Tag Archives: Substance Abuse

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 7

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. -John 15:12

It is a choice to pick up an offense.  There is a certain man who came and joined us in treatment recently.  It is not my intent to bad mouth anyone but I must do some “flushing” here.  This man has pushed my patience.  I have not yet expressed my feelings to him but I have been tempted.

It’s interesting that today in group we were talking about confrontation and the avoidance of it.  This man has an entirely different worldview than mine and I’m fine with that.  Many of us here have different worldviews but we focus on the similarities that we have – one of them being addiction.

I am not in a Christian recovery center and in many ways I am glad about that.  This is where God has placed me.  There are some Christians here and many who are not.  Some of these have asked me questions and I’ve been able to share with them.  I see that as the appropriate time to talk.  I’m not threatened by different worldviews and am quite interested in the way others view the world.  But what has irritated me with this guy is the inappropriate times he finds it necessary to “preach” his worldview.

We will be in group talking about recovery skills, or something else recovery related, and somehow multiple times he has switched the subject and begins talking about his new age philosophies.  He will talk about the universe and “the divine” who speaks to him while on drugs.

It has tested my patience!  I find it quite annoying, disruptive and distracting but I humbly ask God for His love towards this person.  It’s hard to love some people but God certainly loves everyone of us no matter how screwy our view of Him may be.  Tonight I pray for compassion and love towards this man and that His eyes may be opened to the love of the Father.

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 6

But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. -Matthew 6:15

Yesterday in group we talked about resentments.  It is said that resentment is the number one offender.  It destroys more alcoholics than anything else.  I realized I hold a lot of resentment towards myself because of my past actions.  I also realized I have some family related resentments of people not living up to the expectations I put in place for them.

The Holy Spirit led me to Matthew 6:15.  I read it in a different light this time.  I’ve known it’s important to forgive others to free ourselves but I also must forgive myself.   Not forgiving myself when Jesus already has is futile.  It’s actually bondage, and if I might say a sin of disobedience.  Seeing ourselves as different than how the Father sees us is like locking ourselves up in prison and trying to hide the key somewhere in the cell.  God wants us to live in freedom.  It’s time to let the resentments go!

God grant me the power to forgive others and myself.  Allow me to grasp the redeeming power of the cross and live in freedom as the new man which you have already told me I am.

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 5

Last night I got to thinking that one of my biggest problems with getting sober is denial.  I deny that I have a true addiction.  I justify my drinking by pointing out others I know that are worse.  I deny that drinking is a sin.. “Jesus drank wine.”

My greatest threat to relapse is lying to myself saying, “I can just have a couple drinks.”  The truth is that I’m an alcoholic and I cannot just have a couple drinks.  The truth is that I have setup alcohol as an idol.  I push God aside and get drunk.  Drinking drives me away from Him in my relationship because in my heart I feel guilt.

I know that God loves me beyond any mistake I could ever make, but when I drink I push Him away.  Much like Adam in the garden I hide.  I ignore Him and put alcohol first.

I’ve asked God to give me a heart of repentance.  This morning in meditation I read Lamentations.

The Lord is righteous for I rebelled against His commandment.  Hear now all peoples and behold my sorrow… -Lamentations 1:18

See O Lord, that I am in distress, my soul is troubled, my heart is overturned within me, for I have been very rebellious.  Outside the sword bereaves, at home it is like death. -Lamentations 1:20

I am distressed, my soul is troubled, I have been rebellious, I am filled with sorrow, and at home – where I would do the majority of my drinking – it has been like death.

At an AA meeting last week someone who had been sober for over four years said that he feels like he’s finally living.  That’s what I want.  I want to live life the way God intended it to be for me.  I do not want to be drunk with wine but filled with the Holy Spirit.

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 4

Today was my first day involved in the daily activities.  Praise God my detox has gone extremely well.  We do open meditation each morning and I decided to do scripture meditation.  The Lord led me to Psalm 27.  Immediately I felt His gracious and healing presence.  The verse that really spoke to me was Psalm 27:5.

For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion.

This verse reassured me that I am in the right place for my recovery.  His overwhelming presence comforted me.  I have been in trouble, a lot of trouble.  I asked God for help and He responded.  He brought me to a safe place where I can recoup and of course He came with me.

A couple tears started to roll down my cheek and I gently opened my hands up to Him as an act of worship and gratitude.  He truly cares for me and wants the best for me.  He never gives up on me, and is always there when I humbly ask for help.

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life, of who shall I be afraid? -Psalm 27:1

Shall I fear addiction? No because the Lord is my deliverer.

Shall I fear guilt and shame? No because the Lord is my redeemer.

Shall I fear a lack of trust in myself and the potential of relapse? No because the Lord is my strength and Christ lives in me.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**


New Wine of the Spirit – Post 3

There’s a single painting hanging on the wall of my room.  The picture is a view from the shoreline looking out into the ocean.  A single small fishing boat is in the calm waters not far from the shore.  At the bottom of the painting is a caption with the word, “BREATHE.”

