How I Beat Alcoholism
“Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” ~Jesus
I’m in recovery for alcoholism, that is, my flesh’s cravings and old thought processes. For years I drank way too much, way too often–as a Christian. No, I didn’t get “all religious” to try to stop drinking, I’ve been a Christian since I was a kid. I just didn’t start to show Jesus any real respect or love until about 2011, and little by little, by allowing Him to renew my mind, He’s made me who I am today.
However, I was religious while drinking. Heck, I would testify with a beer in my hand and not think there was anything wrong with that. And really, there is nothing wrong with alcohol in itself, even Jesus enjoyed a glass or two of wine. If you look at His first recorded miracle in John 2, that wasn’t grape juice. The religious Christians want you to think that. Alcohol was fermented in the Bible.
And although there is nothing wrong with alcohol, there is something wrong with me drinking it. I can’t. I don’t have an “off button.” It’s like giving a shark a single, little fishy—that’s not gonna work for him—or a bear, one scoop of honey. We want more!
So no, there isn’t anything wrong with drinking–IF–AND THIS IS A BIG IF–you don’t have a problem with it. And if you have to constantly ask yourself, “Do I have a problem?” then more than likely you do.
My wife, for example, can have a little wine or one margarita, and be done. She won’t even think about it any more. Me?…HA. It’s like lighting a powder keg. I want to polish off that bottle of wine, and another! Margaritas? I’ll have the entire pitcher, and shots, oh, and some beers too!
Now, I can try to fight it, but I’d be fooling myself. I. WANT. MORE. When I controlled my drinking I couldn’t enjoy it, and when I enjoyed it I couldn’t control it. Once I start, I’m off to the races. I’m either going to drink a ridiculous amount, then binge-eat and pass out, or, be grumpy and extremely agitated if I couldn’t get access to more.
I liked to drink because it relaxed me…“Ahhhhhhh…” Nothing quite like that first beer and (or) shot. But then, after relaxed, I’d become overly excited! Then I’d become the smartest man alive with “great business ideas” or I’d become “the most handsome man in the world and every lady wanted me”…*pfft!* What an idiot. I look back now at Old Matt, the man who hadn’t yet allowed God to renew his mind, and I want to grab him, smack him, and say, “HEY! DUMMY! STOP IT! YOU ARE SCREWING UP!”
I was only fooling one person, and that was me. Unbeknownst to me at that time in my life, I was being a puppet for the devil. Oblivious. A sheep to the slaughter. Digging my own grave. BLIND AS A BABY BAT.
But us problem drinkers, we drink for one main reason only, and if someone says otherwise they are lying to you–stuck in denial—and here it is: WE WANT TO FEEL DIFFERENT. That’s it. If we are sad, we want to feel happy. If we are stressed, we want to feel relaxed. If we are uncomfortable, we want to feel comfortable. If we feel like a failure, we want to feel like a winner. If we are bored, we want to feel entertained. Truth be told, if we are already extremely excited and happy, we want to feel even more excited and happy!
We are not trying to hurt people, we just want to FEEL different. We want to LIKE ourselves, by getting AWAY from WHO we think we really are! People who drink heavily are putting on a facade, as they drink, that’s who they WANT to be, but are not.
The great news is this: Jesus teaches you who you really are…sober. And you are VERY special, sober. EVEN MORE SPECIAL, sober. YOU CAN UNLOCK YOUR FULL POTENTIAL, sober. REACH YOUR HIGHEST GOALS, sober. LOVE OTHERS AND YOURSELF ON THE DEEPEST LEVEL YOU’VE EVER KNOWN, sober…
And you can finally understand just how AMAZING and dearly loved you are by your Creator, sober!
But this only begins when we finally face the truth about our lives. Truth is good for us. As drinkers, we DON’T like the truth. We don’t want to face it. Instead, we want to shove everything down deep, and cover it up with a buzz. We want to act like nothing is wrong in us, or around us. “I’ll just pick up a couple tall-boys after work, no big deal.” Or we’ll say, “Let’s just go have a few”–but “having a few” happens few, often, and in-between. Most of the time we are getting smashed, and in the back of our minds, that’s the goal.
So instead of belittling this problem of ours, covering it up, or blowing it off, Jesus says, “Give it to me.” HE WANTS IT. He can take what “makes” you want to drink, and use it to mold you into a great person of God, AND, help others with it, AND, bring glory to Him!
The devil wants the opposite to happen. This moronic, stupid liar wants you to think that you don’t have a problem and everyone else does—this is how he keeps you in slavery, in BONDAGE. This dirty butt-wipe will tell you, “Oh just have a couple, you’ve not drank in a few days, you’re fine. Relax, enjoy yourself. You deserve it! You don’t want people to think you have a drinking problem do you? So drink!”…What a liar!
JESUS TEACHES YOU HOW TO STOMP ON SATAN’S FACE—WITH CONFIDENCE.
For me, even as a successful business owner, I was a closet drunk. I hid it well, or so I thought. One of my many excuses was, “I can do whatever I want! It’s legal! BACK OFF! I’m free to drink.” However, yeah, I was “free” to drink, but at the same time, I wasn’t free NOT to drink.
