At the beginning of the book I shared with you an experience in my first rehab, a motivation for writing this book. When I completed rehab, I wanted to succeed by applying the principles I had been taught. One of the requirements to be successful was I needed to make ninety AA meetings in ninety days.
When I first heard this, I was like, “That’s pretty cool—sounds like a neat goal to reach.” There were problems, though. I didn’t have transportation, and I had to rely on my parents to take me to these meetings, which became a burden on all of us. They have given me a goal, and in my mind, if I did not reach the goal, I was guaranteed to fail.
The meetings I attended were very depressing. At these meetings, we would gather around and smoke cigarettes. Sometimes a guest speaker would share war stories about drinking. The guest was always an alcoholic telling us how they had not had anything to drink that day. It seemed to me that I was listening to someone that was not free. I would come away from hearing the guest speaker with the feeling they were one bad decision away from being a full-blown drunk again. I remember feeling that there had to be something more.
Another of my post-rehab, assigned goals was to get a sponsor, someone to talk to whenever I felt like I had the urge to drink. If I could do that, and at the same time continue to work the Twelve Steps, I would have a chance of remaining sober. Something just did not seem right. This was a burden I felt I couldn’t bear—the meetings, working the steps, the sponsor.
The meetings I needed were to attend church and celebrate my freedom with Christ with other believers. The steps I needed to work were reading God’s word on how to live everyday life. My sponsor needed to be Jesus Christ, who knows me better than anybody, and who will always be there when I need him. He will never fail me! As well-meaning as a sponsor may be in a program like AA, they are human and it is impossible for them to fill your needs, meet your expectations, and have all the right words to say when you are backed against a wall by an acute desire to use. Jesus always knows what to say through His word, and will take you to freedom—a place where you will not need a drink so much that you would have to call somebody.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This is our promise as a believer the old is gone; the new has come!
“My name is Gary, and I am an alcoholic and a drug addict.” That is how we were told to introduce ourselves at a meeting. The bible tells us there is power in our words…
Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. (James 3:4–5)
This was definitely not what I would call speaking life over myself. I was telling myself I was an alcoholic and a drug addict, and would always be one. I was telling myself that my only salvation would be the meetings, my sponsor, and the steps. The word of God tells us that in Christ we have accepted by faith that Christ died for our sins; that we are no longer an alcoholic or a drug addict, but instead are new creations in Christ. My response now is, “My name is Gary, and I was once an alcoholic and a drug addict—a sinner, but now I am free. That man is dead and the new Gary will never have to fall back into that lifestyle again.”