feel differently.

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    1. Yep, Marjie. You and love the same book. Isn’t that the most amazing promise? I love it. Love it. And it has proved so true. I am so glad you found that light. It’s lovely when it works that way, how we get to just keeping pass on what we’ve received. Appreciate you so much. H

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  10. Thank you for highlighting this reality. The posture of helping someone “from underneath”, as opposed to the “top-down” based on the performance pecking order. is so non threatening. It allows the other to open up to you, and more importantly to themselves, for they have found someone that can relate and truly understands. There is such a difference between understanding and only be able to recognize because you learned it theoreticallyacademically as it were.

    Comfort others with the comfort you have received. “you have received” = hope for the other.

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  11. Oh Heather, this is just absolutely lovely. Dave’s words about God using our failures more than our successes, that was an awakening for me. So simple, but I obviously needed to hear, “Me too.” Thank you.

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  12. I read this and was so wrecked couldn’t comment. And I’m still not sure what to say without just letting ALL of it spill out. So, I will *just* say this is a wonderful post. Deeply moving. Thank you.

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  13. Brilliant. Just telling my anxiety ridden daughter this. We have to be strong to take off the mask and say this is me. And then the “me too” s can come.

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  14. Love. This. Post.

    Thank you for your vulnerability. I plan on reading this again when I need the reminder that I’m “I’m not there to impress or perform.” I often feel this way before I speak. Thank you for this reminder.

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  15. Yep. Yep. Yep. All of it…I was just remarking to a friend recently that my blog has few hits on “good” topics, but they soar when I bear my soul or talk about grief. We are created to live in the “me too,” and – yes, yes, yes – that is exactly what Jesus does…Easter represents the ultimate “me too” moment – dying and rising again…providing a way for us to say “me too” in a way that is wonderful rather than horrible.

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