“I have told you all of this so that you may find peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
One of the main contributors to my alcohol problem is my lack of social skills. Which is ironic because if you ask anybody who knows me or that I’ve been acquainted with in the past they would probably tell you otherwise. Perhaps I’ve developed a talent for hiding my true colors, but chances are, I was just drunk enough to drown the quiet introvert that I truly am. Because in reality, social situations give me anxiety. I much rather be at home, alone, with a book than be forced to talk to other people. Sad, but true.
Most of the memories from my childhood have been suppressed into the twisted caverns of my mind. It seems like the memories of my life only begin in my early adolescent years. I distinctly remember when I started drinking. My girlfriends and I would somehow get our hands on bottles of Smirnoff Vodka in all different flavors and proceed to binge drink to the point of puking or blacking out. Alcohol was my social crutch, my companion, my confidant, my secret hiding place. Nervous? Have a drink. Bored? Why not have a drink. Sad? Drink. Happy? Drink! My immediate remedy for all emotions, good or bad, was to drink. Why? I’m not entirely sure. I have my hypotheses, but would that really change anything? Probably not. I’m simply ill-equipped to handle my emotions. To just sit with a feeling without doing anything about it has been a foreign concept to me. Somehow I had to consume the right amount of booze to sustain emotional equilibrium.
Almost all of my social relationships have been based off the premise that being drunk leads to making lasting connections with people. Alcohol has been the connective tissue holding my friendships together. In high school I used to steal bottles upon bottles of liquor and beer from my local grocery stores. Thank God, I never got caught. Then again, maybe it would have been better if I did. I was trying to impress my peers, I wanted to be cool and I craved the attention. The world was my playground and I didn’t give a damn about authority. I drank before school, at school, and after school, didn’t matter. Life was just too much to handle. Looking back it seems like I was terrified of the world around me. But to think that God was with me the entire time, and has never left my side, is mind-boggling. The fact that its taken me 27 years to finally admit that I’m a full-blown alcoholic is equally as mind-boggling. The memories that have flooded my mind are the writing on the wall. There’s no denying it now. No turning back. Nowhere to run, but into the loving arms of God.
“How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues.” (Psalm 31:19-20)
Lavish it on those who come to you for protection. God is always with me, but I have to acknowledge His presence in order to knowingly receive His protection and comfort. He is there, and has always been there, but I cannot find what I do not seek. There is nothing that God doesn’t already know. Nothing beyond His infinite power and wisdom. Nobody can ever love me more than He. He will never give me more than I can handle because with Him by my side there is nothing to fear. I no longer have to fear walking into a room full of people, many of whom are drinking, I have an invisible shield protecting me. I’m not in this alone. So I pray…
God, protect me. Shield me. Quiet my heart in times of sorrow and discomfort. Hold my hand as I walk through life. Encourage me to seek help for my addiction. Build up my strength and tear down my walls. Break these chains I’ve been living in. As the waves start crashing down, hold my head above water. Be my rainbow in the storm Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.