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Golfer Finds Acceptance at the Bottom of a Bottle

“There was a lot of fighting, a lot of yelling, screaming, hollering, even breaking furniture,” says Brian about his parents. “And they did that in front of me.”

Brian grew up in a divided home, where infidelity and alcohol fueled his parents’ constant fighting. “I can remember praying to God, ‘Please just make it stop,’” he says. “Because I loved both of them and I didn’t want to see them doing those things or acting that way.”

The chaos left Brian feeling insecure and alone. As a teen, he began to deal with the pain of his home life in the same way his parents dealt with their marriage problems. “I never had felt like I belonged or that I had anything in common with other kids,” he recalls. “If you were drinking, then you were accepted. It made me feel good about myself.

Brian continued to drink his way through high school. At 18, he was cited for a DUI and put on probation. “Looking back I think that those were red flags that I was looking for someone to bail me out. And so I prayed for God to get me out, but I would go right back to the same behavior.”

The only thing that gave Brian any confidence was his skill as a golfer. “I worshipped golf.  When I played good golf, I felt good about myself. I felt good about life. And I thought that I’m going to be somebody. “

Brian hoped to obtain an athletic scholarship at auburn as a walk-on, but his alcohol addiction followed him to college. Despite a promise from his coach, Brian was cut from the team. “I had to face the reality that I wasn’t going to make it as a golfer, and that was hard for me to handle. That sent me into a depression, and a lot more drinking.”

His downward spiral landed him in jail for his fifth DUI. Brian went into rehab in lieu of more jail time. While there, his mother passed away. Brokenhearted, he attended a church service at the facility. “There was a person that got on stage to give their testimony,” Brian says, “and the person said ‘All you have to do is love Jesus, and He’ll change your story,’ and it touched my heart. After that church service, I still had the weight of the world on my shoulders, but the things that the woman had said on stage led me to believe that God could change my story.”

Brian went back to his room and prayed.

“I said, ‘Please God, help me. Help me out of this.’ I wanted Jesus to change my heart. I wanted Jesus to change my life, and I was ready because I was at the very bottom.”

It was then that Brian surrendered his life to Christ. “That was something that I’ve never experienced to this day. Where the weight of the world comes off of your shoulders,” he says. “All of a sudden there’s this light inside of you. All of a sudden all of your sin and all of the weight and all of the shame is all gone. It’s like, everything is a beginning.”

That same night, Brian was delivered of his alcohol addiction. “Unless I was drinking I never felt like I was good enough. But Jesus said I’m going to live inside of you, and I’m gonna use you.”

Brian completed rehab and has been sober for over six years. Today he is married and lives in Alabama, where he helps others overcome addictions. He is even playing golf again, recently winning the Mobile Metro City Championship. But most of all, he is grateful to God for a changed story – and a changed life.

“Jesus provided freedom from the regret and the shame that I had about my life, but more than that, Jesus spoke to me and said, ‘You’re good enough; I love you, and I accept you,” Brian says. “Now I feel like I know where I came from. I know who I am. I know what my purpose is, and I know where I’m going after all this.”

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