“Love comes first and then the duty that love begets is expressed through our actions. Love will change you. It changed me and continues to do so.”
It’s been another long night out, the drinks kept coming and the shots were unlimited. It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran socialite or newbie, we all know what comes the morning after having your fair share of alcohol and then some.
On this morning, however, is very different because when I wake up it’s not in my bed. As a matter of fact, I am not even too sure whose bed I was in. “It doesn’t matter”, I console myself because I had to go back to sleep to nurse my headache.
A few hours pass and I decided to wake up. I thought I could have been dreaming when I had opened my eyes earlier that morning, but it then dawns to me that I was not home and that I had been sleeping in someone’s bed. I roll over and gasp in relief, I was alone in the bed (not that I wouldn’t have welcomed the company, I would’ve preferred knowing what happened the night before). Regret starts to surface in my mind and a large deal of embarrassment emerges because I am not supposed to be drinking, at least not from my Christian denomination’s perspective.
As I rise to my feet to leave and head home, I begin reciting my mantra, “I will never drink again, this is the last time.”
This is usually the way all stories go the morning after.
You would think that I would have stopped after all that but no, that same evening I was back at it again and the weekend thereafter and the weekend after that as well. Even with the regret and embarrassment, my hands found alcohol bottles easily, my mouth enjoyed its kisses with these bottles, my tongue the taste of the alcohol and my body the feeling of zen I got when I drank. I loved the loud music, friends and beautiful women that added to the ambiance of the moment.
As I mentioned before my church does not condone the drinking of alcoholic beverages. It is not just frowned upon, but I could end up being disfellowishipped if they ever found out such activity happened in my life.
I have obviously kept this a secret from them and my parents. During these heavy drinking stints, I become a youth leader, and eventually an elder as well. I kept my drinking to myself, no one really knew and if they did, they did not know the extent of this problem.
Eventually, to cut a long story short, I stopped drinking alcohol but it was not because of the church or its dogma. It was due to a young lady who saw more in me than I did, and how my solving problems by drowning myself in alcohol was never the solution. I have since the beginning of this year 2018, been sober. I have not craved alcohol (even though the smell of a Merlot may grab my attention at times) but the love I have for my girlfriend has always kept me from looking relapsing. This love has kept me grounded.
A typical Christian may expect that I would have stopped because of some big event that caused a massive epiphany like Saul on his way to Damascus or even by a verse that I would have read in the presence of angels singing but it was none of the above, it was just love. Unconditional love from someone who saw more in me.
As Christians, we put a lot of weight on our dogmas, but in truth when you really think about it those words do not mean much when you have made a decision to go against them. What changes our behaviour is when we truly see how our actions affect the ones we love deeply. To further add to that thought, after reading the whole bible from cover to cover what is evident is God’s love towards us and how if we were to reciprocate it we would naturally change our ways and begin to emulate His character.
How would that happen? Well, love begets duty and from my experience, it has never worked the other way. Trust me, I have tried over and over again. If you decide to be diligent with duty first by trying to keep up with Christian dogma without loving the God who made the doctrine we are sure to look at all those rules and regulations as huge burdens. Also, that diligence never pays off because we fall back into the hole of the bad habits that we are trying to get out of.
Love comes first and then the duty that love begets is expressed through our actions.
I can assure you I would have never stopped drinking had it not been for the love of my girlfriend, Anna. That love has changed my life for the better, and if we are to believe that the people that God sends in our lives are from Him directly, then I am grateful that God witnessed to me through her.
I am not sure what you are going through, what valley you may be dwelling in or what habits you would like to change but what I do know for sure though is that if you want to change direction, leave the valley of bad decisions permanently and change your habits, then begin to love God and love the people He sends your way.
That love will change you. It changed me and continues to do so.