I know you’re probably expecting some profound revelation, based on the post title, about the most amazing thing that I’ve discovered since I quit drinking.
I know that… and yet… I’ve gotta keep it real.
The best thing about being six months sober is having gone six months without feeling hungover.
I love waking up on weekend mornings feeling just as refreshed as if it were a Tuesday. And, let’s be honest, last year I was just as likely to wake up on a Tuesday hungover as I was on a Saturday. But the fact is, no matter what day of the week it is, I’m waking up feeling good.
Look, I’m human, I’ve had my moments where I’ve been ready to just pour myself a glass (or five) of wine, sit down, and say “who has the right to judge me anyways? I’m not doing anything to anyone…” I see pictures of my friends on Facebook, out at the bar having the most “epic” times that they won’t remember in the morning, and I sometimes wish I was squished in amongst them.
Truthfully, I sometimes get sad thinking that I might never get drunk again. #justbeingreal
But here’s what I know to be true: when you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to another.
God told me to stop drinking.
If I said yes to drinking, I’d be saying no to God. You remember the flood right? Wiped out the entire world? Yea, I’m not trying to pick a fight with my Man upstairs, if ya know what I’m saying…
Ephesians 5:18 “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
This verse encourages me for three reasons:
1) It tells me not to get drunk. If you’re one of those people who’s like “yea, but what is the real meaning behind bible verse?” Or like to bend verses to fit your lifestyle instead of the other way (and proper way) around, this one leaves no room for error in human interpretation. Don’t get drunk. Pretty direct, yea?
2) It indicates the filling with wine is comparable to the way Holy Spirit fills. As in, some people look to fill a void with wine, and believers are told to fill that void with Holy Spirit. No, the Spirit does not come in a can with blue mountains on the side (hallelujah), but we can “ingest” Him just the same. Absorb Him. Fill up with Him. Just as drunkenness influences how we act and behave, so too does the Holy Spirit.
3) It suggests that you can’t have it both ways; a sentence I wrote in my journal just three days prior to committing to 6 months of sobriety. “I can’t have it both ways. I can’t be a changed person without changing. I can’t use one hand to point to Jesus and the other hand to hold my drink. A person cannot grow into the next stage of who they’re meant to be if they are firmly gripping the old stage, in the form of a wine glass.” Take a cup, for example. Fill that cup with water. Then take some, oh, let’s just say wine, and start pouring it into that cup. The wine will eventually displace the water. The water will be replaced with the wine because of the law of… I have no idea, I’m not a scientist…law of displacement, perhaps?
Point being, you can’t have opposite fillers. You can’t be both people. You can’t fill up with wine and share water. You can’t fill up with water and share wine… unless you’re Jesus. Which you’re not. #iamonethousandpercentsure
James 4:11-12 “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
Aka, you can’t be filled with the Holy Spirit and your fleshly indulgences at the same time.
The fact is, being hungover wasn’t just a bunch of unwelcome physical torments- the headaches, the lethargy, the nausea, the bloating, the irritability, the sleepiness, the sluggishness, the eating poorly, the inability to focus or concentrate, the unwantingness to work or create- it destroyed my mind and esteem.
Satan knew that after a night of binging, my head was his playground.
I would hate myself. Hate myself for putting my body through it, hate myself for being a lousy parent to the most wonderful little lady, hate myself for being so weak (do you know how many times I tried to “quit”?), hate myself for living a double life…
My hangovers led to my depression, and depression is no place in which to do God’s work.
I couldn’t spend my life cursing alcohol every other day that I wasn’t drinking it.
Friend, I haven’t been hungover in 6 months… coincidentally, I don’t remember ever feeling this confident, this self-assured, this empowered. I feel great knowing that I’m doing something God has called me to do and equipped me to do. I feel amazing that I’m no longer being a bad example for my daughter. I feel incredible, powerful through Holy Spirit that I was able to kick the habit that’s controlled pieces of my self-esteem since the first day I took a sip, 15 years ago.
1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 “So then, let us not be like the others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”
Giving up alcohol was the bridge that connected me from who I was to who I am yet to be. I didn’t pray to not drink, that would be easy. I prayed that God would change my heart, that I would not want to drink. And though I do still wrestle with spontaneous desire for a beer on a warm day or a glass of wine on date night, for the first time in my life, I don’t want alcohol as much as I don’t want to be hungover.
Which is pretty much all I need.
I’m not declaring that I’ll never have a drink again, but I’m not going to have a drink until I am sure that I won’t want two.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
God’s Spirit is a whole lot more enticing than spirits, at this point in my life, and it’s only by His grace that that is my truth.
Six months ago, I prayed this prayer (recorded in my journal):
Lord, give me the strength to first win the battle and then give me the words to help others wage the war. Remind me to dedicate every day, every decision, to you. I thank you for another opportunity to prove your mercy and unconditional love to a world that so desperately needs it. The blood of Jesus has already claimed victory; Holy Spirit guide me through the daily battles. Prompt me to first choose Your way, and then to write, record, and share my journey. Amen.
I’m not a counselor. I’m not a psychologist. I have no credentials to my name. But if you feel that talking to me might help you in any of your own personal struggles, please know that I am always here to be a listening ear and vessel through which God might be able to reach your heart.
He still thinks you’re worth rescuing. I promise.
What is your experience with addiction?