Much of my life I sought fulfillment in spiritual matters. At first I bought into a “hippie” life style as did many youngsters. I was 18-years-old and drugs became a quick means toward an easy way out of my poor family situation. I bought my first bag of dope from a high school teacher who, I think, wanted his way with my body, and I think he wanted to perhaps help me break-off with an unhealthy high school girlfriend. However, I was unhealthy spiritually as well. The college I attended made it easy to obtain illegal drugs, and there I found alcohol. I was actually encouraged to drink by one professor in classics and “cut-lose.”
My second foray lasted many years with touch and go into Eastern mysticism, and Christian leanings, but I was a committed drinker by this time. I married a woman who put up with my drinking until I lost my third teaching assistant-ship, and this was my comeuppance with alcohol. Still I maintained for many my agnosticism when in reality, I hung onto the hope that mysticism was a way and a means out of a past I did not understand, and my periodic confessions to clergy only made my life more miserable. Over and over, I wandered in and out of Christianity without ever making a full commitment. The first church I joined made it clear that money was at the heart of a real Christian experience, the second tried to waylay my soul, the third made it their agnostic approach padded again with checkbook, and more money. In each church “stewardship” became the center of the Christian experience, with one approach so dramatically agnostic as to make no stance.
Finally, I wandered into the last stop, A Hallelujah Experience, the fulfillment of life expectations. As I walked through the study door for another of my confessionals, this my soon to become pastor’s office, I found myself blurting out for the first time in my life, “I believe in Jesus as my Savior.” This simple act of faith, my first confession of faith, took my pastor by surprise. He snapped into a loving attitude I will never forget. “HE” as other clergy had never attempted, lead me through my first real 5th step, and after more than 31 years of pseudo-confessions, oh I always came clean, I was honest. I was honest with my maker this time for the first time, and with the love of Jesus Christ. He took my hands in his, and we completed my confession of misdeeds, and my acceptance of Jesus Christ Christ that December 10th, 2017, with promise of more, with acceptance of a Friday night informal worship. I had advent, and my first, and second communion, the second with my aging 87-year-old father, a momentous experience, communion, that first Sunday in January, with my dad, the man who I had come to love, a man who believed in my first steps of Love and commitment. That commitment first came out of my marriage of 36 years, and now a loving relationship.
To be fair and honest, my step-dad, and my mother were Christians. Specifically, as a boy of 10, I had seen my mother accept Christ at an Assembly of God Church. When she completed her confession of faith, her statement of realization, I am positive she confessed her sins, and I saw her follow in a few months with baptism, and finally what their church called baptism of the Holly Spirit by speaking in tongues. The so called “speaking in tongues” sounded as never a part of my Christian experience, and thus, the Lord has not visited me in this way. My church believes we are visited by the Holy Spirit at the time of confession, and that Christ’s blessing is that Baptism. It is truly explained in the Book of John when Jesus visits the disciples in a sealed room and spreads his arms in benediction, “Peace be with you.” Thus, the Holy Spirit is with me, and I am a whole person at last. The spiritual journey I have embarked upon is very real, and I see myself leading as I am able to spread those miracles of sobriety I see in my life all through my last days.
My pastor thus believes God, and in fact, Jesus, has been with me from the time I put down the first drink, and this I had to do personally, and alone. God has been with me since I came to believe that substances were not the way. I have worked with other alcoholics, but so far, only one has seemed to “get sober.” The jury is still out, so to speak, on my friend, on my trusted friend. For a sponsor, all that can truly be possible, is a trusted friendship. I am there for my friend in ways he cannot now understand, and if he makes it through life, as I am making it, “One day at a time,” he can claim the prize in retrospect, as I do with tears of Hallelujah, and thanks be to God most High. Still, my journey is not complete, and someday I may realize more by stepping into eternity with the faith of a Christian reborn. Christ our Lord, Jesus, that perfect man, born of Life and amazing, Jesus who rose subjugated death. I was told many years ago by a co-ed at college, “HE has made room for me too.” Today I pray with tears of joy, “Thank you Jesus, oh God through all my sober life making this possible.”