"God, I offer myself to Thee--to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
Some of you may recognize the prayer above and it is very important to me and I will explain that later. Let us get directly to the what happened part.
When I was younger I always hung out with the older guys. When I was at the tender age of thirteen I was hanging out with seventeen and eighteen year olds. Nothing that follows can be blamed on them though. You see one of them had a 1956 Chevy with a 327ci 4 barrel Holley and all the things teenagers really didn't need. They introduced me to alcohol and the rest is one messed up history.
From that time forward alcohol never left my side. For a period of about 35 years I existed in a fog of confusion,bitterness and mind a numbing fear of reality. I claimed I was happy but my own mind rebelled against any notion of contentment. Even at thirteen years of age, I mightily craved the next drink. I would mow neighbor's yards for drinking money.
I continued to drink away the few brain cells I possessed until I quit school at 16, which was the minimum age I could legally quit. I wasted my time until what I thought would be the ultimate escape, The U.S. Army. It wasn't.
Having drank beer for four years I considered myself a master at the craft of drunken self-absortion. I was just an amateur as I soon found out. I met up with people from around the country who could teach me a thing or two about Kentucky Bourbon, the demon rum and a slew of others.I drank myself through my time in the states and was then sent to Germany as the Army refused to send me to the Nam because I was only seventeen. Oh well, that shot down all of my John Wayne fantasies.
When my sophisticated high-brow butt arrived in Mannheim,Germany I discovered again just what a hick I really was. The battle there was being fought between the drunks and the stoners. I gladly joined the drunks but got along with everybody. Then the old curiosity that killed the cat grabbed ahold and I went out on the town with the stoners. My brain wasn't pickled enough, so hashish, opium, acid and grass sure helped finish off what few cells I had left. I was still drinking also. This went on until December of 1969 when I was sent to Ft Dix New Jersey to depart the military. Three more years of insanity and I had learned nothing.
In 1973, after wasting the time up until then I decided to get married to the girl two doors down. A cute little redhead that I had been eyeballing for a while. We got hitched in some judges office in New Braunfels, Texas. To make a long story short she loved me and I loved alcohol. You can't serve two masters. We did have some good times along the way but destiny had another path for me at that time.
A lot of those times are a blurry to me, but at some time I ended up in the hospital and an alcohol abuse center. Got out repeated the cycle and back to the alcohol ward. Eventually I ended up in Alcoholics Anonymous. They saved my bacon in the end. The prayer I posted at the top is the AA 3rd step prayer. They taught me to pray and I expected nothing from it. My expectations were met when I got nothing from it. Next I will give you the part where the program started working, despite my best efforts to sabotage it.
AA met at a church on my way home from work and since I could get there earlier than anyone else they elected me to set up the place for the meeting. That means setting up the meeting room, making sure there were enough chairs and ashtrays out for everybody. Nobody smokes like a group of people tring to get off the juice. The last chore was to make the big old pot of coffee. After that just wait for the regulars and the occassional newcomer to come in.
One day things went a wee bit different. After making the coffee I was pulled toward the chapel of the church. I entered the chapel where Shut the door behind me and looked in every which direction to make sure I was alone. I walked down to the altar and looked in every direction because I realized what I was about to do and frankly to be caught would have been embarrassing.
I got on my knees at the altar and spoke the words of that simple prayer at the end of the prayer the cross lit up and I had the most peaceful feeling I have ever known. I cannot describe the indescribable. I glowed. I stood up weightless and floated back toward the meeting room. I felt as if my feet barely touched the floor.
I didnot understand exactly what had happened but I knew it was the best feeling I had ever felt in my life. I had an unquenchable thirst to know what had happened and a sudden thirst for the Word. That is when I found a good Baptist church and got myself in it and learned about the Holy Spirit. Only then did I understand what had happened. The desire for alcohol was gone and vanquished from my life.
I had a lot of people praying for me in my life. Possibly the pastor at Manchester Baptist Church who humored a 5 year old kid who ask him what does it mean to be born again. He patiently explained to a kid that could not grasp what he was being told. Then the same pastor saying a prayer while I was there. I don't remember what he prayed but maybe that is what happened. Maybe it was my family who had been praying for me. All I know is I was drawn to the chapel like a magnet was pulling me along. Somewhere along the way prayer is what happened.
My own family doesn't even know what I just told y'all. They will now because I am emailing this to them now. I hope each and every one of you comes to the peaceful place where only the Spirit can lead you.