The Power of God’s Love in Addiction Recovery (Rose Ann Forte)

Show Notes

Discover the transformative power of God’s love in addiction recovery with Rose Ann Forte. In this episode of Faithfully Engaged, Forte shares her journey of overcoming alcohol addiction and finding hope and purpose in her faith. Learn how compassion and forgiveness play a crucial role in the recovery process and how they can transform lives. Hear inspiring stories of others who have experienced God’s love and grace in their addiction recovery journeys.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, this episode offers a message of hope and encouragement. Join us as we explore the intersection of faith and addiction recovery in this compelling conversation with Rose Ann Forte.

In this episode, you will be able to:

Discover the path to freedom and lasting recovery from alcohol addiction.

Find hope and make empowered choices to overcome addiction.

Experience compassion and forgiveness as crucial elements in your journey to recovery.

Explore the transformative power of God’s love in your journey toward healing and wholeness.

Unlock personal growth and uncover your true purpose through addiction recovery.

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Website: https://theplanshehasforme.com/

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Transcript

00:00:00 – Johnny Sanders
Welcome back, everyone, to another episode. Today we’re going to cover a very important, difficult topic of kind of alcohol, how that can take us down a bad path. But it’s not the end of the world. There’s joy and things that we can get to on the back end. So we have a lovely story, lovely guest that we have on today that we’ll get to hear her story. So, Rose, it’s great to have you on today. Why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about yourself?

00:00:41 – Rose Ann Forte
Yeah. My name is Rose Forte and I’m the author of a daily devotional called the Plans he has for me. And it is a devotional that helps people put alcohol to the side. For twelve consecutive weeks. That devotional got written as a result of my own personal experiences. I was fairly successful executive in my career, CPA, COO, CFO. I was a leader in the church. Yet I think I fell for the lies of the world and the alcohol companies and I got a little trapped. The devotional has won a couple of awards, so I’m pretty proud of it and I feel like my life’s been rewritten and it’s very purpose driven. I want to help other people kind of find the transformation and the joy that they’re looking for when they remove alcohol.

00:01:44 – Johnny Sanders
Now, when you were talking about just real briefly with your story, believing some of those lies and things of that nature, which obviously our culture is filled with all sorts of lies, why don’t you walk us through a little bit of that story and what some of those lies that you were believing, what those were?

00:02:04 – Rose Ann Forte
Yeah. I started at such a young age, like 13, stealing liquor from my parents liquor cabinet. And at that point I was in high school. And it’s like to be cool, right? If you’re going to fit in, you’re going to have some alcohol. And then college, you start believing that that’s the only way to have fun and socialize. Certainly the commercials and society would also make it available on every romantic occasion so it can be used for romance destressing. Big one, right? Every television show we probably watch has the person coming home from work and cracking open that beer or opening that bottle of wine. So it just becomes second nature in society. People have talked to so many people now that I don’t drink and they know I don’t drink and they say, I’m so glad you’re doing this because I’m really trying to take the shame out of it. There’s a lot of languaging. I don’t use. But they’re like, I don’t even like to drink. And I always feel under pressure when I’m with other people to drink, and that’s people that don’t even like alcohol. So the pressure is real, and I’m trying to change the narrative to choose a life that’s better, that got more depth, peace, joy, productivity, meaningful relationships. And so when I go into a bar, I’m just like, no, I don’t drink. I feel so much better. And quite frankly, a lot of people probably would go, wish I could do that. I bet you I’d feel better, too.

00:04:11 – Johnny Sanders
Again, you talk about all those lies, which, yeah, there’s a lot that is presented in our culture. When did you really realize, like, uhoh, no, this is a problem. This is something that I need to improve on. When did that kind of realization come to you?

