“Becky,” the scotch seemed to whisper to her in its familiar, crooning tone, “you need me.”
It was constant. She described it like this: she would resolve to cut back, but then she would let herself have just one drink. One drink led to another. And another. The alcohol was never satisfied. It was like a gaping hole that she could never fill. I’ve never had a parasite, but I’ve heard a tapeworm is pretty horrible. It drains all your nutrients so you become sick and malnourished while it grows massive inside your body, just like alcohol.
After 24 years of drinking, trying to quit was probably like trying to get through the day with someone calling your name the entire time. But she did it! And she's been sober for nine months.
She told me all about her sober journey on my podcast.
It started as a way to unwind with her husband in the afternoon. But over the years, Becky began to depend on liquor as her way to numb the pain of broken relationships and the guilt of past choices.
She began to have that nagging feeling that maybe she was drinking too much. She couldn’t always remember what she had said last night and to whom. Was she supposed to be somewhere, or had she promised to do something? The liquor had her in a fog.
This conviction led her to pick up a book called Sober Diaries. While on vacation in Hawaii last December, she accidentally (not really) spent several wee morning hours reading through it. She was finally able to hear God telling her that she needed to quit entirely.
For all you non-alcoholics, that may seem like an easy decision. Yes, the alcohol was stealing from her. But it had also been a constant companion. And lately, it had been a way to make friends in the retirement community. Happy hour was a daily occurrence, and Becky was afraid she'd miss the connections she had made over the shared alcohol.
“I don’t think people realize how strong of an addiction alcohol is and the lies we tell ourselves about what it will do for us.” - Becky
Does anyone need alcohol to cope? No. Do we fully believe that lie? Yes. But at some point, we have to choose who to believe – God’s Word or our selfish feelings. In her hotel room that day, Becky chose to believe God.
Every New Year’s Eve, Becky and her husband would usually have a soup party. She had planned to stop drinking that next day, but as Becky prepped for the party, she thought, "Why wait?" She didn't drink that night, and realized that the party was more fun sober! Same party, new Becky. Sobriety for the win!
As she continued on her sobriety journey, she decided she would have to tell her friends and family. Funny thing is, most of her close friends were relieved to hear that she was planning to stop drinking. One friend even suggested that if Becky felt tempted, she could call her to go for a walk instead of turning to the booze. Rather than losing friends, her relationships got deeper!
It wasn't always so easy. If relationship issues arose, she had to deal with them directly rather than drink to numb the pain. Here are a few things that helped during the toughest moments:
Remembering God telling her that “there is so much more on the other side of drinking.” For example, she felt called to help people through their own relationship issues. She would remind herself that as long as she was drinking, she was limiting what God could do through her.
Studying scriptures about who God says we are to counteract the lies. (Romans 8:1, John 1:12-13, Romans 6:6, Romans 8:17, 1 Corinthians 3:16, to name a few).
Turning off the voices in her head about what others think. She could feel God saying, “You don’t have to answer to those voices. Just turn around.” And when she did, He was right there and had been all along.
Taking a moment to write down what the alcohol was doing for her. When you write it down, you can see plainly that the problem isn’t solved, and you’re just making things worse when you add alcohol into the equation.
Becky said it like this, “A relationship with Christ is essential… There’s so much pain, and we self-medicate because we’re trying to cover it up. But there’s an easy answer, and it’s Jesus.” We just have to be willing to let go of our old ways to trust His. I hope Becky’s story will encourage you to do just that.