Counselor, Law or God looks at how counselling can affect an addict and keep them away from true freedom. Further to this there are provoking thoughts on eugenic theories that are based on human supremacy…
Counselor client relationships can only be hierarchical making it practically impossible for an addict to open up and search for the truth, which is the essence of an addicts wellness. Having a financial agreement immediately places those involved into an economical relationship where a person who feels low is purchasing wellness from a professional who knows best. How wonderful it would be to purchase from a doctor a large portion of wellness. We can be sure there are many selling such ideas. Buying our way out of mental darkness however is impossible. Buying our way into heavenly freedoms is also impossible. Saint Peter was clear when confronted by a man called Simon who offered money in return for the Holy Spirit.
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! (Acts 8: 18-20).
As each therapy session began of course there were smiles and pleasant conversation, but due to the money exchange there can be little love in those situations where one is an all knowing professional psychiatrist and the other is mentally exhausted at best.
Love and faith can be given by the professional, but must run alongside paranoia and fear coming from the client, making the whole final product hoped for by the addict impossible. To be absolutely sure, the love offered by our professional friends does not compare to what is on offer from Jesus Christ. Rules and regulations can get in the way, which are often written by a body of people that incorporate confusing formulas. Insurance policy can similarly disrupt hope where disclaimers must be signed first by the client. Having signed these myself I can see how an impersonal process took over and dislodged any hope that I may have had for recovery. Having weekly appointments in the first instance also shows a serious lack of how the psychiatrist generally understands the nature of alcoholism, which explodes and implodes on a daily basis at any time without concern to booked appointments. The diary has more concern to the professional and not the addict who must fit into to the professionals realm, or simply go without. Having made an appointment at 4pm for the following Tuesday for example, while knowing all along it would be practically impossible to attend. Having a diary is a hilarious concept when in the shenanigans of active alcoholism. Often I wasn’t sure where I would be in any given hour of the day let alone next Tuesday at 4pm?
As a patient I found it frustrating trying to receive hope from a paid professional who may have the skills to develop a certain amount of trust but lack the depth that can only be found in the eyes of mature Christians. The counselor ultimately cannot forgive the way Jesus can, and in seeing this forgiveness work through mature Christians is quite remarkable.
One particular professional surgery I attended appeared homely like a stage set for a kitchen sink drama, which was what the therapist had to contend with at times depending on how I felt on any given day. This particular surgery had arm chairs, a fire place with a shelf above that held photographs of the therapist’s genuine family members. With the photo’s being valid I was still never quite sure about that fire place. On a few occasions I felt a need to fall to my knees and shove my head up it to see if there was any evidence of coal dust from years gone by. To this day I still don’t know the truth about that fire place? Having this ‘child in Santa’s grotto’ synopsis going on in my head caused minor paranoia, which was pretty much normal. The surgery therefore, I supposed, appeared more like a drama set with a touch of reality. The script was in the format of a question sheet that was given out before each session, and the answers came from the characters that filled my head on any particular occasion. Comedy one week and tragedy the next. Psychiatry focused attention on correcting my unstable life by suggesting responsibility and how I could contain myself out there in the real world, but failed generally to focus on how I couldn’t. It is the later that is key to recovery, can’t cope and learn and not how you should be coping is a far better beginning. Hopelessness can turn into hope under the realms of faith.
On one occasion God, I was told quite abruptly by a mature psychiatrist, “is for those who fail to take responsibility and who look for an energy outside themselves to blame for their situation”.
During this particular session, which was my last, it was already quite clear that God was working well for me over the previous weeks, and what was being said by my professional friend was flawed. This particular appointment was kept more out of curiosity than search, which was not long after my baptism. While listening to this particular therapist I could see and hear objectively from a safe distance. What would have previously seemed offensive, my emotions remained untouched. After offering kind regards I left knowing that my need to return was over, and that I was safe within the spiritual realms of Jesus. On this occasion there was not one ounce of disdain left in me, which was an emotional state I carried with me all day every day.
Being told, in one sense, to take responsibility for my actions showed the limited attitude and understanding that this particular professional had had with regard to the power of the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus entered the arena blaming others was my only option; taking responsibility was impossible in such a condition, because it was always everybody else’s fault, or so I believed. Only since baptism have I managed to turn the finger that pointed outward, inward to look at what was inside me. Searching for redemption is taking responsibility, absolutely. It is my responsibility to follow Jesus and be rid of all the evils that controlled my inner thoughts, which allows me to carry on and be the real me that God had intended.
Much of the therapy I attended seemed to come from the Carl Jung school of thought where each individual had their own personal experiences and therefore their own concept of the world about them. Jung told an alcoholic to continue on with a 6 step recovery, which was an earlier form of the 12 step programme, and stated that he (Jung) ‘couldn’t do it better than Jesus’. The very fact that Jung highlighted Jesus as the ultimate in recovery makes having a god of our own understanding hypocrisy to an alarming degree. What originates from Christ surely must stay with Christ. Although Jesus himself noted that only one in ten of those who had overcome their ailments returned to Him to say thanks;
“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner”. (Luke 17: 15-18)
Many of us are out of key with our internal spiritual needs. Perhaps the other nine harnessed that healing power and boasted it as their own, which was my early experiences in Alcoholics Anonymous, always boasting my own sobriety. With this limited god of my own understanding, the inner man lingered on unknowing to what a real and loving God had to offer.
