God Visits the Drunk Driver
By Kristi Watts
The 700 Club
“When I was real little, I was a daddy’s boy. I felt secure; I felt protected. I felt empowered and strong around him. But as time went on, things really got different.”
Steve Cunningham’s father was an alcoholic. Over time, he became both physically and verbally abusive.
“He had developed this level of anger that he would fly off the handle all of a sudden. He didn’t want to play with us anymore. He didn’t want to have us in his life too much anymore; and you could really tell that there was this distance between us that was real confusing to me. All of a sudden, the love that I wanted so much for my dad and from my dad, now started to turn into resentment, started to turn to anger.”
“I wanted the pain over so bad, because I never knew what it was going to be like when I came home, ever, and there was always this constant fear. So fear became an element of my life.”
“When my dad finally died, I was a senior in high school. I was 17-years-old and it was like the sense of relief, ‘the pain is now gone.’”
“My mother said to me one day, ‘Steve, you’re going to grow up to be just like your dad.’ And I got right in her face and said, ‘I’m never, ever going to be anything like my dad.’”
But as Steve grew into adulthood, married and had four sons of his own, he became just like the man he vowed he’d never become - his dad.
“I started planning my workdays, my evenings, around when I could get alcohol in me. It made me feel comfortable. A lot of the pain and anxiety and the fear that had developed in me over the years as a young child went away; so it served as a tool.”
But it was a tool that almost destroyed him. He started missing work. His family life was in shambles and his sons, who were his pride and joy, he often neglected.
“I was so distraught. I knew I’d made such a mess out of my life. And just about everything that I had was gone. My friends were gone. My career was gone. My family was gone. I felt like there was no reason to be on earth.”
One night, Steve got into his car and just drove.
“I wanted to end my life. If I could get drunk enough and drive off a cliff, that’s an accident. And that wouldn’t be so bad. And so I was up for that.”
For eight straight days and nights Steve did nothing but drive - and drink. That is, until a police car pulled up behind him.
“And so, that moment is when it happened - the most amazing experience of my life. As I’m driving, there was this voice that was so loud in my head, and so clear, and so definite and it said, ‘Steve, it is not time for you to go. Get sober. I have work for you to do.’”
“I couldn’t believe it. I just knew that I’d heard from God. I knew that there was a purpose for me in life that very minute. I had no idea what it was, but I knew I needed to live. And I thought, ‘that’s fine. I’ll get sober in jail. I’ll start my life today, behind bars in jail.’ But just then the cop car drove right past me.”
It was in that miraculous encounter with God that Steve was instantly delivered from alcohol.
“After God had spoken to me on Highway-5 is when I knew that my life was in His hands; that he had a purpose and a plan for me. And so there was that sense of ‘now it’s time to start building a relationship with him.’”
Steve took steps to put his life back together from scratch. He began by attending church regularly. He studied the Bible and even joined Alcoholics Anonymous.
“There is this walk that I have every single day with Jesus now. And there is a sense – to continue to dwell in me and I know that you have a plan for me. Show me what you want me to do.”
Steve has been sober for over five years now. And in the process of rebuilding his life, he’s reconnected with his family. He’s also chosen to forgive his father from those childhood hurts, just as his heavenly father has forgiven him.
“To think that there is somebody that loves me with all of my faults, all of my character defects, all of my shortcomings - and yet made me wonderfully - because I have certain talents that he’s blessed me with as well. So, I’m just this guy that is learning after a long time, this middle-aged man, to truly love myself for the first time.”
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