Thank you very much for facilitating the weekend and helping me through the steps as Cleveland did it back in the day. I have done the steps the other way and I always found it to be a fearful task— impossible for me to be thorough from the very start because I still, even afterward, always had things come up I hadn't covered. So, I would do another set of steps thinking if I didn't, I would end up drunk and low and behold this was the result.
I'd get a year here, 2 years there and even before my last relapse, which was following a 4yr. 7mth., 9day stretch, I had relapsed yet again and reached a point where I had just given up!!! I even sold, pawned, and threw away the majority of my belongings -- packed up the rest and moved out of my apartment. I was determined to drink myself to death. I gave it a good shot. But after 3 months of this, I ended up sleeping outside the door of the place where I had attended my Home Group "Early Bird" Mtg., just so I knew I could be there in the morning to make the meeting.
After 2 days of this, I approached another member and asked for help to get off the streets. That night I was taken into the home of a man who was an Associate Pastor of a local Church who allowed me to detox. Then I moved into a Sober Home near the Meeting Hall where I met Tim. Tim had come into the meeting to drop off the "Came To Believe" Retreat registration forms and he shared briefly his own experience: Chronically Relapsing, until he attended his 1st ‘Came To Believe' Retreat. His testimony gave me a sliver of hope. I was prepared to "Beg him for this opportunity" since I was financially without Hope...LOL. So, he gave me a few flyers and I got a bunch of copies and took them around town to meetings making the announcement and leaving some as part of my commitment. I told him at the end of the retreat that I would be willing to work off the cost if there was a way to do it...or I would send the money in the near future when I get back to steady employment.
I'm overwhelmingly Grateful to return to my 1st love, Jesus, after over 40 years of denying Him and struggling with Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Jails, Institutions, and Near Death so many times by Suicide attempts, Overdoses, and repeated rejections of God's many attempts to reach me and guide me back to the source of the Love of Christ.
I was asked this time, "What Lengths Are You Willing To Go To This Time Jim." My answer was "ANY." And then I met Tim.
On Monday morning, following the Retreat, I got up, turned to Step 10 & 11 and converted the reading of these steps from the Big Book into a prayer. On my knees, I prayed (not a position I was used to), yet I knew was necessary. A newness and fresh awareness of His presence has engulfed me. To sense this restoration and 'know that I know' that His precious Holy Spirit has begun a new work is just awesome.
One last thought to share: Sunday, Tim and Sarah Jean prayed for me. As they laid their hands upon me, the "Heat coming from their hands" ran through my body and even though I had been Baptized in the Holy Ghost with the Evidence of Tongues in 1975, when I began to speak out in tongues as they were praying, I realized what was coming forth was New. It was a Language unique from the original I had spoken back in the 70s.
Not only did I receive a new Prayer Language, the results of the medical tests I had asked them to pray for me over, came back "Negative." Physically, all my medical tests were normal except my Cholesterol was a little elevated. Correctable with a change in my diet.
It's hard to contain the joy, the tears, and the desire to share this with others, especially at my Early Bird Meeting, so I have chosen to just allow the Spirit to guide me in this direction. I did share this morning that just as I respect the right of others to have their own "Understanding of God", to please respect my right as well and please refrain from imposing upon this right. I did not mention the name "Jesus." I simply said "I had come home to my 1st love. The one I met 'as a pre-teen.'
I left the rest for them to wonder about. When asked about the Retreat, I simply said, "you just have to experience it for yourself," and left it at that.
I'm so grateful also that your wife B.J. allowed you to attend this one. and in the inside cover of my book I have the following Diagram:
Whew....Whew!!!!! Grace and Peace to You and Yours!!!!