SEEK AND YOU SHALL FIND:

He_Put_His_Hand_on_My_Shoulder
by Delmer “Tad” Twombly

I sat at the bar with a bottle in my hand and let the smooth liquid wipe away my sadness. I was lonely. Completely and utterly alone. I had nothing. I had no one. You hurt so bad...so you drink. And you stay drunk. Every morning when I woke I downed a warm 16 ounce Bud and dropped some speed before even getting out of bed. It was the only way to keep the pain away. Most of the time I didn’t have a clue how I had gotten home, but it just didn’t matter anymore. Nothing mattered.

Since I was a kid, alcohol had always been there. My grandfather made his own so there was plenty around. In a drunken rage my step father would call me a good for nothing bastard. So I’d run from him and drink away my pain. I was so alone. There is no other way I can describe it. Just utterly alone. I hurt so bad.

For seventeen years I worked in Burlington, Vermont. I got married and we had a daughter. I had a house and a car but I still felt completely alone. Each day I’d drink enough and take enough pills so I could make it through the work day. I hated going to work. I don’t even know why but I hated it. I kept my cooler full in the trunk so the minute I got out of work I could grab a beer and head over to a bar. And I would drink the night away. Once I even lost my car for two weeks because I couldn’t remember where I had left it. When I happened to wander into the bar I had been at that night the bartender asked me if I wanted my car back. He handed me my keys and told me it was in the back. Nothing mattered to me anymore. I didn’t care about anything or anybody. I would do anything I had to, to take the pain away.

In 1980 I quit my job with IBM and headed for 4 years of constantly being drunk. I took my severance pay and gave a thousand bucks to the convenience store and told them when that was gone I would bring them more. I knew that as long as I could stay drunk enough I wouldn’t have to feel. If I didn’t feel, then I wouldn’t hurt. That was all that mattered to me. Not to feel lonely and not to hurt.

On March 4, 1984 I almost killed a man for accusing me of wrecking his car. The only thing that stopped me was another guy at the bar who did care. He kept telling me “Don’t Tad, he’s not worth it.” So I left that place and walked home. When I got home I called up a guy who I knew was a part of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). I was sick of being sick. I didn’t want to hurt anymore and I knew I needed help. That night he took me to my first AA meeting. It was the last time I had a drink. It’s sad to think that only 4 years before I had a wife, three daughters, a home, and so many other things, but now all I had was half a garbage bag of clothes and a TV set that didn’t work. I had lost almost everything and I needed help.

The next day I ended up at the Farm, a place where people could go to get help in overcoming their addiction. At the time it was being run by a fellow who had owned a bar that I went to often. When he saw me he told me not to leave, to get my stuff and he would find place for me even if he had to put a cot in the hallway. He wasn’t willing to risk me changing my mind. I stayed there for 30 days. I learned to cry and I learned it was okay for “a real man” to cry. But I still felt alone!

About a month later I had earned enough money to go on an Alcoholics Anonymous intensive weekend at Monastery Holca up in Canada. One day on the way to a meeting by the river, I was walking through a huge parking lot. Oh, I hurt so bad. And I said, “If there’s a God, will somebody please help?!” Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder and I spun around ready to attack. I hurt so bad that all I wanted to do was hurt others. But there was no one there. Then God said to me “Believe in me and you will never have to be alone again.” Can you imagine that? It was all I had ever wanted. To never have to be alone again. And I felt so full of joy and hope! I could feel these arms wrapped around me holding me close. All I wanted to do was stay in that place and have God hold me forever.

After that day I knew I had to change. The old Tad could take any woman home, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. I started looking for God. I was looking for that same feeling I had had by the river. I went to every church in town but I couldn’t find Him. I saw Him in the clouds and in the flowers but I just couldn’t find that closeness I had felt before. So I kept on searching.

One day while I was working in a bottle redemption center in Johnson a guy named Craig came down to pick up a bunch of bottles to help us out. We started talking and he told me about Jesus. When he left he invited me to come to his church. I just blew him off but he kept coming back and coming back trying to get me to go with him to church. It took me awhile before I decided to go with him. When I finally went it was just to get him off my back but I ended out feeling like I had come home after being away for a long time. I felt that same feeling I had been searching for. I was home!

It took a while before I was able to trust people but even when I got angry and rebellious my Lord Jesus sent Craig, or Dwain, or Martin (3 brothers who really cared for me) to come get me and bring me back. God wasn’t willing to let me go and I know the only reason I am still alive today is because He had plans for me.

Jesus has claimed me as His own and given me a gift of never having to be alone. I have a family bigger than I could have ever imagined and friends like John who are closer than brothers. I wish all drunks and alcoholics could find the Lord. I wish I could tell them. I know what it is like to have nothing but a bottle but now I know there is so much more. You don’t have to live with loneliness and sadness. You have a Father who loves you unconditionally and wants to hold you. I was probably as bad as anyone could get and look at all Jesus has done for me! He said “I took you away from where the druggies gather and the land of the alcoholics and I set you on my land.” I will never be alone again. I don’t know what the future holds but Jesus is my hope, my promise, my love, and my life. He will never leave me or forsake me!

My step father told me I wasn’t good for anything but that is not what my Heavenly Father tells me. He tells me He loves me.
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