For twelve years, Tom had been married to an incredible woman but after falling prey to addiction and divorce, the guilt just seemed too much to bear.
Joy was Tom’s high school sweetheart. They had known each other for nearly twenty-eight years and were married for twenty-four years. They were meant for one another and had a wonderful life together.
It was a fairy tale love story and they made each other complete.
Until that devastating time in Tom’s life that he became an alcohol addict.
Alcohol addiction can be a subtle progression and for Tom that was true.
It was almost two years after his first drink that it began to consume his life.
It started one day when his co-workers invited him along for drinks after work to celebrate a large sale.
It wasn’t long before it turned into a drink at lunch with clients… and then before Tom knew it he was hooked.
When he was drinking he believed he could do anything. His job was going great and he was selling more than ever.
Until one day he came back to work after lunch so drunk that he was fired on the spot.
Joy didn’t know what to do or what to think. For her, it seemed to come out of nowhere. She had no idea that Tom was struggling with alcohol addiction.
She felt embarrassed and upset with herself that she had not been paying attention to the changes in Tom’s life that were obvious if she had just asked some questions.
She tried many times to ask Tom to go for help but he refused.
Tom thought he had it all under control and that it was just a part of business. In his mind it was no big deal and she was making a problem where there wasn’t one.
Their marriage got worse by the day as he consoled his fears in more alcohol.
It wasn’t long until he began to take his anger and frustration out on Joy, but only when he was drinking. They would argue and fight and say things that one day they would both come to regret.
When he was sober Tom offered Joy a litany of promises about how he was going to get sober and find a job.
But week-after-week the patterned repeated until one day Joy couldn’t take it anymore and left.
A few weeks later Tom received a summons of divorce and within a few months his marriage was over and he had lost almost all of his possessions, including his house.
The Wakeup Call That Changed Everything
Unfortunately, that was the wake-up call that Tom needed. He went from denial that he had an addiction to extreme sadness over the consequences of his alcoholism when he finally accepted that he had a problem.
It took him losing everything… his wife, job, home and many possessions.
The realization that his loneliness and loss was too much to bear. He knew he had blown and that it was his entire fault.
It was the wake-up call that he needed.
It took a year, but he got sober.
But, it’s something he will have to live with for the rest of his life and unfortunately he has become too hard on himself.
Tom often wonders what his life would be like if things had been different.
What if he had never taken that first drink?
Would he and Joy still be happy together?
The Guilt of What He Did to Joy was Destroying Tom
Tom’s biggest struggle today isn’t an addiction, it’s guilt.
It’s the guilt of knowing that he didn’t just destroy his life, but also his wife’s.
He thinks about Joy often and wonders if she will ever be able to forgive him.
The truth is though that his guilt is being driven because he can’t forgive himself.
Peace eludes him like a needle in a haystack.
What can he do?
What should he do?
Should he just accept that he is a horrible person?
Finding Forgiveness is Possible
Everyone wants happiness and peace, but can it really be found?
Of course you can but it has to start with the right perspective.
The first thing you have to do is realize that you’re not alone. There are many just like you and they have been able to find peace and joy.
The Bible reminds us that there is no one on earth who does what’s right all of the time (Romans 3:12).
There is only one Man who ever lived who was perfect, and His name is Jesus.
But Jesus was no ordinary Man, he was also God (John 1:14) and He is the One who is able to offer you forgiveness because he never did wrong, thought wrong, or pursued what was wrong.
His only pursuit was you!
If anyone has the right to be in judgment of guilt over anyone, it’s Jesus.
He created us for a relationship with Him, but we have rejected Him.
Yet, He still paid the penalty and price for our rejection of Him and He has forgiven us of all our intentional disregard of Him.
The Bible says that each man seeks his own way and reminds us that in the days of the Judges that “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25).
That is the story of you and me. Tom didn’t want to hear Joy’s warnings and set her up to be wrong when it was him was wrong.
In my own ability, forgiveness is extremely difficult if not impossible.
But if we remember that God loves us so much that He gave Himself for us, forgives us and loves us; then why aren’t we forgiving ourselves?
Guilt is not your friend, it’s your enemy.
Guilt ties you up and binds you to the past where you no longer reside.
You live in today with a bright hope for tomorrow.
If you’re struggling with guilt or shame about your past, you don’t have to.
But, you can’t do it alone, nor should you.
If you would like to talk with someone and learn more about CrossRoads Freedom Center and how we can help you resolve your past addiction and the guilt that comes with it, please click here and contact us today.
We would love to talk with you about forgiveness, hope and second chances!