I originally wrote an article on “Withered Soul…” on 11/26/13 on my old blog website (it was already take down) After several interact with seminary friends on Gordon Conwell Theological campus and off-campus, I was encouraged by them to write to expand my testimony on how God worked on my heart during my battle against alcoholism. My time at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary is coming to the end as I will be leaving the campus and will be relocating to Indiana next month after graduation ceremony.
December 3, 2012 marked the final day of having drink. It is point where I truly hit the bottom and realized I lost everything what was truly precious to me. For years I have been battling with alcoholism until I finally recognized there are true demon in a bottle where it truly cost my own life! I keep relapse again and again until I finally truly understand the importance of great needs for inner healing where I am stripped of everything from my life. I originally took the title of “Demon in a Bottle” from storyline about Tony Stark’s addiction to alcoholism was featured in Iron Man # 120-128 which was published by Marvel Comics in 1979. “Demon in a Bottle” storyline was considered to be one of best superheroes saga of 1970s. It talked about how Tony Stark’s deadly addiction behavior has interrupted his role as Iron Man in attempt to save people from unseen darkness power.
For years I has read Proverbs chapter 5 and 7 talk about keep eye for immoral women however I narrowed my bible study to Proverbs 5:1-11:
My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel. Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned. For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil. But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. For she cares nothing about the path to life. She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it. So now, my sons, listen to me. Never stray from what I am about to say: Stay away from her! Don’t go near the door of her house! If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved. Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor. In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body. ~Proverbs 5:1-11 (New Living Translation)
Little I did realize that it also spoken for my love for booze where I saw it as my false painkiller medication. I has no clue how my love for booze brought destruction in my life where it cost everything. I chose booze to be my false god above everything my love of my life, families and friends. I finally came to the term that I see booze as my great enemy to my soul. Prior to losing everything, which was truly precious to me, I had experienced the near-death experience, which was occurred in September 2009.
One afternoon, I decided to take off from work early due to being overstress from overload of paperwork at my work where I need to get it done before deadline. I stopped at liquor store and bought the big bottle of rum. All I can remember next was being landed in emergency room is where I woke up on the bed.
Nurse looked at me with awestruck facial expression then picked up the paper and pen so she can communicate with me, the conversation between nurse and me began:
Nurse: Hello Michael, you were heavily intoxicated and was brought here because you got blackout after you got out of your parked car at park by playground. The parents were watching their children playing at playground and saw you fell down and got blackout so they had to call 911. When you were brought to emergency room, you assaulted the nurses so we had to sedate you and put you to sleep.
Michael: Where am I?
Nurse: Quincy Medical Center and also I wanted to let you know you were announced dead due to high alcohol blood level, which was at 4.0, and you were miraculously back from dead, it is why I was so shocked when you wake up from being dead.
Nurse walked away then little while later, my friend from my church came by to pick me up and brought me back to be with my love one. I asked many questions but my friend told me to not worry about it and his main concern is to ensure I am being brought back home alive.
After incident at Quincy Medical Center, I has been sober for few months then relapse on several occasions until 11/29/12 is the day I truly hit the bottom which brought me to the true beginning of my inner healing on 12/3/12.
Been avid comic reader since I was 5 years old, which brought me plenty of priceless memories where I remembered many masterpiece storyline being told in Marvel and DC comics. One morning, I had flashback of one scene, which I read in “Demon in a Bottle” storyline:
I saw the perfect picture of Tony Stark just hit the bottom where he lost his honor, reputation and even it costed his friendship with his own allies within Marvel universe because he was consumed into alcoholism which parallel with verses, Proverbs 5:1-11. Tony Stark began to question his own identity as Iron Man where he was truly confused between two lives: being Tony Stark or being Iron Man which truly hit him hard. I saw how alcoholism has interrupted me from doing great things for God and I led double life. I was living up as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde for many years. I masked my pains and walking around with my icon smiling as the pain ate me up like true cancer to my spiritual life. People keep telling me “I loved your beautiful smile” but they had no idea how pains is killing me badly but I don’t know how to ask for help because self-pride killed me.
I recall during my dark time when being at apartment alone whole the time in month of December 2012, I had flashback of reading a book called God Is For The Alcoholic by Jerry G. Dunn where there are few quotes from this book brought on my mind. I saw the true reason for repeatedly of pattern of binge: “The alcoholic who is struggling to make a recovery and is fighting his burning desire to drink may also have some psychological, physical, or spiritual problem to add to his difficulties.” I was struggling to prevent from relapses it is due to lack of understanding about importance of inner healing and also I assumed I can fight on my own strength where I felt the recovery support group is not necessary. There are another quote truly echo in my mind as it said, “The Scriptures warn us that pride always goes before a fall. Peter was sure that he would die with Christ rather than deny Him. But later, when he was asked if he also was a follower of Christ, he cursed and said he didn’t even know Him. The alcoholic who is so sure he has finally mastered his problem is like Peter in his self-confidence.”
I spent many restless night due to sleep deprivation because I was writing journal furiously and began to seek God wholeheartedly where another quote echoed into my mind as it said, “The family of an alcoholic is robbed. Life has literally been taken away from them-emotionally, physically, spiritually, socially and vocationally. The family of the alcoholic moves in society as a hurt and broken unit desperately seeking a ray of hope in what seems to them a hopeless situation,” I began to taste my own medication where I lost everything because in past I have heard countless stories of alcoholic addicts who hit the bottom even I formerly judged them hassle for what they did to their loved ones.
I understood the true measurements of judging other where I will be judged back, which are one of core commandments made by Jesus as he said in Matthew 7:1. It is why I failed to be so empathetic to those alcoholic addicts who lost their loved ones; it is because I was living in denial even I was drinking heavily. After all years of refusal of being part of alcoholic anonymous (AA) meeting regularly and even be willing to listen to others’ own experiences on how their addiction to alcoholism have wrecked their own life and their own circumstances. I learned to became part of AA meeting regularly and I finally felt so much related to members of AA meeting where they shared their horror tales on how their addiction to alcoholism destroyed their family, marriage, careers, and even affected their student status at college.
I finally understood why I kept relapse many time after fighting too hard to avoid relapsing again and again until to the point I lost everything and I began to examine and began to dig up the deep hole into very my own withered soul in attempt to discover the truth. I saw why God told Israelites “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” God addressed directly to Israelites through Prophet Jeremiah when Israelites was exiled to Babylon. The exiles were in a difficult place and time they need not despair because they had God’s presence, the privilege of prayer, and God’s grace. If we seek him wholeheartedly, he will be found. Neither a strange land, sorrow, persecution, nor physical problems can break our fellowship with God. I saw the great needs of being solitude with God where I began my true quest for inner healing. My emotional level hasn’t matured for years because I was struggling with my own self-esteem in attempt to prove my own worthy to others. It is where I confronted with many episodes of failure; it is point where I drown myself into booze to ease off my pain. I let the booze become my god and let it oppress on my own emotional in my own soul! I failed to have an opportunity to let my emotional mature, it is where the true inner healing began where I learned to maintain my sobriety.
Being sober is truly blessing journey even it is full of difficulties and pains, I had to deal with emotional roller coaster on several occasions where there are several unrealistic fears being thrown on my thought. I learned to rely and trust on God more and more. Booze is just false god where it offers false promise in ease off my own pains! When an individual are dealing with any kind of crisis that brings the turmoil in life, so the individual turn to deadly addiction behavior in order to ease off pain without confronting the reality and learn how to cope with it in positive way where the mind, emotion and spirit can be matured.