by Patrick Bailey | This is a story of how my Church and Pastor Fred used Mrs. Andrews to get me a specialist at the Mountain Springs Recovery who helped me create a concrete recovery plan after detox and treatment to keep me focused and aligned with my sobriety goals. My recovery process has been a daily lifelong journey. Connect via http://patrickbaileys.com (images: Pixabay)
I used to think that it was unfair and more than a little bit cruel of God to make alcohol an integral part of Christian church services and even in iconic Bible stories. How could this substance that rendered me dazed and irresponsible be put in such a place of honor? Now I’m simply grateful for the anointed people of God who prayed for me and guided my way and into alcohol rehab before it was too late.
There is simply no other explanation. Only God’s touch could have made my own personal miracle possible. And I’m very grateful He chose the right people (and one person in particular) to make His miracle possible.
You probably think that it was our pastor. You would be wrong. Sure, Pastor Fred would come up to the house every now and then. But I was single and, in my thirties, while he was a childless widower several years older than me. I think it was awkward for him to say the least.
Besides, I wasn’t really a public drinker. I never made a scene in public, never physically hurt anybody. And thanks to online jobs and a bit of money that mom left me when she passed, I was able to buy alcohol and still pay my bills. So, I guess I never really became Pastor Fred’s top priority.
Instead, he trained his sights on those whom I also agree needed him more than I did. Kids who were in the brink of or also in the throes of substance abuse. Overwhelmed widows and widowers. Orphaned children. Struggling large families.
But then one day, she came. She was Mrs. Andrews, a tiny septuagenarian, my mom’s best friend. The first day she came was on my Mom’s birthday. Which I didn’t remember clearly at the time or did I?
Maybe that was why I started drinking so early in life. Mrs. Andrews came at a little before 8:00 in the morning. By then, I had already finished a pot of coffee. See, I had just discovered the recipe for espresso martini the week before, and I had immediately fallen in love with the concoction. What wasn’t to love? Each part of coffee called for one and one-half part of vodka plus another one and one-half part of coffee liqueur. I can still remember how I told myself that I wasn’t really getting drunk but getting a coffee fix. The way regular people did.
So, Mrs. Andrews came inside the house as soon as I opened the door. She’s in and out of the house all the time when my mom was alive. Even more so in the last few months when my mom was very sick. I remember how the two of them looked reading their Bibles on the couch, my mom wrapped in the newest shawl that Mrs. Andrews knitted. She must have made my mom a dozen of those labor-intensive knitting’s in her last few months.
In any case, everything happened so fast. By the time she sat down on the couch, I had somehow agreed to drive her over to the cemetery to visit my mom’s grave. She claimed she couldn’t remember where my mom was buried.
Of course, ‘driving her over’ turned out to be a figure of speech. She drove us. After she came into my bedroom and found a blue dress that she said she helped my mom choose for one occasion or another. I’m pretty sure she didn’t dress me but as I said I was dazed out of my mind from the espresso martinis.
The Regular Visits
Two days after, Mrs. Andrews visit; she said she needed a company to go to the dentist two towns over because she didn’t trust the 40-year-old ‘young man’ who had taken over the practice after Dr. Sheldon passed away. I tried to get out of going with her but couldn’t even get a word in.
Almost a week after that, Mrs. Andrews came again. But this time she said she was looking for a baking dish that she and mom had used. She said it was an heirloom, so she simply had to have it back. So, I gave her leave to rummage in the kitchen while I pretended to work in the study and drink coffee (Yes, laced with vodka and coffee liqueur).
After an hour, the smell of baking wafted from the kitchen. It was lasagna. Her version was my favorite in the world. And she knew it. She explained that she couldn’t find the heirloom baking dish, but she found my mom’s. So, she decided to bake two trays because she just happened to have ingredients in her car. She apologized profusely that she couldn’t eat with me, but she sat me down and waited until I had finished a plate before she left. I remember thinking to myself that she had lost her touch because the lasagna was blah.
The fourth time she came in was on Sunday. She wanted me to take her to a Church service because her arthritis was acting up and she felt that her legs would buckle at any time. She made me wear the blue dress again.
Two days after, Mrs. Andrews came in to do my laundry. When I came down, the whole house smelled of detergent. She said her machine had broken down and that she always trusted my Mom’s machine, so she just took her laundry to my house. And did my loads as well, which she took from my bedroom while I was sleeping off the effects of binge drinking till two o’clock that morning.
The chaos of clean clothes strewn on the just cleaned kitchen table did me in. I just lost it. I screamed at Mrs. Andrews for being a busybody and told her to get out of the house. She simply said that she planned to after she had finished her load. Then she went back to the laundry humming as she walked away.
The day after that, she was at it again. This time she wanted to know if I had come around to dropping off my old mom’s clothes at the Salvation Army yet. My mom had made us promise to do this together. So, we spent the whole day sorting through my mom’s cabinets. She would not allow her shawls to be given out, though. And I was glad because I wanted to keep them.
For three months after my mom pass away, Mrs. Andrew always drop by my house. Sometimes with a tray or two of more blah lasagna. On my mom’s birthday, we were both in the garden planting daisies — my mom’s favorite — when she finally said what we had been both waiting to hear.
“Dear, I think you should go to alcohol rehab.” I think I tried to formulate a half-hearted protest about not being an alcoholic. But by then she had simply worn me down. She had even chosen a place for me in Colorado who offered Christian Base treatment and offered to pay for the part that my insurance wouldn’t cover. I agreed, but only on the condition that it was a loan. Less than a week after, Pastor Fred, Mrs. Andrews and I made a six-hour drive to the Golden State.
The first week was difficult to say the least. But as soon as she could, Mrs. Andrews visited me along with Pastor Fred in tow. And when I came home from rehab, she was waiting for me at my house with two trays of lasagna again. They were delicious! It turns out it was my taste buds that had a problem and not her cooking.
She had also gotten me a job clerking for the new dentist twice a week and an appointment at the beauty parlor down the city. Her treat. She was even more overwhelming than before. But I loved it.
The first Sunday after the rehab, Mrs. Andrews and I went to Church; Pastor Fred was preaching that day. Afterward, everyone came over and said my hair looked great. I accidentally looked over and saw Mrs. Andrews with the biggest smile on her face.
Goodbye Mrs. Andrews
That was four years ago. A month ago, we buried Mrs. Andrews. She died in her sleep, peacefully and happy. I was sitting with her the way I did for my own mom. Because she had been my second mom. She had given me a second chance at life and returned me to my Church and to God.
Later, I learned it was Pastor Fred who suggested that Mrs. Andrews work with me. I also learned that the Church congregation prayed for me daily. And every time, I was again overwhelmed with love; many will say that I was just lucky. But I really wasn’t. I was blessed with God’s miracle.
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempt to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.