I rarely remember my dreams.
Gorgeous on the other hand is constantly telling me about all the crazy stuff that she remembers dreaming. Now we’re not the type of folks who put too much stock in our dreams. But since I hardly ever remember mine, when I do, I notice.
And I had a dream last night.
Now I won’t go into all the silly details, but in my dream I was working in a cell phone store and Mel Gibson came in looking to replace his phone that had been damaged. For me, very weird.
Then this morning I woke up and found that a lady had sent me a message. She had read my post the other day on Mel Gibson’s indiscretion and asked how she could help a friend of hers who struggles with alcoholism. I’m not sure I have any answers for her.
But I do have a story.
My story is fairly personal and I probably wouldn’t consider sharing it this publicly. But I don’t believe much in coincidences so here it is.
I mentioned in the Gibson post that I’ve always been able to do whatever I put my mind to. And it’s true. If I decided to do something, it was as good as done (the fact that I rarely actually exercised that determined decision making notwithstanding.) The first time I actually decidedly put my mind to something that didn’t “just happen” for me was getting a grip on my drinking.
As a Naval Flight Officer I was living the Top Gun life. I would tell people that I was like Goose. But I lived.
And alcohol was a big part of that life. But eventually I realized that somehow it had taken control of my life.
I tried doing everything I knew to get a grip on my problem. Since I’d always been able to do what I put my mind to, my approach basically boiled down to buckling down and trying harder. And nothing worked.
Now I’d grown up going to church. For me it was pretty much a social thing. But over the years I’d run across some pretty hypocritical religious people who’d turned me completely off to the whole church scene.
You know the type. They are quick to tell you “what you need to do” and maybe whip out a verse from the Bible to prove their point. All the while their own lives are really messed up. I so hate that phrase, “What you need to do.” I wasn’t interested in religious answers to my problem.
But I did have a friend who was different. Kent was a follower of Jesus. He sure wasn’t perfect, but he was honest about his own struggles. He was never pushy about his beliefs. He didn’t tell the rest of us what we needed to do.
At the same time he never backed away from a discussion about what he believed if someone else brought it up. He wouldn’t get defensive. But he always seemed to stand firm while being willing to let others express their beliefs. He had the ability to respectfully disagree with folks. In the testosterone driven type-A environment we were in that was an unusual trait.
I watched Kent for two years. I figured that hypocrisy had to be in there somewhere.
It wasn’t. He was the real deal.
One day he invited me to a retreat his church was having. Now I’d turned down several invitations to go to church with him. I wasn’t interested in religion. But this time I figured it might do me good to hang out with these folks. All I was thinking was that they didn’t drink so at least I would be dry for a weekend for once.
When I got there it was freaky. It was like my buddy had told the various speakers everything about me. The things they were saying were so totally addressing me directly that it blew me away.
Now I knew Kent well enough that I knew there was no way he’d pass along the stuff I’d shared with him. Besides, some of the stuff I hadn’t even shared with him so I knew there was no way the speakers could know it. But there they were addressing those very things just the same.
Long story short that weekend I accepted the sacrifice Jesus made for my own screw ups and asked him to help me with my problems rather than try to overcome them on my own.
The craving for alcohol seemed to go away.
Two weeks later I moved out of state for a job change. My new friends told me that I should find a good church to get involved with because we weren’t meant to follow Jesus on our own.
Well I figured I’d be OK. I had my new Bible, several books on Christian Living, and tons of new music to listen to. I’d be fine on my own. Right.
Did I mention I moved into an apartment right across the street from a liquor store? Dumb.
It wasn’t long before I started drinking again.
Eventually one night I got myself into some trouble. That night I prayed. I knew I’d screwed up (again). I told Jesus that I had gotten myself into that mess, not him. And I was willing to stay there as long as I needed to learn what ever he wanted me to learn. When he was ready he could come and get me.
And he did. The thing I learned was that just accepting Jesus’ payment for my screw ups wasn’t enough. I needed to follow him and his teachings as well.
I knew the first thing I needed to do was find a church to get involved with. My stubborn refusal to do what I knew I was being told to do had gotten me into my mess. Without knowing where to look I found a good church within a week.
I got to know a group of guys who were totally whacked. They truly were a lot of fun. Not at all your stereotypical stuffy church goers.
Since that night I have not once had even the slightest craving for alcohol. And that was over 10 years ago now. My life isn’t perfect by any means. I still screw up (on a pretty regular basis even.) But I promise I enjoy life far more than I ever did before. Not ever drinking again now seems like such a small thing when compared to all the good things I have instead. I can’t imagine ever wanting to go back to what I had before.
You want to get rid of alcoholism once and for all? Then my advice to you is find Jesus.
Be honest. Start where you are. The Bible says
But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.
And if you need to, send me a message from my contact page. I’ll do my best to point you to some resources that can help.
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