Every Fiber Of My Body Hates Alcohol.
I have chosen “relationships” for the month of August. When we normally discuss relationships, we immediately think of another person. However, we have relationships with many things outside of individuals. This post is not going to resonate and be received well by many people, and I want to go ahead and clear the air and say, I’m okay with that. I also want to say that I’m not being condescending, condemning or judgmental.
Every single day I get the privilege to coach men, locally and abroad. I have built relationships as a result of this profession that I could never have had if I had stayed in a traditional bricks and mortar business. I’m so grateful for this tremendous blessing. There is one glaring obstacle, hindrance, addiction, habit, and desire I see all the time, alcohol. As the title of this post so eloquently says, “every fiber of my body hates alcohol” is the strongest, truest, and most deliberate title I could muster up. I suppose I could have inserted the word “loathe," and this may have described my disdain more adequate.
My dad was my best friend, without a question, until he passed away in 2006 of cancer. He fought a brave fight, and he will be remembered as a man of character, honesty, and integrity. However, there was a time, a very brief time, when I was a child that he drank alcohol. We lost our house and had to move in with our relatives because my dad drank too much. I remember as a kid getting into the truck, and his “drink" was always wrapped in a brown paper bag. I remember wondering why my Coke was not in a bag? Then he would stuff the empty cans under the front seat so my mom would not know. The fear of riding in a car not knowing if he were too impaired to drive or not was constantly on my mind. I vividly remember saying “watch out dad, be careful, don’t get too close," and many other warnings that a kid of my age should not have had to say. Thank God this was only for a brief time in my childhood. My mom gave my dad an ultimatum. She said, “stop drinking or lose your family!" It’s your choice. My dad chose us!
Some of my grandparents were alcoholics and as a result of that I never received one gift for any occasion. They never attended one sporting event, never made one single call just to say hello. They did not attend a birthday party, church activity or special events. I never took one, not one, not one single solitary trip anywhere with them. My father-in-law was killed in an automobile accident because of alcohol. My brother-in-law was stabbed to death in an alcohol-related fit of rage incident that robbed me of a life-long relationship with him. My uncle, my namesake, was also killed by a train, at a railroad crossing in the wee hours of the morning, all because he was drunk. I never got to meet the man I was named after because of his selfish desire to numb himself on a regular basis.
Here is my question, why would you want to flirt with something that has such huge consequences? I hear this comment all the time, “I’m a responsible drinker," and you may be. What about the influence you are having on those around you? What about those kids that may grow up and use you as an excuse to drink? My dad did it; it must be okay. Many younger and older friends and family members are watching everything you do. We have admirers from afar that we often never learn or hear about the immeasurable impact we might have on their lives.
We are influencers by default.
Every decision you make has either a good or bad consequence.
In August 2001, I had a tragic automobile accident where I hit a pedestrian. He was crossing a major highway to catch a city bus. He never saw me coming. He lived three days at Vanderbilt Hospital where he passed away from head trauma. I think about this all the time. I will never get that horrible day out of my mind. I can see it unfold before me today just as if it happened this morning. It was an accident, no one at fault, he just made a poor choice and didn’t look both ways. I have been able to move on and accept the fact that accidents happen; it’s unfortunate, and God has been merciful in extending grace where I have needed it.
Let’s revisit the accident with a little different perspective. What if I had been drinking and was a little bit foggy, not drunk, just maybe a little slow with my responses. I would NEVER, ever get over the horrific thought of killing another person because I was so selfish of my personal interest in feeling good or thinking I was having a good time.
Many will refute this post and say that it is none of your business that I drink, and I will agree with you 100%. It is absolutely none of my business until you run a traffic light and kill my daughter because you were incoherent. It’s none of my business until your life impacts my 12-year-old son, because he worships the ground you walk on. He says, “Coach Billy drinks, it must be fine.” My son can’t drink responsibly, and he grows up to be an alcoholic. People are watching.
You are influencing someone. "Don’t do as I do, do as I say" does not fly.
People mimic those that they're around.
Why? Please tell me why you would want to chance such a dangerous habit? There may be a few health benefits, that’s questionable, but the pitfalls and dangers are ever present. Why would you not want to stay clear of ever-present danger? I’m not suggesting that you are a bad person if you drink because I don’t think or feel that; it’s just so risky.
Please take the time to weigh the pros and cons. There are so many possible cons. Why even put yourself in a position where you have to go to battle to fend off the cons for such a small pro? If that's the case, was it even really a pro? Ask yourself, why do you need or want to drink? Could there be an underlying obstacle in your life that you are not dealing with, and you just want to hide it or run away from it? Let's deal with that issue. Be intentional with your life and your family's life. When you sober up, the problem is still there.
Let's skip the risks and cons of drinking and go straight to the
issue and deal with it. Let's have so many pros in your life that the
desire or need to drink is eliminated.
I want you to live a healthy, productive life, and I feel if we eliminate as many hurdles as possible we stand a much better chance of success and purpose for ourselves and our families.
Recently, I challenged a client to stop giving in to the peer pressure of casual drinking. He wanted to be accepted by his buddies and colleagues in social environments. He took the challenge and admitted it was very difficult at first. He was ridiculed and laughed at, at first. Now, his friends are privately telling him that they wished they could stop. You see, peer pressure is strong. We all want to be accepted and to be perfectly honest; it’s hard to break free. Man, when you do, it’s awesome. My client told me a few weeks ago that his marriage is better than it has been for 19 years. He feels better physically, and his friends and colleagues respect him more. They wish they could make the transition.
Never, not once, have I met anyone that said,
“as a direct result of alcohol, my life is better,” not once.
I do hear of devastation, broken relationships, and heartache. That being the case, why taunt with it at all? Let’s pretend for a moment that you do want to be totally alcohol-free. Can you? Do you need a little assistance? There are so many helpful programs available; such as residential rehab, the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program, Celebrate Recovery, and hospital/medical clinic assistance. I would simply start with a couple trusted friends or a regularly scheduled accountability group. I can assure you that you have family or friends that will stand by your side and walk you through this process.
I have total confidence that you want to live a life of success and significance. We all have areas of our life that need improvement; I will be the first to raise my hand. I have so many blind spots. I always laugh and say, “I’m a work in progress, and I need a lot of help." Please, take my challenge and reconsider the challenges that alcohol present and make a good choice.
I want you to live life to it’s fullest and give those around you the person they deserve.
Live on purpose,