Taking Care of God's Business First
By Audra Smith Haney
The 700 Club
CBN.com -After meeting on a blind date, Jim and Robbie Mihalko quickly fell in love.
“I wanted to marry my wife, I think from the first day I met her,” Jim said.
“We were talking on the phone until 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning….and so you kind of know, this is kind of special,” Robbie said.
The couple married in 1984. Robbie was a Christian and knew Jim didn’t share her faith. But, she didn’t know Jim’s darkest secret.
“She had no idea that depth of my addiction,” Jim said.
Jim had been an alcoholic and drug addict since his first drink at the age of 15.
“Alcohol was appealing to me because it made me feel like the person I always thought I could be,” Jim said, “and then I started doing drugs...it was the same thing, exactly, it gave me that self-importance that I needed.”
Jim hid his habit from Robbie until they were five years and two children into the marriage.
“I didn't really see any red flags or feel any disconnect until things started happening,” Robbie said. “He had a really good job and all of the sudden we can't pay our bills, things were missing and there is always stories and excuses as to where the money is gone.”
“It took more and more and more,” Jim said. “It was the $50 a week on cocaine to $100/week, it was my whole paycheck was having to go to that.”
One night, Robbie saw a television ad that changed everything.
“This commercial came on about drug addiction and I know it was the Holy Spirit telling me, 'That is what is going on. That is what you need to confront Jim about.’ The world just started crumbling in really. It was devastating. It is devastating when you know you have married someone and you are living with someone who is the father of your children, who you love deeply, but you can't trust them. You don't know if anything they are saying is true.”
After Robbie confronted him, Jim started AA and NA programs and even checked into a 30-day rehab. But, for years, Jim’s addictions still had a powerful hold on his life.
“I had to lie about everything,” Jim said. “I had to lie about where the money was going, what this loan was for. It was lie upon lie upon lie."
“It caused a lot of conflict,” Robbie said. “It caused a lot of fights because, you know, when he had come home and I knew he had been drinking, then it is just a lot of yelling and screaming and you go to bed mad.”
“He would be gone for two or three days at a time,” Robbie said. “I wouldn’t know where he was or what he was doing and all the sudden he would come home or he'd call me.”
After years of dealing with Jim’s addiction, Robbie considered divorce.
“I tell people that I divorced him in my head about everyday,” Robbie said. “I can not tell you how many times I told him, ‘I can't do this anymore, I'm done.’”
Instead of filing for divorce, Robbie decided to pray instead.
“The things I was praying specifically of course were for Jim's sobriety,” Robbie said. “I prayed for strength, I was tired. I was worn out. I was just like, 'God I know that your will for him is not to be an alcoholic drug addict. I know that is not your will for his life.' I would say that honestly, I prayed fully and intensely for about 10 years for God to just really bring back the man I knew that he created.”
“Every time I would go out and be away for three or four days because I’d be in a blackout,” Jim said. “I’d be afraid to come home because I thought that the doors would be locked, but they never were. Continuing to accept me and take me back was showing grace.”
Robbie prayed for years and Jim eventually agreed to go to church with her.
“I knew if he was in church, he was getting fed,” Robbie said. “God was using what he was hearing, seeing and experiencing.”
“I always knew there was a God, but I never felt worthy of Him to pay attention to me,” Jim said. “We started going to a church that was held at a school that was not even a block or two from us and that was the time, we had praise and worship on Sunday nights, where you would stand up and praise God for what he has done in your life. I stood up and then I blurted out ‘I'm an alcoholic and I can’t stop.’ But, when I prayed that…the entire church came around us and prayed for us. I started to feel God’s unconditional love then because I felt it through his people. If God’s people love you, then you know that God loves you.”
Jim dedicated his life to Christ and got help from his church for his alcohol and drug abuse.
“It was three or four years where people helped me along,” Jim said. “They didn't judge me because of my alcoholism, they helped me through it.”
Even with his new faith, Jim continued to battle his addictions until 2006, but everything changed one rainy, winter day.
“That day I made the choice to drink,” Jim said. “I was hiding in the closet because I didn’t want to face the reality anymore of what this was doing to my family. I don't know if they found me or if I finally said, ‘here I am.’ I told my wife, I said, ‘I can't do this anymore and again.' Finally I came out of the closet and said, “I can't do this anymore.’”
Jim turned to the Bible for hope.
“I went to 1 John 2 and 3 about sin and I said, ‘God, I can’t do this anymore.’ He goes, ‘I know you can't but I can take it from you.’”
Jim says God completely delivered him from his addictions that day.
“I think I knew it was immediately gone because the weight had lifted from me,” Jim said. "It was amazing. It was the point of the next day, I didn't ended up driving by the liquor store five or six times and wonder if I should pull in. I didn't have to worry about am I going to call my cocaine dealer. It wasn't there anymore.”
Robbie says it took some time for God to restore the trust in their marriage but she saw a true change in her husband.
“It got to the point where he was coming home from work on time, he just became part of the family,” Robbie said. “He became engaged in what we were doing, when I'd call him on the phone he'd answer. The marriage became fun again. We were spending time together, sharing our lives together.”
Today, almost a decade later, the couple is closer than ever and Jim has never turned back to his old lifestyle. They lead a small group in their church and run their own ministry called DUI Ministries. Jim and Robbie both say they can see the power of prayer in their marriage.
“Had God not intervened, I would either be divorced, dead, or in jail,” Jim said. “God in my wife's life was the only reason that held any of this together. Her devotion to God kept us together. Even if you are married to someone who is not a Christian, get right with God and do what God tells you to do and I almost guarantee you it will save your marriage.”
“What I would say to women who are in that situation or anything that even remotely looks like that situation,” Robbie said, “don’t give up. Just let God hold you in the palm of his hand. Reach out. God is faithful. We’ve got to persevere and not give up.”
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