The last few weeks have been difficult for Douglas and me, as sickness seems to have grabbed hold and will not let go! I am so tired of medicine and counting how many more days before the last prescription is done. Yes, I am having a pity party today, and for many years, a party, for me, meant beer! Today, as I sat reading I started thinking about How wonderful it would be to drink a beer. I have not tasted a beer in over 30 years, mainly because I do not have an off switch when it comes to the drinking alcohol.
This means that neither my mind or body will let me know when I have satisfied my thirst, and so I continue to drink, not knowing how to stop. There is no such word as moderation in my vocabulary when it comes to alcohol; it’s all or nothing. Years ago, I had to decide that when it came to drinking beer, wine, or liquor, I had to say no every time, because I had crossed a line and did not know it. People will say to me that one beer will not hurt me, but I explain to them that I had learned the hard way that it really will.
I was coming home from work on the bus when I first felt the sensation of a cold beer going down my throat. It had been an usually hard day at work, and I was feeling so tired and discouraged. I had about $6 in my pocketbook, just enough to buy lunch for the next two days at work. But, as the bus got closer to my stop, and I felt that beer in my throat, I thought that I just might stop at the liquor store across from my bus stop and get a six-pack of beer instead. I had a real dilemma on my hands: food for the next two days or a beer for one night.
When I disembarked from the bus, I found myself crossing the street to buy the beer. As I stood in the store, something inside me seemed to be shouting, “What are you doing?” I stopped, and when the guy asked what I wanted, I looked at him and said, “Nothing. Thank you.” And, I walked home, thinking all the way that I had a problem that I needed help to overcome. If I was choosing to buy beer instead of eating for the next two days, something had went very wrong with me.
I got home, and I started thinking of times when drinking alcohol had nearly cost me my life. I remembered once waking up at home still in the clothes that I had worn out to the club the night before. I don’t know what we were celebrating, but my husband at that time told me that because I was with him, I could drink all I wanted and that he would take care of me. So, I drank whatever he put in front of me. When I used to drink, I thought that I was the best dancer ever placed on earth. ISo, in an attempt to sober up, I talked him into dancing, and the last thing I remember of that night was being on the dance floor shaking my groove thing!
But, the next morning, I found out that I nearly got us both killed, a total shock to me! It seems that I saw a guy hit his girlfriend, and I decided to confront him. I am told that I, not even five feet tall, told this guy who was well over 6 feet tall that if he hit his girlfriend again, I would kill him. At that point, my then-husband had to intervene to keep the guy from shooting us both. I did not remember any of this encounter.
The next morning when I heard what had happened, I immediately wondered what would have happened if I had been carrying a gun and shot that man. I would have went to jail, possibly for the rest of my life, and would never have any remembered the incident that changed my life. Also, I could have died that night, with no time to ask God for repentance for my sins. It should have been a wake-up call for me, but it did not keep me from continuing to drink.
I have wrote before that both of my parents were alcoholics, so I realize that I have a addictive nature. I cannot eat a chocolate bar in the morning because by the end of the day, I have nearly overdosed on chocolate, and as a diabetic, that ain’t good! I once ate nine Krispy Kreme donuts in a row, as I took two dozen home to my children. I think I went into a diabetic coma, but I did not know then that I had the disease. I just did not go there any more, even when the sign was on indicating that the donuts were hot! I simply learned that I really, truly could not eat just one or two or three!
So, you can see my dilemma today. When I feel the need for a beer, I know it is time to reassess what is happening in my life, because I know that something alcoholic is the last thing I need. I realized that I have not been to church for the last three weeks, and, for me, that is a real loss. I love to worship God with others, listening to the choir sing and to the preaching of the Word. I love shaking hands and welcoming my sisters and brothers in Christ as well as visitors with a smile and a few words. It fills me soul with joy and feeds my thirst and hunger for righteousness (Matthew 5:6)
Because I have missed that necessary part of my life, I think that as I struggle to get well from the flu and some minor surgery, my mind went back to an old form of release. But, no worries, I am not going to drink any beer today. I don’t want go backwards. I decided on a cup of coffee instead.
In fact, the day I chose to eat lunch for the next two days rather than buy that six-pack of beer, I started drinking tea and found it a sobering way to relax and let go of the troubles of work. It is true that our God will help us when we are tempted. ! Corinthian 10:13 states, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. AndGod is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
Yet, it is amazing to me how powerful the mind is and how real it can make things seem. I promise you, I could taste the coolness of the beer as it went down my throat. I was never one to drink whiskey, mainly because of the damage that my mother drinking her bourbon and my father drinking his gin caused in our family life, or more to the point, lack of a family life. I did not want my children to experience the lack of attention and Feelins of being unloveable that children of alcoholics endure, but somehow I thought that drinking beer was different. I was wrong, at least in terms of the quality of my life as a parent and as a Christian.
We have to learn what is good for us and what is not good for us, and truly be willing to admit when something simply is not what we need. We also must examine why we consume more than we should of anything that hurts us. For me, that moment came when I realized that I had a problem that would be a lifelong issue.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have wished that all alcohol would just go away, making my decisions about whether to drink beer so much easier. But, I realize that not all people have problems with it, and so I do not have a right to dictate other people’s life choices. Just because I cannot handle it does not mean that everyone should forego it. Indeed, my sister-in-law has won prizes for the wines from her vineyard, but do not ask me what they taste like, because I don’t even attempt to join in when my husband’s family is celebrating her wines. I am just thankful to God for allowing me an escape from the temptations of alcohol, both in the past and for today.