00:04:33 – Rose Ann Forte
Yeah, I don’t know if I know exactly when, but I know it was a long time ago. The National Institutes of Health say that people struggle with and try to quit for four and a half years before they. On average, four and a half years before they get help. I want to say mine was ten years. I think it happens over time. Maybe you wake up one morning and you have that horrible hangover, and you go, that’s it. Enough is enough. And then you start putting boundaries around it. Only after five, only on weekends, only on special occasions, only for romantic times, only on holidays. And you start noticing that it’s hard. Like, wait, I do want to relax today. I forget it. And over time, the consequences start adding up. Whether you’re losing productivity or you said or did something while you were under the influence, that was maybe creating some relationship problems for me. My weight was going up. When you drink alcohol, your liver doesn’t process the fat the way it’s supposed to. It’s trying to get rid of the toxin instead. So I was having issues, losing weight, and I knew that I could not lose weight if I drank alcohol. Just an enormous amount of problems that occur, and they’re various people I’ve coached for years, and it could be a car accident for some people, a diagnosis, a DUI. There’s just so many things that can happen. And I look back on my journey, and I am so grateful that I didn’t hurt anybody else and I didn’t kill myself, you know what I mean? Because just the consequences can be severe. And I’m grateful I did get a DUI. That wasn’t fun. Not fun at all. Very humiliating, because I was a go getter. I worked for public companies. I worked for one of the richest people in the world, at one point managing his wealth, and that was humiliating. I don’t want to be one of those people. And here I was. I did it terrible when we’re looking.

00:07:32 – Johnny Sanders
At a lot of different situations, but I think particularly what you just described there, a DUI, that there’s kind of a shame and guilt that goes with that. Now, we add to the church component of that, which I know not everyone that gets a DOI is involved in church, but how did you work through that? Like, I’m supposed to be a Christian and I’m doing this. What was that like? Kind of going through that process?

00:08:04 – Rose Ann Forte
Yeah. So if you want to hear that live. I started a podcast recently. It’s called say goodbye and imagine. And the first interview is me. And the person who’s interviewing me is my pastor. At the time, I got the DUI, and I was on staff, although it was volunteer staff, but I was responsible for a lot of things. I was responsible for a ministry for the sick and dying, and I did Bible studies. And let me tell you, that was horrendous. Just this living in secret is having this secret that you’re always supposed to hide. It’s horrible. And that’s why I want to start talking about it, to let people know I want to share that. Yeah, I think people view people with alcohol problems as the person with the alcohol bottle and the round paper bag on the street. But I know firsthand, because I’ve been coaching, that there’s very high performing people that are really struggling with this, and there’s people in the church that struggle with this. That’s one of the reasons I wrote the devotional. I went through a coaching program myself, and it was secular, and I was so transformed. I had lost weight, my blood pressure was down, my resting heart rate was down. I had peace, I had joy, I had more self confidence. I mean, all these things, and I was like, this is secret sauce. And I said, I want to work for you. And I started working for them as an enrollment coach. And having these conversations with Christian upon Christian upon Christian, that was feeling the guilt and shame. I actually just talked to a pastor recently about the program that I’m doing, and he shared, he goes, you know what? I got caught in COVID with an alcohol problem, and I ended up having to quit. And I’m like, wow, you don’t expect. And I actually have coached pastors again. The lie. It’s the lie. Nobody drinks alcohol thinking that’s going to happen to them, and it’s an addictive substance. And the alcohol companies spend a lot of money on making you believe that this is the way to have fun and this is the way to get the guy or the girl. You know what I mean? So, anyway, yeah, I guess we haven’t talked about that either. My mental health was just going down the drain because you’re hiding the secret. You’re usually the type of person that when I put my mind to what, I get it done, but when it comes to a substance, it doesn’t work that way. There’s a little bit more work involved, and I didn’t understand the process of changing my neural pathways, which is kind of what I focus on. I focus on the science of the brain and creating new habits and new neural pathways.

00:11:49 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, I think especially in your position. Yeah, I’m a go getter, and I love that you brought up the example of the homeless guy that’s got the brown paper sack, and that’s who the drunks are, which there’s a reason why we have that mental image that does happen. But there’s the executives that are performing really well that you wouldn’t think of that they are having alcohol issues as well. So, yeah, there’s not one face to people that are struggling with alcohol usage.

