Get High on Life

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 3, 1999

By Harold Keller / L’Observateur / Febuary 3, 1999

Approximately 16 years ago, a recovering drug addict by the name of Willie suggested that I write a book about my recovery from alcoholism and my then-new spiritual experience. He even gave the book a title. Hesaid it should be: “Sober and Saved.” Because I’m such a procrastinator,I’ve threatened to start the book several times but, until now, it’s still just a title.

This past Friday, while attending a basketball game, a young man whom I’ve known since his childhood came up to me, gave me a hug, and immediately said, “I’m doing good, Mr. Harold!” Ernie did look good. Heshared with me that he was now living in Maurepas.

I had not seen Ernie in three years and then it was only for a brief time while I was speaking at the place he worked. I asked Ernie how long he hadbeen drug-free. “Will be 10 years on April 21,” he answered. It seems likeonly yesterday that Ernie, then a broken young man, came to my apartment and said that he needed some help. I don’t remember what I shared withhim, but I did direct him to a 12-step program to help him live life without depending on any mind-altering chemical.

As our conversation ended, Ernie said, “Mr. Harold, I got saved last year!” Iasked him what led to that decision. “One of my fellow volunteer firemenkept talking about a personal relationship with Jesus,” he replied. “Hethen invited his pastor to call on me. That night, I sincerely asked God toforgive me and to take control of my life.”As he spoke, his excitement couldn’t be contained. He continued, “I hadbeen drug-free almost nine years, but still had a vacuum in my life. Downdeep in my heart, I knew if I died then, I would definitely go to hell. I hadno direction or peace in my life. Today, I fear nothing but God. I know thatI can do anything with Jesus as my Lord.” He added, “I even read the Biblejust about every night.” He smiled and said, “You know, until a year ago,the only Bible I remember seeing was the one in the hospital or the hotel.””How’s life in Maurepas?” I asked. “It’s God’s country,” he answered. “Ihave a few acres, raise animals, and just enjoy my family.” “Well, I’dbetter go,” he said.

“One question, Ernie. Could I share our conversation in my newspaperarticle?” I asked. “No problem,” he replied. “Send me a copy.”He then gave me a big hug and I said, “Ernie, I really love you.” “Me, too,Mr. Harold,” he said.After our conversation, I was reminded of my unwritten book, “Sober and Saved.” Ernie reminded me that sobriety, without salvation, is hollow,indeed.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur

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