My Broken Road to Grace: Post Twenty Four (Getting Through the Tough Times, Confessions of an Alcoholic.)
Do you sometimes feel as if no matter what you do something is going to come along and mess it up? Do you feel destined to fail as hard as you might try to produce the opposite outcome? Do you you have days when you just feel defeated and that nothing is now or is going to go right? Welcome to my world this week.
I tell you the truth when the devil sees that I am out there making the attempt to live my life in the way that I know God wants me to, when I am praying, reading my Bible, trying to maintain purity in my thinking, and most of all asking God to help me to keep a positive attitude, that is when he comes at me the hardest and with what it seems like are things that he has hand picked in his best effort to trip me up.
Don't get me wrong, I would simply be lying to say that I feel as if that effort possesses any degree of difficulty for him, after all I am an easy target. With all the things that have gone on in my life, all the failures, all the second chances, all the do-overs, he is certainly armed with sufficient ammunition, all he has to do is crank up the highlight reel of my life and whisper quietly "You remember that, man that was a colossal failure. That left you obliterated, your family and friends embarrassed beyond words and the rest of the world seeing you for the fool you really are. You can and will never recover from that!"
There it begins, a downward spiral in which I take my eyes off the Lord and once again start to focus on me. That my friends is the crux, the center of my forthcoming failure. It starts with confusion. He sends my mind running in 20 different directions with snip it after snip it of what did go wrong, how it went wrong and how it will again. Then comes pain and it doesn't matter really, it can be emotional or physical either is equally effective and all he has to do is choose, my former life having been a perfect breeding ground for both and of course he then hits me with that full frontal making it hard for me to pull myself out of bed.
All along, he whispers in the back of my mind, just over my shoulder, "You can take a break from all this you know. You can run away and escape for a bit. First you will laugh then you will relax and finally you will sleep, free for a while, as long as you want to be really. You can do this. It won't hurt anybody. You can pick right back up where you left off when you are ready and if you play your cards right no one will even have to know. Just get in your car, go two blocks, get that bottle and bring it home. I will take care of the rest."
Believe me, he would too if I would but succumb to that temptation for even a moment. In AA I learned that as alcoholics we work hard to put our lives back together and rebuild our dreams, establishing a life that is the kind we want it to be, only to turn around, let up for even a minute and watch it all be torn down again.That is Satan's specialty and sometimes It would be so easy for me to take that step.
Admittedly I do love it, most drunks do until they come to see it for what it really is and then that love turns to hate. Even still there is no feeling like that one that you get between drink two and drink three, when the whiskey has momentarily convinced you that you are invincible and that everything is right with the world. It is only later that you pay the tab when you, having checked out for however long, decide that it is time, that you have to come back to the world again and when through bloodshot eyes and with a dark brown taste in your mouth, hands that are shaking and won't stop and a pain all over your body that is really indescribable, you look into the mirror and ask yourself the dreaded question "what in the hell have I done?"
Folks I have walked that road so many times in my life that I don't even care to begin to try to put a number on it. After all it is pointless to do so for it would be astounding only adding to the frustration and confusion with which I am already being bombarded. No, if I have learned one thing, it is this. When you are being swept down river and moving headlong toward disaster, when things are just undeniably out of control and you see failure as eminent, it is then that you have to grab on to something solid, a rock, get a good grip and hold on for dear life never letting go no matter what.
Despite the things that might come hurling past you and momentarily look better than the decision you already made, know this, those things are born of lies, the lot of them, there is no quick fix, no band-aid and if you let go of the "rock" that you have chosen to cling to and reach out to grab one you will swept into devastation as surely as I live and breathe. During the bad times, prayer is more important than ever. Don't let up, ask God, beseech him, even beg him to give you strength to get you through the tough spot. I promise you it won't last. If I didn't know that to be true, If I hadn't seen it first hand in my own life, perhaps I wouldn't be so adamant but I have and it is.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 says: "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." I am not a genius, no Bible scholar, certainly not what I would classify as historically even a "good" Christian and as such I can offer you no explanation as to why these times come into our lives.
I can't tell you why cancer exists. I can't explain the death of an innocent child or what inside my DNA makes me an alcoholic. I can however tell you this, the devil will ultimately lose this war and go down in flames and Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever will be victorious and will send him to his rightful reward in the pits of hell.
For me it is a clear decision. Yes, it has been a bad week and I am hurting. Things have not gone the way that I would have chosen and I really can't tell you why but none of that my friends will cause me to take my eyes off the "end game" and let go of my rock. He brought me up out of the muck and the mire when by all rights my life should have been over and He will ultimately take me home with Him to a place where there will be no pain, no trouble sleeping, no scattered thoughts or unanswered questions, no more assaults from the devil and that my Christian brothers and sisters is certainly worth the fight.