I have to make this available to my readers although some of it is embarrassing. Please read it, learn from it, and try to lead a better life, please.
August of 2016 will mark two years that I have been free of my long time alcohol addiction. I was freed on Monday, August 4, 2014. It was about 5:00 AM and I was half-awake, half still asleep. That was when I felt a comforting ring of warmth starting in my chest and rapidly spreading over and through me outward until I felt go through my fingers and finally my toes. At the same time, without words, pictures, sentences, or even conscious thought I felt for certain, somehow knew, I was free of the addiction to alcohol that I have had from about age 25 to then, age 81. It was all over in seconds, but I knew.
I had been addicted to alcohol in varying degrees from around when I was 25 to that day. It was a long time and cost me two totaled cars, two DUIs, two mandatory rehab courses, and a lot of money (way over $100,000.) My addiction got particularly severe around my birthday in January of 2014 and continued all summer and into the fall.
My family and my Pastor, all of the Vanceburg United Methodist Church, found out my well-guarded secret late in that summer and began trying to help me and to pray for me. Their faith and prayers were answered that Monday morning.
Since then I have been nudged by God to tell about it. I tried to ignore the nudge because being addicted is embarrassing, but, alas, I can’t. The nudge became a definite poke when I started reading Divine Alignment by SQuire Rushnell. It is a book about God’s nudges or Godwinks as he calls them. I had bought the book long before, but got an urgent urge to read it in September of 2014 for no earthly reason. Read it; it’s worth reading.
Since that morning many things have happened that would normally have sent me to the bottle for solace. However, I have easily resisted the temptations and gone about my Lord’s, my Church’s, and my business.
I doubt I would believe this if someone told it to me, but it happened; it happened to me! Knowing miracles do happen has helped me accept miracles that others talk about.
I believe that we are free to make choices throughout life from birth to death. How else are we to choose between good and evil? I also believe God gives us guidance along the way by nudging us. God sometimes directly intervenes in response to earnest prayer by his flock if the request is not contrary to His overall plan.
Some would call the nudges just our conscience at work or a choice based on what we know is good over what we know is bad. Some would call the results coincidence. I do not think there are very many coincidences. None of this can explain the miracle that happened to me early that Monday morning.
There were other events that should have taught me something, but didn’t. Here are two of many.
One, my fiancée fell asleep driving home from a girls’ night at a night club. The resulting car accident left her with a severe brain injury. It was so severe she spent the rest of her life in a nursing home.
Two, I took in her High School aged son and helped him through a pot rehab course when he was a sophomore in High School. He died of a drug overdose a month after his 21st birthday. The friend who supplied him died the same way a few years later.
A Lesson Not Learned. With such experiences one might think I would give up my addiction; not on your life. If anything, I drank more.
I think my experiences qualify me to offer some advice to you beginning, novice, and career alcoholics. A nudge from God is telling me to do this.
You don’t have to follow my advice. You can instead follow in my footsteps with the same, similar, or worse outcomes. Death by car accident is one of the more severe outcomes; serious health problems including death are another. But they happen often enough that one might think drinking is a popular way of committing involuntary suicide.
The mandatory rehab class after a DUI will not cure you. Voluntary inpatient or outpatient treatment will not cure you. They will give you knowledge of your addiction, what happens as you get deeper into it, and how easy it is to take it up again. They will help you get onto the road to recovery. They are an essential part of recovery. They will convince you that alcoholism is bad, but they won’t stop you from returning to it. Hanging out with your old friends and continuing along familiar paths will not help either.
Here’s the advice. You have to fully commit yourself to abstinence. You have to change your lifestyle as much as you can, find new friends with interests other than the next shot. You have to divorce yourself from your failing marriage to alcohol. It’s hard to do at first, but the longer you keep at it, the easier it gets.
Support Groups such as AA are a huge help. Another good place to find new friends is Church, but that is no guarantee. You could be sitting next to the old me. Church is safer, though, than sitting next to someone on a bar stool.
The friends you make in a Church will help you stay away, not urge you to try some more. They will pray for you and, if you and they are sincere, that will work for you. It did for me. And you should pray for help, too.