Each May 3rd serves as a personal remembrance and cause for celebration.  This day always reminds me from where God lifted me.  Today, May 3rd, 2019 marks 28 years of continuous sobriety; achieved only through the grace of God, one day at a time.

I share this length of time with you not as a testament to my strength or will-power, but rather to state in no uncertain terms that I owe my life to God.  My recovery has very little to do with me, actually.  After I hit my bottom, I simply took the help that was offered to me.  The passing of time has given me a clear view of the power of God at work in my life.

As I sat in the detox center in Watertown, New York on May 3rd, 1991, I had my first exposure to Alcoholic Anonymous as I glanced at the literature left there for me.  The first of the 12 Steps is to admit that I am powerless over alcohol (my drug of choice) and that my life had become unmanageable.  I’ll spare you a long blow by blow description of my personal hell with drinking.  Suffice to say that alcohol had bankrupted me physically, morally and spiritually.  I lived to drink and drank to live, and in the end, it nearly killed me.

The second of the 12 Steps reads like this: Came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.  It didn’t take much imagination to see that I needed relief from the insanity I had made of my life.  And thankfully for me, I knew immediately just who this Higher Power was!

As a kid, I went to church each week with my parents.  Though it seemed an egregious waste of time, apparently I absorbed some of what was read and talked about on Sunday mornings because at the very moment of greatest despair in the exam room of the de-tox, I knew that this Jesus I had heard about as child was in fact who He had said He was.  And though I certainly didn’t understand it at the time, somehow I knew that by trusting in Him I was going to be made whole.

Fast forward twenty-eight years and I am grateful to say I have not had a drop of alcohol from that time until now.  That’s not to say that the entire journey has been a bed of roses, but I am ever so grateful to have been given the grace to handle death, family issues, unemployment and the host of things life throws at us with the calm assurance that if God was going to keep me sober day by day, He had the power and wisdom to steer me safely through life’s ups an downs.

We often talk in the AA rooms about being grateful for where we are.  We recognize that being set free from an alcoholic obsession has opened the door to a full and meaningful life, should we choose to step through it.  It is also said that gratitude is an action word; that if I am truly thankful for the opportunity I have been given, my words and actions ought to reflect it.

Taking that suggestion, allow me to close this entry with a ‘gratitude list.’ It is not all encompassing, but on this day of celebration, I would like the following to know how much I cherish the support I have been given.

At the top of this (or any) list of mine is the Lord Jesus Christ.  In His mercy He saw fit to heal me of the disease of alcoholism.  By so doing, I came to believe that He was/is the Savior of the world.  By accepting His forgiveness and believing God raised Him from the dead, I know beyond doubt that my eternal place with Him is set.  To say I’m grateful for this doesn’t even scratch the surface!

Next in my heart is my wife Betsy.  She, who bore the brunt of the awfulness I brought down, chose to forgive me as well.  She has gone above and beyond all these years in continued support of my recovery.  Thank you, my love, for you unending devotion to our family.  You truly are the glue that holds us together.

Then there are the nearly countless friends in recovery who have always been there for me.  To those who got sober before me, thanks for showing me the way.  To those who have come in after me, thank you for showing me that the world of booze and drugs is still an awful place that I do not want to go back to.

And lastly, thanks to you, Dear Reader, who have read my story again and again.  Like I said at the top, I share it today as an act of thanksgiving to the God who saved me.  But I also share it to let you know that there is hope.  If you have someone close who suffers with addiction, please know that God is still healing people today.  Hold on to that hope, even or especially when it looks futile.  Take it from me, there is no dark bottom that He cannot shine His light into, bringing life and hope with it.

Blessings to all,

Pastor Chuck

4 thoughts on “One Day at a Time: 28 Years Later

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