If Alcohol Is a Problem
It has always amazed me that the United States is by far the most powerful and successful nation the world has ever produced, while simultaneously being populated by multiplied millions of dysfunctional people. When you think about it, isn’t this amazing? How can so many of us be messed up and yet be such a strong, resilient, and successful nation? Have you ever thought about our situation like this? Can you imagine how strong we would be, if we were able to put our act together?
I certainly have pondered this, and it has led me to think about ways to tackle one of our greatest national problems—alcoholism. It’s a problem that not only destroys the life of the drinker, but also of every member of his or her family, especially the enablers and the children of alcoholics. Kids who grow up in families, where alcoholism is a problem, start out life with two strikes against them. Sometimes, they have no chance at all.
Since alcoholism is what has been modeled to these kids throughout their formative years, many also end up becoming alcoholics—just like dear old Dad or dear old Mom. But it doesn’t have to be this way; it’s a problem that has a solution.
If this is your problem—or you think it might be a problem—you needn’t lose hope. Help is available—right here, right now. The answers are simple, but getting from where you are to where you need to be certainly isn’t. Achieving sobriety is like swimming against the current, with everything in life impeding your progress. Getting sober requires perseverance.
So, if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, and if you are ready to make some fundamental changes in your life—changes that will help you become the person God created you to be—you can become that person. This is not “pie in the sky” wishful thinking. Your life can be transformed. It can happen, and it will happen, if you are willing to work for it.
So, if alcoholism is the problem, if it adversely affects you and your family, you’ve come to the right place. Following Jack’s Path will help. If you will allow me to help you, which I am qualified to do, I will. The reason is simple: I’ve learned from my journey, and I intend to bestow the wisdom gained through my experiences upon you.
I’ve been sober for nearly twenty-three years, which is quite a feat for an Irish-Catholic kid reared in Boston—where drinking was part of nearly every social occasion we had. At my father’s wake, for instance, everybody was drunk except for him, and he would have been, if he could have. I’m not kidding. This is the way it was for multitudes and still is.
My mom was an out-of-control alcoholic. She got drunk and passed out twice a day—not once, twice. Neither my brother, who is one year younger, nor I could count on her for anything. If we had to go someplace, and she was drunk, we would have to hitchhike. By the time I was twelve, hitchhiking was my primary means of transportation and remained so for years. I did it thousands of times until I finally purchased a car after college.
Decades later, just thinking about such behavior, with so many predators lurking, is scary; but at the time, it seemed perfectly natural. I didn’t resent doing it either. It was an adventure. For me, hitchhiking was a regular part of my life; so was my mom’s drinking.
At the same time, having such a distorted view of what was normal created many problems when I became an adult. Because of what my parents modeled, drinking to excess seemed like perfectly acceptable behavior. I felt this way even after I invited Christ to come into my life at nineteen.
Having been raised by a poor role model, I chose women who were troubled rather than those who weren’t. Like all kids, I said I never wanted to be like my parents, but this is exactly what I became, although I didn’t recognize it for years. It was how I was programmed. I didn’t like the results it produced, but I didn’t know how to reverse the pattern.
Despite this, in my self-awareness, I realized I would not become the person Christ wanted me to be by following the patters of my family-of-origin. It just wasn’t going to happen. I had to renew my mind and become someone I had not been programmed to be.
This is when I started making some fundamental changes, including picking up a white chip at AA, which signaled my desire—coupled with my commitment—to stop drinking. This was essential, but it was also just one step. To become useful to the Lord, which I knew was God’s will, I had much more work to do than just remain sober. I wanted to achieve fulfillment, and I have, although I continue to be a work in progress. Aren’t we all?
How I have accomplished this is the purpose for this article and those that will follow in Sonoma Christian Home. If you choose to follow, doing the necessary work, I’ll help you to become the person you have always wanted to be—the person God intends for you to be. If this is something you want as well, let’s begin. Join me in the following prayer:
I want to be who You want me to be—
Not the person I have become.
When I was young and looked toward the future,
I had great hopes, with high, noble aspirations.
Now, those dreams have faded, and the outlook
Doesn’t seem nearly as positive as it once did.
But my past does not have to determine my future.
You can change everything. You can make me whole.
You can restore the years that have been wasted—
Eaten away by debilitation, dysfunction, and dissipation.
Help me, Father. Help me now—this very minute.
Do not tarry. Change me from the inside out,
So that I can once again smile at my prospects.
Help me stop my downward, self-destructive slide
That has caused me so much pain and loss.
Be there for me, as I take the broken pieces of my life,
Bring them to You—one by one—and have them redeemed.
Instill in me a willing heart, as well as the energy
To become the person You intend for me to be,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your path straight.