I could tell that something was wrong with my friend Shawn.
His handshake didn’t have the usual firmness. He was having a hard time maintaining eye contact. His voice was a bit softer and a lot sadder.
“I relapsed,” he finally said, looking down at his feet. “A few months ago.”
There was a pause as Shawn thought about what his next words would be. In that pause, I thought about how hard Shawn had worked to stop drinking. He moved to Wisconsin to go to rehab. He started a new job. He developed routines and habits that could help him grow as a person.
“It wasn’t that I got weak,” Shawn said. “I actually felt strong. Like I could handle one drink for a celebration. But I couldn’t.”
I didn’t know what to say, so I simply put my hand on his shoulder. Shawn smiled. “It’s not just a daily struggle, it’s an hourly struggle. It’s something I battle every single minute of every single day.”
We stand in silence for a few moments, each thinking of the right words to say next. I know that Shawn is a man of faith. I know that he trusts that God guides him. But sometimes he needs reassuring that he is on the right path.
“I’m praying for you, Shawn. Not as often as I should, but I am praying for you.”
“I know,” he responds. “People don’t realize how powerful their prayers are. They mean the world to me. I can feel them surround me and guide me. They also don’t realize that a word of encouragement can make the difference between staying sober and blacking out for two days.”
Think about the Shawns in your life. They may not be alcoholics, but they may be suffering. Have you let them know you’re praying for them? Have you let them know you support them? Have you let them know you care?
You never know when one simple sentence could be the difference in someone’s life.
Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK