Punch Drunk Love // 醉愛
Jay’s relationship with alcohol teetered to the unhealthy side – until a fast helped her reboot.
Jay’s 與酒的關係偏向於不健康的那邊 – 直到有一次戒酒讓她重新改變。
My name is Jay and… I’m an alcoholic.
Okay, not quite. But since the age of 19, I’ve had quite an up and down battle with alcohol (mostly down). I actually really enjoy alcohol. I love throwing back a couple of beers at baseball games or basking in the rosy afterglow after a few glasses of red wine at a dinner party. Unfortunately, my liver really did not enjoy my drinking. It often protested my inebriation with severe bouts of alcohol poisoning, wicked hangovers and insane drunken mishaps that I immediately regret the morning after.
For years, I struggled with drinking alcohol at a healthy pace (if you can ever relate anything with alcohol healthy) but it would always be a vicious cycle. I would have a few weeks of “healthy” drinking, only sipping on one or two cocktails for a weekend leading to a tremendously dangerous evening of drunken debauchery where I would then, with my head near the toilet bowl, swear off drinking alcohol for the rest of my life, only to get back into it a few weeks after. I may have started off drinking alcohol because I liked the taste of it but I always ended up drinking to get drunk because deep down, I was unhappy with the reality that is my life and wanted to numb the empty hole and pain that resided in my heart.
This pattern continued to swirl around my life for the next seven years. If I could list out the number of stupid things I conducted under the influence of alcohol… all the drunk driving, sloppy make out sessions, angry fights, teary confessions…
Slowly but surely though, God began to peel off the layers of hurt and lost feelings that I hid behind alcohol. Through His grace, I began to understand how unhealthy my relationship with alcohol was – using it to mask and cover up my dissatisfaction with myself and my life. He used many nights of regret, unfortunate actions and a realization that I was frankly just wasting so much of my time drinking and getting over hangovers to finally help me gain the strength to give up alcohol for a fast last year. This was the first time I knowingly abstained from alcohol for a long period of time and I have to say, the process was hard at first. Because I worked in the food and beverage industry, the process was even harder but by His grace, I was able to go 40 days without touching alcohol.
After that, I was able to finally fully get rid of my bad pattern of getting drunk nearly every single weekend. I still drink occasionally but it’s always in a healthy dosage, never to the point of abuse.
Now that I have my alcohol intake somewhat under control, I have been able to frequent bars and clubs and witness with a sober eye just some of the ridiculousness that occurs when people are under the influence. For a long time, I couldn’t go into one of those establishments without feeling a tinge of judgment. I felt sorry for all those people drinking away their problems and cares and pitied the amount of money and time they spent at these places when they really could be using it for pursuits that in my mind would be more worthwhile and noble.
But recently, God started to shed light to just another layer of my relationship with Him as well as with those people at the clubs and bars. As I started to focus more on Jesus rather than just what He was helping me achieve and become, I began to feel and discover the overwhelming love that He has for all His people – the saved and the unsaved. The ones in and outside the clubs and bars. Me and all those around me.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ”
Instead of judging and feeling superior to those who are lost, I began to feel empathy and compassion, overfilled by an understanding that these people are feeling lost, empty and lonely – just as I had been for the past few years. Or perhaps they really are enjoying themselves – and that’s fine too.
Now, I completely understand that not everyone who parties and drinks are doing so to fill a void or erase their unhappiness for a few hours but this was the case for me. I’m ever so grateful that God was able to open my eyes to the majesty of His presence and allowed me to overcome one of the greatest temptations that had kept me captive for many years. His goodness and Holy Spirit are definitely all the drunkenness I have to subsist on from now on.
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
慢慢但肯定地，神開始把我藏在酒精背後的傷痛和迷失感覺一層層地剝開。因著祂的恩典，我開始明白我和酒精之間不健康的關係 – 我用它來掩蓋我對自己和生命的不滿意。祂用了很多充滿後悔的夜晚、的行爲，還有就是意識到我就是浪費了很多時間喝醉和剋服那些宿醉的早晨，我終于有力量在去年一次齋戒中放棄喝酒。這是我第一次這樣公開的把酒精長時間戒掉，開始的時候真的很不容易。因爲我是從有關飲食的行業，這令整個過程更艱難，但因著祂的恩典，我連續40天沒有碰過酒精。
我不再批判或感覺比那些迷失的人優越，我開始對他們感到同情，對他們感覺迷失、空洞和孤單充滿著同理心 – 他們經歷的就像我前幾年經歷的。
現在，我完全明白不是每個去喝酒或開派對的人都是想借此忘記他們的不快樂，只是我是那樣。我非常感恩，神張開了我的眼睛讓我看見祂的同在，而且讓我剋服一個對我來講最大、 也把我困住了好多年的試探 。從此以後會讓我沈醉的只有祂的恩典和聖靈。
Image credit: flickr.com/elstruthio