Jesus tells us that we must be born again and once this baptism is complete the ultimate enlightening journey begins, which Saint Paul explains so wonderfully, that we must be fed on milk first and then solid food later. Clearly Saint Paul is using childhood references to detail how we grow spiritually. Initially, every word of scripture needs explaining until we can stand on our own two feet once the words have become more tangible and wholesome within us. The words become part of our makeup and deepen our super natural cause. We move away from the great Exodus within, and settle down in our search for the land of milk and honey.
To be sure, before my baptism into the name of Jesus my soul was ‘out of key to my external beliefs’, and to be ‘hollow to a terrifying degree’ was very true. These two statements were from Jung expressing his view on Christianity, but fit very well to my experiences with psychotherapy and not Christianity as they were originally intended. Every part of my body screamed for an answer to my obsessive thinking and the fact that I honestly and whole heartedly felt the answer was in some form of professional psycho mind altering counseling shows how wrong I could be. Time and again I went back to the same source looking for an answer, only to be so consumed with anger and rage knowing all the time deep in the back of my mind that my real answer was either alcohol or God. There are no grey areas here, as the Big Book suggests, God is everything or He is nothing.
Without engaging too deep into the psychology debate, which I will leave to those with less experience in alcoholism and more experience in psychology, it is clear that the intellectual psychologist can get in the way of an individual’s search for spirituality, particularly with elaborate essays and reports that compare Carl Jung to Jesus himself. When reading these essays I was sure that the proprietor was using a comparison to Jesus simply to be heard, to have a voice in a debate that is so far removed from the truth, there simply is no comparison.
Within a short walk of my home there are 12 churches of various denominations, all built in the name of Jesus with each having their own approach but similar belief system in place. In my home town there are 70 churches some large and some small and all pray to the love of Jesus Christ. The variables between these churches tend to focus on the correct age for baptism, the blood of Christ as real or symbolic, the part played by the mother Mary and so on, yet all bow the knee to Jesus Christ and rely on His advocate, The Holy Spirit, to maintain a solid living condition.
In his book ‘Life In Christ’ Raniero suggests that the new millennium has brought the body of Christ closer, even with the varying denominations. How then can any modern day intellectual psychologist or economist be compared to all this, regardless of their professionalism and popularity status? It is inconceivable that, regardless of intellectual discovery, a modern man can be likened to Christ. During a lecture I attended the professor stated that Karl Marx writing had found its way on to more library shelves than any other writer in history, and furthered his argument by adding the varying subject areas that had borrowed from Marx. The professor wrote each subject on the board, which were if I remember correctly, history, English literature, sociology, psychology, economy, politics, cultural studies to name a few that were listed amongst many more and varied subjects. Even with this amazing achievement by one German economist writer having covered such elaborate subjects still cannot come close to entering the psych in the way Jesus has. For good measure we could put Marx, Freud and Jung in one pile, which would still be inconceivable in comparison to Jesus who has entered into the hearts and minds of an immeasurable amount of people. The church buildings I walk by every day have been built for the community and all share in the body of Christ. I can walk in anyone of them and pray to the same loving God regardless of denomination and religious dogma. Jung cannot begin to play such a role in society no matter how much is written in our intellectual circles. When reading the ‘Jung or Jesus’ essay written by the secretary of the Jung society, it is clear that primary building blocks by which we build our lives on are being ignored. Redemption, grace, hope, faith and love are all pretty much ignored. In one particular essay there is mention of certain church leaders reading Jung and taking on board his suggestions, when I am amazed at, say for example, the entrance to Canterbury Cathedral and how the key stone was placed in the arch all those centuries ago. All of it was built in the name of Jesus who has reached into our psych by using more than just literature and intellect; Jesus has become part of our infrastructure.
“built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief corner stone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord”. (Ephesians 2: 20-21)
When Saint Paul discusses the Holy Temple in the above quote he of course means the physical body of a Christian becoming a temple for the spirit of truth to rest. I am simply using naïve approaches to the scripture when mentioning actual buildings. Nevertheless, it is still a truism and is worthy of noting that these physical representations are still being built and maintained in His name. Generation after generation are building churches for nothing other than worship, knowledge of ourselves and healing all in the name of Jesus. Only recently my construction students and I visited a Baptist Church that was being built not far from the college in my home town. My motive was to show the learners how modern construction methods have changed from traditional methods, and I also wanted them to see the timber structure that had been imported from Scandinavia. This constant newness of Christ is unparalleled.
