In July 2011, I weighed 278 lbs. On Mar 12, 2013 I made the decision to qualify for the Boston Marathon. This was my journey. Now I'm a recovering alcoholic, this is my new journey. I'm still running a marathon, just a different type.
As I write this blog I’m still going through changes with my new life of sobriety. I don’t know if anyone in the blogosphere have had any experience with this change, but thought I’d relate mine to you.
My biggest problem is sleep. Probably because I’d use alcohol to put me to sleep for many years. My issue is I wake up 6 – 8 times a night. I can’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time and sometimes much less.
There’s and app for that
I created an app so I could track the amount of times I wake up as by morning I don’t want to “feel” I woke up a lot during the night and perhaps it was just a perception. Below is last night’s sleep and wake times. The hours on the right are the amount of hours from when I woke the last time to the point I woke the next time.
As you can see, I didn’t have good sleep last night.
I wonder if this is due to my drinking at night for 6 years straight or something else. My family doctor prescribed me some sleep meds, but as you can see, they didn’t seem to help last night.
Sleep isn’t everything, but it is important, it also is needed for a productive day.
Know that I have no complaints, but just some questions. I have a great life and leave soon for a trip to visit a friend for a few days. I probably won’t write while there, but if I have time I will.
Let me ask the question, “If you are a Christian then how did you become an alcoholic”? I’m sure some have wanted to ask me that question. Anyone can get to the point of being an alcoholic. But the question is a good one and I hope to answer it here, in fact in the next sentence.
I have no idea!
Probably not the answer you wanted.
Just as a reminder, you can look under my Faith tab and read my conversion experience. As a quick summary, I’ll let you know that I was radically changed after a simple prayer. No, not a prayer at a an alter call, but a simple prayer in a random place. I just said, “God, I love you”. I even remember thinking to myself that I had never said that before. Fast forward 3 months… My life had changed so radically I had a panic attack as I didn’t know who I was anymore. I got myself off all drugs and alcohol. I realized I could pray and KNOW that God heard my prayer, unlike before this moment of major change in my life. I had an unexplained desire to read the Bible. The thing you need to know was that no one knew of this conversion. It happened alone with no one around. So all of these changes happened independent of anyone telling me to do something because now I was a Christian.
Once again, the last paragraph was a quick explanation of the day I changed from a worldly lost young man, to suddenly finding myself in a new Kingdom with a new Lord, and a gracious savior, Jesus Christ.
Fast forward to 10 years ago
It had been 30+ years since I had a drink of any alcohol. Drinking came slowly for me, like the proverbial frog in a pot of water. If he was put into boiling water, he would try to get out, but if you bring it to a boil slowly, He just sits there and dies (not that I have ever tried that, but the analogy is true to this post). I had a drink with a friend. That was the beginning. I then drank sometimes on the weekend. Then every weekend. I changed from beer to Vodka as I figured it was less calories.
One day, I decided to have a drink during a weekday. I had gone through a lot of things and just needed a break. I did this without my lovely wife’s knowledge. Then I started to drink other weekdays. I finally had stopped and then was away for a month for work and figured I had nothing to do at night, so I’d just have a drink. That was the beginning of drinking everyday. Not much, maybe 2 – 3 shots a day.
The storms of life never stopped
Back to the question, “If you are a Christian then how did you become an alcoholic? The Gospel of Matthew has this quote from Jesus…
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand”.
Notice that the storms came on those who build their house on the rock and on those building their house on the sand. It doesn’t say the storms were less for one or the other. The same storms came, but the difference was the foundation was built.
The storms came in my life one by one and even though I had built my house on the rock, I chose to react to those overwhelming storms by drinking alcohol. It was my choice and it got way out of hand. The 2 -3 shots, became 6 – 8 and then 9 – 10 and finally 12 – 14 a night.
So where was God during this time of overwhelming stress and drunkenness? Right where he had always been since that first day when I told Him that I loved Him. He was still in my heart and still guiding me though this mess I created. He didn’t leave me, He just chose to let me get to the point that I knew I couldn’t handle things in my life with drinking every night and then, like a gentle whisper, tell me that I needed help. Wait, what? He had delivered me from my past issues over and over again, but this time He didn’t. He showed me I needed help from a hospital for detox, to my work giving me a month off to recover with no calls and no pressure. He could have chose to set me free from alcohol in an instant, but He chose the better way. His ways aren’t our ways and His thoughts aren’t our thoughts.
The better way
In Matthew 26:53 Jesus said about his coming crucifixion, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” God could have given Jesus 12 legions of angels to set him free from the agony and torture and death He was about to experience, but that wasn’t the best thing for us. He needed to die and give himself as a ransom for the world. He also knew just having me easily quit alcohol wouldn’t have been the best solution. Instead he had me write a blog about it, tell my family, friends and everyone in my company. He then provided me a safe place to detox and then allowed me to go home to spend time with my lovely wife and get our marriage on track. He knew what was best.
How did I get into this situation?
It was my choice, it was the wrong choice. If I had to do it all over again, I hope that I’d make a better decision. That said, going through the depths of alcoholism, depression and despair, and being set free to enjoy life, my wife and my life has been such an amazing experience that I never want to go back to drinking and know I cannot ever go back.
It is like having a third chance at life. 1) birth. 2) rebirth. 3) set free from a millstone around my neck.
I hope I answered the question I posed at the top of this post. I hope you will never get to where I was, but if you are or know someone who is, Jesus is nearby and wanting to help with a cry of your heart. Help may not come by the means you choose, but remember my quote from an earlier post, “God will not keep you in prison forever”. It took me 8 years, it might take you a simple heartfelt prayer.
Jesus said, “And surely Iamwithyoualways, to the very end of the age.” I am so glad He is with us and that he forgives and restores!