Tag Archives: drinking

One o’ Those

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I’ve had one of those days or maybe not so much days, but weeks. One of those days when everything I throw at the trash can (think full coffee filter. Why do I throw those things?) doesn’t actually go inside the trash can and one of those days when you look up to the sky to try to get a handle on things and breathe, but a weird worm from a nearby tree drops onto your upper lip. (Ok, that didn’t really happen, but I did visualize it happening as I looked skyward that day. I have a very active imagination that can be a pro or a con at any given time.) So as I’m walking along, wondering about weird worms, I realize so much about our day is perspective and where we place our focus. My thoughts after I missed the trash can were, “Geeeeez, isn’t anything gonna go right today??” In that moment, I felt a much gentler thought almost audibly whisper, “There are many things that have gone right today.” That whisper, I believe, is the Holy Spirit. There’s no describing it, but I’ve heard it with my heart before many times. (“You don’t have to do this.” Is one of my favorite statements the Comforter has ever made to me. That was when I thought I had to drink. A lot. That’s a previous blog post.)

When I was gently corrected and reminded of the many blessings God had poured out on my ungrateful head that day, I realized that there are only moments of discouragement. Not “bad days.” It’s unlikely that every minute of a 24-hour period could be bad. It’s only moments we, in our fleshy ways, try to make out to be worse than they truly are by focusing on those instead of the good ones.

When Jesus left this earth after being raised from the dead, He said, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26 (NIV) I know I need an Advocate. Somebody who’s gonna help me out by reminding me that every little thing’s gonna be alright (some of you now have a Marley song stuck in your head now. You’re welcome.) Even on one o’ those days I throw the banana away and start to eat the peel.

Salvation Secured

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I heard today that a lot of people, based on a certain statistic, think that Christians are just “hate-filled hypocrites”. And I’m sure that’s exactly what the enemy would have all who will listen to believe. But I have to say, and maybe it’s just because I’m one of them (one o’ them thar Christians, you know) that I don’t see any hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense” and some synonyms include empty talk, dishonesty, and insincerity.
I can understand how this would get annoying. After all, I get annoyed at the way some Christians act (red cup, anyone?) but in all honesty, I believe a lot of it is they aren’t secure in their salvation. I was a Christian for years and still did all kinds of things that would make a lot of church-goin’ folks blush. But here’s the deal: God didn’t lay out every part of His “moral standard” for me at that point of my journey. He knew I’d be completely overwhelmed. I couldn’t possibly live up to His idea or beliefs about who I was in Him when I was in that place. So maybe that’s what some individuals see as hypocritical. They’re living by a different code because maybe they don’t have difficulty in the same areas as you do. Their 2 X 4 is something different than yours. All that being said, the Christians I know and the ones that I hang around, know full-well of who they are. Both who they are with God and without Him. They don’t shade the truth or cover up their human tendencies and forget what Jesus did for them. They’ve accepted the fact that without God’s help, without the Creator lining up their days, that they would indeed be hypocritical. They would go back to their old ways, whether it is drugs or alcohol, or lust and sex, or finger-pointing and a judgy, critical spirit, whatever the case may be. The Christians I know are all learning to trust God in each of their personal trials. They don’t stand and say “No, I never do that and I don’t think you should either!” The Christians I know say “Oh yeah, left to my own devices, that’s exactly what I would do. Without God’s help I couldn’t make it through a day without a drink.” Or “There are times when I’m tempted to go back to the drugs, but thank God I don’t.” Because that’s not what they look to anymore. Those leave us feeling hollow, searching for more. It’s no surprise that addicts don’t keep doing the same drugs and the same amounts; it takes more. And more. Then more. Because that’s not a hole-filler. The Christians I know look to God for their help because He is our strength, the ultimate Hole-Filler, and He is their joy. They don’t feel like they’re better than everybody else. They feel very much like they are everybody else. The Christians I know have experienced the freedom that no man and no 12-step program could ever give. They are free. I am one of them.  He is my strength and He is my joy. I was addicted but now I’m not and that is because of God.  So, that being said, if people from “yesteryear” see me “nowadays” (where do these terms come from?)  then yeah, they may see a hypocrite. They may look back and remember what I used to do and what I used to be, but that’s not me now. And it’s not the Christians I know.

