The Sober Truth
“Dear Scotch Whiskey,
Will you be my friend? I am lonely, and I want to believe that I am lovable. I feel scared, I have no power to control my future. Will you help me be brave? I have done some really crappy things to friends and family, the shame of it all is so great. Will you help me feel released?
The God of my faith is slow. I have asked Him for all of these things, many times, and He seems in no hurry. He has asked that I be faithful to Him, but you will let me play around. He has promised that I will be better, but all I want is to feel better now. I get excited when I anticipate our rendezvous, and I am hesitant and maybe scared of the God of my faith.”
I never quite understood the story of idols in the Scriptures. I tried to make the connection to my life via materialism, but it never really fit. Six years ago or so, I became a daily drinker, and then soon after that a daily/heavy drinker.
I remember as I sat in my recovery group and it dawned on me—alcohol is my god. I ask it to meet my deepest needs and in exchange I pledged to it my loyalty. I did what it said. I loved the warmth, the burn down my throat, the reminder that numbness would soon arrive.
I’ve never woken up in a jail cell, or the gutter, or had a DUI. That does not make me a better drunk, but maybe it does make me a luckier one. I have spoken freely the past 2 ½ years of the freedom I have found in my 30 months of sobriety. I have, without much hesitation, shared my story with small and larger audiences, alike. But I have never written about it, and I am scared. Once it’s in print it is out of my control.
It should be no secret to you if you have read any of my previous posts that one of my agendas is to create a conversation about the current dismal state of the American Evangelical church. I am clearly on a mission, and I would love to be a part of the new wave of Christian community that I sense coming. I would love to be perceived as a 30-year veteran of ministry who is full of wisdom. But the truth is I am a newly recovering alcoholic who has only scratched the surface of living without addiction. I could enter any 12-step group made up of co-dependents, sex addicts, over-eaters or TV over-watchers—not sure that last one is an actual group, but it could be—and feel at home. I have tasted all of them. But my favorite was always “liquid joy,” distilled peace, my fermented god. So all that to say, I admit that the group I would most like to influence and dialogue with has ample evidence to dismiss me.
I am learning to trust the slow but real God as I understand Him, and I am practicing surrender, but before we get too far down the road in this conversation I wanted you to know this piece of my story. It is only fair.