Tomorrow begins 30 days of sobriety.
Now before anyone goes rushing to any crazy conclusions or judgments about how I must have an alcohol problem (I did have three beers at the Brewers game after all, and boy did I get murdered in the comments for that one), allow me to explain.
I used to have maybe a handful of drinks per month. If Evan and I were going out on a date or another special occasion came up, I might even have two cocktails or glasses of wine with dinner if I was feeling particularly rowdy. One time, my sister-in-law came down for a visit and we went to a bar in Milwaukee to see a band she liked and I think I had five beers that night. That was a big night.
Do I have wine in my fridge right now? Yes I do. Do I pout a little bit when I find out a restaurant doesn't have Spotted Cow on tap? You betcha. Do I find a balmy summer afternoon that much more enjoyable with a margarita on the rocks in my hand? Ummmm...yes.
Here's where I got into trouble.
I've noticed that over the last couple months, I have been choosing to drink more often and for the wrong reasons. Instead of enjoying a glass of wine as I snuggled with my husband over a bowl of popcorn and a good movie, I was staying late after my shift at work to have two glasses of wine while I complain about the table that was rude to me or how ridiculous it is that the woman at Table 11 ordered the gluten free mostaccioli, but then demanded a second basket of bread. After a rough day full of tantrums, time outs, bloody lips, and laundry, I would seek comfort in my favorite beer.
Did I overindulge and drink more than I should? Rarely. Usually it was only one drink in these situations, but the motivation behind it was all wrong. And on the occasions that I did go the next step and have more than one? Oh, the things that were coming out of my mouth. I got more gossipy than usual, less kind, more judgmental, less forgiving, more vulgar. I'm ashamed to think of a couple of the things I said on a night recently when several coworkers and I had a couple cocktails after work. I never said anything mean, but I certainly was not behaving in a way that my King would delight in.
I'm not proud of this, everyone.
A few days ago, God put it on my heart that I had been replacing him. When I was worried, I was popping the cork on a bottle of Prairie Fume when I should have been reading Philippians. When I was upset or angry, I was mixing Malibu Mango & Diet Sprite instead of diving into Proverbs or Psalms. It's no wonder it became a habit - it was getting me nowhere and I kept coming up empty.
So, here we are. Convicted and determined to break this destructive habit, I'm celebrating being given the incredible gift of 30 years on this earth by responding and obeying to the instruction God has put on my heart. I guess it's a fast of sorts, but I know that with God's help, it will be just the thing I need to break this unhealthy pattern and get my focus back where it belongs. Again, it's not that I think there is anything wrong with having a legal drink from time to time, but my personal issue is that my motivations for drinking were way off base and I was using it as a way to cope with the stresses of life, inadvertently replacing my need for the Lord.
Can I ask a favor of you? Please don't put any words in my mouth and assume that I am passing judgment on those of you who are reading this who choose to indulge in alcohol. That's not at all what my point is. This is a personal decision to deal with a very personal heart issue. Instead, can I humbly request that if you are reading this, to pray for me? Pray that I would be steadfast when my peers question why I'm not having a drink. Pray that I would be faithful in my commitment
to rely on God's strength to carry me through this time and to help me refocus my priorities on Him.