When Alcohol Destroys, God Restores
By Tim Smith
The 700 Club
CBN.com -“The first time I drank I was 16 years old. We went to the airport and got drunk. We believed we were the only two kids in high school that hadn’t done that yet.” Steve Sellers had no idea how that decision would set the course for the rest of his life.
“I remember it vividly because I got very sick that night. But the thing I remember more is I went out and did the same thing the next night.” As Steve got older, his habit got worse. “I drank because the people I hung around with drank. I went to college in Florida. We all drank down there. I got married between my junior and senior years in college.”
After graduation the couple moved back to Iowa and Steve started teaching. Steve tried to hide his addiction from his wife and later their two daughters, but they knew. Instead of going home at night, he went out with his friends. “Alcohol was always prevalent. It was THE most important part of our social existence.”
The craving for alcohol soon became more important than anything. “There were times that I would put off going up to tuck my daughter in because I wanted to finish the drink I was having.”
Steve’s daughter, Katie, remembers, “He loved us, and I knew that he did, but he was also busy a lot. He would go off and do his own thing. He would go to the basement, and spend a lot of time at night after work because he had a long day.”
Steve offers the details, “Or I would put off going outside to play with her, or to go for a bike ride because I wanted to have one more beer, or one more glass of wine.”
When his father had a severe heart attack, Steve relied on alcohol even more. “I would stop and buy a bottle of vodka and drink it on the way to the hospital, just to get myself ready to see him. And on the day he died, I let it take complete control over me. It was the one thing I believed got me through that day, and it convinced me that, ‘Hey, if I could get me through that day, I can get you through anything.’ And I bought into that lie.”
Steve’s wife took their daughters and left him. She filed for divorce. His boss confronted him about his drinking, and offered him a deal. “He laid out a contract for me, stating that ‘You need to go and have an alcohol assessment. If they tell you that you have a problem, you need to address it, complete their program, and then you can come back to work. And we will pay you while you do that. If they tell you that you don’t have a problem, then everything’s fine.’”
Steve enrolled in the program, but couldn’t make it long without alcohol. His sister and a few other family members intervened and insisted that he go to a detox center. “I was locked in. I was angry. When I got out of there, I was going to run away. You asked how important alcohol was in my life. That’s how important it was, that I was going to leave everything behind me.”
Steve had a plan. But he says God had one too. “So as I’m sitting at this table in the middle of the night. It was two o’clock in the morning. I noticed that there was a man sitting at the table with me. There was a nurse at the nurse’s station. He and I were at the table. And that was it. And finally I felt like I should say something to him, and I asked, ‘What happened to you?’ And he told me that he had stolen a car. He had an accident. He’d gotten hurt. He was brought in here, then he paused for a minute and said, ‘I’m going to jail tomorrow.’”
“I couldn’t believe I was sitting there with someone like that. And I said to him, and I normally don’t say things like this to people, but I said, ‘You’re sick.’ He looked at me, and he leaned in, and said, ‘We’re all sick.’ And then he said to me, ‘And we all need to be saved.’ I was overwhelmed when he said that to me. It just hit me. What I had done. What I had done to my kids. What I had done to my family, the people I work for, my friends, my Mom, my sister, myself.”
“It just hit me that I’m no better than anybody else that’s in this place. And when I realized that, when I heard those words, I put my head down for a minute because I knew I was going to cry.”
“I looked back up. He was not there. I looked around the room, and finally I looked over at the nurse at the nurse’s station, and I said, ‘Hey, where’d this guy go?”
She said, ‘What guy are you talking about?’ I said, ‘The guy who was right here.’ She said, ‘It’s just you and me in here. You need to go back and go to sleep.’”
Steve believed for the first time that God was real – and that God could help him. “My sin was my worship of a false god, and I repented that night and walked away from it. And I’ve never looked back. I’ve never in the 17 years since that happened, have I had a drop of alcohol. Have I had urges? Early on, absolutely. But I had the power of the Lord in me, and I had His love, I had His forgiveness.”
Steve started reading his Bible and praying. “In 2000, I asked my daughters for a new Bible. And they blessed me with a Life Recovery Bible. And that’s what I’ve done every day since. I get into the Word every day.”
In 2006, Steve met and married Tricia. He also started Ship Recovery Ministry to help others who struggle with addictions. Steve’s wife, Tricia says, “He wakes up every day trying to be a better husband than we was the day before; to be a better father than he was, to be a better Christ follower than he was day before.”
Katie is proud of her dad for the way he cares for others. “He really has the best heart, and would do anything for anybody. It’s nice to see that when he gets a phone call, sure it’s not at the best time, but if someone needs him, he’s there for them. And I just think there are not many people out there who are that genuine, and really that caring.”
Steve concludes, “You can’t do this on your own. I hear so many men who say, ‘I’m fine. I can do this. I’ll take care of this. I’ll be ok.’ No, you won’t. In my experience, the only way you can be freed from sin, and specifically addiction, is allowing the Lord to do it. He will offer it to anybody. I still have people in my life who come up to me and say, ‘I am so proud of YOU for what YOU did.’ And I tell them, ‘I didn’t do anything, except allow the Lord to do everything’”.
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