Get High on Life

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 10, 1999

By HAROLD KELLER / L’Observateur / March 10, 1999

I always get excited when I hear a testimony of a changed life. Recently,at one of the treatment centers that I visit, a client named Robert was giving his story before being discharged. He was 39 years old and fromLafayette.

“On Feb. 1, I was at home in my bedroom, drinking to feel normal.Suddenly, I shook my head and said, ‘God, what am I going to do?’ A voice as plain as a human’s said, ‘Get yourself to a treatment center.’ I calledthe University Medical Detox Center in Lafayette and stayed there five days.

“After an AA meeting on Feb. 7, a treatment center in Mandeville calledand told me there was a bed available for me. I caught a bus to Mandevilleand arrived 15 minutes earlier than expected at the bus stop where a man named Eric, assigned by the treatment center, was to meet me. (The busstop was actually a convenience store that sold liquor.) Across the streetwas a barroom. Still shaky and nervous, the bus stop and the surroundingsshocked me. Several people were standing on the street outside of thebarroom drinking. I went into the convenience store, expecting to see Eric,but since the bus was early, he wasn’t there. I decided to order a 20-ounceCoke and, as I was preparing to pay for it, I noticed vodka on the liquor shelf and said to the cashier, ‘Give me a pint of that, too.’ As I handed herthe money, Eric arrived and asked if there was anyone named Robert. ‘Idon’t guess I’ll need the vodka,’ I said. (I realized then that God works inmysterious ways.”As he ended his testimony, Robert said, “Today, I know that I want to be sober. I also realize now that I have a problem and, for the first time, Ifeel resurrected. I feel like a new man. I will constantly remind myself ofhow God intervened at that convenience store. I firmly believe that Ericwas an angel sent from God at the right time. As I leave this treatmentcenter, I am grateful and I thank God for the love and compassion of the people here. I pray that I will never forget my desire to lead a sober,productive life.”As Robert finished his testimony, I was reminded of one of the few good television programs, “Touched by an Angel.”

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur.

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