“In 1989, I was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder. I disagreed and fought all forms of treatment until 1993. Standing on the curb to unlock my car, the voice that I had heard for about 2 years told me gently, “Take your medication.” This voice was the only thing I trusted in those days. I was too detached from the reality of life to believe in anything else, especially people. I had been hurt – maliciously – both emotionally and physically, to the point I trusted no one. This day was a turning point in my recovery. I began immediately taking the medications and in short order, I noticed a change. While the voice never disappeared, the paranoia lessened as did some other symptoms.
At this point in time, I was drinking quite heavily. For the better part of 6 months, I had settled into a routine of picking up a 12-pack after work. By nightfall, it was gone. Again, the voice said, “Quit drinking.” I still trusted this voice; attributed it to God the Almighty, Father of Jesus. Wanting to honor him, I immediately quit drinking, until my sister called a couple of weeks later asking me to go out to the bar with her for a few drinks. It was a crossroads. Whom do I serve? While I considered my commitment to God, I bargained that this was not a big deal. A few social drinks, what could they hurt?
I said, “Yes”.
God said, “No!”
The ensuing fear of God shook me up as a televangelist immediately reported, “There is more joy in heaven over one sinner that turns around than in 100 that never left.”
I looked at the TV and saw a woman smile a sinister little smile at the camera and felt it was directed at me. I made a call to my sister and that nearly ended my drinking career.
We were raised on alcohol. It was present for Christmas, baling days, at parties, and we drank it with communion one Sunday a month. It was prevalent. Therefore, that Christmas, I drank with my siblings. Not drunk. I drank with a friend in the next town and drove home on New Year’s Eve at 3 a.m., sometime after the usual bar crowd goes home. I was plastered. The next morning, so shaken by ‘what might have happened’, I resolved never to drink and drive again and I haven’t.
I finally gave up drinking in 2009, the day we gave my son a going away party as he left for war. Guilt over what I was doing to God and my relationship with Him overcame me. It was the end. I didn’t attend meetings. I didn’t follow any of the twelve steps as they are ascribed. I followed Jesus. I do believe in the 12-step program and as I sought to quit smoking later, I joined a group to assist in that department. Still, it was God that gently/fearfully/wonderfully made the road smooth. I haven’t smoked in nearly a year.
I am currently seeking a degree in alcohol and drug counseling. Therefore, I occasionally attend AA meetings.
I was addicted to alcohol. I’ve overcome gambling in the same manner; with God’s help. It’s not to say it was easy. The fear of God – righteous fear – changes a person. The devil tried to depress, frighten and conquer my resolve at the same time. God is and always will be the Victor. I seek now to lose weight I’ve gained since quitting smoking. I seek to limit or eliminate caffeine from my diet. I will do this – by following Jesus. And in the meantime, I will be strengthened inwardly.
I look like a person who may not be all there. I may not have every hair in place and on my lot not every weed is picked or mowed, but inwardly my garden is well-attended. I still fear and have concerns, but I know when this life is over who it is that will take me home. Jesus.”