Making all things new came from Jesus and that is exactly what He has done for me, made all things new in my heart and thinking and therefore my life. For newness to flourish it is essential that I contradict a supposed natural phenomenon that thought proceeds word to The Word proceeds thought, which is a Christian paradox. To manage this the word of God must be evident in my thinking first through reading and discussing scripture with mature Christians. Having the word from the scriptures consumed first, which then develops in my mind to renew my thinking, and then comes out in discussion as His word and not my own, ultimately changing my perception on life. The newness that is found in us has been in the same old scriptures year after year, century after century just waiting for those of us to pick it up, read, engage and be consumed. Jesus tells us;
“Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.’ (Mathew 15: 10-11)
More often than not Christians that regularly confess their sins, search redemption and have a clear cut understanding of the scriptures grow closer to the character of Christ. Free the mind first, pray and see how the words that “comes out of their mouths” change to a more wholesome place. This can take time and varies amongst developing Christians. There are many books detailing that the slow growth is much more worthy than a quick hit that can become the flimsy reed and wither away to nothing. Jesus tells us to build our house on firm bedrock. Jesus explains how the seed that drops onto rock, and others sand and still others fail to take route and grow without good soil and wither away, but the seed that has found good soil will grow strong. (Luke 8: 4-10)
We can search for reason all we wish, but the facts still remain that Jesus is beyond and above modern psychology. My life in Jesus and many others are witnesses to this fact. To further my point and build encouragement I only need to look at the relatively small key stone at the entrance to Canterbury Cathedral, without having to note the fantastic interior piers and columns that have stood for centuries. The amount of effort spent building church after church since the beginning of the new calendar, (which we sometimes forget began with the birth of Christ) is, in my opinion, the fabric that intertwines our modern society. Not to mention the thousands of cathedrals all over the world that had been built in His name. All this physical representation is immense, which is beyond all boundaries set by any other living creature that has walked on the face of the earth. There cannot be a comparison to Jesus regarding any other person at all. The Spiritual and physical representations are there to see. Can both the physical and spiritual building blocks of Jesus Christ compare to a collection of books written by Carl Jung that have been retrieved from a shelf in a Christian library. The building blocks of my life are written in the ever-lasting scriptures and not in the forever changing face of psychology. To be sure, psychoanalysis will not keep an alcoholic from their stash. Let the truth be known that “God could and would if He were sought”.
The law is another rule book that takes on God’s mantel claiming that if we all followed the rules then security would be maintained over our physical safety and material goods. Many of us base the law on how well the police look after our property and keep us from physical harm. Within the Bible property and spirituality are clearly separate from each other, as far as earth is from heaven.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal”.(Mathew 6: 19-20)
It is wrong to suggest that the law can relieve and prevent active addiction by rules and regulation. The law quite rightly dictates that we must not drink and drive, and details the consequences quite clearly if we do. Preventative measures must be put in place to stop a drunk driver from damaging a person or their property. Having said this the roads and courts have plenty of alcoholics who drink and drive regardless of the law.
Most of us follow the rules laid down by parliament, which includes drinking and driving laws. Active Alcoholics cannot follow the rules because the obsession far out ways the consequences. Making the consequences harsher, for sure, will not make any difference at all. Alcoholics drink themselves to death, and unless the consequences outweigh that concept then the law will always have limited effect on the addict. The law of course saves lives and prevents many people from taking two or three drinks and driving home. It is non-alcoholic people that make the law viable and not the obsessive alcoholic who couldn’t act on the law even when he or she is so desperate to.
The primary problem is not in the law, but in the alcoholic loner who swaggers through life as the great pretender, when inside all is dead to everything around them. These types always pretend to be living on the edge and being arrested is part of the whole living experience to be boasted about amongst drinking buddies. Those addicts known by the police are seen as nuisances by the officers and yet the addict often believes that this gives them a reputation to be upheld in the pubs, clubs or on the streets. No matter where an addict ends up their boasting is always the same.
Incidentally, as I have mentioned in an earlier chapter, my psychiatric nurse friend while working in a local hospital explained to me that the psychiatric department had not one single case recover from addiction and there were hundreds that walked through the coded electric doors, of which I was one. To keep the NHS figures satisfactory the doctors moved the alcoholics and addicts sideways from alcohol to anti-buse, and heroin to methadone, which is primarily a preventative measure to avoid addict equals crime relationships.
Looking at the most basic research the evidence is clear that the active addicts are at odds with society and the law in general, which includes all our rules, regulations that are primary to sustaining polite society. An addict is not connected to any societal body until a spiritual transformation is complete. There are no exceptions to this fundamental rule that an addict does not have the mind set to be part of a community, not on the communities terms anyway. To communicate succinctly with a drunk is impossible. Moreover, when a drunk who has not had a drink for a few days connects to their surroundings we are often over apologetic and far too polite in any given situation. We go over the top to show how good we can be, but become the flimsy reed once again when the obsession kicks in. Spiritual change is the only answer that offers total release.
During the times when my nurse friend’s clinic was busy coincided with the busy court houses. Local solicitors felt that their ‘clients’, the addict, should show the court that they are attempting to sober up by attending weekly sessions at the clinic, that they are taking their medication and counseling seriously. All my addict friends went through the same psychiatric legal process in hope of finding the judge favorable to their dilemma and thus avoiding a prison sentence or fine.
Within their denial the addict will of course state how society is an ass and that they have made constructive decisions to be the way they are. Many flaunt street and gangster talk well into their forties and fifties when they are sick and in need of spiritual guidance. Once the court case is over both the alcoholic and addict find their way back to their drug of choice. Regardless of the law, psychotherapy or prescribed drugs the mental obsession overrides everything. Without a spiritual transformation there is scant chance of success.
Nevertheless, it has been brought to my attention that once in a while societal punishment, like prison for example, can bring an addict closer to their needed rock bottom. Having seen addicts imprisoned and having to bear the social dogma can be one way that directs an addict to see the era of their obsessive ways, and that perhaps with the benefit of time, they can see clearer and get well through spiritual means. I have met perhaps a few that found good solid sobriety from within prison walls. Therefore, society must look at what is reasonably practical with regard to freeing our homes and streets from the spiritually sick; simply guiding them toward a spiritual recovery is clearly not enough for society, which therefore makes the law viable, or at least understandable. If the spiritual option is not taken up by the addict then there are no further options other than their continual looping through the legal and mental health systems.
