45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had a need.
The book continues… This exert is following a chapter on suicide (a failed attempt) and dual diagnosis. I can’t give away the entire book, but the suggestions and emails that I am receiving are encouraging to say the least, so I thought I’d post a little more. There are solutions.
…as I look back, I wonder what it would have taken at that moment, to admit myself into a detox. Clearly, I needed it. Clearly, I was spiritually dead. Or was I? If someone, a stranger, would have approached me and said to come with them to their church service at that very minute, would have I went? Probably not, however, I would have wanted to deep inside of me. What would have stopped me? A couple of reasons that were very true in my sober mind now, and exaggerated in my drunken mind then:
A perceived judgment from others. At a church? At a 12 step meeting? Yep.
A perceived judgment from God himself. Definitely.
…and lastly, but most importantly: self-imposed detachment from my vodka – my god.
…I once walked into a random church (on a Friday evening) straight from a detox hospital. This particular church had started a “movie night” and I literally had nothing else to do. I was going to sleep outside that night. I had no food, no alcohol, and no money. I was in a city that I was completely unfamiliar with. I had never been there before. My backpack with everything I owned on my shoulder – and I just kept telling myself that people would think I was a student of some sort. Right! 40 something years old with a 5 o’clock shadow and I could smell myself – a student! I recall walking through the enormous parking lot that had just begun receiving cars. I told myself that once I got closer to the building, people wouldn’t realize that I had walked. They would believe I had a car just like everyone else. I remember being impressed that the church had the city police directing traffic and there were members of the church holding up signs to help point people in the right direction.
I walked in and proceeded down an escalator! Yep, this place had an escalator. I had never seen that before. I continued to follow the crowd and couldn’t believe my eyes, when, near the entrance to the sanctuary (or auditorium) were coolers full of soda, coffee pots lined up with fancy cups (with lids!) and more “members” handing out bags of popcorn and candy!
How did they know I was hungry? I couldn’t show any eagerness and take these snacks and drinks – could I? Nope, that would make me appear homeless. I did get a cup of coffee and thought: this will numb my stomach hunger pangs and get me through.
I entered the massive auditorium and found a seat in the nosebleeds, away from everyone else. The music started. There was live music with real instruments. There were laser lights and smoke machines. The soundboard was as large as a dining room table and there were professional movie cameras everywhere – one of which was on a telescoping boom that looked like it should be at a professional football stadium. The music boomed. The singer’s voices were incredible and sent waves of shivers down my spine. God was there. No doubt, no disputes, God himself was sitting right next to me and tears were streaming down my face uncontrollably.
If only the church knew what was going on with me.
Would they help me?
They didn’t ask.
I won’t tell them – and I didn’t.
…What did the 12 Apostles do and say at their brand new churches to convince sinners that Jesus saved them? Why can’t I feel this way? If I did feel this way, would I stop (or try to stop) drinking? How did they persuade thousands of people to feel the mercy and grace of our Lord? I had to know. I don’t want to hang my head down anymore, but people and shame hindered my every move. Do I quake in fear of being identified with Jesus? Yes, but why? Probably in part due to the fear of the same persecution that they encountered. Maybe the same reason the “big book” added later “as we understood Him” to simply God. Fear and self will…
Comments and emails invited 🙂