00:12:27 – Rose Ann Forte
Doesn’T discriminate, and I think the people on the streets are the ones that probably couldn’t get the help that they needed. I mean, this is something that gets progressive. And. And when I was an enrollment coach, I guess, for executives, CEOs, entrepreneurs, they are high performers. It’s like I was a pedal to the metal kind of person, which is why maybe alcohol agreed with me, but they are starting to feel the pinch. They are starting to feel like they’re moving slower in their business. They know they’re leaving something on the table. Maybe Mondays are super tough and they’re not getting stuff done. So, again, they’re operating in this realm of secret. And honestly, I think it should be just as easy to say, you know, I really need to give up drinking as I really need to lose weight. Both are super hard to do. Both involve new ways of processing information and new habit formations. They’re both bad for you. They can both kill you. And they both, depending on the severity, can have severe psychological consequences of not succeeding at it.

00:14:15 – Johnny Sanders
What you were talking about earlier with the substance portion, and I think that’s something that’s really important with this, that, yes, it’s a behavior, but you don’t just snap your fingers and, hey, just get over it. Just stop it. There’s more that goes into it. So kind of explain, when you’re talking about neuropathways and things of that nature, explain some of the things you learned and how that brain science really helped you work through this issue.

00:14:47 – Rose Ann Forte
Yeah. All those reasons that I explained earlier, we drink because we think it’s required to be romantic or have fun or deal with stress or check out when we’re depressed. Right. And especially anxiety. This is where I think people get, this is why COVID created such a drinking problem for so many people, because an addictive substance creates a jump in your dopamine level. So it does provide this jump and joy. It calms your nervous system, right? And so if you’ve got anxiety and alcohol calms the nervous system, you’re like, oh, that’s good. And the next time you’re anxious, you use it again. You use it again, use it again, and you’re not allowing your body to have equilibrium and get back set. And what happens with substances especially, is you develop a neural pathway. Like, for me, again, it wasn’t anything I thought twice about. You get home, you open the bottle of wine, you pour it, you don’t think about it at all, you just do it and your body gets accustomed to it. And unfortunately, the more you use a substance, the more you need it. And my tolerance had gotten so high. And that’s why you go, well, how do you drink that much? Well, I practiced over a number of decades. The process of quitting or changing your relationship with alcohol is understanding what your relationship is with it. Right. Let’s just go with this anxiety thing, because that’s probably what most people can connect with. It’s this awareness of why you’re grabbing it. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but I’m sure some of your listeners. I used to have anxiety. I’d get home and I’d crack open the bottle of wine, and once the glass of wine was poured, I could let it sit there for 20 minutes or a half hour. It’s not like, oh, I need it right now. It’s because I got that dopamine hit in anticipation that I was going to have it, right. But it’s developing, this awareness of, I need something to destress myself and I’m grabbing the alcohol. What other things could I do to create less stress? And so in the coaching program or in the devotional, I say, let’s do it for twelve weeks and see what’s possible, because over that time, you can develop a new habit of, wait a minute. Opening the refrigerator is an old habit. I want to solve this with a New one. I think I’ll go for a walk or I’ll call my friend or I’ll talk to my spouse or I’ll clean the house. It’s catching it, noticing it, understanding it, and redirecting it. And then the more you practice doing that, the more it becomes second nature. One of the greatest gifts I got when I quit was I used it for that anxiety and depression and sadness. And now, because I’ve practiced it, it doesn’t even come up as a thought for me anymore to solve it with alcohol. And that’s what we’re aiming for, is to change that thought pattern. Yeah. Which is a very different approach than the twelveth step. I don’t know if you know anything about twelve step.

00:19:04 – Johnny Sanders
Let’s kind of get into that. And I do think it’s interesting on your devotional, you kind of have the twelve week as opposed to the Twelve step.

00:19:15 – Rose Ann Forte
Did you mean that? I’m like, I really didn’t. I just wanted the three months of time. Yeah.