I’ve found myself looking at this painting and reflecting a lot.  It reminds me of a time I felt God’s presence and complete peace while floating in the calm waters of San Clemente Beach.  From that memory it reminds me of the day I was baptized years later at that same exact beach.

The overall scene reminds me of God’s beauty in nature and the many times I’ve gazed into the sky with awe.  The word “breathe” I receive as a word from the Lord and it takes me to Psalm 46:10.

Be still and know that I am God.

In the stillness we are just breathing.  We are breathing in His life.  When we are still we are not anxious, worried, distressed or angry.  We are simply still in the presence of God and all the life around us that He created.

I will accept this word of the Lord today and be still and breathe.  I will cast my burdens away in His presence and accept His healing grace.  It’s in the stillness when we slow down and breathe that we feel His presence.  It’s in the stillness that we know He is God.

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 2

Day one of sobriety.  Sleeping last night was a little tough.  I fell asleep easily but woke up around 3:30am and found myself with racing thoughts and restlessness.  I opened my bible and was led to two scriptures:

So it was, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-Brith their god.  Thus the children of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies… -Judges 9:33-34

The Israelites returned to idolatry.  They returned once they forgot what the LORD had done for them.

Alcohol is my enemy and my idol.  It is out to destroy me.  A few years back one of the first dreams the Lord gave me as an adult believer was of the Apostle Paul coming to me and saying, Lest you forget!”  God soon after delivered me from my enemy alcohol and I remained sober for a good 9 months or so.  I believe in the dream I was being warned to remember the deliverance the Lord would give me, and in that to remember the goodness and providence He would provide me.

Towards the end of my 9 month sobriety streak I started struggling with extreme doubt and unbelief which ultimately led to depression.  I do believe now this was spiritual warfare and I was under attack badly.  I told myself lies, that I had gotten sober by my own strength.  Pride and anger crept in and I felt I had been deceived.  In an intellectual sense I almost lost my faith entirely.  But my heart did not give up.  Though intellectually I was denying the existence of God my heart held strong to the truth.

In our hearts I believe we all know the truth.  It is our limited understanding that conflicts and drives us to ignore our heart.  Today I humbly push aside my own understanding and listen to my heart.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. -Proverbs 3:5

Yes, it’s easier said than done.  We are intellectual beings and have a hunger for knowledge and understanding.  But if we are honest with ourselves there is a whole lot in this life that we will never fully understand.  I’m being honest with myself and accepting that I don’t have all the answers.  I never did and never will.  But I have no doubt that my heart knows the Truth.

The next verse the Lord showed me was John 15:5.

I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

In the past couple months I’ve told myself a few times that I would go sober.  These attempts never lasted more than a day or two.  They didn’t last because I was trying to do it on my own, through my own strength.  But my own strength does not have the power to overcome my addiction.  By my own strength I fail again and again.  The only lasting sobriety I have ever found was when I was abiding in Christ.  It is then that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.  I cannot do this without Him, and so to Him I ask: “Lord help me!”

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. -John 14:26

Holy Spirit help me, fill me and remind me of the goodness and deliverance of the Lord my God!

**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

New Wine of the Spirit – Post 1

Today I find myself in rehab.  My emotions are mixed – positive and negative.

Negative:  I feel guilt, like I messed up.  I feel disappointed in myself.  I feel upset that I have to leave my wife at home by herself.

Positive:  I am glad I have taken a drastic step towards sobriety.  I know I have a problem and ignoring it as I have does nothing.  I am ready for a change!

My problem frustrates me.  I wish I did not have it.  Part of me says, “You’re better than this.  You shouldn’t have to be here.”  But I know that is a lie.  I am not better than this, I have an addiction and I need to come to this realization.   Today I set my hope in God’s help.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. -2 Corinthians 12:9 

More mixed emotions: I find comfort in this verse and at the same time I find it unsettling.  I love the idea that His strength is perfect in my weakness but I find it hard to fully believe.  Who should I believe?  God’s word or my doubt?

Lord I believe, help my unbelief. -Mark 9:24

Today I choose to have faith!

I will simplify this verse and say, “God I believe you can help me and I want you to help me.  I accept your help.  I accept your grace.”

Abide in Me and I in you. -John 15:4

Yes Lord, I accept your commandment.  We will abide in each other and your perfect strength will overcome my weakness.  I believe you are with me now and thank you for your presence.

The best is yet to come!


**This is a journal entry previously written during my stay in an alcohol abuse treatment center.  I’ll be posting many more in the coming days.  All entries will be linked here.**

New Wine of the Spirit – Introduction

For the past 44 days (July 22nd – Sept 4th 2014) I have been in a rehabilitation treatment center for alcohol.  I am now home and my heart is overflowing with a new hope, peace and gratitude.  This is the launch of a blog series where I will post daily my different journal entries I wrote while there.  In them I talk about whatever God was teaching or showing me and the different encounters I had with Him.

