Please note: If you’ve missed reading Plastered on the Front Row Part 1, I highly recommend you start there to have the complete story. You can find part one by scrolling down or clicking here: Plastered Part 1
“No matter how far I run
I run into Your love
And when I’m falling apart
You won’t let me go.”
By: Elevation Worship
In my life, the dawn of alcoholism started with darkness, as if a light switch flipped off inside me. After an intense fight with my husband, I announced I was done with our marriage. I shook my fist at God, “And you know what God, I’m done with You too. You are not who I thought you were. You didn’t come through for me like You promised. I. Am. Done!”
Then, aloud I said to Satan, “Alright let’s do this.”
The next morning, one thought bombarded me, ‘I think I want to drink some wine.’ For the first time in my adult life, I drove to a store and bought the biggest bottle of cheap, red wine I could find. So cheap, it had a twist-off cap.
I parked in the garage, and in my minivan gulped down the “red demon juice” (as I’d heard many Baptist call it) After another swig, I felt the warm goodness wash over me, removing the depth of my despair. It seduced me.
Afterwards, I drank wine, beer, and hard liquor every day. It provided my escape. However, while my self-medicating might have buried the pain, it enslaved me.
Darkness always brings bondage.
I’d left my husband and children, moved far away from them, and sought counsel from a church where no one knew of my situation. My brother allowed me to live with him, but I had to get a job to support myself. One evening, I applied for a waitress position at a beach restaurant and stayed to enjoy a seafood dinner and a couple of margaritas. After dinner, I drove out of the parking lot and within seconds heard police sirens and noticed the flashing lights behind me.
The officer approached my window. “Ma’am, do you know why I pulled you over?”
“No sir, was I swerving? I’m having to use my phone GPS because I’m new to the area and don’t know my way around.”
“Your headlights were off. Have you had anything to drink tonight?”
My heart raced and I hesitated before answering, “Yes.”
After a series of field sobriety tests, he arrested me. Handcuffed in the back of the police car, I counted the cost of my alcoholism. DUI. Jail. Record. Accusations assaulted my mind, ‘You’ve ruined your life. You left your children to get better, but your worse now than you were before. You are hopeless!’
Plastered on the front pew—so to speak—was my mug shot. It humiliated my children as their “friends” snapped it all over social media. Throughout my family’s Christian community, “Pastor’s wife arrested for drunk driving” spread like wildfire. My children already devastated by the separation, now had to endure the shame of my bondage. My daughter, Faith spent several days bawling in her bed unable to face anyone at school. My abuse of alcohol caused more pain than I’ll ever know or be able to make up for. That’s the problem with pain left untreated…it becomes infected and damages everything and everyone surrounding it.
I needed help! The spiritual and emotional pain demanded relief. Running from the very God I’d loved and served majority of my life because He was not who I thought He was made life miserable—just as it has with so many like me.
After seven dark years, one day I had a “But God” divine appointment. I heard Him whisper into my shattered soul…
“Liz, you know the night you shook your fist at me and stated you were done with me too?”
“Yes, God, I remember it like it was yesterday,” I sobbed.
“You were right Liz, you needed to be done with that god…because that’s not who I Am. Don’t you know by now, I Am Grace? I Am your Healer. Will you let me Rescue you, hold you in My arms and Restore you? I will Resurrect your dead heart and Redeem your pain.”
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I confessed. “Yes Lord, I’m miserable and feel helpless. I need you to rescue me; please do it. You are the only One who can.”
Brutal truth? I would’ve remained in pain, plastered on the front pew, still abusing alcohol and running in darkness…
Only God could discern the depth of my distress. Only God could demolish the delusion of my legalistic view of Him. He allowed me to make a mess of my life, to the point I thought there was no way I could be called His own again. God destroyed the bondage of my despair. He set me free from the darkness, took away my pain, and filled me with real joy. The kind of true joy not found in a bottle.
Even now, I don’t blame alcohol for my pain or my problem. I’m not condemning it or calling drinking a sin. In my situation, when it wasn’t alcohol, I used some other vice. You may wonder if I’m anti-alcohol now, the answer is “no.” But, I don’t need it anymore, Jesus made sure of that. Now, instead of being plastered on the front pew, I’m praising Him with a purpose. Telling those in pain, there is a real remedy. The enemy used alcohol to enslave me…my God used Love and Grace to free me.
“You intended to harm me, But God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (New International Version)
Elizabeth Hammond is a contributing writer at the Hallelujah House.In her free time she loves to bake, read, and lounge on the beach which is in her opinion is the closest thing to heaven. Elizabeth’s passion is ministering to others out of her own God-story where He’s rescued her life and continues to restore her family. She desires to fulfill God’s purpose in her life in encouraging women by sharing her own story, through Bible study, and intimate friendships.
Elizabeth can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.