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Hi, my name is Bill Grimes Jr. I am a believer who struggles with the disease of Alcoholism. I was saved from this self destructive hell four years ago by the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. I was a very heavy drinker for thirty years. I consumed mostly hard liquor and can honestly tell you that I was drunk almost every night of my adult life until I achieved sobriety. I was a “black out” drunk. I took my first drink at age thirteen, polishing off an entire bottle of cheap wine, passed out, and woke up the next morning in a pool of vomit. After a day or two of extreme hangover symptoms, the intense craving and alcoholic sickness kicked in, took over my life, and consumed me until it almost killed me.
The insanity of my alcoholism led me to repeat the same behavior over and over again. I like to use the analogy of placing my hand on a hot stove. I knew it was going to burn me and be very painful every time I took a drink. Extreme headaches, dry mouth, nausea, memory loss, and violent episodes of uncontrollable shaking accompanied my daily routine as my consumption increased over the years. Yet day after day, year after year, I could not wait to get home from work and hit the bottle. I called myself being a “good Dad” because I would wait until the kids were in bed at 9pm before I started my nightly voyage. Heaven forbid if it was five minutes past nine and the children were still up. I would become so agitated and belligerent, complaining to my poor wife to hurry things up. Vodka was my drink of choice because it was cheap and I had heard the myth of “not being able to smell it on ones breath”. Friends, I am here to tell you, I can smell it today a mile away on your breath, in your hair, and sweating out of your pores! I would buy 3 of the big bottles at a time so as not to run out. Remember when you couldn’t buy booze on Sunday? EVERY Saturday night I would get nervous and make a run to the liquor store if I was even close to running out. Many times, I would charge my purchases on a credit card that I knew was over the limit. The fees and charges I incurred by such foolish financial judgment didn’t matter at the time. I would also shop at different stores in a futile attempt to hide the fact that I drank way too much. The alcohol overruled everything in my life. By the time I reached my thirties, I was consuming about a half 1.75 liter bottle of vodka a night. (See example). I would pass out around 1:00am, often wake up at 3:30 am and go to work, put in a 15 hour day at Sam’s Club (still drunk from the night before), and was responsible for $65 million dollars of their money and 250 employees. As I said before, I am a black out drunk. Many times I would wake up in the morning and my wife would not be speaking to me. I had no idea why and it sometimes took me days to discover that I had said something mean to her, or lost my temper for silly things. It’s a sick feeling knowing you did something to hurt a loved one, yet can’t remember exactly what it was you did. The guilt is tremendous. When she would try to talk to me about my drinking problem out of concern and love, I would become very defensive and claim I needed it to “relax” from the stress of my job. The truth was, the bottle became my lover, my best friend, my everything and I pushed my wife away as I sank deeper into addiction. We had virtually no social life to speak of and very few friends. I grew more possessive and selfishly isolated my family from society because it cut into my precious drinking time.
One morning, I woke up and got ready for work. My wife and children were gone, the front door was wide open, and I had no idea why. I went to work and came home for lunch to discover my key no longer fit the locks on my house. I called my wife on her cell phone and she informed me that she had the children inside the house and she would have me arrested if I tried to force my way in. I found out two days later that I had threatened to punch our oldest son in the face in a drunken rage over an argument about taking out the trash. The horrendous part of this story is my son had been in a near fatal car crash the year before and almost died. His face was smashed beyond recognition due to a guardrail of a bridge striking his left eye and cheek going 80 MPH. His entire facial structure was delicately pieced back together with titanium mesh and metal plates. Any blow to his head at that point could have surely killed him. I had no recollection of the incident and as my wife told me this awful tale, I began to sob and shake uncontrollably. That incident really got my attention. I love my children unconditionally and I could not imagine me doing such a thing to someone I cherished so dearly. A few days later, my wife filed for divorce. Believe it or not, I was still drinking as I stayed in a cheap motel and begged my wife to forgive me and take me back. I considered getting professional help and discovered my insurance would not cover an inpatient recovery program. Someone suggested a local 12 step program. I went to a few meetings basically deceive my wife into thinking I was sincere about sobriety in hopes of reconciliation. I managed to stay “dry” for six months as my marriage dissolved into a legal nightmare and ultimate bankruptcy. I learned a lot from my new friends in recovery, but deep inside me, the beast still raged. It was a war every day not to take a drink and I suffered severe withdrawal symptoms in the process of going cold turkey.
I relapsed in April of the following year. I drank two large bottles of vodka in three days and was horrified to discover that the effects of the booze on my body had changed. The feeling of euphoria and warm escape that I had known for thirty years was gone. As some of the old-timers in the 12 step program had warned me, my best friend quit working and had turned on me. My head pounded mercilessly and felt like a screwdriver was boring into my skull at the base of my neck. I was sweating profusely. I could not sleep and had been up for several days. I suffered hallucinations and violent shaking spells. I later learned I was in the throes of the “DT’s” and death was near. I was a broken man. Destitute and suicidal, I prepared to take an entire bottle of valium and finish off another large bottle of vodka and simply drift away. As I sat in my apartment and pondered suicide, a vision came to me suddenly like a bolt of lightening. I envisioned my baby boy walking in and finding me dead of an overdose. This shook me to my core and I immediately hit my knees and cried out to God “If you are still there please help me!!! I can’t live like this anymore. Please take me now or help me to get well.” That night I slept like a baby for the first time in about a month. When I woke up the next morning I was a new man. A miracle from Jesus Christ had taken the insane urge to drink from me and I have not had a drink since. I am sober and I am saved by His grace and healing power. My favorite verse in the bible has always been “BE STILL AND KNOW I AM GOD”. I have learned to be still and feel His warm soothing presence in prayer and meditation. I talk to Him every day as I am talking to you now. I share my joys, my problems, my concerns, my excitement, my gratitude with My Father. He is my Savior and my best friend. I am learning patience to understand His guidance and will for my life, ONE DAY AT A TIME.
Today I spend my days focused on giving back this wonderful gift I was given so freely. I CELEBRATE RECOVERY . I counsel those who still suffer, I seek out the destitute and homeless to offer my hand and my heart, I speak to groups like you to share the miracle of Gods love in my life. I write poetry and short stories in praise of Jesus Christ. Many of you listening to me today understand exactly what I am sharing with you. Some of you may even suffer as we speak. I urge you to reach out and grab the hand of recovery He offers. He works through His children to touch the lives of others. Help is available and THERE IS A WAY OUT OF ADDICTION. Praise God for this opportunity to share my experiences with you all. Please feel free to contact me if I can help in any way.
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Thank you for your courage in speaking of your addiction. I too have been affected by the devastation of alcoholism. Both of my parents, my brother and my husband and numerous other relatives were and still are alcoholics. The toll that it has taken on my life and relationships with these people is devastating. Everyday, I thank Jesus for saving me from going down that same road. God bless you and may Christ continue to bless you in your outreach to others!
Brother Bill, once again, you have shared and blessed me and am sure many other countless souls with your testimony. I am sure He who has begun this great work in you will see you through the end. I bless God for His magnificient grace and healing powers. He remains faithful and loving. No wonder He is called LOVE. God bless you.