Society has over the centuries justified wrong and right with hierarchical bodies of people that become our moral leaders who may however have no understanding of what Jesus Christ can do once inside the addicts mind. Once professionals is our modern society appear to exalt themselves ethically above others simply because those others are obsessed, addicted and maladjusted to modern life, problems can occur where society develops a moral state followed by methods on how to be rid of the so called lesser beings, which is the addict, amongst others of course. There are similarities to the fictional Frankenstein regurgitating fear in society with lone addictive monsters roaming the streets in search of their desperately needed drug. Some will certainly argue that to overcome this degenerate problem society must reinvent a modern eugenic system. Having touched on eugenics in other chapters in this book it is worth noting that around approximately 1890 to 1930, or there about, there were hundreds of so called legitimate government run programmes that focused attention on the potential development of a superman from so called superior bodies of upper class people who derived their ideas through an assumption that they knew best. There is a strong argument that suggests during the above period every western world country had some modifying idea of how to kill off so called lesser human beings. This simply intellectualized ethnic validity amongst the refined and well educated. What began with British upper class Darwinist society had then flourished in other countries where certain people were judged as dysfunctional and therefore destroyed by using various systematic methods to see off their illegitimate kind. When Christian society longed to move away from tribal legitimacy, the so called upper classes were creating their own that was profoundly set within intellectual boundaries. Be rest assured, not so many decades ago doctors killed people that were perceived as less able due to a typically vulgar societal evaluation. What energy was it that gave them the right to be so barbaric? Was it God, certainly not? Only faithless dialogue, then discourse and finally ideology that exalts certain humans above others could put such an evil synopsis together. Being Godless is like being hopeless, useless, faithless or loveless, it’s all the same thing. Jesus tells us it is easy to love our families, but to love our enemies is the difficult part. Then again, I suppose, loving our enemies sounds great over a Sunday sermon but can be quite difficult when a druggie has just stolen your family heirloom, and sold it on for a quick fix. It seems that love jumps out of the window when we are put under such a strain. Saint Francis tells us to love rather than be loved in a particular prayer he wrote, which is a favorite amongst recovered addicts.
‘Will society soon be building chambers where the dehumanized will meet their death under the control of the next generation of eugenicists?
When discussing this with a small group of friends, it appeared that the conversation took a turn from the Holy Spirit when suggestions were made that society could once again recreate those monstrous death camps. Could new laws evolve attaining to a death sentence for those who consume more than what is perceived as their fair share from society. Addicts who cannot get well for example and consume costly methadone and excessive time from our mental health doctors, therefore costing the tax payer a fortune.
I have read briefly the amount of money one addict can drain from our hospitality purse, which can run into millions. “Don’t be so bloody ridiculous” returned my friend after suggestions were made that such an idea could happen. My friend has a very well structured life and will not allow any ‘nonsense’ to get in the way. After further discussion we realized that, firstly, my eldest brother was born in 1951, which is only 6 years after Anne Frank was murdered at Belsen. Think back six years for a moment, it’s not that long ago? Secondly, a woman who survived Auschwitz lives only one mile from my home. Thirdly, there are still Nazi war criminals at large, which brings history so much closer. Forth, Adolf Hitler killed disabled people first by using gas after receiving pleading death letters from parents who wanted to kill their apparent lesser children, which were nothing more than permission to kill requests from parents who couldn’t cope with having children that failed to fit their super human criteria. Perhaps this was due to the 1920–30’s societal perceptions that was steeped upon them from the development of eugenic Darwinism.
Presently, I know two young people that have been put out of their parental homes, and I have met many more because their parents coping mechanisms completely collapsed. Having been drunk on the front line and heard the doctors curse under their breath it is clear, to me anyway, that once the doctors limited scientific knowledge has been spent, they simply assume their hierarchical position of authority to control and manipulate the addict. The doctor can become so sick and tired of the same faces reappearing time and time again for the same old methadone or anti-buse, where bemusement or even hatred develops. The whole process is soul destroying. For a doctor that only has modern knowledge to rely on, the truth is so far from their grasp particularly when the belligerent sick addict cannot or will not stop drinking or drugging. The only answer for the doctor is to pull rank. Once again we have a house that cannot stand due to the division between the healthy well educated doctor and the disheveled addict. The addict is inside a cage screaming to get out, and the doctor is outside looking in totally bemused. Both become separated by an illness that neither can cope with. The end result is society, through fear, dehumanizing the addict. On one occasion a doctor was so furious with me, he began to shout at the receptionist asking them why they had let me in the surgery in the first place. After ushering me out he yelled things I fail to remember. It seems rather strange now looking back at how powerful the doctor had become in my life. He pointed to the door and raised his voice while telling me to leave, and I scurried to the door arching me back slightly like a boy would when scolded by an old school Headmaster who threatens a smack with a raised hand. On many occasions when leaving the doctor’s surgery a disheartening feeling only the unforgiven can feel smothered me. It seemed, while deep in the addictive illness, that death for me was the only result possible. Once God was sought however, all these obstacles fell to the wayside.