My Shiny Ship…in the Midwest

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I backed up a little to Isaiah 60:1 tonight. It states that we are to “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” I think this is one of the coolest verses ever because it says we are to shine…possibly as a reflection of God’s glory on us. It’s not easy to shine when the rest of the world doesn’t shine back. ( I got a dirty look/head shake/possibly a not-nice finger from an elderly man today.) After all, if we were surrounded by mirrors and got what we put out back, when we shone bright, life would be so simple. As it turns out, God said nothing of life being simple.

We are called to speak about good things when the rest of the world meditates on the bad (Philippians 4:8-9), we are called to act righteously, faithfully, blamelessly, and pure too (Psalms 18:24-28). There’s a lot more in there about how we are supposed to be, but I gotta tell ya: This is enough for me to mull over right now. I don’t know who these people are that don’t put pressure on themselves to act the way God wants them to, but that isn’t me and I’m weary of the pressure.

I can only do so much, right? I’m just me and I’ve come to realize that it’s not God I’m worried about liking me or what I do, it’s other people. I worry about what other people will think if I do this or that…say this or that…I’m not perfect. So far from it I wonder why I’m raising kids to be honest. The fear is crippling sometimes.

I don’t want to try to fix it or try to find a cure for awhile. I just want to be. I just need God to take over here and steer me because I’m too tired to figure out where I’m heading. I picture Him behind one of those big ship’s steering wheels (I’m from the Midwest, I can’t be expected to know what they’re really called.) while I’m slumped in the passenger seat. (Yeah, my ship has a passenger seat. What of it?) I think being a Christian is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, things I’ve ever done. Drinking, smoking, and all the other ugly stuff that comes along with it was super easy. Sure it was expensive, it was horrible for my health, but it was easy. The temptations come back every once in awhile, to turn off the Christian and turn to a different source of “help.” What a joke. Those idols did nothing for me. They didn’t drown anything I went through or dealt with, didn’t heal any wounds, didn’t fix anything to say the very least. It’s for this reason I know that it would be a slap to my God’s face if I picked up those habits again. Not to say that I could never, ever, possibly screw up, but I know that it would hurt Him. There have been days when that’s all that has kept me from it. I don’t know that I would ever stop if I started again and with that statement running through my brain, I hear Him whisper, I could rescue you again. For some reason, that alone allows me some breathing room to remain imperfect, to take some of that pressure off myself.

With that being said, it’s not what I truly want. I want more of Him, the One Who rescued me from all that mess and myself. I turned to that junk for years and years. I know that if I drank again, it wouldn’t even be a temporary relief from the stress or the pain. I need more Jesus and I won’t settle for any less than what He has for me. I’ve tried what the world has to offer. It ain’t much.

