intoxicated – Hans-Gerd

INTOXICATED – Hans-Gerd When I was 27 years old,
I thought that I would never be thirty. My every thought, all of my daily routine was
focused on an adequate supply of alcohol. And yet it started harmless enough. When I was 13, I had my first beer,
my first joint, and my first tattoo. My dad had just been picked up by the
police and was in custody for quite a while. I felt so relieved that I was rid of this tyrant. Life at home had been unbearable.
My parents had always been fighting. I did badly in school. At that time we lived
in a deprived inner city area with people of many different nationalities. Only the strongest kids were
able to stand their ground. But I didn’t start out as one of them. Over time, I made some friends who
knew how to get their way. We were inseparable and enjoyed a
certain standing in the scene. I got kicked out of secondary school and
was sentenced to juvenile prison for assault and battery. More than once
I had to answer to the police or the court… … for driving without a license,
for breaking cigarette machines, for housebreaking, for assault and battery,
for sinking someone’s sailing boat, etc. As the years went by, alcohol became
my constant companion. At first, I only had some beer on
the weekends, then every day. Eventually, I drank twenty-four-seven.
I was a delta alcoholic. I increased my consumption of alcohol simply
by replacing beer and wine with corn schnapps. I particularly liked a combo of hard
liquor and hashish or marihuana, even though it caused a collapse
more than once. When I was 18, I realized that
I was addicted to all that stuff. But I wouldn’t stop drinking
because it made it easier for me to deal with other people. After I joined the armed forces,
I met my then-girlfriend, Moni. We consumed lots of drugs
and alcohol together. Shoplifting was my everyday business. We broke up after three years
because I had been unfaithful. That was when the ground fell
out from underneath my feet. As a result, I drank even
more unrestrainedly. I isolated myself more and more
from other people. I had already lost all of my friends. It was a vicious circle. One Sunday night I ran out of booze. I had to go to the bank on Monday
morning to get some money. At the counter I had to sign
the withdrawal slip but I could not remember how to spell my name. The abstinence symptoms I was experiencing
were so severe that I didn’t know whether my name was spelled with
“ie” or just an “i”. From then on I always made
sure I had enough alcohol in store. This is how I did it: I went to the store
at lunchtime because that’s the time of day when there
are only very few people around. I picked up six bottles of corn schnapps
(38 percent) and some apple juice and went to the checkout counter. Since that was not enough to
get me through a week, I also went to another store in the vicinity
and bought the same amount there, too. Every morning was the same torture. My body was always fighting the
first sips of alcohol, so I threw up until the alcohol took
its relieving effect I consumed up to two bottles
of corn schnapps a day. Actually, I was disgusted by corn schnapps but it was the cheapest and fastest
way to keep my alcohol level up. Intoxicated, I put myself in
danger again and again. One morning I woke up at an
autobahn rest stop, I had no idea where I was or
how I’d gotten there. When I got out of the car, I heard two truck drivers talking to each
other but they were not speaking German. It would seem that, the night before, I had hit on the idea of driving
to the Netherlands. I still don’t know how it all happened. When I turned 27, I had thoroughly
ruined my body and soul. I was 100kg / 220 pounds. I was in bad shape. I had problems with my
stomach and intestines. Yet I was too afraid to consult a doctor. More and more often I thought
about taking my own life. Sometimes I wept and wished
I could start all over. But that was impossible! As I was going through
this difficult time, suddenly my ex-girlfriend, Moni,
showed up at my doorstep. Somehow she was completely changed. She told me about Jesus and
that he had changed her life. Up to that point I had not
believed in any god or anything. Without my knowledge, Iris,
one of my acquaintances, called a friend who used to
be addicted to alcohol himself. Now two men, whom I had never seen before, were standing in front of me. They told me about their addictions. One of those two was a sober alcoholic,
the other one used to be a junkie. I felt so uncomfortable in this situation
that I craved for alcohol right away. I had no idea what in the world
was going on. Then I thought they had a support group. Eventually, the older guy asked me: “May I pray for you?” I answered: “Sure,
I suppose it can’t hurt. I can’t remember the
particulars of this prayer but it was about the Lord Jesus, that he wanted to deliver me from
my addictions and give me a new life. On that same night I was
sitting on my mattress with two bottles of corn
schnapps right next to me. I did want to drink but,
strangely enough, the withdrawal symptoms were bearable. I started to debate with myself: Why are you not drinking?
– Because I can bear it. – – Nonsense, it’s only a matter of time. – I’ll have something as soon as
it becomes unbearable. My first night without alcohol
after so many years was very good. When I woke up the next morning, I actually thought it had been a dream. I immediately started to read in
the Bible they had given me. I realized that what was going on
was not because of my own strength. If it had anything to do with
that God of the Bible, I wanted to know him. All of that happened 27 years ago. Another thing I wanted to mention: The second night was very different. I went to sleep on my mattress,
I fell asleep, and in the middle of the night, I don’t know what time it was but it was pitch-dark in my room. I woke up and felt like
I was lying on an ant hill, or like there were a thousand
pins and needles all over my body. I was so uncomfortable that
I simply spoke into the dark, “God, if you are there,
please make it stop!” No more than 10 seconds later,
it was all over. Everything was calm and peaceful. And that night I started to
pour out my heart in the dark. You could say that I was praying,
I suppose. I told this God everything that
I could think of and got if off my chest. There were still two bottles
of liquor in my nightstand. I kept these two bottles for
four more weeks. I did not have the nerve to throw them out because I thought I might
relapse and need them still. After four weeks I made a decision: This God-thing had to be real. Back then I was still living with my mom. I got my mom, opened the bottles and dumped
everything into the toilet. And I told my mom that I wouldn’t
drink alcohol ever again. For a while I tried very hard
to straighten out my life. And it worked out pretty well,
I would say. Four years later, I met my wife, Heike, to whom I’ve been married
for 24 years now. We’ll have our silver wedding
anniversary next year. God has given us three children. In our marriage and family life, I have to admit, we have had
many ups and downs, and we even went through some crises. But I am very, very thankful to God that, even in those very hard times
that we went through as a couple, I was never really tempted to
take to the bottle again. But I have to say – and sometimes, when you’re in a crisis,
you just don’t seem to be able to pray – I am still convinced that it was God,
or Jesus Christ, who carried me through – or both
of us rather, as a married couple. One verse in the Bible that has been
of great help to me over the past 27 years is John 8:36. I want to read it to you: “If the son sets you free,
you are free indeed.” This word has been perfectly
confirmed in my life And I wish I could let everyone
know because nobody is really free. Everybody needs this freedom
that only God can provide. And I wish you would experience
the same thing, that God would set you free.

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