00:19:23 – Johnny Sanders
So kind of walk us through what are those differences? I think everybody knows bought a twelve step or AA. Alcoholics Anonymous. Either they’ve been in it or they’ve known someone or they just have heard that term. What’s different about that approach?

00:19:41 – Rose Ann Forte
Yeah. It’s not even closely the same. So let me explain to you for me, the reasons why I was reluctant to go to AA. Well, first let me explain that AA has saved millions and countless lives. So it is known as the most effective methodology out there, which I hope to change. So I do want to acknowledge its effectiveness. However, when I was faced with understanding, I had a problem. There were a number of stumbling blocks for me to consider. That one was, if you walk in, you have to quit forever. And I couldn’t imagine that two was you had to call yourself an alcoholic. And that was absolutely out of the question for me because I already had super bad self esteem issues. I was in a toxic marriage for 29 years. It had fallen apart. I already basically hated myself. I didn’t want to add on top of that, I’m an alcoholic. You know what I mean? And then know look to a higher power. Well, I already did. I was Christian. I love know, I love Jesus. So for those reasons, I just was not attracted to AA, which is why I went this secular route. But what the difference is in this approach, for me, it’s hope based as opposed to victim based. It’s choice based. And I’m not saying sometimes people get really offended when I say choice based, but I think it’s hard at the beginning. Right. That’s why I want you to get twelve weeks under your belt. But after twelve weeks, you feel pretty darn good. I can tell you, you feel pretty darn good. And you have learned how to say no. And I believe it is your choice. So in this program, you would document your progress. Let’s see, I’m sleeping better. Oh, I’m spending more time with my kids, I have more energy at work, I’m happier. Right. I have more peace. There’s no more anxiety when I wake up in the morning. Right. You’re documenting it. And that’s that awareness piece again. Right. So after twelve weeks, you feel so much better. You know how to handle social situations and you know you feel better. So when you choose, you know which path I’m trying to solve for cognitive dissonance. Do you know what that is?

00:22:35 – Johnny Sanders
Yes.

00:22:37 – Rose Ann Forte
It’s believing two competing thoughts about the same thing. And, boy, is that true when we talk about alcohol, right? I love it. I need it, I want it. It’s good for me. I hate it. It’s ruining my life. I want to die. Right? Which is true. And so over the twelve week period, we’re really trying to solve for what’s the truth about how alcohol treated me, because we have this love affair with it. But it’s completely toxic. It’s hope based versus victim based. My understanding of the people I’ve talked to in AA or twelve step, it’s like, you know what? Well, that’s. They use that word. I’m recovering, I’m recovering, I’m recovering. I’m like, oh my gosh, I’ve recovered. I’m a new person. I don’t want to say I’m recovering for the rest of my life. I can say with pretty big confidence because I used to be a super heavy smoker. I called drug addict level every Half hour, two to three packs a day. And I didn’t have to call myself a smokeaholic, a cigaretteaholic. And I’m not in recovery, and I quit because it was killing me. And that’s kind of the same thing that I want people to understand with alcohol, that it was killing you. And not only that, it gets worse over time. When I talk to people, it’s like, well, how long have you been struggling with this? A couple of years. Well, do you want to keep struggling for a couple more years? Because it does get progressive. No. And it’s just coming to that conclusion. The program I went to was secular. The program I created was Faith based, because I believe that people need to understand that they were created for a purpose. And I really want people to understand that they were given a gift in life. And most people know this. I’m sure you know this, Johnny, that you know, there’s some super great gift that you possess, right? Whether or not you’re using it. We’re all really good at something, and when we’re using a substance, we’re probably not pursuing that gift, and we’re not using it for the kingdom. That’s the other thing about the program. We’re taking something out of our life that we thought gave us joy. Let’s put something back in our life that’s true joy. That was the joy that you were created for. And that way people get to feel like, oh, my gosh, I’ve always wanted to play the piano, or I’ve always wanted to get my bowling game in order. It doesn’t matter what it is, right? I want to start carpentry. I want to go back to school and learn how to flower range. One of my clients, she wanted to be a real estate agent, and she literally studied for it and passed her exam with all the extra time she had. Not drinking, not recovering from drinking, and not thinking about how to quit drinking, that frees up a lot of extra time in your life to do some of these really super good things, because if you just. And that’s what I get the impression that they do in AA. I don’t know if you have any experience with this, but it’s kind of to bubble wrap yourself from the temptations. And I try to teach people to go out into the world and have fun and learn how to be confident about saying, no, thank you. I’m so much better like this, right? As opposed to, oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh, I can’t go there. I can’t go there. Actually, I know that for a fact. I talked to some guy at church, and he knew what I did, and he had not drink in maybe 15 years. And maybe he went to a wedding and somebody handed him a drink and he said he started shaking his son had to take him out of the place. And I’m like, wow. Because he trained himself, I think he trained his mind to say, this is always going to be a problem for you. You’re always going to want it. If that’s what you train yourself to think, that’s what’s going to happen. When you see it. And so it’s a lot of mindset, a lot of mindset around how lucky you are to not drink. Not how unfortunate is that you’re different than anyone else and you can’t drink. It’s like, no, I’ve never felt healthier in my life than now. I keep up with all my blood tests, all my markers just keep getting better and better. And yeah, I have such confidence in my health, whereas I used to go, well when I have these blood tests, and she’s going to tell me I have cancer of something. And by the way, I don’t know if you realize this, but alcohol contributes significantly to eight different types of cancer. Did you know that?

