Finality. Decisiveness. Resolute. Unwavering. Rock bottom. It’s that moment when you’ve gone too far, and you found out exactly how far that is the hard way.

You never intended for it to go so far. Never even thought it could get so out of hand. It’s harmless.  And it’s not like you’re the only person. Yet you here you are, in the midst of the messy consequences, trying desperately to look over your shoulder and see how you could have become so far gone.

Recently, I found out how far was “entirely too far” for me. While I could say, “Well, it could have been so much worse, so thank God for that,” that’s not how I was feeling when I had to declare, “No more.” I can’t tell you when it got out of control. I can’t tell you when things took a turn for the worse. I can tell you there were more subtle warning signs, which I even recognized, but I didn’t stop.I will tell you that the enemy is patient and doesn’t mind waiting years to bring you down, so that it happens so slowly, you can’t/won’t realize it’s happening. For me, it began 14 years ago, revved up 10 years ago, and has hidden in plain sight for the past 5 years, at least.

I bought into “everything in moderation” and being a modern-day Christian and not letting legalistic expectations control me… and thusly, drinking became more increasingly a part of regular life. (Note: I am not against Christians and alcohol; that is a conversation for another day. Please read this as an honest confession as something not evil itself being used as a means of control by evil, like any other sin, I.e. any habit/addiction that takes over a role God should fill). I did not become a drinks-every-day alcoholic who can’t function without a drink (thank You, Lord), but I was on the path in that direction.

Want to know the worst part? The drinking wasn’t the problem.  The problem, the indulgence that led me to “too far,” was just the symptom. There’s something deeper, rooted in the depths of my heart, that’s sprouting these issues. I’ve been digging with God to clean out my heart (I imagine there’ll be a book about this journey someday), and what started as cleaning out a specific corner in my heart has become sledgehammer-swinging, rewiring, “this wasn’t in the budget” remodeling.

I know God has my best interests in mind. I know that He loves me and wants to draw me closer to Him, which incidentally has been a prayer of mine. So I know that all this cleaning and remodeling is ultimately for good and done because of His love.

Let me share what I’ve learned so far:
-this process is not fast
-this process is not easy
-this process requires digging through the nasty junk, which I would rather just throw away completely, in order to find the salve that will bring healing
-this process will bring to light that which couldn’t have been predicted
-this process cannot and was not intended to be done alone

If I told you what exactly happened in my “entirely too far”, rock-bottom experience, you might look at me and say, “That’s not uncommon. Lots of people experience that. There are worse and lower places to find yourself.”  True.  But this was my wake-up call. I am choosing to be attentive to it now, so that I do not find myself somewhere worse further down that same path to destruction. I tried to limit myself, draw boundaries that would still allow for social drinking, but I didn’t follow these rules.  

So now I have chosen indefinite sobriety. This is not a cookie-cutter answer for all people in all situations. This decision came with much prayer and surrender. Again, I’m not standing on a soapbox telling you to get rid of your socially acceptable vice — Some people have a serious problem with caffeine and here I sit, sipping my coffee. But like everything else this world has to offer, the choice comes down to God first or vices and distractions that don’t satisfy.

Do you know at what point God will draw a line in the sand and bring you to say, “No more”? Will you be paying attention and recognize it after you’ve gone past that line? Friends, I didn’t know I was near the “too far” line. I was blissfully dancing all over it with stupid ignorance that the enemy would have loved to have kept me in. If you find yourself wondering, “How did I get here?” then I imagine it’s time to look upward to your loving and fair Father and have a very long talk.

The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love Me.
I will protect those who trust in My name.
Wen they call on Me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
Psalm 91:14-15

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