This time last year, I wasn’t doing very well. I didn’t leave my house on Christmas day. I wasn’t happy about life. I was eating and drinking way too much. I was pretty much miserable. I didn’t even watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”
In September of last year, I went to the Auburn - Louisville game at the Georgia Dome with my best friends. There were another 73,000 people there, too, yet I felt all alone. I watched just a couple of minutes of the first quarter before I had to leave. The drinking and the depression were winning the battle.
The remainder of the fall was the same way. I didn’t want to be around anyone and if I did, it involved the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol. I wasn’t drinking for fun; I was drinking to drown the proverbial sorrows. I wasn’t drinking every day, but when I did drink, I made up for when I didn’t. I wasn’t an alcoholic, but one doesn’t have to be an addict to have a problem. Thankfully, I recognized that there was an issue and decided to do something about it.
In early December, I went to the VA to see about getting right. It wasn’t an immediate life or death situation, so they scheduled an appointment for me. The appointment could have been any number of days, but the first available slot was the last available slot on Christmas Eve. I’m fairly certain there was some divine intervention involved with the scheduling.
I went to several clinics for a range of tests, and the results were not very good. My cholesterol was high and my liver tests were a little high because of all the alcohol.
My final stop of the day was with a counselor. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d spoken with a Christian counselor a few months earlier, and while it was very positive, due to scheduling conflicts, I never followed up. That was not the case with the counselor at the VA. I’ve seen him twice a month for the past year.
We have a great deal in common. I think I’ve become as much a counselor for him as he has been for me. We all need someone to talk to, and we all need someone to listen. Far too often, we deal with our issues in destructive ways, but there’s always a better way.
I went back three months after those initial series of tests for a follow-up. My cholesterol was well within range, and my liver tests were normal. I now drink occasionally but don’t do so to drown my sorrows.
What a difference a year makes. Like everyone, I still have my battles but have found more productive ways to deal with them: counseling, daily devotions and prayer, to name a few. I encourage anyone who’s struggling to talk to a professional. Much like the Jelly of the Month Club, it’ll be the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.
Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com.