The Pits

Dora - the PitLast Friday was the pits. Not exactly the kind of pit you might imagine. The ladies at the Lighthouse, a fifteen-month, faith-based residential treatment program for substance abuse, were creating their own personal collaged pits using Chinese food take-out boxes. Words and images illustrated the painful pits they’d fallen into as a result of drugs and alcohol. The collaged images on the outside of the boxes represented their various expressions of hope as they moved further and further along in their recovery.

Dora’s phrase “it’s you vs you” almost told it all until she added this bit of wisdom – “It’s easier to admit something than to accept it.” She explained she’s been through rehab a number of times, but not with the same depth of commitment she’s entered it now. Her faith is deepening as she accepts the reality of her pit, and her inability to white knuckle her recovery on her own.

Maria - the PitThe images in Maria’s pit were sobering – a distorted face paired with the word Lucifer. The downward spiral into her pit included addiction to pain killers because of chronic pain.



Sarah - the PitFor Sarah the allure of the pit included being “too cool to do school”. She hung out with guys who were into drugs. Soon she was too. All she could do was cry for help in the darkness.




Chanel - the PitChanel said the “heart monitor” at the bottom of her pit represented her life long awareness of God’s love, but her cries for help were just too small. She had to finally hit rock bottom before she could begin her recovery. Now she sees her life as a bright second chance. One rooted in her relationship with the Lord.


Nicole - the PitThe feather in the bottom of Nicole’s pit represents her “broken wing”, a symbol of her brokenness. By dealing with her brokenness, she’s learning that she’s been “bent” in some painful ways, but ultimately she’s not been broken beyond repair.



Lovana - HopeOrdinarily, the women are likely to hurry through the aspect of an art activity that focuses on their painful backstory. This time was different. Much more attention was given to what was in their “pit”, less to their images of hope. Because I’ve worked with this group of women for quite some time now, I know they are full of hope. This time they were more willing to do the hard work of facing what’s in their pits. That’s an encouraging sign. One I encouraged them share by taking their “pits” to group therapy next week. If I were their therapist, I’d love to see the good work they’re doing creatively climbing out of the pit.

Lovana’ blooming image of hope really captured the beauty that emerges in the process of recovery. So much for life being the pits.

If you’ve experienced being in the pits, what words and images would you include in your collage? How did you go about climbing out of the pit? Who helped you? What did you cling to? What would your image of hope look like?


6 comments to The Pits

  • Norrene

    The inside of my Chinese box is grey. Just like today outside. It’s the color of grief.

  • Deanna Bowling

    Having received the benefits of GOD’s ALMIGHTY work when I was in the pits is why I have no choice but to believe in HIM. HE is everything the BIBLE says HE is and so much indescribeably (sp?) more.

  • Thom James

    One of my favorite praise songs is “Garments of Praise” from Isaiah 61. It talks about being in the “pits”, depressed, sad, “spirit of heaviness”, whatever. It says, ‘Put on your garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness….’ There are times for somber praise songs, times for loving praise songs, and other times for joyful rejoicing praise songs. This is the latter.

  • These girls are inspiring and you Lynne are beyond beyond. I have read both your books recieved so much from both. I have redone some of the project and created new ones so I can really feel the Spirit of God and what He wants to tell me, well, how amazing. There is so much I have learned. Your sessions are filled with the Holy Spirit and you are surely anointed by our Lord.
    Bless you and thank you for sharing so so very much of yourself. Delesprie

  • Linda young

    The bottom is lined with the colors of bruises and the many colors of bad smells. How I recall the blessing of a hot shower and soap.i know that I’m Richly blessed and I’m grateful. I loved the container filled with flowers. My hope, that as The Lord helps me climb out of the pit I will smell like flowers.

  • Maria

    It’s not often that I comment but I am continually inspired by your work with women in recovery. I have learned so much about the many ways to reach these women and have them share their stories. Having hope is what keeps them and us going. Thank you for all that you do Lynn.

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