My name is Tom, I am a faithful believer in Jesus Christ and I have suffered from alcoholism. My childhood wasn’t wonderful but that does not apply to this story. I was a functional alcoholic for about 14 years. I never drank in the morning, never lost my job and never got arrested. This kept me in my alcoholism for many years. I even quit for a year to shut up my “nagging” wife that said I drank too much (which I did). Then one day on Mar 9th
2000 I had a life changing experience. I don’t remember leaving the bar where I was drinking, I don’t remember going down the wrong side of the interstate, I don’t remember getting into a 3 car accident. What I do remember was waking up handcuffed to a gurney in the hospital. When I was finally released from jail I saw the truck that I was driving and I shouldn’t have lived and I decided that something had to change. This was the point that I became a Christian and I wish that the alcoholic story stopped here but it doesn’t. I went to Alcoholics Anonymous (to appease my wife) and when I came home my wife asked me “how did it go”. I told her “these people have issues. I don’t belong there”. This was my first trip to that river in Egypt “de-nial”. I couldn’t drink anymore because my wife would smell it so I discovered that addictions will shift. I soon shifted to food. I was in the military so that didn’t work well. So then my addiction shifted to prescription pills. With many of my family members on pain pills this was very easy for me. After the discovery of my pill taking I then shifted to “the Baptist bourbon” Nyquil capsules. I had another DUI in 2004 (actually 2 one week apart) and that was a catalyst for my not being allowed to reenlist in the Navy and I ended up getting out after 16 years. Of course this still didn’t hit home that I needed help. I still ended up getting 2 more DUI’s. I soon discovered a couple of key points. 1) None of us woke up one morning and decided to become an addict. Something happened to us that we need to escape and haven’t dealt with. We prefer to be in the world of drunk or high than dealing with reality. Until we deal with what we call bitter roots in your life you will never be free and will continue to suffer. You may say that “this is stupid. I am an intelligent person. I know I am an intelligent person. I have no bitter roots”. I am a nuclear engineer. I said the same thing but until I forgave my mother for never giving me the discipline that I needed, I was never set free from my addiction. 2) There is only 1 higher power that can help you and that is Jesus Christ. I really got turned off by Alcoholics Anonymous when someone had a higher power as the post he sat next to. He relapsed numerous times while I was there. My brother (who suffers with heroin addiction) still has the cravings for heroine because he refuses to have any sort of religion as part of his life. And he is about to go to prison again for his addiction because of it. I have now been alcohol/drug free for almost 3 years and am now a ministry leader at Pelham Celebrate Recovery and have never been happier in my entire life. I am still dealing with character flaws and I am convinced that God will continue to point out character flaws until Jesus comes back but I now have the coping skills to deal with them.
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