Have you ever seen a desperate heroin addict on his way to the dealer? I have known many and there is absolutely no point in striking up a conversation because their eyes are facing the pavement and their pace is pretty quick, or perhaps an alcoholic on their way to the cheapest off license or pub. The law will have to wait until the addict satisfies their fleshy lust before they show concern about the bike, car, child’s pushchair, wallet, mobile phone, electric toaster or whatever it is that they have stolen to fund their habit. There are so many thefts nowadays that the police juggle between what laws to uphold and what ones to side line. Having your bike stolen nowadays is a very difficult one to report, unless you have taken down the serial number, the framework number, kept photographic evidence and the receipt of where you bought the bike from. It seems that the police are too busy to have concern about a stolen bike, which makes some sense I suppose, particularly when financial restraints are placed upon them due to the so called recession.
Saint Paul describes the law as “we know that the law is spiritual”, and suggests that the problem is in the person who attains to the law but falls short, therefore unspiritual, which includes not only the active alcoholic but most of society too. St Paul appears to suggest that many of us want to uphold the law but fail to do so. St Paul tells us moreover, that we all have some deep hidden wrong that attains our character, which underneath all our talk we are in fact quite wretched, as such. Saint Paul explains that when we set out to do the right thing, we often do the wrong thing due to an emotion that is not part of our makeup, an external puppeteer pulling us in all directions. If we set out to do the right thing and due to anger, lust or greed we do the opposite then what makes us do these things is a force beyond ourselves. If these negative energies were around long before we were, which they clearly were, then they must be external. The negative energy was here first therefore we simply inherited rather than created it within us.
Every morning my first thought was not to drink and maintain a steady temperament, but I couldn’t help but drink ironically to prevent my anger from spilling over. I had no choice due to the illness lurking inside my head that had total control over my actions. Willing away many varying defects, or sins, is impossible without the Holy Spirit as an overall guiding force. Saint Paul also tells us that he only knew what coveting (craving) was because the law stated “though shall not covet”. Telling an alcoholic not to covet, or crave for a more modern similarity, is ludicrous. Having a governing body dictate how much alcohol one should drink is hilarious and makes good comedy for the addict. For me, when I was drinking, the whole process of craving was part of the great fantasy. It was like crawling through the desert and finding an oasis where the first drips of an ice cold beer soaked my dry cracked lips. All day long I would be telling people with real determination how I wasn’t going to drink that day, and when I finally gave in and took my first drink after being so held back the release was enormous. Saint Paul suggests that;
“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7: 14-25)
My alcoholic friend who has been turfed out of his parental home must find the new way because the written code of law will not help him or his parents move forward. The law cannot and simply will not work until he finds faith in God and asks, only once, for guidance from the Holy Spirit and all will be well with him. His parents will be back in his life and the police will never see him again. Once the Holy Spirit takes control the old fleshy ways will soon depart.
Saint Paul continues to explain that people who are in the realm of the flesh, which is where addiction is, cannot please God. The mind hostile to God does not submit to God’s law, which is the ultimate peaceful law that can only work within us and without enforcement. God’s law is not ordered by church leaders but offered to those who enter into the sphere of Christ, which naturally delivers the law into ones heart. On the other hand my young friend’s present situation is governed by an external law that is written by morally sound spiritual people, but is of no interest to him while he still suffers. When my friend says yes to his counselor he has other thoughts working within him that wage war against any potential goodness, as St Paul suggests. He will tick the box yes on the forms with whatever it takes to gain access to his financial benefits. The war that pursues within him is the opposite to the words that come out of his mouth. Yes from his mouth becomes no in his actions. The counselor will also nod yes while acting friendly, when underneath the surface the recent government cuts will fill his of her mind with fear of their future employment prospects. Quite often counselors are on relatively weak contracts that fail to offer security, which weakens the foundations from the offset. Mature Christians rarely have such things in the way when they are working within their faith.
Jesus tells us that He came to fulfill the law and not to condemn it; Jesus moreover, taught that we must surpass the law to keep its commands. If my friend fails to see this concept the ultimate end will be his early death. To be sure, while he only recognizes the external law of forever changing manmade ideals he will never get sober, it is as simple as that. On our first meeting with this particular alcoholic he had been sober for a few months after having been diagnosed by a counselor who sold him on some positive ideas that would apparently change his life. The young man’s alcoholic mind was filled with ‘can do’ ideals like work and behavioral patterns based on how society would expect him to be, rather than ‘cannot do’ for the moment until his soul is reborn where the spiritual change is complete, which can take a single moment, or up to many years depending on each individual’s level of fear.
My friend, although sober for a period, was heading in the opposite direction and away from redemption. He began boasting his own achievements, when the truth be known he could hardly manage to wash himself correctly. Unfortunately, he failed to see that his sobriety was subject to societal myth based on how he should behave and so on, when all along settling into the truth was the essential ingredient he needed. Everything that he learnt was written by professionals that hadn’t a clue about the power of alcoholism and addiction. This poor chaps mind was full of all the things that he was going to achieve while bound up with their ideals on how one should fit within the community. Eventually, within a few months, he learned how to prepare for and deliver an interview. The interview went well and he got the job. Within six months, after being late for work many times due to his inabilities to organize his mornings, he was sacked and back on the bottle. The highs he experienced simply could not be maintained. Success was too much for him to handle, and failure was impossible to avoid in his present state of thinking. With or without alcohol his life, like mine before my spiritual transformation, had become unmanageable. It is like a counselor teaching you how to hold your breath, eventually you are going to breathe again, and until the spiritual conversion takes place there is no chance an addict can take on the primary things that we all need to do to sustain a reasonable life.
