Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 4 - To drink, or not to drink, that is the question.

It's Friday. Can I hear an "Amen"? Friday is the one day during the week that I get somewhat of a break. For the last 2 1/2 years I have worked Friday nights, until just recently when I gave them up to devote more time to building my bookkeeping business. Or something like that...

There was a time, right after I was separated that I LOVED to go downtown and party. I used to work a shorter shift on Friday nights, and as soon as I got off, I would change in the bathroom at work and go straight downtown. I think the appeal for me had a couple different elements. First of all, I never drank when I was younger. I consumed my first shot of alcohol at the age of 24. I never had a fake ID, and I never felt like I was missing out on anything until I was single again. Secondly, I loved the attention. I think women, in general, struggle with their self-esteem, but I have struggled in the past more than most. It amazed me how showing a tiny little bit of skin would make all the guys stare. I'm not saying that I ever acted on the attention that I got, but it felt good to have it. I think I felt like a used car after ending my marriage, and I wanted to know that someone would still want me. It sounds shallow, but it was true.

Not long into my party phase, something happened that was like a slap in the face to alert me that what I was doing was unhealthy, at best. I was with a group of friends one night that decided to head to a house party after bar time. I knew most of the people I was with, but there were a few new faces. I don't remember much after arriving at the party. I still don't know if someone put something in my drink, but I woke up the next morning and didn't know where I was. By the time I got home, I realized there were bruises all over my body. I was nearly raped. I thank God that he protected me amidst my foolishness.

After that incident, I was definitely more careful about where I went and who I was with. Still, I chose to go downtown on a regular basis. There were many weekends where I even rolled into church Sunday morning quite hungover. It took another incident, a little more recently to finally make me seriously evaluate what I was doing. I'll just say it ended in me not even being able to keep water down for 24 hours, and left Adam pretty hurt after some things I said in my drunken stupor.

It's ironic to me that as parents in general, it seems like we never get enough sleep, like there is never enough money to go around, and on top of that, the enemy is trying to destroy our relationships - why then would we stay up until 2 a.m., and spend $50 on a night of alcohol around people that just want some short-term gratification? I told someone once that getting divorced feels like someone cut your heart out, replaced it with a vacuum and left the wound open. I just wanted anything to fill the void that was consuming me. Drinking seemed to make it all go away...until I woke up the next morning, even more miserable.

I'm not saying that I completely disagree with drinking. (My friends would be quick to point that out!) In fact, I love beer. So much so, that I would probably weigh a little less if I didn't like it! I do still find it enjoyable to go downtown occasionally, too. Last weekend, Adam and I went and played pool, had a couple beers and had a blast. We left early, and were perfectly safe to drive home. I don't want to get in to the debate over whether or not it's okay to drink alcohol. I think for some people it is, and for some it's not. Obviously, just like everything else in life, there has to be some moderation and wisdom about the situations we put ourselves in. God has really been challenging me lately to have some consistency in my life - to practice what I believe. I want people to know that there is something different about me, but it's tough to see that difference if I'm sporting a low-cut blouse and downing shots of tequila.

This is a tough one for me, because at the end of a long week, I'm ready for a beer. Adam and I have been brainstorming about ways to have a fun weekend without so much alcohol. I like our game nights at home with friends, and I'm looking forward to finding some other ways to relax and have a good time(with maybe just 1 or 2 beers instead of 7!). Tonight we're going to a basketball game...GO GRIZ!

"Lord, you know that this is still a struggle for me. Please give me a heart that is soft earth to the seeds that you are planting, and to what you are showing me. Open my eyes to the motives of my heart, and meet me in my desperation. Help me to put energy into creative alternatives, so that I can honor you with my behavior. Help me remember that no one can fill the empty places in my life except you. I've certainly learned that the hard way in the past. Show me how to be wise, to take care of my body, and treat it like a temple. Be the restoration team to come in and clean up the damage I have done to your house. Thank you that you are so good at making something beautiful out of ashes. Help me to remember that 'he who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe' (Proverbs 28:26). Thank you that you loved me through all my foolishness, and love me still."

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