I spent most of my life claiming to be an atheist or an agnostic at best. It drove me crazy when someone of faith tried to convince me otherwise. In the 80's I was a Realtor and had commented to a few of my friends that I had met an extraordinary number of people through my daily showings of homes that wanted to talk to me about faith. I thought it was very odd or maybe a coincidence. None of them got through to me but that experience somewhat haunted me for the next many years.
In 1997 I met the girl of my dreams. It was the first time in my life that I felt true love. We had four wonderful years together before she made the decision to move back home to Binghampton, NY to be closer to her ailing parents. I couldn't go. My daughter and my job was here but I understood her decision though it killed me inside. I spent the next year and a half in absolute broken hearted misery drinking myself sick. I was no stranger to alcohol but that period was a drunken haze for me. I was a car salesman at that time. I had gotten a DWI in August of 02 but it didn't change my course.
My boss at work had become a confidant during that time and he had invited me to church on several occasions which I reluctantly accepted but never showed up. I know he was concerned that my drinking was out of control and being a man of faith, he really cared and hoped church would save me.
On Friday night January 18th 2003 I got my second DWI while still on probation for number one. I knew this was bad news for me. They let me out of jail at 2pm on Saturday and I came home very depressed and angry that I had fallen so far. I went to bed early that night and woke at around 8am Sunday morning.
Still distressed and confused I decided to try something I had never done. Pray. It truly felt awkward and a waste of time but what did I have to lose? I asked God to show me some kind of proof that he existed. Anything would do just as long as I knew it was from him and it didn't matter when, just someday. No sooner did my prayer end and before I could even get to the sofa to sit down my phone rang. It was my boss. Keep in mind that he had never called me outside of work in the year we knew each other so I thought this was odd. I thought he had found out about my arrest that weekend and was calling to fire me.
I answered the phone and waited for the worst. He asked me how I was and I lied and said fine. I could hear lots of people talking in the background and asked him where he was and he said church. I asked him the reason for his call expecting the worst and he said he knew I was having a tough time with life and wanted me to meet some people at his church. I asked "what kind of people?". He said I don't want to hurt your feelings but they have an alcohol support group here that was full of people just like me. I lost it! I started crying so hard I couldn't respond. I was embarrassed and ashamed for him to hear me cry but I couldn't stop. He quietly listened. He handed the phone to the man that ran the group and he quietly listened. I really wanted to hang up but I didn't. That man asked me to come and visit them. He said find a ride here so we can meet. I agreed and hung up.
I cried for another 10 minutes before I called a friend and asked them to come get me and take me there ASAP. I have been a member of that church for 7 years now and no longer drink or smoke as of that day. I felt a connection to God that moment that has never changed. It has changed my life. The clarity that came over me that day has never left me. When I said that prayer I didn't expect his answer so immediately but it was instantaneous and life changing. Tony