Posted by: Derek Guyer | July 7, 2009

Matt’s Story: Vodka and My Soul


Several weeks ago, I asked my good friend, Matt, to share the testimony of his alcohol problems and how they affected his marriage. He came to me with this incredible story of brokenness.  I was humbled by all he was willing to share. I believe his testimony has some valuable lessons for all of us, but particularly those who have been or are where he was. It is our prayer, as it is his, that we all learn and grow from his story and the truths Matt learned:

Matt’s Testimony

Matt & KimiMy head was quite foggy, but I quickly realized that I was not waking up in my bed.  My nice warm comforter was replaced by a damp bath towel, and the cold linoleum had become my mattress.  No, I most certainly was not lying in bed.  Instead, however, I found myself curled up on the bathroom floor lying in a pool of my own vomit.  As slowly as my eyes opened, I found that I couldn’t close them fast enough.  A lump welled up in my throat.  Little by little I began to remember bits and pieces of what was the most humiliating night of my life.  I lay there that morning wishing for a hole to climb in. I’d never felt so low in all my life.

Long before this particular occasion, drinking had become part of my daily routine.  Life at home had been in a free-fall for some time.  My marriage and family had become a virtual train wreck.  Regrettably, I turned to alcohol immediately after our problems began.  The drinking trend was already in place, so unfortunately that’s where I ran.  Vodka rapidly became my best friend.  Most nights were spent in an alcohol induced daze, drinking as much as three half gallons of vodka a week.  On this particular night, drinking my problems away took me down a very embarrassing and humiliating road.

The problem that I sometimes faced when I was numbing my troubles with alcohol was that from time to time a situation in my life would become worse and increasingly painful.  When these situations would arise, my “normal” alcohol consumption wouldn’t cut it, and I’d find myself not being able to locate the “off button”.  Whether it was a case of not being able to find the off button or not wanting to find it, I’m not sure.  Either way the end result was the same.  Such were the circumstances on this night.

I received some very upsetting, very heartbreaking information from my wife.  I was broken, and rightfully so.  However, at this point in my life I was already drinking every day.  This day was no different.  When I received this news I had already been drinking.  I put on my game face, proceeded to act as if I was alright and made up an excuse to get out of the house.  I soon became everything I hated, everything I thought I could never be.  While downing my second bottle of vodka I fell twice coming up to the house.  Then I fell again, this time over the kitchen table as I entered the house.  All of this took place in front of my wife and my four children.  At some point, I told my wife I’d taken some pills on top of the alcohol (I honestly don’t know if I did or didn’t).  My wife, then fearing for my life, called 911.  Soon firemen and police officers arrived (some of whom I know personally).  They were joined by our neighbor, my in-laws and my parents.  I was throwing up every couple of minutes for hours upon hours.  I was an emotional wreck, weeping uncontrollably while firing insults at my wife, my parents, my friends and even at the policemen and EMT’s who were there to help me.  The words I spoke to my parents that night still sicken me.  Even though we’ve moved on, I know I’ll never forget or cease to regret the horrible things I spoke.  I was a weak, pitiful excuse for a person, much less the Christian I claimed to be. I didn’t even remotely resemble the person I was just a year or so before.  Intellectually I knew where my hope should rest, but my actions displayed something much different.

How did I become this person?  How did a once strong, self-confident Christian man crash land in a puddle of his own puke?  Worse yet, how did I not learn a lesson from this night and others like it?  No sooner than I had raised my head off the cold linoleum did I consider my next drink.  I was sick about the things that I had said and done, and I knew that the alcohol only intensified my problems.  However, in some weird and crazy way I felt the only way relief would come was with that next swallow, and it couldn’t come soon enough. So I continued to soak my problems in alcohol, and turn my back on the only One who could relieve my heartache.

I truly believe that my battle with alcohol began with one beer on a hotel balcony at Virginia Beach nearly three years earlier.  What started out as a very innocent act became two very innocent acts and so on.  When I drank that beer at Virginia Beach my marriage was strong, as was my faith.  Over the next two years I drank often, socially.  My marriage and family life as well as my relationship with God remained strong during this time.  However, in late 2005 my marriage went south, and it went south in a hurry.  At this point I began to drink more often and it became something far from social.  Alcohol became an easy escape, a way to numb myself from the mess that had become my life.  The drinking amplified my problems, and, although I was very much aware of this fact, I was drinking more than ever.

