It was a Wednesday night and Joey normally worked third shift but one of his favorite bands was playing in town and he could go if he didn’t have to work, so he asked permission to come in late. Joey’s boss was all too happy to oblige him, so the arrangements were made. He still had to work, mind you, but he could go to the concert and show up late and all would be well. It was going to be a great night!
By this time in his life Joey’s persistent alcohol abuse had driven away most of his friends, so he really had no one to go with. No matter, he’d go alone and was bound to find someone there he could hang with. Music always has a way of bringing people together, even strangers, if only for the night. And Joey was adept at hanging in bars with live music, looking like he belonged. One might even say he had a sort of charisma in such environments. Conversing with strangers at music events had pretty much become his entire social life.
But Joey still had to show up for work afterward, so he really couldn’t drink, and that was a bit of a problem. With a modicum of genuine concern about his alcohol consumption, but mostly to save a failing relationship, he had first tried AA a year earlier, but he didn’t really think he had a problem so the attempt was short-lived. In recent months, Joey was perhaps more convinced he might have a problem, but tonight could be his chance to show that he could stay in control. However you sliced it, though, Joey’s predicament came down to the fact that a concert was hardly any fun without some kind of buzz on but he couldn’t very well show up to work drunk.
Now those of you who have had any kind of chemical dependency problem will immediately understand the plan Joey formed to deal with the dilemma he found himself in. To the rest of you, it may just seem ludicrous. To Joey, it was pure genius! If he acted fast enough, it couldn’t fail. So he proceeded to chug down four beers in rapid fashion and then drove rather quickly to his concert destination before the full force of those four beers could take effect. And just like that he had a buzz on, was at the concert venue without having received another DUI, and he was ready for the show. All he had to do was drink plain Coke the rest of the night and he’d be sober when he got to work. No problem!
Then, standing there waiting for the band to start, the thought occurred to Joey that just one more drink wouldn’t hurt. So he ordered one. And as he drank it he struck up a conversation with a couple he was standing near. With a certain, easy fluidity, Joey began to share his knowledge of the band, the familiar songs, the shared memories of concerts past. His new found friends were just as big of fans as Joey was. Some jokes were told; some laughs were had. Some weed was smoked. Wait….what? Joey hadn’t planned for that possibility. He had long ago given up the stuff, but for some reason when that joint was offered to him this night, he took it without thinking and enjoyed a long, satisfying toke. And then another.
And one more drink. And the band started, some high-fives were exchanged, and Joey bought a round for his new friends, and another joint came by, and another round of drinks.
Things got a little fuzzy from there; Joey was very drunk and slipping into a black out. One from which he would not emerge until sometime later, when he was exiting his car in the parking lot at work. What exactly happened during the time span from the band’s first encore to the very moment Joey was standing in the parking lot at work will forever remain a mystery; the byproduct of an indulgent night of heavy, mood-altering consumption. But right at that very instant, still in a drunken stupor, something happened. Joey had a thought, a premonition perhaps, or maybe a revelation. In AA they call it a moment of clarity. And Joey just had one.
He was at work, drunk. His boss was going to be angry. He really didn’t have any friends left. He hurt inside; loneliness and isolation had become the feelings that dominated his daily life. He couldn’t go on like this. There had to be something better. Something more. And at that juncture, Joey was suddenly sure life would get better if he stopped drinking. And he was all at once willing to go to any lengths to make that happen.
In the volume, Alcoholics Anonymous, we read the text, “We learned we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery.” And this is exactly what Joey realized. And what he did. The following day, after sleeping off his latest drunken debacle and resultant pathos, Joey attended an AA meeting. That was Friday, June 7, 1991. And, praise God, he hasn’t taken a drink since.
No addiction is too big for God to fix, and no person has sunk so low that God cannot save them. The authors of Alcoholics Anonymous wrote: “What seemed at first a flimsy reed, has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God.” Indeed, I am confident that you will find, like Joey did, if you seek God, that He is more than able to deliver you. But you are likely to also need the help of your fellow man. In most cities, there are recovery meetings available through your local church. So if you are in a church, check with them.
Other resources are also available. Here are links to some of them. I encourage you to take the bold step, like Joey did, of reaching out to one or more of these. I am confident you will find the help you need:
And for those who may love someone suffering from addiction: Al Anon is almost certainly available in your area.
May God bless you and keep you. As always, if we may be of further service, please do not hesitate to drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com
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[…] week I shared the story of Joey, who was suffering from alcoholism and addiction and finally came to a moment of clarity and was […]