Meeting the parents of this young homeless man was heart breaking. This particular addict became a friend and asked me to wait with him outside a church for his parents while they handed him some clean clothes, and took his dirty clothes to launder. The young man’s parents arrived in their car with a bag full of clothes and other bits and pieces. They took a bag of his old clothes, gave him the new ones and before driving off his father said.
“There’s a little money in the bag son, make sure you buy some food or something with it ay”. There were no tears, they had all been spent over the years. This changing of clothes was a regular arrangement. The desperate tone in the father’s voice said so much with so few words. After everything the father had been through he still clung to these last gaspers in hope that his son will eventually get well. The denial in the father was still there, hoping that his boy would buy food instead of alcohol. The look in his father’s eyes was very sad indeed, but there was nothing more they could do other than find spiritual guidance to help their own sanity. Apparently, their son had stolen so much from them to fund his habit, it was only when he threatened to kill them both that they had had enough fear to act. The police were called to remove him from their home, and have been called twice more since because he wanders back to their house in blackout, which means he doesn’t know what he is doing or where he is going due to large consumptions of alcohol. After all this they of course still attend to their homeless son with clean clothes and a little money.
After using the church toilets to change and wash, which was probably nothing more than a sporadic splashing of water, he put on some clean clothes from his bag and strolled confidently over to the garage opposite the church to buy some alcohol. Having not dried himself properly the back of his shirt appeared to stick to him with damp. His neck also had smears of dirt that had been rubbed in with a smudging of water. His clean shirt was stained with his grubby finger prints within seconds. Hygiene is not on the agenda when there’s money for more alcohol. The smile he had on his face when he left the church and crossed the road to feed his habit was one I remember so well. This young man has never gone more than nine months without a drink and has had more people telling him this way or that way to stay sober and all have been shunned.
The best Christian sponsors have tried to help him without any use whatsoever. A local church took him in and through their own charitable organization they found an apartment for him, moved him in and within a few months he has been seen on the streets homeless and once again up to his old tricks. For a few months there he was all spruced up with his front door keys tied on a chain attached to his new wallet. It didn’t take long for the old obsession to hunt him down and drag him back down again. Just when he thought he’d cleaned house his old friendly obsession came back to visit.
The law can deal with all the outer physical and necessary things that must be dealt with, like the police visiting his parents at midnight to move him on, or dealing with the gang that broke his jaw during his most recent debacle. All complaints surrounding this young man are dealt with by those that can keep him at bay, like the police for example, and rightly so because there is nothing more anyone else can do.
Softening his attitude toward liquor can only be achieved through faith alone. His parents are quite sure now that until he gives in and breaths in the spiritual law of God, there is no doubt it will be an early death for him. Let’s suggest that he got sober and found faith in Jesus, then we could be rest assured that all would be well with both his parents and the police also. When directed by the true and loving faith an addict can never behave in a way that was governed by their recent addiction, and more often than not the addict will behave within the law, generally anyway. When a person has the Holy Spirit within their heart they have become part of the new law (The Holy Spirit), which is above the old law, (the old fleshy ways) and therefore what comes from within can only be part of the new life, which is a freedom that my friend fails to understand, for the moment anyway.
This sounds extreme, but when the Holy Spirit is inside someone then all material thinking of failure or success disappears. By praying to the super natural Holy Spirit our outlook and behavior focusses on different areas where we feel our calling is. When fledging Christians like myself get this wrong, we have the more mature scripture lead folk around who can straighten us out. The Spirit changes the interior part of a person that the law cannot reach. God takes away all obsessive thinking and releases the burdens that have hung around our necks for years. The whole idea of what success actually is changes from fearfully respecting material ownership, because that’s what people do right, to creating some kind of spiritual peace. Further to this, on discovering the Holy Spirit my young friend would find himself amongst a group of spiritual guides where he could share any major decisions that need to be made. Perhaps he may not like the answers but he would be shown direction and love that would envelope his every move and extinguish his present existence.
There has not been one single day where I have thought about drinking because my thinking has been transformed by the Holy Spirit. Having recovered from alcoholism there is no need nowadays to mask my face with a false smile and talk incessantly about my old anger issues, or try to persuade others about my special case illness. None of that matters to me at all. All I need to do is pass on God’s message to the suffering alcoholic.
The law furthermore can overshadow many of us and make us feel entrapped; a kind of hatred develops if we fall short and receive something like a small speeding fine. On travelling to a party in Leicester a colleague of mine drove by a camera that flashed and caught him speeding. This particular friend has had a good professional career since leaving school. He was travelling 70 miles per hour and failed to see a temporary sign that detailed some road works and therefore missed an apparent new speed limit that stated 50 miles per hour. He argued his case and said that the sign wasn’t where the authorities had said it was, which in truth, it simply wasn’t there. Although he was right and many other people complained to such a degree the story became news headlines about speed cameras and laws on this particular stretch of motor way. My friend paid the fine and had done with it. The problem with the law here is it is bound up with deceit by those who enforce the law, and not by those who wrote it in the first place. Speed limits are there to prevent speeding, death and injury on our roads, and in this instance were being used for revenue alone. The sign was not there, it’s as simple as that. Speed limits save lives, but the miss use of the law also brings income to certain agencies employed by the government. On top of this my friends heart has been hardened to a law that he has supported all his life, never really thinking that he would be on the wrong side of it, particularly by their fraudulent means.