I will update this page with links to past posts so that any new readers may go back and read previous entries if desired.  I invite you to follow along with my journey to sobriety in a story of God’s grace and deliverance.


 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. -Ephesians 5:18 

Addicted To God

We live in a society today that is highly affected by addictions.  Some would say addiction is a part of human nature.  I would bet that anyone reading this has either suffered themselves from an addiction or has known someone personally who has.  Addiction is clearly not a new problem to the human race but is perhaps more of a problem now than ever.  People can get addicted to so many different things.  Alcohol, tobacco and drug addictions are probably the first that come to your mind but food, sex, pornography, gambling and even coffee addictions are just as common if not more.  The definition of an addict is someone who devotes or surrenders themselves to something habitually or obsessively.  I came across a blog by an atheist a while back that was comparing prayer to pornography stating that they are similar in the sense that they are both addictions because both acts are done habitually to create pleasure. While I do not agree with his statement—mostly because I do not believe prayer is an addiction but more of a discipline and Christians clearly do not pray only to create pleasure—it got me thinking can someone be addicted to God?

For the most part the word “addiction” is used in a negative sense but can there be good addictions?  You might say someone is addicted to studying or addicted to exercise and a healthy lifestyle.  I think there’s a very fine line in all these things where it’s ok to have good habits, but not to let these habits control your entire being so that they affect you or the people around you in a negative way.  Still with stating that I think it’s going to come down to personal morals and opinion as far as what can be considered an addiction and what—if any—addictions are good.

Now let me touch on physically unhealthy addictions, which I’m sure we can all agree on are negative addictions.  These are addictions like alcoholism and cigarette smoking that we have seen the unhealthy affects of again and again.  My wife and I recently lost a family member to leukemia and cirrhosis of the liver.  I cannot help but wonder how much alcohol played into the effect of his young, undeserved death.  I myself have struggled with alcohol abuse.  I am now sober but I will admit I had a problem with alcohol abuse for about ten years.  I had surrounded myself with friends who all drank about as much as I did so I had justified it in my mind thinking it was the norm.  I am now only 31 years old and have been diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes.  Again I can’t help but wonder how much affect alcohol has played into my contraction of these two pandemic diseases.

So why do we let ourselves be taken over and controlled by substance abuse?  I can tell you from personal experience that addiction is not a thing that happens over night.  Addiction develops and I would go even further to say that to become an addict a person has to let it happen.  I knew I should not be drinking as much as I was.  I knew that I had a family history of alcoholism.  I knew the health risks involved with heavy drinking.  I didn’t care.  I liked drinking and even with all the warning signs I allowed alcoholism to develop within me.  It’s not that I volunteered to become an alcoholic but more that many times on the road there I could have chosen to turn around and did not.  I started drinking because it was at first fun to me, but then addiction reared its ugly head and took the drivers seat.

So how did I get control of the wheel?  Well this is a Christian blog so I bet you could guess what I’m going to say.  I bet you’ve heard this story before too.  I found strength and help through faith in Christ. I knew I could not get sober on my own.  I had tried before and failed again and again.  I approached God with a humility knowing I needed help and asked Him for strength to achieve sobriety.  It worked.  Almost instantly my desires to drink went away and when they did come back I had strength to overcome them.

So am I addicted to God?  Did I substitute one addiction with another?  Well I do make it a habit to read the Bible and pray to God everyday.  I do involve Him in every aspect of my life and you could say, yes I am obsessed with Jesus.  If you want to call that addiction then fine, I am addicted to God.  But I would have to say that this is the only addiction that fills the void I had in myself before.  This is the only addiction that makes me feel complete while other addictions left me feeling despair.  This is the only addiction that changes my life in a positive way and builds me up instead of knocking me down.  This is the only addiction that saves families instead of tearing them apart.  God brings joy, not depression.  He brings peace, not hopelessness.  If you want to call my relationship with God an addiction then I would have to say that it is the only addiction we are meant to have.  I would go even further and say that many other addictions in life are caused because of people trying to fill the void they have in their life living without Jesus. Oh and Jesus will never give you a hangover.  You never hear someone on Sunday morning saying: “man I really wish I hadn’t of hung out with Jesus last night.”  I’ve never heard a person say: “I wish I never started my relationship with God.”  You hear the opposite.  We praise Him because we love Him and what He has done in and through our lives!

If you suffer from substance abuse today please know that there is someone who can help.  His name is Jesus. God does exist and there is hope. If you’re reading this it’s not too late to get help.  If you’re traveling down the wrong road then pull over and let Jesus take the wheel.  He’ll turn that car around real fast!  I am a walking testimony that Jesus can help you but you just have to ask Him first.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” (Phil 4:13) 

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]