00:28:37 – Johnny Sanders
That doesn’t super surprise me, but I wasn’t aware of that exact statistic.

00:28:43 – Rose Ann Forte
Yeah, especially breast cancer, apparently, because I had interviewed a holistic doctor, and she said, yeah, it changes your hormones around. And I was like, I had no idea. No idea. But yeah, even those people that don’t want to drink, like those people that I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast who feel peer pressure to drink when they don’t want, they should feel confident, like, nah, thanks, I don’t really like it. I’m good. But I love to hang here with you and have fun, you know, kind.

00:29:25 – Johnny Sanders
Of what you’re saying there. It reminds me of basically trying to have everybody else around me stop their way of life. Nobody else around me can ever drink alcohol. I can’t ever be exposed to that. First off, it’s impossible to do. You can’t change everybody in the world around you. But it’s also not a very healthy way. Like, it’s much easier to control myself than to control other people around me. So I like what you’re getting at there. Of let me focus on myself. And like I said, even if I don’t drink that I don’t have to not be around it, ever. Just say, no, thank you, and then that’s it. And I’m imagining, Polly, in your experience, after you’ve been through this program, and just in general, for most people, if somebody’s not comfortable with drinking and they say, no, thank you, most of the time it probably just goes, okay, and we keep moving on.

00:30:31 – Rose Ann Forte
And that’s really one of the biggest things I get. It’s like, oh, nobody even cared. Nobody even cared. Like, here we think everybody cares and nobody cares. But I forgot that I do have friends whose fathers or in laws were an alcoholic, only they called themselves an alcoholic. I just want to say they had a problem, but yeah. No family holiday could ever take place with any alcohol. It was just, you couldn’t have alcohol when Papa was around. And, oh, my gosh. And then we wonder why people go, well, I don’t want to be one of those you have to announce to the world, I have a problem and you can’t ever drink in front of me. I was at a conference, actually, just recently. It was called the National Religious Broadcasters Conference, and it was after hours, and there were some bunch of authors, Christian authors, that got together and went up, and there’s a girl having a glass of wine, and she’s like, well, what do you do? And I told her, and she goes, I’m so sorry. Why are you sorry? Well, because I’m drinking. And that’s what I go, yeah, that’s kind of a conversation I’d like to change. I don’t care if you drink. You know what I mean? I’m laughing about it, but it’s super sad. And I just think we need to have more compassion. Because when I say food, sugar is an addictive substance, too, for many people, including me, once I start, can’t stop, right? And it’s addictive. I think a doctor told me once, cheese is addictive, too. Anything that’s addictive, my body loves. But those things are addictive. So people should have some more compassion, understanding, even easier habits, right? Whether it’s putting your cell phone down, checking your email during the day, all of those are habits that are super difficult to change and don’t involve a substance. So if we could have a little bit more compassion for people that get caught in the alcohol trap, I think that would be a great thing for us.