I don’t believe alcohol in itself to be sinful, unless of course it is consumed in excess.  It is however very dangerous for some people, and there are many warnings in scripture concerning alcohol consumption.  The danger is that many times those who may be prone to have a drinking problem aren’t aware of it until it’s too late.  Obviously, this was the case with me.  We all need to be very aware of the risks involved when we let things like alcohol in the door.  Satan prowls around like a roaring lion, and he looks to devour us.  He receives no greater joy then to watch us stumble and fall.  For me it was alcohol.  My brother died when I was eight-teen and I found comfort in alcohol.  Although I was drinking too much at this point in my life I never realized how this habit could grow into a serious problem.  After I was married I began to grow closer to God, and I quit drinking altogether.  Then when I took that first drink it was easily justified in my mind, theologically and otherwise.  I told myself I’d never had a drinking problem, and it is biblically permissible, so what’s the problem?  After all, I wasn’t getting drunk… until I was.

I often wonder what would have happened if I’d continued to stay away from drinking. Had I never allowed myself to be in a position to fall into the arms of alcohol would I have been better equipped to fight for my marriage?  No doubt I absolutely would have been.  Perhaps my wife would have still gone down a bad road, but I am certain that without the influence of alcohol I would have been more supportive, more caring.  Alcohol made me unable to feel, unable to care.  It took away my ability to fight for the woman I love.  Instead of going to battle for her, I checked out. I gave up.  I don’t take full responsibility for the choices my wife made, but I would be foolish to think that my actions didn’t push her farther away.

It took me another two years to completely quit drinking.  This July I will be one year sober.  Although I’ve remained sober over the past several months, the scars remain.  Still from time to time Satan taps me on the shoulder and tells me I can have a drink.  “Just one drink,” he says. “You’ve been sober long enough and you learned your lesson”.  It’s crazy but sometimes I even think I can…  but I can’t.  Alcohol is poison for me, this lesson I had to learn the hard way.

If you are reading this post and you are a social drinker, I’m not condemning you.  I’m not judging you or your actions.  In fact, I know several very strong Christian men and women who are able to enjoy a drink from time to time.  However, as someone who is definitely not that kind of person I’ll simply ask you to be very careful.  I didn’t realize the size of this monster until its hands were wrapped around my throat and it was sucking the life out of me. I survived my fight with alcohol, and I thank God for that.  However, there are many people who don’t survive this fight.

If you are reading this post and you are in the middle of a serious struggle with alcohol and it seems like all hope is lost, please know that it’s not.  You can get control of your life and find the peace that no bottle could ever bring you.  As I mentioned, the night I spoke of earlier was not the end of my struggle.  I know what you are going through, and it is not easy to walk away from, but it can be done.  Not only am I sitting here today sober, but my wife and I just celebrated our twelve year anniversary.  We are very much in love and praising God for the miracle He performed in our lives.  He is truly amazing.

My hope and prayer for all of us is that we guard our hearts and minds in every area of life, and that we never, ever let that snake in the door.  Satan is slick and crafty, and his sole desire is to watch us fall for his tricks. If you let your guard down for a minute, in that moment of weakness, he will bite you.

If you would like to talk with Matt about your own struggles with alcohol, feel free to email us for his contact information.


Responses

  1. That’s a powerful testimony, Matt.
    I’ll be praying for the God of all comfort to keep a hedge of protection around you and your family.

  2. this is my husbands story. matt, i love you so much and i am so proud & thankful for you and the love that God has brought back into our marriage. i love you more now than ever.

    derek and lisa, i am forever thankful for you! xoxo

    to anyone who is struggeling in their marriage: don’t stop fighting for it. don’t give up. don’t lose hope. God can heal all pain and bring you comfort, peace, love and He wants to give this to you in your marriage. from someone who has been through really tough times, i know this to be true and i am living it in my marriage!

    kimi


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: