Today marks 3 weeks – 21 days – since I made the decision to live sober. I’m going to have to make this a multi-entry blog over the next few weeks because what I have witnessed and experienced in just 3 weeks of sobriety is nothing short of amazing. I want my journey, learning’s, disciplines and new habits to encourage others. Are you with me?
The million dollar question is, “Why did I quit drinking?” The short answer… God.
The long answer…
- Years of bad decisions that have manifested themselves into deep shame and regret;
- A daughter pointing out that the first thing I do when I get home from work is pour myself a glass of wine before I do anything else;
- A rapidly decreasing memory and a constant fuzzy, cloudy brain;
- Being a pants size too big for over the past year, feeling fat and unhealthy;
- Feeling conscientious of smelling like or sweating alcohol at my morning workout;
- Tired of trying to moderate or keep my drinking under control only to wake up the next day feeling sick and coming to the realization that “I did it again;”
- Finding reasons or excuses to justify drinking;
- A long history of watching alcohol destroy my family;
- My youngest brother getting his 3rd OWI and visiting to him while he was in treatment;
- Failing efforts to go a week, let alone a day, without a drink;
- Being jealous of others who don’t drink and wishing I had that kind of will power;
- Absolutely fed up with being a hypocrite.
I will unpack all of these in future posts.
For the purpose of this first edition of “Why I quit drinking and am choosing sober living” starts with God. He really is the reason that I declared my sentencing and finally put the gavel down. That day and everyday since He has affirmed me and given me the strength to do this. If you read the bible, you know that God has a lot to say about idols. Even if you don’t read the bible you probably know the 10 commandments and #1 is pretty clear, “Thou shall have no other God’s before me” (Exodus 20:3 NIV). When you have god (small g) that is in direct conflict with thee God, there is a clash of priorities which produces stress, unrest, bitter consequences and constant, relentless conviction. For me it was living with a continuous guilt that I was not acting or living according to God’s will for my life.
How do you recognize an idol? An idol is anything that you make more important than God and “it” can take on many identities. Those of us with addictive personalities, it is anything that we obsess about or allow, to give or have, power over us. I remember telling myself, “Instead of drinking tonight, I am going to read my bible” – which I meant and greatly desired. Yet, I would get home from work and feel like I really needed a glass of wine to relax or worse, pouring myself a glass of wine and then sitting down to read my bible. I would have no recollection of what I read and I would get easily distracted by Facebook or some other mindless activity which drained my ambition and would stonewall any plans that I would have for the night.
I am convinced that alcohol is a tool the devil uses to take our minds off of what is important. It becomes our idol because we seek gratification from it; Self gratification or pride being worst idol of all. Whenever you think you “deserve” something, that is a warning sign that you may be nudging God out.
Whenever we satisfy yourselves and seek pleasure of anything outside of God, that is another warning sign that we are prioritizing an idol. John 4:13, “Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed the water I gave them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
I was thirsty again and again at the bottom of every bottle of wine and felt empty again and again every morning.
Here are some verses that God has used to convict me of late:
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)
“What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk” Isaiah 5:11 (NLT)
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3 (NIV)
“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” 1 Peter 1:13 (NIV)
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” 1 Peter 4:7 (NIV)
When these verses kept showing up more and more frequently I knew it was God putting his finger on something I needed to address. I know that drinking alcohol is not a sin by itself and I admire (and am jealous of) people who can enjoy a drink or two with self control. I guess my stop button is broken. I was falling into sin far to frequently, knowing full well that I was not acting or behaving in a way that would bring glory and honor to God; to whom I profess as Lord and the leader of my life.
I have listened to hundreds of testimonies over the past several weeks and I have found them to be very empowering. In recovery, it is strongly recommended that you don’t isolate yourself, not only for your own healing, but for the healing of others as well. This falls in line with the purpose and mission of Godly Girlfriends, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)
This is me, leaning into my own healing and coming out of the dark. Please like this post if it encouraged you today and please share it with others who may benefit from this and future blogs on this subject so we can strengthen one another and stop the devil from ruining our lives and the lives of those we love and care about.