The Hand and Foot by Melissa Watz

I was 8 years old when my father carried me out of his friend’s house in the middle of the night, laying me in the backseat. The cold air and cigarette smoke hitting my nostrils through the cracked windows kept me awake as he drove home. My parents lived for weekends with friends. A concoction of alcohol, games, music, laughter, foul language, and late drives. It left a significant impression.

My mother was a Catholic, but my father’s faith was unclear. All I knew of my father and the church was that he polished off the sacramental bread before mass as an altar boy. My mother wanted me to know God. I made my First Communion at 11 years old and found joy in trying to be like Jesus. I also joined my mother in nightly prayer by her bedside. When I stopped praying, she continued. (A vital memory that God used to reach me. See part 1: ‘God’s Grace in a Hotel Room’.)

Even with my love for Jesus, our family’s priorities didn’t serve to uphold a faithful lifestyle. I would soon wander. By 16 I was drinking and lying about my whereabouts, and by 20 I had dropped out of college. My low self-esteem welcomed abuse from the men I kept in my company. Despite turning away from God, He would bless me with my first-born son, and I made a strong attempt at rebuilding. But I wasn’t finished being tested.

The next 15 years were rife with pain. My dad’s addiction landed him in prison, and my mother passed away from Alzheimer’s at 56. My parent’s friends (and some relatives) abandoned my dad and I and gossiped about us. To escape, I married a man I hardly knew. He was a cheater, and I fell apart. What kept me going was the responsibility I had as a mother to my 4 children. Alcohol continued to be my medicine throughout all trials, taking the place of God. God never wavered showing me the power of His grace and love. A few times in big ways, and other times in more subtle ways. Yet in my self-loathing, I undermined the value of His mercy. I was entrenched in battle. God had me by the hand, trying to pull my dead weight up out of the dark hole, all while Satan had my foot pulling me down.

I would soon separate from my husband. Being alone more often than ever allowed me time to drink with less effort to hide my dependency. I was right where Satan wanted me… There’s more that I must elaborate and share with you next time. It’s a difficult task condensing such profound experiences into one blog post, but I assure all who read that God is here in these words. He has allowed me to tell my stories with loving intention and encouragement for you to seek Him. Let Him pull you up out of the darkness. Stay tuned for more to my journey through alcoholism and God’s continued grace.