Today it has been 39 years since I took my last drink. When I had the idea to write this post, I planned to share how I stayed sober all those years. After staring at a very empty screen for over an hour, I realized I had nothing to write because it I didn’t have much to do with avoiding drinking all those years.
God kept reminding me of a passage from Ephesians Indeed, it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. While Paul is writing about the gift of salvation, the truth is still the same when it comes to my recovery. It’s to God and a host of others to whom I must be thankful.
Always first is the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I thank the Father for taking away my desire to drink and for providing his word, the Bible which is the most powerful book on recovery ever written.
I thank the Son, Jesus, who came to earth to pay for all my sins and secure my place in heaven. His daily presence in my life is a constant source of strength with whatever I face. Even though I can want to take my own path in life, Jesus shepherds me back to where I need to be headed.
I thank the Holy Spirit who worked faith in my heart to believe in Jesus saving work and who urges me to continue to live my sober life to not only say thank you but also as a witness to others of God’s love for all.
I thank my five kids, their spouses, and the 15 grandchildren who so fill me with hope and love. I am thrilled when I see all of them living out their love for the Savior. What better motivation is there for me to continue in sobriety than to see them grow closer to their Savior as he leads them through their lives. And their hugs feel so good. Thank you Lord, for them.
I am thankful for my parents, brothers and sisters and their spouses who had this whole alcoholism thing just dropped on them. But yet they continue to love and support me and my family.
And then there is my wife Diane. There were those words in our marriage vows “In sickness and in health.” I am guessing that Diane never imagined that sickness would include alcoholism and all the pain involved. But her faith and love for her Savior kept her here. Diane never shied away from reminding me of how Jesus was just waiting for me to turn to him to stop the drinking. I am sure she many times wanted to give up, but her love for her Savior and faith that he had plans for us compelled her to go on.
I am thankful, Diane, for your love. I am sure that without your commitment to our marriage, 39 years of sobriety would be only an unfulfilled goal. To me, you are truly a woman after God’s own heart.
Well that’s about it. 39 years and still counting–well at least for today. I cannot get ahead of myself. I can only be thankful. Thanks to you, too, for stopping in to read this. I hope you come back. I will wait you.
I chose to share this song with you only because of the verse below. I know this refers to saving faith, but to be completely candid, I believe that without my sobriety, saving faith could have very easily been out of reach.
How could I boast on anything I’ve ever seen or done
How could I dare to claim as mine The victories God has won
Where would I be Had God not brought me Gently to this place I’m here to say I’m nothing but
A sinner saved by grace ( Bill Gaither / Mitch Humphries / Gloria L Gaither)