New Beginnings

“A new world greets when we awake:
New life, new opportunities.
New attitudes we sure should take,
Melodious sonnets we must make.
For life is given just for today.
With fresh zeal, let it live.
Create more beauty, come what may
And care not what other folks may say.
For beautiful things come back again,
Another life to live….”

—Phyllis Loyola Andrews

I wish I could stop eating ‘junk’ the same way I stopped drinking alcohol.

I don’t know if in my spending I have ever made anyone or anything ‘profit’ but when I decided to give up drinking I was told, but you made Fernandes VAT 19, a local distillery, profit!

It has been several years since I heard those words but every now and then, I remind myself of ‘how I got over.’ I’m still working on donuts. 😊

This is my testimony on how things got turned around in my life when it seemed to be heading in the wrong direction. I hope this blesses and encourages someone.

At a young age I ventured on to a slippery slope of sorts. It was quite shocking, if not disturbing, to many as I was raised in a very conservative, and strict Adventist household. In my church community, alcohol is forbidden and frowned upon because of its potential to impair. The counsel of Solomon is taken to heart:

“Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What seemed like innocent fun, hanging out late at night with friends, and partying, put me in a questionable environment. And so I started drinking. A wine cooler. Then a lager. Before I knew it, I was chasing soda with all kinds of ridiculous ‘high percentage’ liquor.

I still remember the first occasion I snuck out of the house. It was through a window. I was underage and I left home to meet an older cousin who was on his way to an after school fete. It was here that I was offered and accepted the first taste of alcohol. It seemed like no big deal; however, this was the beginning of ‘a madness.’

After that escapade, I became more open to trying other things. Fortunately, I never got to tobacco or hard drugs though they were all around me. In truth, all I really wanted to do was fit in.

After a few years of drinking on weekends and partying here and there, an incident occurred that really shook me. I was hanging with some friends one evening when after a few drinks a few of us got hungry. There was no food in the house, so we left and went to a fast food restaurant. While there we began teasing incoming patrons. Of the patrons who decided not to ignore us was a young man who was with his girlfriend. The ensuing exchange led from one thing to another. From an argument, to a fist fight, to the flash of a gun. Thankfully I was not shot but in the exchange of blows I suffered a lacerated finger.

This incident was a reality check. The day after the fight I was sober but I still had the cut on my finger to remind me of what had transpired. And while I didn’t stop drinking right away I began to think seriously about quitting. I knew if I didn’t, it would just be a matter of time before things got worse.

It was a few weeks afterwards that I decided to stop ‘cold turkey.’ Was it just the scare, or my upbringing, or the many prayers that ascended on my behalf that prompted me to try and ‘slide back up the slope?’ It could have been all three!

The first step I took was to say to my friends, ‘I’m done.’ It wasn’t easy. My statement was met with ridicule. But I was determined not to renege on my decision. And so I didn’t.

Soon after, one of my closest friends migrated. This lessened my urge to keep hanging out in places where drinks were being served. I also made new friends.

After 4 years of drinking, I made a new beginning! And I haven’t looked back since.

Today I say thank you to those who provided encouragement and have prayed for me along the way. There is power in intercessory prayer. I still pray for those friends of mine who struggle with habits they wish to kick.

God give us the strength to overcome in areas where we are weak but You are strong.🙏🏽

——————————————

A favorite poem written by my mother that inspires my journey:

New Beginnings

“A new world greets when we awake:
New life, new opportunities.
New attitudes we sure should take,
Melodious sonnets we must make.
For life is given just for today.
With fresh zeal, let it live.
Create more beauty, come what may
And care not what other folks may say.
For beautiful things come back again,
Another life to live….”
And new beginnings will return
That only God can give.

So live your life and live it well,
As it comes with each fresh, new dawn.
Revel in all its sights and sounds.
Let noble principles guide your will.
Forget the past with all its faults.
Let loving thoughts your heart fill.
Ignore the mean and all that foils,
And make of life a thing of joy.
For beautiful things come back again
Another life to live.
And new beginnings will return
That only God can give.

—Phyllis Loyola Andrews