“Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”(Matthew 26:41)
I was cleaning up at work, thinking about how happy I was that it was Friday and that I was getting off early. It had been a long, stressful week of working with toddlers, and I was ready for some R&R. I was going over some basic errands I needed to run, such as grocery shopping, go pay my gym membership, and buy some cat litter, when the thoughts started to invade.
“Why not go to the liquor store and buy a .75 of vodka? You have time and money.”
”It sure would be nice to unwind with some drinks. You could handle a few. You have been sober awhile now.”
I was startled by how strong these thoughts were this time around. For quite some time they had just been a passing thought that I would easily disregard. I was able to identify that these were crazy, insane, alcoholic thoughts and switch my thinking rather quickly. But this time the thoughts were repeating and producing a craving to drink. What I was feeling was comparable to the feeling a person gets when they are going to try and get away with something. It is a mixture of excitement, fear, and adrenaline. These are very familiar feelings for an alcoholic about to start drinking. These were the feelings I was experiencing.
I caught myself and went home for the day without stopping at any liquor stores, but the thoughts continued. I was upset because for months now, my recovery had started to become my new life. My days were filled with work, people, and activities that all helped me stay sober. I was busy all the time, and enjoying the life sobriety delivered. I didn’t spend a lot of my time thinking about drinking, except for discussion purposes in my support groups I attend. My new life was too busy, too full, too wonderful to even consider going back there.
I decided my best weapon at this time was to pray. I realized that because my mind was off fantasizing about my sin, I was having a hard time finding a spiritual connection to grasp. This had been the story all week. I didn’t feel close to God, I felt distant and out of touch with Him. I had allowed myself to get lazy in my daily time with God, and had put Him on the back burner. I thought about the person I had been all week, and decided I didn’t like who that person was all that well. I had been negative, sarcastic, and gossiped. I had judged people and thought about myself more then I should have. I hadn’t committed any serious crimes. I hadn’t drank. But I still could see that I had lived a week with God in the background. No wonder the devil had snuck in with his temptations. I was going into battle without my armor!
I closed my eyes and simply prayed: “Jesus, I am sorry I have let myself drift. Please hold onto me, because I am doing a really crappy job of holding onto You. Please don’t let me go. I don’t want to go back.”
I shared with my mom and fiance how I had been feeling. I listened to some bible verses and remembered I only needed to be concerned with today, even just the next five minutes if that is what it took to get me through sober. I decided to write about it.
Sobriety isn’t always easy. Some days are harder then others. But I have learned that there are things I can do to increase my odds for success. The first sip of alcohol is my choice, after that my alcoholism will take over. So I have to stay on top of that first drink crave. It is essential that I stay “spiritually fit.” Support groups, my peers in recovery, and honesty are all tools I must utilize. But these things will only be temporary fixes for me if I don’t arm myself with God. He is the ”X factor” for me in all of this. If I didn’t have Him to pray to today, I know for a fact I would have drank today. I would still be drinking. That is my pattern. The beautiful thing about Jesus is, He can break an unbreakable pattern.
There is 90 minutes left in this day. I have no doubt I will remain sober for them all. And there is an excellent chance I will stay sober tommarow. I know my earlier prayer has been heard, and that God holds no contempt for the lack of priority I gave Him this week. Thankfully for me, I am a imperfect person loved by a perfect God. He held on to me in my weakness. If anything, this is just another lesson He has taught me. I feel like He is up there chuckling a little to Himself asking: “How many times do I have to show you how much you need Me?”
Next week will be better.