The Hillsborough football stadium disaster is now in conclusion after the police admitted that they covered their tracks by disclosing incorrect information. The truth was therefore hidden for 22 years by those that were supposed law enforcers.
A man was recently pushed over by a police officer in London with such force the man died from his injuries; does this make the law right? Of course not. When writing laws we can have our most morally sound Christian people putting forward ideas that offer society a feel safe factor. Green papers are reviewed and become white papers making them law after being voted in by parliament and the House of Lords. Our MP’s are a group of people we ourselves have voted in to push for a more morally sound living condition for us all. Many politicians believe that they can make a difference and indeed some do, and all this built on a foundation set by Jesus, which whether we like it or not, is the case.
Within the law we can see the evidence that suggest accidents at 30 miles per hour prevent death, rather than those accidents that occur while driving at 50mph. All this is well and good until it is put in the hands of others that lack the same moral or spiritual code as those who wrote the laws in the first place. Some may use the laws as a system of abuse, as they did against my friend. It seems that within a generation things can go wrong where laws are used out of context to their original purpose.
Just for a moment, imagine a senior police officer from Sheffield using the phone in his office to call another senior police officer from Liverpool to discuss the Hillsborough football stadium disaster where many completely innocent people died. It would be safe to suggest that the officer’s motives would be neither spiritual nor lawful. When feeling the heat they made up stories that were full of lies and deceit simply to keep their careers safe? Witnesses were ignored, community police officers were told to detract statements, further statements were intimidated or declared missing, all in the name of law enforcement. Having seen all this however, some people become spiritual when they see that the law fails us ultimately through disgraceful human sin.
If the law was followed correctly then it is spiritual as Saint Paul tells us. Having humans doing what they want prevents the spiritual essence from streaming through, which is why we need Jesus to look over all that we do making sure that we stay on His original path.
God sees our hearts and views areas of our conscience that the law cannot see. In the Hillsborough disaster the law had clearly hardened many hearts of the police involved. It is impossible to sustain the law without guidance from God. Regardless of what happens to an individual, maintaining the truth is essential to upholding the law. The police office, phone, uniform, training were put in place to benefit and help the police to uphold the truth, but nevertheless became tools used by the police to do the very opposite. All law in many situations is written therefore on paper and not in the heart. The only law that is written in the heart that creates total peace and love is the one written by Jesus Christ. Jesus said ‘the truth will set you free’. Joshua tells us further;
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1: 7-8)
I saw a drunk who once lived in the same high rise block as me. He was staggering home with his 7 year old son. I shared the lift with them and made sure that they got home okay. As an ex drunk I felt so sorry for that boy and had little regard for his drunken father, who reminded me of the degenerative states that only a drunk could get into.
I will never forget the look on that young boys face, it was soul destroying and hopeless, painful and heart breaking.
The following weekend I saw the man again and he had most of his teeth knocked out, a broken cheek bone and a closed black eye. This time he was alone. He had been beaten up in his own flat. His so called girlfriend visited him with her homeless friends where they stole his booze and beat him senseless. I hoped the young boy was safe with his mother who lived down the road. The swelling on the drunks face was severe. He was black and blue with bruises. Watching him for a moment leaning next to a wall, I could tell that he was negotiating when to cross the road and stagger back to his flat. He lived on the tenth floor, the floor above me. Having seen him in this state a few times I really couldn’t be bothered to help him home. He stank really bad and had pissed his trousers, just like I had many times when I was drinking. He was a mirror image of my old self. I often used that wall for support also.
Three weeks later he was found dead in his flat after being kicked to death by the same homeless group of alcoholics who went to his flat once again to steel his drink, and I can only suppose that this time he fought to the death to keep it. How ironic?
I live else-where now and often park my car by that block of flats and look up and wonder what happened to that young boy. The drunk, I found out later, had had a good home and job before his wife couldn’t take anymore and told him to leave. Before the alcohol got a grip on him he was a professional dental technician. This man did not choose to drink! He drank because he had a mental obsession, physical allergy and spiritual malady.
Ultimately, God amongst mature Christians has an uncanny ability to promote wellness and peace that is beyond intellect and all the varying psychologies.
A friend of mine went to church once, had prayer from a group of Christians, and the very next day he was running around AA meetings with such a change about him that people couldn’t but notice the Holy Spirit within, and that was from one prayer group on a Sunday morning. Having said this, the change to his behavior over the previous three months was slowly moving in the right direction after threatening on numerous occasions to go to this particular church, but always failed to turn up. Week after week he spoke of attending church but rejected God’s invitation. On two occasions he walked to church and walked straight by as I did at my first House Group. Eventually, as the fear subsided, his limited spiritual inner self took control and after three months of threatening he actually attended, and after the service he reluctantly received hands on prayer. He never went back for a while but soon realized the power of prayer and is now a regular at another church in his home town.
