Friday, September 27, 2013

Beating the Battle of the Bottle

ONCE UPON A TIME (if that doesn’t already sound too glib or corny [sorry]), I had a serious drinking problem. I was no black-out drunk (someone who drinks to the point of not having memory of what they did or didn’t do) but I was a weekend binge-drinker and I used and abused alcohol to relieve mainly work stress, but also the stresses of home life. Drinking became a 10-year habit for me; so it delights me even more, that God has, 10-years this week, given me the ability to live without it.
Here’s how I did it.
I Went to AA
I went to Alcoholics Anonymous for eleven months, before ‘graduating’ to go with church alone – having already gotten involved in volunteer ministry. At AA I had to frequently remind myself, that, though I wasn’t a raging alcoholic, I couldn’t beat my problem alone – I’d tried so many times before and it never worked. Sure, I could go a couple of months, but, just like someone who struggles with their diet, I would eventually slip back into old habits.
But the beauty of a drinking problem is you can stop drinking altogether. People with diet problems can’t stop eating – we need to eat. But we don’t need to drink.
Abstinence, I found, was the only way. And AA helped, because that’s the Program.
There’s No Substitute for Honesty & Sacrifice
The reason AA works is because their Program guarantees success through a rigorous honesty, because it’s honesty that sets us free; that and the 100% commitment to change – nothing else – one day at a time.
One day at a time we can do anything, but we will need to make drastic changes if we’re to never (ever) drink again.
I found that, when I was prepared to give myself fully to a Program such as AA, that God honoured my initiative and courage, and he gave me strength and stamina for the journey.
We cannot have it all ways in life. God always requires us to make a choice. If we choose to give it away – the drink – I believe he can give us his miraculous powers of healing that we may find we’re miraculously healed – and never (ever) need to drink again, and are never even be tempted again.
But we must start right and continue in that vein.
We need to create new habits, a new lifestyle, mix with new people perhaps, get out of the rut we’re in, etc. There’s nothing new in this advice. But it does work.
If we’re prepared to lose our lives to save it, by losing the drink, by giving it up altogether, we may find that God will give us a brand new and better life, eventually. We must have faith that this will occur. It happened to me; it can happen to you.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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