On New Year’s Eve, I volunteered to be a sober driver for those who needed one. A friend of mine needed help. I was glad to be able to help her and another friend that was with her. I am so honored that they took me up on my offer. I believed that God had put that in and on my heart, and that He wanted me to just be that designated driver. Looking back on that night, now, I realize there was a bigger motive in God’s plan.
As I arrived to the bar where my friends were hanging out, I walked in and the smells, sights, and sounds brought back the memories of who I used to be.
The smells of the smoke and alcohol finding their way into my nostrils were the first things that caught my attention. Smells are very significant to me. My sense of smell is probably the most emotionally significant to me. Delicious scents improve my mood and my outlook on things, in general. The not-so-delicious scent of cigarette smoke, alcohol, too much perfume and cologne, and desperation filled the air that night. I had visions in my head of the preparations I used to take when I was single and going out all of the time. Desperate to look and smell good, desperate to find that one person just for me, desperate to get drunk off my butt so that I could just talk to others, and desperate to feel “loved” and find “love” by whomever caught my attention that night. That was my life. I made myself so dishonorably available to all the drunk men looking for “whatever.”
After the smells so rudely invited themselves into my senses, I looked around and saw the neon signs, people hanging all over each other, eyes barely open to see anything, and I felt sadness. Again, a memory of who I used to be filled my heart and mind. I just wanted to be liked and “loved” for who I was. As alcohol was introduced, it really was for who I thought I was and who I thought I needed to be for approval by any and everyone. The longer I stayed the more I observed the behaviors of others in the bar. I watched groups of young women grinding on each other, husbands and possibly their wives rubbing on each other and allowing others to rub on them. People who were obviously there together were allowing others to be physical with their partners. I saw drunk people grinding on inanimate objects. It took me back to a life where I was so miserable, that I would hang out with just about anyone not caring what their behaviors, or mine, would look like to someone else. I did not care because I had enough alcohol in me to change reality into fantasy. I was not behaving as a young lady should behave. At that time, I did not care. Seeing what I saw on New Year’s Eve, I wanted to call every person I had ever gone out with, every person who ever saw me acting a fool on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night, and every person I ever had contact with as a drunk person and profusely apologize to them. Seriously!
The sounds of people laughing, joyously yelling, and music to dance to filled my ears. I used to go out and dance every time the Electric Slide, the Cupid Shuffle, or just any good song would come on. I loved to dance, but I am pretty sure I looked like every other drunk person trying to look cool moving to a beat. Those same songs that I used to dance to came back to me as something totally different on December 31, 2013. They sounded differently to me. They did not sound like fun. They sounded like excuses to use my body in an unflattering way that made me wince and shiver. Hearing people slur the words, “I love you” to whomever was in listening distance saddened my heart.
At forty-five years old, I have realized that those days have long been over, and that if I want to dance with my husband, I could do so in any room of my house without being surrounded by those still searching for love and approval. I could do so without entering an establishment that was decorated with desperation and heartache that were filling the air and oozing down every inch of the walls and sticking to the floors.
I am so grateful that I have been made new, so that I do NOT have to be who I was. So that I do NOT have to crave who I was. What I crave now is to be happy in what is real love. I crave to be hope for someone who is struggling. I crave to be a light when there is darkness.
God held up a mirror to me that night, and I saw what I have never been able to see previously. Thank you, God.
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 21 – 24
This is not a judgment on anyone.
This is my eye-opening experience.
I am blessed.