In June of 2016, I resigned from my position at a church as the associate pastor in order to seek treatment for serious alcohol addiction. Just prior to my resignation, virtually no one besides my wife and I were aware of my struggles (and she only marginally so). I was never a big partier. I didn’t go out drinking. Really, in many ways, my struggle with alcohol came about from dealing improperly with the stresses of ministry.
I’ve spent much of the last year trying to understand how things got so bad so quickly. As a piece of background information, my father was an alcoholic that died from complications of his use of alcohol when I was 20 years old. Growing up with an alcoholic in the house, drinking alcohol never appealed to me as a teenager. I didn’t even go drinking when I turned 21. Eventually, after the age of 21, I did start drinking, but it was extremely rare, and usually associated with tragedies or events. I actively made choices to avoid drinking too much because I was fully aware that I likely had genetics that would predispose me to alcoholism. All the way up until several years into my marriage, I was extremely careful about how frequently I would consume alcohol.
But, all along the way, there were choices I made that set me up for failure, or that actively set me on a path towards alcoholism. In each of these choices, the problem wasn’t the action itself, it was the logic and history behind it. As I made these choices, I was fully aware of my family history, and I chose an action that inclined me toward a dangerous direction.
Here are five deceptions, and five choices I made which led to serious addiction: