Some weeks ago I shared a post called Comfortably Numb. Sharing about my life that way was tough yet helpful. I’m prone to many things, I suppose, and numbing is certainly on the list.
Part of the reason for sharing is a concern I have for what my generation is modelling to those right behind us. I am in the 50’s age group now and spend a fair amount of time with folks in their 20’s and 30’s. I’m perfectly comfortable with the fact the enjoying a few is culturally normal. To be honest, I really do like beer, wine and a few spirits.
I just don’t like knowing that I’m numbing myself somehow.
My favorite use of alcohol was what I refer to as the two-beer buzz. That’s the sweet spot for me. I can go further, let me tell you, but I like the lightness of things at that level. My frontal lobe is well lubricated, my inhibitions drop nicely and I’m dialed in just right. Two beer buzz is fun for me.
People have commented that I hid all this rather well. It wasn’t the drinking I was hiding, it was the numbing. I abused other sources with far greater frequency. No one ever said anything about that either. But I could get a two-beer buzz equivalent from a couple of good sales days, a good report card from one of my kids, a positive comment about something I had done. It all helped to numb something that felt askew.
I don’t like numbing any more.
It’s been said that what we focus on expands. There is plenty of brain science around that conversation, but I’m no brain scientist. What I have focused my attention on is the possibility that if I do good, I’m good, and if I do less than good, I’m less than good. And that’s where the two-beer buzz came to be such a normal part of my life. A couple of beers don’t cross any morality lines with me so I let it become part of the normal routine of the week. But I was never actually dealing with what was really going on – that I was somehow becoming convinced that my good day equaled a good Craig or a less than good day equaled a less than good Craig.
And I don’t like numbing that out any more. It was a lie. I am NOT the sum of my successes and failures. Neither are you. It was an amazing grace for God to let me feel the weight of shame through something that, for me, was rather innocuous. For many, drinking is far more than that simple. It’s a demon. For me, the demon was believing the deep lie that if I do good, I am good.
So I simply have chosen to become an admitted numbskull, a numb-er, a numb-nut, whatever you want to call me. I confess for the healing that it brings and the freedom that has followed.
For those who are followers of Jesus, let’s get attentive and alert for our own sakes and for the benefit of those who are watching us; our kids, co-workers, neighbors and friends. We are called to put down the pattern of the world and come to God asking for Him to change our minds, to make them new. I share this, not to judge but to re-state the invitation to step all the more into the Life we seek.
I’m focused gratefully today on the reality that I am created by a very handy and wise Father who has good work planned for me to do. He cares about me and those I love with a depth that staggers my imagination. Beer- it was His idea. Numbing with it was mine. Success, Kids, Doing good – those were His ideas. Pursuing them to feel better, that was my idea. Numbing with what He made good became a point of focus. And as I focused, it expanded. It became my religion, my idol, my identity.
I don’t have it all figured out yet, as you can tell. But I do know this; I’m thankful to be aware that I numb and that the invitation to come to God has not diminished. Knowing that He’s patient in my learning a few of these things is pretty dang cool.
I hope some of you will share some of your journey. Sharing helps…