Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My husband's alcohol testimony


    Me, Bud Light, and I

      When my wife asked me to do this guest blog, or maybe I offered, it was a little out of the norm for me. My wife is really “out there” when it comes to her personal life and I am the complete opposite. I keep things pretty close to the vest if you know what I mean. Mainly, because I do not want everyone to know these dark things about me. I imagine that people think that I have it all together and that people think that I am a stand-up guy. Then people find out you deep dark secrets and their view of you comes crashing down. In all honesty, I have done some horrible things to people. I have been horrible to those closest to me. I have been horrible to myself. However, it has changed. I was thinking the other day, I thought “Did I find Jesus or did Jesus find me?” Truth is, Jesus was always waiting at the door, I just had to let Him in. Lucky for me, he is patient….very patient. So I was not going to share this story. It may hurt some of those people close to me that did not know this about me. More importantly, it may also help a lot of people. I think it will help more people than it will hurt so the benefit of the risk definitely outweighs the cost. What good is a testimony if it is not shared right? I think so too. So….here we go.

            I was an awesome drunk. I was. Up until the age of about 27. I was the life of any party I went to. It seemed like if the beer was tapped and flowing then so was I. I had two beers in high school. Just two in 4 years and I can remember them both. Busch Light. How gross. That’s why I remember them because they were nasty. To be honest, I have never really enjoyed the taste of beer. I loved the feeling of being drunk and I fell in love with the guy I became while I was drunk….for a time. I started drinking in college. The first night at Ohio State I am pretty sure that I should have been taken to the ER. There I was pounding beers trying to be the coolest freshmen at the party. 3 hours later I am passed out in the back yard and then throwing up all night and for most of the next day. But that’s where it started. This alcoholic haze that I call my early 20’s. But seriously, the life of the party. I am a pretty introverted person but when that buzzed kicked in I turned into the most outgoing man in the world. I could talk to anyone there. I could talk to any girl I wanted or pick a fight with any dude that looked at me funny. I was daring, I was funny, I was everything that I imagined I could be…..only it wasn’t me, it was the alcohol. This went on until I was about 22. Everything involved alcohol. Theres a football game, get some beer. Its your birthday, get some beer. Graduation party, get some beer. Your kids birthday, get some beer. I even took beer to class once. I had a Greek Mythology lecture in Independence Hall with about 300 other students. My buddy and I sat in the middle with a back pack full of beer and popped tops during the whole lecture. We thought that was cool. As you could guess, I didn’t graduate from OSU but that didn’t stop me from living there on campus. I ended up getting a bar backing/ bartending job. Which was great so now I could drink and get tips for it. Then I left Columbus at 22 years old and took a bartending job at Cedar Point. I left Columbus because of the trouble I was getting into. So I figured a new start in a new location would straighten me out. Nope. That was one huge party as well. This is where I met my dear Melissa. Sometimes we talk about how we met. We were both drunk, all the time. Did she actually fall in love with the real me or the drunk “life of the party Scott.” It was at Cedar Point where I realized that beer just was not cutting it anymore. I now started to have to supplement it with something stronger. I used to do shots all the time in my younger days but now it was more than just shots. It was bottles, on top of the beer. There was one time at the Point that I remember. A buddy and I drove through the drive-through and we got a 30 rack of Miller Lite. We also stopped and got a bottle of Jager. He and I sat down at a table and started drinking. Before too long, the beer was gone and the Jager was empty. Then we went down to the park to see Melissa and ride some rides. How do 2 guys that weigh a buck fifty drink 30 beers and a bottle of liquor have the ability to ride roller coasters and visit anyone. That’s absurd, but that was my life. Remember, I was the life of the party.