I would try to cut back, or only drink on a certain day—that never lasted, it’s all I thought about! I couldn’t wait for that drinking day to get here! Or I’d say, “I’m only going to drink on Friday,” but then Saturday came, and I had left-over beer, so I had to drink that—and if I was barbecuing, I had to drink then too! If I didn’t, I just wasn’t American!
So after drinking on Friday and Saturday, Sunday would roll around and I was usually too hungover to move. Then I’d binge-eat on Chinese food all day, and burgers—and some ice-cream to boot—why not? Who cares about your diet when you feel like a horse’s rear? Because of this bad habit of hangover-binge-eating, I stayed bloated, and I developed a fat face and a beer-gut. I was miserable.
But in order to feel better on Sundays, the food didn’t always help, so I’d drink again. “Two beers, that’s it.” Nope. That didn’t last long. After those two, I’d loosen up and keep going. So then, when Monday came, I’d think, “Oh what the heck, I’ve already drank three days in a row, why not have some drinks after work? This time, I’ll just drink it at home. I’m not hurting anyone.”
I WAS A SLAVE! Period. I tried quitting hundreds of times, and all of those attempts were short-lived! Eventually I just stopped trying to quit, and said, “I drink. It’s just who I am. There is nothing I can do about it.” WHAT LIES! Then one day as I was begging God, again, “JUST TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME WOULD YOU?! PLEASE!” I felt something down deep in my heart, and it said, “You need to become uncomfortable, that’s the only way.”
It finally made sense. I knew that the only way I would not just QUIT drinking, but BEGIN a new life, would be to face whatever feelings I kept drinking away—the very feelings that Jesus wanted me to face, with Him and through Him…I had to…feel.
I HAD TO FEEEEEEEEEL!!!! I had to feel my feelings, and present them to God as to how to handle them, without drinking.
Also, I had to face…myself. So I did. AND THIS PART HURT, A LOT. Oh my goodness, looking back and just thinking about the pain…It felt like I was being nailed to a cross. I finally KNEW what Jesus felt by me going through this—and in return, I was being completely remade in my mindset. I was becoming “New Matt,” based on 2 Corinthians 5:17! A person who was an actual “NEW CREATION IN CHRIST”–who lived that way! The old had gone and the new had come!
For so many years I didn’t want to allow myself to feel this, or face this—but Jesus taught me that I have to feel it and face it! I have to feel His pain, in order to grow towards Him! I had to begin to empathize with my Savior’s sacrifice! Because of that sacrifice and my faith in it, the fact was, if I never stopped drinking He still loved me unconditionally and I was still saved!
BUT HE HAD SO MUCH MORE IN STORE FOR MY LIFE! A LIFE OF ABUNDANCE, PEACE, AND PURPOSE—NOT SLAVERY!
My friend, in the beginning of your sobriety try to focus on the pain that you must feel, in order to stay sober–and actually enjoy it. “Enjoy it?!” Yes. This is the pain of not drinking because you know Jesus in you doesn’t want you to. You are doing this to show Him that you care. SURE, THIS HURTS VERY BADLY IN THE BEGINNING—but the pain subsides.
Christ rose from the dead after feeling terrible pain, because He loved us–and so will you. Your crucifixion passes, but glory remains. You must remember that allowing the Holy Spirit to renew the mindset of your soul is not all about nice feelings or getting our wishes granted. Feelings come and go, and God is not a magic genie. He is a sovereign God who loves us so much He wants us to change how we think.
In the beginning, this process of having your mind renewed into Christ’s is mostly about you feeling the same pain that Jesus felt, which, in turn, also allows you to feel how much He loves you.
And now, since I’ve not had a drop of alcohol since May 7th, 2014, I feel really good. Actually, that’s probably the biggest understatement of the year for me. My God-given ministry gift is writing, but I can’t even come up with an adjective to describe how I feel. My spirit was already saved, but now my soul feels reborn. So maybe I feel remade? I don’t know, you would just have to feel it to understand it, by getting sober yourself—that is, if you have a problem.
I HAVE SO MUCH ENERGY! Really, sometimes I don’t even know what to do with it. It’s amazing.
I’d never want to feel like I used to feel now that I have this new life! THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER!
So if this is you, and you are in the bondage of an addiction, in chains, IN SLAVERY—my friend, I’m here to tell you today that there is hope! This hope that I speak of is found in Jesus, who is in you, if you believe He’s forgiven you. By getting to know Him, studying Him, bringing your pain and joy to Him–and by PRAISING Him no matter what!
This hope is found in allowing Him to live out of you–to live through you! His characteristics, His confidence, His words, His power, and mostly His love for you and others!
The Bible says in 1 John that “God is love,” and Jesus personified God, literally. When you get to know Jesus, you get to know your Creator. When you get to know Jesus, you get to see real love in action. And make no mistake, He has a loving plan for your life! That plan does not include an addiction! But it will take you giving up what you want to keep, even if you don’t really want to keep it, but can’t get rid of it. Hand it over to Jesus! Just say, “Here, take it. I’m ready to be uncomfortable. I’m ready to feel. I’m ready to face myself with your help, and have my mind renewed. I’m all yours.”
And lastly, please know this: You must stop trying to quit. YOU CAN’T QUIT! But, you can begin a brand new life in Christ! Quitting requires your power, beginning requires God’s. You can do this through Christ! He will strengthen you! Freedom awaits! Break free!…Begin today.
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