00:33:11 – Johnny Sanders
Let’s kind of take that angle for a second. Let’s assume somebody listening, they’re not dealing with an alcohol issue for themselves, but they know somebody, their spouse, their friend, cousin, whoever. What advice would you give for them to be able to reach out to that peer, friend, family member that needs help, what can they do to help somebody else out, or at least approach them in a healthier way?

00:33:41 – Rose Ann Forte
Yeah. And thank you for asking that question. It’s a really good question. Obviously, there’s a lot of different levels, right? It’s the friend who, you’ve noticed drinks to excess, but they’ve never said, I need to quit. Right? I just think you leave that alone because everybody has to follow their own journey. But if they’re close enough, friend, and they go, oh, gosh, I really need to quit drinking, you could say, and that’s why I like this approach. You don’t say to somebody, oh, you should consider AA because that would be super insulting. But you can say, hey, I know this daily devotional. A lot of people give this as a gift and it’s received as something that they’re grateful for because it’s a twelve week challenge, right? It’s not like you’ve got to do this forever. It’s a challenge. So I have a lot of testimonials where it was given as a gift and received really well. If it’s somebody that’s close to you, let’s say A spouse, let’s just go to spouse, because that’s probably one of the more difficult ones. It’s a balance, right? I think if you’re acting completely disgusted and you bang doors, remember that the person who’s struggling is already having a lot of battles in their head with themselves. And so I think a compassionate approach, like, I can see you’re struggling, or is this hard for you to quit? Or what do you think about your drinking habit? Just creating a conversation that has curiosity instead of accusations is a good starting place. Will that solve the problem? Not always and not generally. Especially right away. I think boundaries need to be set when you drink. I prefer you not to drink in the house when I’m around or, you know what I mean, boundaries. If you’re going to do that, I’m going to go into another room. But very loving. Like, I love you, but you need to understand that when you drink, blah, blah, blah happens. And it’s affecting our relationship. I think having conversations about hope and how the relationship could flourish without it, because I know when I was married and my husband used to just be disgusted with the cigarettes, and I remember I already was disgusted with myself because I smoked. I could smell it, I didn’t like it, I couldn’t quit. And so just to see his disgust just sent me deeper, right? If he had just said to me, instead of his perspective, like, oh, I just hate it when you smoke, if he had just said to me, I really love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and I’m worried that you’re killing yourself, you know what I mean? Looking for something that’s more hopeful, because that’s what I tell people, like, what’s possible. Let’s just put it down for twelve weeks and say what’s possible. So I think those are some general ways to deal with it, with a little bit more compassion as opposed to disgust. Not that their behavior, but you have to remember they don’t necessarily know their behavior or they do, but there’s so much shame. There’s such a gamut of severitY, right. That we’re talking about. But in all of the severity, I’ve coached people who have two drink a day, serious drinking problem. It’s affecting them. It’s still affecting them. It’s affecting their relationships, their productivity, their health, everything. So doesn’t matter if it’s two or 20, the conversation needs to be the same. And understanding that it’s not that easy to just stop.

00:38:18 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, I really like that compassion mindset that you’re talking about there and asking those open ended questions and just your observations coming from a place of I love you and it’s affecting our home, it’s affecting your health. And just being able to keep it at that level as opposed to this kind of intentionally. You filthy pig. What’s wrong with you? We don’t want to go that route.