            I think back now about how dangerous my behavior was. I am ashamed to admit it but I used to drive all the time drunk. All the time. One time I convinced my buddy that I was sober enough to drive his car after a night at the bar. He passed out in the passenger seat and at some point I must have passed out too cause I woke up when we slammed into ditch on the other side of the road. This road was a major rode too. I crossed 4 lanes of traffic to hit this ditch. Luckily it was 3 in the morning so there were no cars. We hit the ditch, no, we slammed the ditch. He didn’t wake up so I was able to back the car out and drive it the rest of the way. In the morning when he went to leave he said that his steering was all messed up and that the bumper was pushed way up. There was grass and mud all over the front in. I lied to him. I told him that I didn’t know what happened. He never talked to me again. This was my best friend at the time. Not only did I drive drunk, but I also left myself in very dangerous positions. I used to go to parties with friends at places that I didn’t know surrounded by strangers. My friends would leave after a while but I always stayed. I was usually the last one to ever leave a party. So there I would be, all alone and drunk, surrounded by God knows who in God knows where. Anything could have happened to me. And when I say I would get drunk I am talking about the kind of drunk where you cant stand anymore. The kind where you couldn’t even speak. The kind where you pass out standing up and when you hit the ground you get up and accuse someone of pushing you. This is where Scott stopped being the life of the party and turned into “that guy.”

            So Melissa and I start our life together. I still drink. Only with her, I only drank on the weekends. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Sundays I would drink during the day and stop in the early evening because I had to work Monday Morning. This was the routine. Then I joined the Navy. During the early part of my career Melissa and I would go out, either just us or with some of our friends. We always had a habit of going to the same bar every weekend no matter where we lived. Soon the bartenders would get to know us and we would be regulars. We had fun. She made a rule though. When we went out I could only drink beer, no hard stuff. She said when I drank liquor my attitude changed. I started to get mean. So we would hang out at bars and I would go to use the restroom. Before I did though I found myself sneaking up to the bar and ordering a quick shot. I just needed something to get me over that edge. She caught me a couple of times and we would fight. It was about this time, age 27, where I now went from being life of the party to “that guy” to now the angry drunk. Boy….did I get angry. I remember one time one of my buddies wanted to leave and I didn’t so I flicked a cigarette at him. Who does that? He was sitting across from me and I just flicked a lit cigarette at him. And then came my worst night. We were at the bar, some of my friends show up because we were about to deploy to Iraq so we just had to party. Everything was fine until they started with the Jager shots. I did them and Melissa gat mad. We started fighting in the bar so I left with my friends. We went and drank some more liquor somewhere else. A couple hours later, Melissa calls me and says she was mugged. So I run home to her. I am hammered beyond belief mind you. She gives me the description of this guy. I go to the kitchen and I grab a knife and leave the apartment building. I start walking towards the bar. We didn’t live in the best of neighborhoods. Here is a 27 year old Navy Sailor drunk out of his mind carrying a kitchen knife looking for a man who mugged his wife so he could stab him. Melissa calls me back and says that she made it up. She made it up just so that I would come home. Here comes the part that I never wanted to share. I get home and we argue. She is terrified of me. I am still holding a knife. She runs into our bedroom and locks the door. I pound on the door for her to let me in. She wont open it. So I step back to kick the door in. I kick and my whole leg goes right through the door. I get my leg out of it and there is this huge gaping hole in the door. I look into the hole and there is my wife. My beautiful bride curled up in a ball scared that her husband is going to do God knows what to her. I don’t remember much after that. I think I tried to cook some macaroni and cheese but fell asleep with it on the stove and almost set our place on fire. I remember the next morning though. I woke up on the couch. I was too ashamed to see her and she was too mad at me to come out. She finally came out and said she was leaving me. She got into her car and drove off. Somehow I convinced her to come back. The worst night of my life….hands down.

            So from there, we went to San Diego. The weekend drinking continued. Grace was born. We left there and went to North Carolina. Weekend drinking continued there as well. No more liquor after that horrible night though. In NC, Lucy was born. When I got home from Afghanistan in June 2011, I started drinking again. I was drinking with my buddy and Melissa and his wife were friends as well. Whenever we all met, he and I would drink and play cornhole. He and I would get really drunk and I know his wife didn’t really like it. I guess he never really drank like that unless I was around. She never said anything directly but she would invite us to something and make it clear that we are just hanging out and No Beer. Of course, if there was No Beer rules then I didn’t want to go. It was at this time in our lives when Melissa rededicated her life to God. She would read the Bible and I would drink beer. She would want to go to church but Sundays were dedicated to my hangovers. I would tell her that she talks about God too much. I would tell her to stop talking about Him. Not because I didn’t believe but because I was living my life in shame. Bringing up God only reminded me more of it. If we didn’t talk about Him then I could just do what I do. I didn’t want to hear about God while I was nursing a hangover. I didn’t want to be reminded of how shameful my behavior is. So now….here we are deep in the heart of Texas….

