Thomas Guin: The Word started jumping off the pages


by Glen Doss, Major – 

As the door of the jail cell clanged shut behind him, the grim-faced man glanced around, resigned to the stark surroundings. Then, as the hours droned on, Thomas Guin, 44, took a long, hard look at his plight—at the series of drunk-driving arrests and the very harsh reality that, because of his drinking, his wife of 25 years had finally left him.

Suddenly, it hit him like a ton of bricks—he was powerless, “absolutely powerless,” in the face of his addiction!

“I had quit the marijuana; I had quit the cocaine; I had even quit the speed; but the drinking always continued. The alcohol was the one thing that I could never quit on my own, so that day in jail I turned to God for help. I had a moment of clarity, and I decided that I was going to use that whole time in jail to get into the Word. As I did so, the Word starting jumping off the pages at me.

“Before, when I had tried to stay sober, I had white-knuckled it, and I didn’t understand the power of the Word. Now the Word started sinking into my spirit in a mighty way so that I was actually even glad I was there in jail! I know that sounds odd, but I was glad I was there because this was my time, you see. I was tired.”

One of four children from “a good family” in San Jose, Calif., Tom’s hard road to that jail cell in 2000 seems to have begun when at 20 or 21 when he started “doing the bar thing after work with the guys in the car business” where he was employed.

Early on, his drinking took a toll on his family life. However, although he “dabbled” in marijuana and cocaine, it was not until Tom tried methamphetamines in 1997 that his work performance began slipping. “I lost a very good job—I had some great-paying jobs.”

Moving from employer to employer because of “temper tantrums, not getting my way, just quitting”—behavior which Tom believes stemmed from the drugs and alcohol—he managed finally to quit using speed. But, after a period of time without alcohol, “I would always slip back.”

Meanwhile, says Tom, “as the kids grew up and she became more independent, my wife began tolerating my drinking less and less. At the end, however, she was trying anything to make the marriage work. She says she would cringe when she’d see me with a beer or coming in the door with a six-pack. As the drinking continued, she tells me, my whole disposition changed. I was not a happy drunk anymore, which had been bearable; instead, I had become an angry drunk.”

Beginning in 1991, Tom accumulated a long string of arrests for DUIs. However, “somewhere along the line,” he notes solemnly, “I heard that quiet voice (of God).” Then, that day in 2000 in the jail cell, the Scriptures came alive for him. When, after two months, the judge gave him an option of two more weeks’ incarceration or a six-month rehab, Tom says, “I chose the rehab,” because “by this time, nobody wanted anything to do with me.”

In June 2000, he checked into the San Jose ARC. In that program, Tom points out, “one of the best things I acquired were six or eight very, very close friends.” Having severed the relationship with the friends from his former lifestyle, Tom observes, smiling, “now I’ve got these guys.” He describes the close-knit company as an accountability group, adding, “We have a private weekly Bible Study together.”

Notes Tom: “Today I have a reverential fear of God. He was there for me in that jail cell; and every day since then I have remained focused—he’s number one! I absolutely believe that whatever I sow today I’m going to reap; so if it’s good, it’s going to be good.”

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