00:38:50 – Rose Ann Forte
You disgust me. I can’t stand it anymore. Slamming doors. I promise you, nothing about that will help them quit. Nothing. It’ll just drive them further into despair. And it’s hysterical because I literally had clients who are successful in putting aside alcohol, and then they share that. They are disgusted at their spouse’s drinking patterns. And I’m like, okay, weren’t you just there a little bit ago? Do you have any compassion for how it used to be? They’re like, oh, yeah. Even somebody who used to drink forgets that they have to be compassionate.

00:39:46 – Johnny Sanders
That’s really interesting, hearing it from that approach. But I think that’s the human condition. We tend to be pretty selfish minded, and that’s what I love about your approach here. And with your devotional of it being Christ focused, it keeps all of that into perspective. We’re all sinful beings, and that’s important for me on that compassion angle, I can get in that. Not so much on the alcohol side of things, but somebody on social media says something really dumb and like, what’s wrong with you? And I can have that level of, well, I’m up here, I’m this Christian. I’ve got it all figured out.

00:40:29 – Rose Ann Forte
Right?

00:40:30 – Johnny Sanders
No, I’m wretched, right? I’m wretched just like everybody else. It’s not me. It’s Christ. IT’s what he’s done for us. And I think being able to have that worldview interjected into your curriculum like that, to your devotional, that’s wonderful. And it keeps it all into perspective.

00:40:52 – Rose Ann Forte
Yeah. And thank you for bringing that up. So a big part of the curriculum, for sure. And I know it’s in my daily devotional forgiveness. So just processing forgiveness of self and for whatever reason that we know intellectually that we’ve been forgiven, but processing it can be super difficult. And knowing it, not living in the past, but looking forward to what the future holds because God has wiped the slate clean for you so that you can pursue the future and be relieved of the shame of the past, but also forgiveness of others. A lot of people, it’s shocking how many people, but they’ve been abused, molested. A lot of people are drinking because something horrendous has happened to them and they’re trying to solve for the pain of that and check out. But again, same concept. I love this, where a sin is a debt, something’s owed to you when somebody sins against you, but that debt is such a great heavy burden to hold. And when we really offer forgiveness to the other person, we’re not saying it’s okay what you did, we’re saying, God, this is too much for me to bear. I want you to collect that debt. And again, being free to move forward and not allowing what that other human being did to you to stop you from being all that you can be. So that’s also a big part of moving forward.

00:42:53 – Johnny Sanders
That’s an excellent point. I had done some work previously with senior adults, and these were people that I had a lot of respect for and would share some stories of, like you’re saying, being molested by grandpa, or really these hard, hard stories. But mind you, these were people that were there in their eighty s and they’re still holding on to Grandpa who’s been dead for 50 years. And that forgiveness, it’s not just somebody that is actively daily there in my life. It might be somebody that was dead a long time ago and that’s something that we would work through. Well, okay, we agree what they did was bad, but who’s being hurt by that right now? By you holding on to it? They’re dead. They’re not being hurt by it now.

00:43:49 – Rose Ann Forte
Yeah. And I like that concept of letting God collect on it because it’s not like there isn’t going to be a consequence. And actually, I’ve learned in life that I just want to say what goes around comes around. I think because God handles it and somebody like that will pay the price and they certainly are going to stand before God in judgment. So there’s just a lot of evil things going on in the world and we can be affected by so much of it. It’s not that easy. I’m not saying it’s easy to forgive, but we have to, to be able to realize our full potential, because it’s not right that something somebody did to you should affect you for the rest of your life.

00:44:43 – Johnny Sanders
Right.

00:44:43 – Rose Ann Forte
You can use it for good. God works everything for his glory.

00:44:53 – Johnny Sanders
Just on that topic, something that I had struggled with. I’d grown up in the church and have had a saving faith in Christ since I was six, which I’m incredibly grateful for. But one of those concepts I always struggled with was God’s wrath. Like, how could there be a loving God that’s wrathful? And then I met my wife, and we weren’t even married at the time, but I just remember having these thoughts, like, I love her. If somebody hurt her, I’m going to be very angry. That wrathful sense there, and it’s not even near that godly sense, but I understood it that. That love and wrath are connected. He has that love for us, but he has a hate for sin. And that vengeance is mine, thus save the Lord. There’s a reason for that, but that’s not us. I can make the vengeance my own and try to put all those daggers in all I can. I’m not as good at it as God is. So I think what you’re saying there of those just punishments, give those to God, he’s much better at that than anybody could be. And, yeah, I think that’s a really important part, to not put that vengeance aspect on your own, because you’re not going to be able to do it.