            Here is a shocker…..weekend drinking continues. Only on the weekends….only beer. Ever since North Carolina we stopped going out. Melissa discovered some allergies to the ingredients in alcohol and if I was drinking on the weekends then someone had to be there for our 2 daughters. So all this weekend drinking is done at home, by myself. Melissa used to tell me that alcoholics do that. Drink by themselves. My reply was there was no chance of me getting into trouble, no DUI, and no girls. Just me, my sports, and my beers. And by beers I mean an 18 pack….bottles. But here in Texas….something began to change. I started attending church with Melissa and I slowly felt my heart changing. I started skipping weekends and if I did drink it was a six pack….maybe a 12. And then one day, after Christmas 2012……I stopped. 

           I skipped one weekend. Then I skipped the next one. Then those weekends turned into a month. That month turned into 3 months. Those months turned into a year. And at Christmas, That will turn into 2 years. 2 years and no alcohol. Part of me was tired of being hung over on the couch lying to my girls about why I cant go outside and play. Part of me was tired of disappointing my wife every time she heard that woosh of the beer as I opened another one. This had nothing to do about me. This was nothing I did. It was God. He answered my wife’s prayers. She couldn’t change me. I couldn’t change me, so He changed me. I used to feel like I was so deep in sin to even come close to Him. But remember, He is patient. You can not out sin God's love. He drew me in. He wiped the world out of my eyes and showed me life. His grace truly saved a wretch like me. I look back at that guy that I was and it is a wonder I am not dead. He was with me even then. Even as I pushed Him away, He still watched over me. He gave me the strength to put that bottle down. You cant raise your hands to worship if they are holding poison. I heard these lyrics in a Sho Baracka song last night (he is a Christian rapper) “I used to sip from a poisonous elixir but now I take big gulps of scripture.” Its true.

            Its not hard for me to share this anymore. I know some of loved ones might read it and may be a little hurt by it. To know that I was in pretty deep but on the surface everything looked ok. Some might be mad that I treated Melissa the way I did that night. That’s not me anymore. That was a man that let something have control over him. That was a man that followed a potion. But now I follow something different. And even through all that mess, God loves me. He brought me out of it and has given me the ability to see. So I want them to read it. I want you to read it. I want your husbands and wives to read it. I want the world to read it. If He did it for me, He will truly do it for you. I will admit though, it is still a struggle. Saturdays in the Fall are tough. I had to learn how to watch a Buckeyes game without beer. When I go out to a function and  around alcohol, its tough sometimes. I feel that Satan, the Deceiver, tries to tempt me. People say "Aw you can have one right?"....No I cant. When I feel this temptation I just look to Him. I have come to far. God has lead me this far without giving up on me so I will not give up on Him. I feel like I had to get to know me again.  In North Carolina I really felt like I had sinned so great that I was a lost cause. I pulled a knife on my wife….I kicked a hole in the wall….flicked a cigarette in a man’s face….but that’s over now. In all of that, His love has been poured over me from Heaven. It was by the Grace of God that I can share this story. The strength was His.  This was His doing. The glory will forever be His. It can happen for you….just ask Him.
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1 comment:

  1. I don't know you guys at all. I have never been to this blog before. I simply saw your wife's art on Instagram and loved it so I looked up her website. God is using your words "You cannot out sin God's love" to give a mother's heart hope. Even when we KNOW God loves our kids even more than we do, it is hard to watch when your kids are off track. For some reason I just needed to hear those words. Your testimony brought tears, but it also brought hope. Thanks for sharing and keeping it real.

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