God is Bigger than Beer

I know a man who is a hopeless alcoholic. He has lost everything because of his decades long addiction. He has been in and out of treatment numereous times, and has also attempted long-term rehabilitation programs. Only to fail over and over again and to return to the very thing that he has  despised himself for doing. 

When he is sober, he wants very much to rebuild his life. He looks at the wreckage he has made of it and feels the impossible weight of ever being able to live a stable, healthy life. He is lost among the rubble of his own soul. 
He was not born for this. When he was a child he did not wish about himself to grow up to become a homeless alcoholic. It is not who he is. Not then, and really, not now.
This man is a brother in the faith. He is a Christ follower. Does that surprise you? His heart for God is real. There is a faith in him that is anchored like a deep root. No matter how messed up everything is, he does not blame the Lord for his place in life.
 In fact, he often finds moments of gratitude in the simpliest details of everyday life. Like when he found money on the street. Or when he remembered a randomly found tool that he pocketed weeks earlier, yet rediscovered in just the moment when such a tool was needed. He breathes an alcohol-soaked thank you to his Creator and carries on in the valley of his death.
And it is a death. Alcoholism is killing him. 
The smallest of comfort, though, lies hidden in a cave in the wilderness of his invisible self. It is the tiniest fraction of light that there is indeed a good God of love who does care for him No Matter What. This truth was seeded in him long ago, and it has not been drowned out by the liquor.
Many waters cannot quench love,
      nor can rivers drown it.  (Song of Songs 8.7)
In the dragon’s grip of drink, the fragrant scent of God’s love still swirls around him. He is hooked, more on God’s love, actually, than the alcohol. For if alcohol truly had his soul, he would not know that small comfort that lies inside of him like a secret garden in a wilderness. No. God has him. God has this brother of ours and his grip is much firmer than any dragon of drink. 
I hope he stays with us a while. I hope he dies sober much later in the journey. But no matter what happens, he is a loved man. 
When you encounter the addict or alcoholic on the street, do not look away. For when you do, you are looking away from Jesus. 
(this post is dedicated to J.A.H.)


God is Bigger than Beer — 10 Comments

  1. Thank you for your writing. But your friend shouldn’t surprise any Christian if 1) we’re honest about the fact that we all still struggle with something that binds us (it’s just not always as socially obvious as some), and 2) we weren’t sold the “Jesus will fix everything and give you a perfect life if you just say this prayer” mantra.

    Keep up the good work, and keep challenging us!

  2. Great post, I really enjoy your style of writing especially with such a good message. Lately I’ve been having revelation to smile more with the people I encounter, it seems to help being more open on both sides to give and receive in the love of Christ.

  3. We are all addicts struggling to quit- whether we have recognized it yet or not. Some addictions are simply more externally visible- like your friend. Thanks for sharing this story.

  4. thank you all for your kind comments. God is bigger than beer, and vodka, and meth, and oxyxcontin and whatever else human beings get addicted to. We are not defined by our weaknesses. Who we are is found in the love of God, no matter what.

  5. Great post Pam!!! You remind me of kathy escobars posts about her friends who tend to be neglected by society as a whole-mentally ill,homeless,addicted. God loves everyone fully, and the tiny slivers of hope you shared that he has are rays of light to show His Presence all the time.

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