On attending my first House Group I also walked by the house twice feeling far too nervous to go in. Being close to Christians in their own environment was not an easy task to take on. Something kept telling me that I hadn’t any need for these people, and that all I needed was in the 12 steps. Once courage was mustered, and after ringing the bell and being invited in, my whole body felt different, comfortable but nervous too. Tea and coffee was served and after light hearted discussion my new found colleagues offered me a chair in their lounge amongst other members, there were seven in all. The group leader sat at a keyboard and without any introduction he began singing some worship songs. Others, knowing what to do, picked up their song sheets and started singing along. While wavering between hope and low self worth it was quite clear that those present were well within their spiritual zone. It was clear to me during this stage of my transformation that they were mature in their faith. While zoning out and cringing desperately I could see that the window was ajar and with one push I could jump out to escape. Being on the ground floor this option was seriously feasible. Nevertheless, with a roll of sweat dripping down the side of my forehead I too picked up a sheet and buried my head and moved my lips to the words. My song sheet shook violently, so I put it down again. This is ridiculous? My cheeks glowed with embarrassment. “For God’s sake get me out of here” screamed inside my head. Around fifteen minutes later the final song came to an end where they all sang “Jesus you are worthy, that is what you are” in some kind of strange sporadic unity, like it didn’t matter how they sung just as long as they did. The song sheets were put back on the table and light banter was exchanged between us. Guilt hit me, I should have sung along with them and within a few seconds pride took over saying I was right not to. Everyone was smiling with genuine warmth, which was like a kind of madness to me, surely a person needed more than this to offer a smile?
“Ok” said the leader and began telling the group what we would be doing that evening. First we will pray for various people and then watch a Christian DVD and finally discuss its contents before a little more prayer and finish at 10pm prompt. As soon as he finished explaining the evening’s agenda he immediately started praying and all those present joined in with bowed heads and closed eyes. So adolescent in Christianity, I could only look at each of them with their eyes shut and their heads slightly bowed. Being the only one in the room with my eyes still open it seemed that I had been given a little reprieve, a moments breather perhaps. A moment later however, and still with their heads bowed I felt alone, but safe and protected in some kind of strange cocoon. Looking at each of them I wanted to be inside their heads to see the peace that they undoubtedly had, although I didn’t feel comfortable doing what they were doing to get it. My eyes wandered around the room and dipped down into a seat that had an open hand bag. These Christians maybe peaceful bunch but they’re not very street wise are they, I thought? They should think themselves lucky, or blessed perhaps, that I’m not a thief.
The group leader, who was still stood in the middle of the room guiding prayer to this person and that person who apparently needed some spiritual guidance.
What a peculiar bunch? Minutes past and one at a time they raised their heads and waited. It seemed that they all had varying times to come out of the meditative pose, shake off the spirit and get back into the real world where I was waiting for them.
On leaving the group that evening, I knew that I had arrived at a place that was different, peculiar, but peaceful and loving. Here was a place that I had never experienced before.
The following week the group prayed for me with their hands on my shoulders, arms and one on my chest. After what seemed a few minutes of prayer my arms and legs became heavy and after sitting down I soon realized that I couldn’t move. For anything up to an hour stillness had to do because my legs and arms were too weak for anything else. It appeared to me that people were sat next to me while others were walking around and talking amongst themselves. While the gathering continued I sat in a place that I had never felt before or since, a moment of such peace I never wanted to leave. In some kind of universal spin wrapped in such overwhelming safety words cannot describe. “Oh my God it’s over” were the words spinning over and over in head time and again. (meaning my previous existence). On life returning to my arms and legs I said my good byes with genuine smiles, hugs and kisses, went to my car but couldn’t drive home, and was certainly not drunk with wine.
During this episode I knew wholeheartedly that my previous life was over and the initial transformation, the beginning, was complete. Knowing moreover that there was work to be done and that my character would not change overnight. Having already shaped my personality by both my addiction, and my previous psycho therapeutic and intellectual experiences, I had nowhere else to go.
“Lord, to whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life”? (John 6: 68)
Many had left Christ during His ministry because they failed to understand Him. Where else and who else could I possibly turn to? The last chance saloon was still open and finally I walked through the door and found the narrow path. During House Group evenings everything that was said and done was justified through scripture by the more mature Christians, which gave trust and more hope. I began to love people that I hardly knew, which for a while was very confusing. Driving home after either meeting with a gathering of Christians, or an AA meeting, resentments would build due to the fact that I silently loved these new people who were sharing something very special with me.
How Jesus completed His ministry is beyond any understanding of why He would do such a thing and take on so much pain, and how this wonder of life could carry our sins on His shoulders. All this and many addicts still refuse to listen to His most wonderful and elegant spirit. Jesus gave His life for us, which made no sense to me for years, not until His love broke through my porcelain skin could I see that the love of God conquers absolutely everything.
Once I could see, after 2 years of reading the Bible and attending church, that He was in fact the Son of God and did what he did because He loved us all far beyond anything we can ever realize. Jesus asked, take this cup from me, and still submitted himself to His father’s will. Thy will not mine be done, Amen.
The Bible tells us that those addicts that hit rock bottom can love Jesus more because the debt of sin (defects) is greater, which means a greater debt is to be paid. The lower we go the more love God has in store for us.
“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7: 47)