8Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:8-11
A wise man once explained to me that the word sober in 1 Peter 5:8 not only refers to refraining from drunkenness, but also to staying sober from anger, greed, and other emotional, and spiritual issues. There are so many things we can be drunk on. “Love” for another person being one of those things. There are so many experiences and emotions that can inhibit our ability to be “sober-minded” and avoid the lion who seeks to destroy our souls.
By God’s grace, I personally have never been drunk with alcohol. I’ve never had a desire to drink at all. But I have had problems with anger and selfishness and lost my emotional sobriety. My anger and unforgiveness turned to bitterness and brokenness. It was so bad there seemed to be no way for me to stop the rage that began to boil inside my heart and mind.
The person who was hurt the most was me. I have implosive anger… Instead of tearing a room apart, I would keep all the anger inside and it began to destroy my self-worth and peace of mind.
The only thing that began to help was, ironically, The 12 Steps. I started to attend Life’s Healing Choices and other Celebrate Recovery types of programs like Changes that Heal, Boundaries, Hiding From Love, etc. I started to apply the 12 Steps to help me seek emotional sobriety from anger, bitterness, fear, rejection, panic, anxiety, depression, and emotional highs and lows.
I’ve heard people say that deliverance can come in two different ways: instantaneously, or through a process. For me, remaining emotionally sober has been a process of deliverance, one I have to remain committed to, just as my brothers and sisters who are recovering alcoholics and addicts.
I have to always remember that I’m a sinner in need of a Savior. I find that when I think things are becoming “right” in my life, and I start to slack in knowing my need for Jesus, that’s when my emotions begin to flare up again. I find myself emotionally overpowered by depression, anxiety, fear and anger . . . and then back to the realization that I am not God, not in control, but that God loves me and cares for me. I’m learning my life is and will be a constant surrendering dependence on God.
As I release my emotions to God, He fills me with forgiveness, peace, and joy. I share this testimony of the power of Christ with you to give you hope. Whatever it is you are fighting, turn to God, turn to Christian support, and seek sobriety.
Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.
She wrote this piece to share with the San Antonio CBC Young Professionals class, of which she is a part.