Get Uncomfortable

Sometimes I have friends or acquaintances ask me how I recovered from substance abuse and alcohol (although alcohol was more of an adverse reaction, it was also an addiction.) My answer usually makes them pretty uncomfortable. But I have nothing else to tell them. If I don't tell them the truth, then why even bother? 

It started with Jesus. That answer alone had eyes rolling. But it's true. The chains of addiction were broken once I finally got uncomfortable. I remember praying one morning, asking God to make my wine taste like sour vinegar, to where I could no longer ingest it. I didn't get my prayer answered---(at least the way I wanted.) God answered me in the form of a life-threatening reaction. He needed to wake me up. 

"'Lord, help!' they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He led them from darkness and deepest gloom; He snapped their chains."---Psalm 106:13-14

It was when I opened my Bible, that my answers started coming at me, in different context---my own personal answers straight from the book. 

I opened up to verse, 1 Peter 5:8. "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 

I kept seeing this scripture over and over. I wasn't ready to hear the message yet. I even thought, "Well, Jesus made water into wine, so...." 

I even used the Scripture from Timothy: 

"Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." (1 Tim 5:23)

How could drinking wine be a sin? ---It isn't a sin. It's only a sin if it is affecting your life and what you need to do. It's like the scripture, "...if your hand causes you to sin, then cut it off." It's not meant in the literal sense, but metaphorically telling you that if something is causing you to {sin}---to fall back in life or wreak havoc in your life and those around you, then yes---cut. it. off. 

God didn't worsen the taste of wine for me, instead, my heart was affected by it. It put my heart into afib, leaving me with a heart rate that skyrocketed to 200 beats per minute sometimes. I wasn't willing to mess with that. But my addiction played mind games with me. "Just reduce then amount---you'll be fine." But even one or two drinks did this as well. 

In an article written by, By Elizabeth Fernandez----

"A single glass of wine can quickly – significantly – raise the drinker’s risk for atrial fibrillation, according to new research by UC San Francisco. The study provides the first evidence that alcohol consumption substantially increases the chance of the heart rhythm condition occurring within a few hours. The findings might run counter to a prevailing perception that alcohol can be 'cardioprotective,' say the authors, suggesting that reducing or avoiding alcohol might help mitigate harmful effects.  

'Contrary to a common belief that atrial fibrillation is associated with heavy alcohol consumption, it appears that even one alcohol drink may be enough to increase the risk,' said Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS, professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at UCSF. 'Our results show that the occurrence of atrial fibrillation might be neither random nor unpredictable,' he said. 'Instead, there may be identifiable and modifiable ways of preventing an acute heart arrhythmia episode.' Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart arrhythmia seen clinically, but until now research has largely focused on risk factors for developing the disease and therapies to treat it, rather than factors that determine when and where an episode might occur. AF can lead to loss of quality of life, significant health care costs, stroke and death."

What happened to the studies that had shown that alcohol was good for the heart? I relied on that to be my "daily aspirin." 

A year and a half later, I was going through a very depressive state. I was angry, because I didn't have the comforts of a nice cold vodka on the rocks to soothe my rage. I was sad, because I didn't have my crutch any longer. But maybe just one glass of wine? I even went downstairs into the basement to grab a bottle I usually kept for guests. I stared at it as it sat on my counter. I ran the tape of how my night would play out, usually ending up in the ER getting an EKG. Instead, I sat down and prayed. 

I prayed to God to allow me to drink my wine again---even after being sober for a year and a half! 

He answered me.

"Truly, I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God." ---Mark 14:25

-----But I read it as this-----

"Truly, I tell you, you will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when you drink it new in the Kingdom of God." 

And that, is going to be the best wine ever! 

I had to get uncomfortable with my new lifestyle choice. I had to remind myself, that sitting at a bar eating dinner may temp me to flag down the bartender for a glass of wine. 

I had to get uncomfortable with the fact that other drinkers around me will also feel uncomfortable. 

I had to get uncomfortable with the fact that although my partner doesn't have a problem drinking, it is possible for her to still dabble in a drink or two when she gets home from work. It's a matter of 'functional' vs 'dysfunctional.'

I had to get uncomfortable and sit with my emotions and soul wounds....alone....without alcohol. (This is where the healing takes place.) 

I'm not a believer in getting rid of "people, places and things." Never was. This is my problem, and mine alone. If I'm not strong enough to help myself, then the battle is lost. 

So my point is, whenever you ask me how I did it---and how I got clean---don't get all agitated once I give all the glory to God---because it was Jesus who saw me through these difficult times and pulled me out of the pit of darkness. Without Him, I probably wouldn't have made it out alive. 

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