00:46:21 – Rose Ann Forte
Yeah. And also, when you say you love Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit, and you’re called to proclaim Christ and show light. If we’re harboring anger and resentment, that light is being hidden under a basket. We are not showing God’s love and light. And I’m sure you’ve read the headlines before. There’s some incredible headlines. Sometimes when somebody gets killed and a parent of a child who gets killed shows up in court and says, your honor, I forgive them. And you’re like, what? And conversely, I’ve seen somebody do something, and it may have been an accident and same situation, a child, a brother, I will never forgive them. May they rot in hell for the rest of their life. And there’s the vengeance. And I’ve just really noticed. Have you ever noticed that?

00:47:40 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, absolutely.

00:47:42 – Rose Ann Forte
Such a difference. And I think if you call yourself a Christian, you definitely want to be the first one, not the second one.

00:47:54 – Johnny Sanders
And that’s what it all comes down into, that it’s easy for us at times. If we’ve been legitimately wronged to be in that latter position, I’ll never forgive you. I would never do that to somebody. And you probably wouldn’t. There’s some horrible things that happen, but we’re not the victors here. We’re not the ones that have done anything incredible. God has. Christ is the one that saved us. And it’s important for us to keep that in perspective. Because if we have that prideful boast in us and it’s about us and not Christ, we’ve lost the message. That’s not what we’re called to do.

00:48:34 – Rose Ann Forte
Right. Exactly. Yep. I agree. And all I can tell you is I climbed out of an abyss of darkness and into great light. That makes me fearless. I went from a person who used to be, if you rolled your eyes at me, I’d crumble because I had so little confidence in myself. And now I’m just like, okay, God, you’ve given me a purpose and I’m not stopping until I’m done.

00:49:07 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, well, incredible story that you’ve had. And what I love about your story, too, is that it’s not finished and you’re continuing to impact other people and desperately trying to help other People that are maybe not going to receive help in the traditional ways. I think it’s great. I love people thinking outside the box and not just saying, well, aa’s got it. No, there’s other the.

00:49:41 – Rose Ann Forte
I don’t know if it’s unintended consequences, but when people are trapped in addiction and they want to stop and they’ve tried every other way, they really want to turn to God. So this has been surprisingly a great tool for evangelism because it is compassionate and hopeful. There’s no judgment in any of the 84 days. And so you’re in there and it’s like, well, here’s the scripture. This is what God told us. Oh, no, shouldn’t I have listened to us? He really loved us. That’s why he told us that. And so it’s kind of over and over and over, showing a different side of God than the one they’ve heard about or experienced in a church or experience from somebody they called Christian. And that really warms my heart because it’s just people meeting God in a whole new way.

00:50:44 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. So for the listeners that have listened to your story or maybe interested in your devotional or your services, how can people be in reach with you after the show?

00:50:56 – Rose Ann Forte
Yeah, most people can find me, well, at www.theplansyhasforme.com and there’s a red button that says freedom starts here. They can always download 20 flashcards for how to handle a social situation when not drinking. You can get the devotional there. You can find out about me. I’m on Instagram at Roseforteplans and I just started that podcast, say goodbye and imagine. So I’m trying to make my imprint on the world.

00:51:31 – Johnny Sanders
Awesome. Yeah, well, I’ll have all that linked down there in the show notes. Rose, thanks again so much for being on the show and sharing your story with us.

00:51:41 – Rose Ann Forte
Thanks for having me. I love sharing that. I really appreciate the opportunity.

00:51:47 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. Well, and thank you to everyone that’s been listening to us talk today, and we’ll catch you on the next episode.