Do you listen? Do you obey, even when it doesn’t make sense?
From personal experience, I can unequivocally say YES to all, although not necessarily in that order or on a timely basis. I am an alcoholic. I abused alcohol for over 20 years. Did I plan to? Nope. Did I ruin my marriage, career, health, and relationship with my daughter? Yes. I can go on and on. Do I wonder how in the Hell I got there? You bet. But I can’t, or won’t go back, only forward. And I’m not alone. Jesus is by my side!
Let me try to start at the beginning. I was a happy housewife and mother, or at least so I thought. I was active in my daughter’s school and volunteered in the community. As the time approached for her to move on to middle school, the educational situation where we lived was less than ideal and private schooling was recommended. To accomplish that, it was necessary that I return to work full time; my salary would be dedicated to her tuition.
I was a social drinker at home. Work came and I did drink, responsibly, at work related events. As I look back now, when, and how did it begin? I don’t know. I do know that I would drink after everyone left the house and prior to me leaving for work. This went on for close to 15 years. I was an EXCELLENT “functioning” alcoholic without even knowing it. No matter how good you are at hiding, lying, denying, any addiction will finally rear its ugly head. I lost everything! After my divorce, I moved into an apartment where I drank so much, I couldn’t hold a job, declared bankruptcy, while my health deteriorated to the point that I was on the path to become an organ donor recipient – my liver and pancreas were failing. I was so deep into my body’s dependence on alcohol that the medical professionals advised me NOT to stop drinking on my own but to admit myself as an inpatient so my body could gradually be weaned from alcohol. If not, my body might react violently and death was a good possibility.
Yes, I tried AA. I wasn’t ready. AA is for people who had a problem and that wasn’t me. I remained in denial the entire time. Yes, I prayed for years to be healed, stopped for a day, and then right back and I’d blackout for 3 days. A vicious cycle.
Then on June 1, 2021 (after waking up from a 3-day blackout) God spoke to me. YES. He spoke to me in a very stern voice: he told me to pour out every ounce of alcohol in my apartment. I did it with extreme hesitation but when God speaks to you in that tone, you listen and obey.
I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol since. I’ve even given up my favorite rum raisin ice cream as the raisins are soaked in rum. Here’s where Jesus never leaves your side and the Holy Spirit is the strongest presence you can ever imagine. I haven’t had the desire to drink nor do I miss it. The doctors continued to be mystified about the 180 degree change in my health. Immediately the tests results on my organs, blood, etc. showed no evidence of abuse and continue to do so to this day.
Has it all been rosy? No, but it hasn’t been insurmountable either. The biggest hurdle: taking responsibility. It doesn’t matter what happened, why, etc. Bottom line: I was weak and chose to drink. I messed up and humbled myself before God and truly, truly repented. No, it’s time to rebuild my life. I’m working on rebuilding my relationship with my daughter and it’s taking time, but I see God’s healing power working. Financially I’m still struggling but daily ask God for wisdom and through the Holy Spirit for guidance, strength, determination, and hope. I will not fall prey again to hopelessness. Addicts, regardless of their affliction, are wonderful at manipulating, lying, and blaming others. Believe me, I have an A+ in that department.
My purpose in writing this? As I type these words, I know that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are guiding me to let others know that are in this situation – no matter how bad it gets, no matter how bad you feel that you’ve messed up, God will ALWAYS provide you with love, forgiveness and redemption through His Son, Jesus. Christ.
I guess I’m just offering a friendly ear with no judgment as I’ve been there. There is always healing and hope through Jesus Christ.
Laurie Shipley began worshipping with GPPC in August of 2023.