Some people have difficulty becoming humble enough to admit they need something beyond themselves — a personal savior. That’s one reason I have come to believe that pride ranks high in the hierarchy of sins. Pride leads us to believe we are spiritually self-sufficient, and keeps us from drawing close to God. For years I acted at though I was the god of my universe. My morality compass was broken. I did what I wanted to do, and if confronted about my behavior I became defensive. I was self-righteous and felt I didn’t need God. At times I didn’t know if I even believed in God.
God grabbed my attention in spite of my unbelief. His influence was not apparent to me at first. I just blamed things on bad luck. I lost jobs and wives and apartments and cars. I continued to live the lifestyle of a party animal. I was hopelessly addicted to alcohol and was using opiates on a regular basis. Of course, it did not dawn on me that drinking and taking drugs was the root of my problems. I did not see my behavior as being indicative of an underlying spiritual malady. Although I went up to the alter at age thirteen and confessed Jesus as the Son of God and my Savior, I did not accept this fact down in my soul. I think I was looking for a simple solution to my misery. Besides, I wanted people to think I had changed.
I fell into deep depression and started losing my grip on normalcy. I could not stop drinking. I don’t think I wanted to stop quite frankly. I remember admitting to myself that I was an alcoholic, but I wasn’t sure I felt like doing anything about it. I had come to the point where I couldn’t live with alcohol and I couldn’t live without it. I have always been interested in writing, and believed I could compose things better when drunk or high. Guess I thought I was the next Ernest Hemingway. But without fail, most of my writings made no sense the next morning. I never finished any of my writing, leaving my hard drive littered with fragmented projects.
I quit drinking in 2008, but unfortunately I began abusing Ativan and opiates. For some reason, I thought I was sober. I figured pills were different. It didn’t take long until I was once again living in a fog. My life became unmanageable all over again. I started living a lie. I was teaching Bible study at the county jail, speaking on deliverance, but was popping pills. This continued for several years, getting worse with the passing of every month. I was not able to control how many pills I took, nor could I resist the temptation to take medication belonging to other people. Ultimately, my family confronted me in an intervention. I spent twenty-one days in a drug and alcohol treatment center.
Today in church we skipped the sermon and continued to worship and pray. A man came to services that had been getting food from our food bank. He had the odor of alcohol on his breath today and wanted us to pray for him. Our congregation surrounded him and laid hands on him. We prayed for release of the bondage of alcohol. Then our pastor asked church members to come up front and stand in the gap for loved ones struggling with addiction. The congregation also prayed for me. I felt the presence of God. It was very moving. I am grateful that I was able to put my pride aside and recognize the need for spiritual healing. For the need of a personal savior. I have said before that my higher power is Jesus Christ. He delivers the captive from bondage. He heals the sick. He is my Lord and Master.