David H.– “Something magical with God”
“God, please just give me one more chance, just one more chance! I told you things like a little boy–that I was gonna change, and then went and did my own thing anyway–but, please, God, just one more chance!”
Tension mounts in the courtroom as the tall, slender man sits, head lowered, silently praying with all his might. Looking at a six-year sentence, David H., 39–awaiting the judge’s entrance–is terrified. Again he prays, “God, this time I know I can’t stop drinking, so I’m just going to turn everything over to you.”
Moments later, the judge fixes his eyes on the defendant. “Dave, do you think you’re an alcoholic?”
“I’m starting to think so.”
“Dave, you’ve had six DUIs, a drug arrest, and you’ve been in a Salvation Army program. You’ve got to understand you’ve got a problem.”
Thoughtfully, Dave replies, “I have no intentions to drink, yet I drink. I must be insane, or I’ve got some kind of a disease, and they call it alcoholism.” The sudden revelation strikes Dave like cold water in the face, and then, as he hears the judge refer him again to the Denver ARC, he leaps for joy!
Recalling the wonder of that day in 1997, Dave relates: “As they put the handcuffs on, I’m thanking the judge! At the ARC I hit that tile so hard it hurt my knees as I grabbed my bed, still thanking God!”
The leap of insight in the courtroom marked a significant milestone along a long, hard journey which began when Dave was 15. “My first experience with drinking was like the movie, ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ It starts out in black and white, but, when Dorothy opens the door, everything turns to color. I was a painfully shy kid, but when I drank, I could fit in.”
By 17, he was craving the alcohol. “I would drink so much that I’d get sick, then throw up so I could drink some more.” Married at 22, “I was so drunk at the wedding ceremony that I could hardly stand up.” The marriage lasted for 10 years–until “my wife could take it no longer.”
At 26, Dave discovered a remarkable thing–if he used drugs, he could drink even more–but by 1995, he was losing control. “That year I got two DUIs back to back, then was caught and arrested for doing drugs.” He was ordered to go to counseling; however “I would show up drunk; I could not stop drinking.”
During those dark days, Dave says, he tried to overdose. “More than once I was lying on my bed with the lights off when I detected a cold, dark presence–it felt like death–and I knew there was something evil in that room. I yelled: ‘You know you’ve got me, so take me!’ I just wanted it to be over. I considered myself some kind of puppet between Satan and God. I couldn’t see it was of my own making.
“However, following that remarkable day in the courtroom, a very real desire to stop drinking mounted in me and–for the first time–the power to follow through. Something magical with God was going on. I got an AA sponsor, began working very hard, and graduated from the program.
“At The Salvation Army, I learned a wonderful thing about God–he is not judgmental. I thought you always had to be repressed and scared of God to be with him. Now I was able to live with him and be happy.
“I’ve had struggles, like anyone who gets clean and sober, but they’re only struggles until I surrender and say, ‘God, whatever you want to do, do it!’ And I just stand back, watch, and say: ‘Wow! I would not have thought of that in a million years!’ And that’s why I know it’s God!”