5-Year Plan

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As I robotically meander through the kitchen with a partially-wet paper towel stuck to my barefoot, I have to reflect on how much my life has changed. Not only because I’m an ecstatically-happy married woman and mother of two, but also because of where I’ve been and what God has held my hand through. Those who knew me in the past have got to be wondering, “What’s going on with her?” And let’s be clear, “my past” was no more than 5 years ago.
I literally quit drinking a 12-pack or more a night 4 years ago this month. I was in such a horribly dark, ugly place with no one to talk to, I thought, and even worse, didn’t care so much that I didn’t have anyone. I simply didn’t care anymore. I got up, went to work, stopped off at the liquor store or my favorite gas station on the way home, gave them my cash (so my husband wouldn’t see exactly how much was disappearing from his hardearned paycheck) and made the trek home, sometimes cracking one open on the way. (It was literally a 3 minute trip home.)
I would proceed to clean house, cook, gab on the phone, even read, while drinking. I would start dinner, only to finally eat it hours later, after the 12-or 18-pack was gone.
A lot of the friends I had disappeared and I have yet to hear from them since I stopped. After all, what do you do if you don’t get together and go out to the “hottest clubs”? It’s a heart-breaking thing to lose people you truly love because you no longer participate in certain activities. I remember letting one “true friend” in, the one I thought would understand as she had been there herself, then sadly returned after counseling. She said, almost mechanically, “I had no idea that it was a problem for you.” Her almost-numb reaction surprised me but I’m a grrrreat hider! I think we all are, if you want my honest opinion. We all have things we keep tucked way down so no one, not even the people who are supposed to know us best, knows. I didn’t hear from this friend again for years and to this day we still don’t speak unless we are face to face, which isn’t often. This one act, cut me to the core and I felt so alone. I didn’t have anybody I could turn to. My parents had no idea my alcohol consumption was as bad as it was, and my husband (God bless my dear, sweet, prayin-man-of-a-husband), even though he saw what I tried so desperately to hide, feelings as well as aluminum cans, he was at a loss as well. I don’t think it was any coincidence however, that hordes of helpers didn’t show up miraculously floating on clouds to smack the cans out of my quivering hands. Be it the work of God or the enemy, it was an issue I had to tackle, not we, as a collaborative group, needed to face.
Today I pray for those who know as well as those who may not know yet what keeps them from being the individual God wants them to be.
Oh, and that paper towel? It “unstuck” itself the second I decided to lift my foot to remove it, so I had to bend over to get it.

Brutally Honest

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it’s not the actual drinking anyone has a problem with. In fact, I miss that social aspect at times. it’s the drinking that continues when you’re alone, and you continue to isolate yourself. it’s the hangovers where you wanna be left alone. it’s the watching the clock to see if it’s ok for you to have a beer yet. it’s the memory loss. it’s the way you look at people like they’re crazy for saying anything to you about your drinking. it’s the time wasted. it’s the memories missed. it’s the pain of not remembering important conversations. it’s the distractibility you show when others try to tell you something they’ve been waiting to tell you for a while because it’s special. it’s the activities you don’t participate in because there’s no drinking involved. it’s the “friends” you have when you drink, but only when you drink. it’s the jokes people make about you that you laugh at, but hurt inside. it’s that still, small voice that says you can quit, you just have to trust in the God that made you. You have to know that He can do anything and above all, He wants to. You have to know that people have been praying for you for years without you even knowing it. You have to know that it’s a problem, it’s an addiction, and it’s not fun anymore. People don’t enjoy hearing not only the same stories, but the longest version of them possible. Accept it. Own it. It’s there, but it can be taken away. You can be delivered by the almighty grace of God that never fails. Even when you’re not sure you need that deliverance. Even when you’re pretty sure you don’t. There are too many nights when you get just drunk enough to know that you do. You relive the past. The hurts, drama, losses. That’s how the enemy gets you. That’s the plan, believe it or not. You sink deeper and deeper until you can no longer remember your true smile. Only one that hides the pain of events long past. You have been a target. You have been a victim. You have been pushed into the mire and you just have to do what comes naturally. You have to reach up your hands to the One who loves you more than anything so that He can pull you out.

This is something I wrote a couple years back but didn’t have the guts to publish at that time. I have been free from alcohol for going on 4 years now, through no effort of my own. I thank Jesus for removing the blinders. There is no way I could ever thank Him enough. Reading this took me back to that place of helplessness and that beer can that whispered, “You don’t have to do this.” Alcohol made it very easy to believe that there was no God that loved me and if He was out there, He surely wasn’t interested in me…or happy with this lush of a woman. The freedom I gained on March 12, 2009 is irreplaceable and unprecedented in my life. Words can’t possibly describe, even though I try my best, how thankful I am to have my life, a real life, back from the dark, miry depths of depression, self-loathing, and alcoholism. Thank You God!