I am a new creature in Christ today, however the journey to that was not a pleasant one because of my self-centeredness. I have a will that has been contaminated by sin and Paul describes this dilemma in Romans 7: 18-24.
I was taught as a child the right way to live but as I grew older my self will wanted to run riot and so I rebelled against my family, church, society and God. The contaminated will was able to take control even further because I let alcohol become the center of my life. Yes, I was addicted to alcohol, my drug of choice. The result of placing my will on the wrong side hurt many people in my life and those hurt the most were people the closest to me.
My youth was spent in the metropolitan New York area and my family was comprised of European immigrant grandparents and first generation American parents, Aunts and Uncles. I was the oldest of three and my sisters were twins three years younger than I.
The family was Catholic and I attended church and catechism classes as well as being an altar boy for a short time. My behavior was rebellious and I found myself in trouble with the priests and nuns more than I liked. The culture at the time was one where the priests and nuns would hand out punishments for kids like me hoping we would change. The cry was be more like Jesus and do good works. The condemnation turned me away from the church as well as God because I felt He was a punishing, condemning God just like the leaders in the church. I would avoid going to service and study classes when my parents sent me. I would go instead to a local candy store and meet friends where we would smoke cigarettes drink sodas and hang out. We were all between the ages of 11-15 and there was plenty of time to progress toward more dubious activities.
The time came where a few of us met in a vacant lot and drank a bottle of whiskey. The result for me was a feeling of freedom and that I was OK. The feeling OK was a lot better than the condemnation I seemed to be getting so I continued to drink for some 30 years to keep that feeling. Alcohol had become my God.
The problem with addiction is that it always leads a person down spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally. This was happening all along however I kept doing the same thing over and over expecting a better result (the OK feeling). I was insane!
I eventually lost my wife and five kids, a business and myself. I had troubles with the police, relationships and finances. Finally on my last night of drinking, the most dysfunctional night of my life I cried out for help to a God I did not know and had turned my back on.
God is faithful and He heard my plea (1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.) and answered me with Love. He restored my life first by lifting the obsession to drink and making me sane (2 Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.)
What a loving God who sent Jesus to save and provides us with the Holy Spirit to guide us rather than try to do it by works. He sent me to AA for early recovery and to a Catholic priest in AA that explained the Love of Jesus and that I am OK in the eyes of Jesus. I was born again as this priest told me about the real meaning of the cross and surrender. I finally found what I was looking for all those years of drinking and it was not in the bottle but in a relationship with Jesus and getting to know Him through the Bible where the 12 steps reside. He has led me through one of the kids in that long ago lot to the SDA church for the final message. He has allowed me to share recovery and Jesus’ Love in the church for the last 27 years along with others in recovery who have taught me about a Loving God.
Jesus remembers my prayer of surrender and keeps working in my life. He has provide me with a loving Christian wife of 27 years, restored my relationship with those five children and provided two more as well as eight grandchildren to love.