Hello – My name is Mike, and I am a recovering alcoholic. For 42 years I wandered through this world angry, dishonest, ashamed, and afraid. I placed my faith in material things, but nothing ever seemed to satisfy. I mistreated those who loved me, and I lived with a self-serving attitude. I hated myself and did not feel like I deserved to be loved. When my alcoholism forced the end of my 22-year relationship, I was lost. I was defeated, broken, and desperate.
In the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous I learned that I had to place my faith in a power greater than myself if I were to survive my addiction to alcohol. It was there that I met a man named Adam. With Adam’s help as my sponsor, I set out on my journey to find a higher power and be free of alcohol and the anguish that came with it. I learned that my entire way of thinking needed to be changed. I could not depend on my own willpower to get me through this life. That self-will only left a trail of pain and destruction everywhere I went. I learned that I could not do this alone.
After working some of the AA steps with Adam, I began to receive what AAs refer to as “gifts”. The gift of clarity came relatively quickly. I started to see that how I had treated people was wrong. I started to see that the entire world had not been against me, but I had been against the entire world. I started to see that I had lived my life with a skewed sense of reality, with fear driving all my actions and reactions. I learned to see how my behavior affected others instead of thinking about myself all the time.
While this program was extremely rewarding, there was still something missing. I started attending Mountain Christian Church not knowing what I was searching for but hoping to find what I needed to feel whole. I met a bunch of great people, and I met Pastor Frank. After talking to Pastor Frank one evening about salvation and Christ, I knew I had found what was always missing. I needed Jesus. I had been living with what I’ve heard referred to in AA as a “god-sized hole” in my heart. I heard someone in an AA meeting once say, “God brought me to AA and through AA I found God”. I love that.
Throughout this journey I have learned the importance of repenting for my sin and asking for salvation, and I have been rewarded every day since. Be it the wonderful people He has put in my life, or the wonderful opportunities He has blessed me with. The Lord has given me the gift of sobriety and clarity. He has restored my sanity. He has given me love when I needed it most, and even when I did not. He has relieved me of the burden of self, and He has removed the mental obsession that led me to take that first drink. Most importantly, He has taught me what it means to genuinely love others. My life is not exactly the way I want it to be, but through the blood of Christ, I have been set free. Despite my troubles, I can honestly say that I am happier now than I have ever been. As the Lord said in Isaiah 30:15, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Today I declare to this church and the whole world that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I testify before you so if you have any doubt about your faith, or you have struggles of your own, you may know that with His grace and His love, you too can be free. I’d like to close with Romans 13:8, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law.”