“The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you; he cries out, “Destroy them!” (Deuteronomy 33:27)
I’m over 40 days sober. Which is wonderful, I couldn’t be happier. These first 40 days have been relatively easy, with little to no cravings or temptations to drink. However, I know this game all too well. After all, I was eight months sober and still fell back into my old ways. Heck, some people are sober for 20 years and end up falling off the wagon! This gives me serious anxiety. Thinking about a life without alcohol terrifies me. And it’s not because I think I need it, I know I don’t; rather, it’s the fact that I don’t know if I can do it. I’m afraid of failure. This anxiety has even been manifested in my dreams. I dream that I drank and then wake up with that all too familiar Thank-God-that-was-just-a-dream feeling.
I’ve been particularly nervous about my upcoming trip back home to the states. And not necessarily about the time I’ll spend there, but rather the getting there part.
I love airports. They are one of my favorite places to drink (despite the ridiculous prices). I love the anonymity and it always makes those dreaded 4 to 5 hour layovers feel like a breeze. So naturally, thinking about this upcoming trip makes me anxious. I’ve only ever traveled from Arizona-Germany and back one time without drinking a single drip of alcohol, and that was during my eight months of sobriety in 2015. So I know it’s possible.
The reason I’m nervous is because I don’t trust myself. However, the more I’ve reflected on this the more I realize that I’m placing my trust in the wrong person. It’s not me I have to trust, it’s God. As long as I trust in God and keep my gaze on him, I can’t lose. It’s been when my gaze is removed from God that I have lost the fight.
Jesus tells me I don’t have to be afraid. My only task is to keep my eyes on Him. He is always before me beckoning me on-one step at a time. I don’t need to think about yesterday or tomorrow, I just need to focus on today. And instead of viewing sobriety as being deprived of something, I should view it as an opportunity to experience God’s power!
“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate me from the love of God that in revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)
The craving to drink has the strength of a thousand horses. At times it has felt like an out of body experience, like the devil himself has overcome my body, inhibiting me from God’s reach. It is one of the most powerful forces I’ve ever felt, except for one. For however strong future cravings to drink might me, God is stronger. He will always be the strongest and most powerful. He doesn’t lose. And those who stay near to Him, won’t lose either. We will be tested. We will experience pain and strife. But we will not be defeated with God on our side. Sarah tells us that depending on God “may feel like walking on a tightrope,” but, “there is a safety net underneath: the everlasting arms.”
Not drinking feels like walking across the Grand Canyon with nothing but a thin rope connecting me from one side to the other. Two years ago I decided to walk out on that rope, and although I fell off, God swept me up and told me to try again.
I don’t know where I stand on the rope of life now, or if I will fall off again in the future; but one things for certain–I never want to look back. Someday, I will reach the other side of the canyon and meet my Creator, and I hope there I will here Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant. Well done.”