I have a younger brother who was an alcoholic for most of his adult life. Several years ago, he stopped drinking cold turkey..something I would NEVER advise anyone to do. It was rough on him and our family. The symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal are not to be taken lightly. It took about a couple of years of a lot of craziness, confusion, fatigue, hallucinations and several stretches in rehab for him to emerge out of the darkness of alcoholism
But since then, my brother has been a christian. His utter faith and belief really amaze me and I applaud him.
Sometimes, he makes me mad when he says Jesus saved him without acknowledging those of us who were there for him. I found my brother in a seizure 36 hours after his last drink. I thought he was dying. My mom did not sleep for days watching her son going through symptoms of severe anxiety, hallucinations, delirium. In one incident, he locked us up in the house to go fight the devil on the roof! In retrospect, we laugh but it was scary at the time.
After several attempts to take him to the hospital, We had to trick him to get him there. Since he was having auditory hallucinations, he kept hearing voices and having us check to see what was in his ear. And when he kept mentioning that, our neighbors who were helping us take him to the hospital told him that he was going to have his ears checked and that was how we got him into rehab. I cried when five able-bodied men came to carry my brother away kicking and screaming.
At the hospital, they put him on methadone, benzos and other drugs to calm the symptoms of his body detoxing from long time alcohol use. The doctor also ran all kinds of tests. His liver had not succumbed to liver cirrhosis which was indeed a miracle given how much he used to drink. And by then he had even started on hard drugs. His tests for HIV also came back negative which was such a relief. By the time, my younger brother stopped drinking, he was as thin as a stick. Most , if not all, of calories came from alcolohol and anything he ate didn’t stay down. So we truly though he was HIV positive.
Later when he came from Rehab that first time, he would say Jesus had cured him of AIDS. He still believes that and in a way it is true. Because despite all the risky behaviors he had been involved in, he had somehow escaped.
I often think how they recommend that additional HIV tests be done evey 6 months for a couple of years. But my brother will hear none of that. “There’s no need”he says, “I was cured. I am cured everyday”
Belief. Through faith and belief, my brother is a different man. Afterall, he may have had his seizure somewhere else and not right out in our yard so I could find him and tend to him. We may not have been strong enough to care for him through severe withdrawal. We may not have found the neighbors who gave up their schedules to drive us to the hospital that day. My brother may have backslid back into alcohol use. My brother may not have had the strength to endure or to care.
So even though my brother’s belief is razor-sharp focused on being cured by the very hands of Jesus. I see the wide web of the people and things like our family, neighbors, strangers,hospital staff, the institutions, the medicines that played a role in all of this. And I’m grateful for them.
My faith and belief are not as focused or blind. But I do believe angels were watching over us, watching my brother for so many years, watching the many people who in one way or another made this miracle happen. For I do believe, it was a miracle. And I believe angels continue to watch over all of us.