A Moment of Clarity

alcohol-428392_960_720 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:

Alcoholics Anonymous

Celebrate Recovery

Adult & Teen Challenge

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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woman praying to GodI awoke that morning groggy and tired. It couldn’t be that time already. It felt like a suit of weights hanging on my body as I crawled from my bed. The familiar dread hit me hard. I didn’t want to go back to work. Work had become unbearable in the past few months. The atmosphere was toxic. I had never worked in a place so full of turmoil. There was a constant atmosphere of stress and I felt like if I made one mistake I was going to be hauled into the boss’s office and harshly reprimanded. I first noticed this the very week I started there, but I discounted it in the hopes that things would improve over time. They didn’t. One particular woman seemed out to get me. I found out later that her friend was the one I had replaced in my position, so it seemed she was bent on seeing me fail. I found myself crying out to God for help on a regular basis. I began to wonder if I was asking too much of Him.

Do you ever feel like you need help but might be asking too much from God?  There have been many times in my life when I have felt this way; this job I had being one of those times. I think the majority of us have seasons in life when all we can do is cry out to God; where serenity and happiness seem out of reach. If this is how you feel today, don’t agonize over it. God wants us to reach out to him always, and especially in times of need. The Apostle Peter instructed us to “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7.) The truth is, we can never ask too much from God.

I have had to cry out to God numerous times, when life or work or events have overwhelmed me. But God is faithful and always there. When I was in that job, I had a lot of turmoil around me, it seemed like the enemy was using everything and everyone around me to bring me down. It was so stressful it was impacting my health. I recall how God lifted me out of darkness and provided the assurance I was going to be okay, and through Him I could see there was light at the end of the tunnel, even though often it did not feel that way. Sometimes we are so focused on the darkness that we forget to seek and look for the light. In Psalms 3:1-5, David cried out to God in his time of need “Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’ But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.” The same God David cried out to will help you, too!

Strengthening my relationship with God has been the crucial factor for me in learning to handle these types of situations when they come along. I have found that while praying is important and essential, I still must do even more if I expect to experience the fullness of God’s work in my life. My experience tells me that it is difficult to realize the power of God if I am only sitting around waiting for it to happen. The Bible provides guidance on the things we need to do to strengthen our relationship with God. James 4:8 tells us “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” How do we draw closer to God? Prayer is one way, but I find spending time reading my Bible is also crucial. Having quiet time in communion with the Holy Spirit is another. It is important to do all of these things, for in this way we strengthen our relationship with Him.

Faith requires action. If we are making the attempt to draw closer to God and seeking a deeper relationship with Him, He is able to work in our life. Path corrections cannot be made if there is no movement. Give God your momentum so that he can direct you. Keep praying. Keep seeking. Keep praising and thanking Him. God wants to raise you up out of your circumstances. Strengthen your relationship with Him, and He will direct your path.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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