Amidst preparing for my nineteen Fourth of July weekend at Johnny’s I have experienced a serious blow to my emotions. The betrayal inflicted on me by someone I loved and tried to help for many years sent me into a two day tailspin. Alas, it should not have come as a shock. I have experienced firsthand what the ravages of alcoholism will cause the addict to do many times over. A truly wonderful person who loves and cares about you will still betray you in ways that you cannot imagine.

Such was my experience last week. Without going into detail, this betrayal was so egregious that besides having already cut the person from my employ, I was forced to cut him out of the Johnny’s family. This was one of the most disheartening experiences I’ve had as owner of Johnny’s Bar & Grill in all my nineteen years. We are truly a family at Johnny’s and most of us feel like we have lost a loved one.

I can only imagine how this event would have affected me pre-God. Before I turned my life over to my Lord and Savior’s loving care, a betrayal like this would have left me bitter, resentful, angry, and hurt. I’m glad to say that I have given the whole thing over to God, forgiven my betrayer and am constantly praying for him. My heart grieves for him and I will not give up on him. If you read my book Miracles and Grace in an Unlikely Place you know that perseverance is my middle name.

However, I will not employ him again and he will not drink in my establishment. I’m forgiving, not stupid. When I discovered the betrayal, the first thing I said to myself was, “You idiot. How many times do you have to be taken-in by the same person before you wake up?” I thought about my husband who had advised me not to give this person a fourth chance, (he also told me not to give him the second or the third).When I called Tommy I told him that I had some bad news and I asked him not to say the four dreaded words, “I told you so,” because I just couldn’t take it. Thankfully he obliged.

I spent the first day vacillating between dismay and anger. I couldn’t get my head straight so instead of accomplishing any of the hundreds of tasks on my list I spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool. I figured I’d get to my list the next day. On Friday I managed to take care of the real pressing things like payroll and Federal Tax Deposits but I didn’t want to do much else. When my good friend Susie called and told me that she had gotten off of work early and was going to come and hang out with me, I was ecstatic.

I said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be. I spent the late afternoon and evening drinking with friends and succumbed to Jeana’s famous Purple Hooters. For those of you who don’t know it, that is the name of a cocktail and Jeana is the Purple Hooter aficionado. Shortly after Susie arrived Jeana showed up and Sue squealed with delight, “Jeana’s here. Let’s have a Purple Hooter.” It was on. I enjoyed hanging out with my girlfriend and the Johnny’s clan and I put my troubles behind me. I drank way more than I ought to and paid for it the next day.

The great thing is that I don’t use alcohol the way I used to. If I had experienced the emotional setback before my renewed relationship with Christ I would have gone on a four day bender. I would have whined about what happened to anyone that would listen for weeks on end. I would have flailed around in my own misery making everyone else miserable too. I’m so grateful for the changes that Christ has made in me and I look forward to the ones to come. I am a work in progress. I’d like to share some scripture with you that helps me to see myself the way God sees me, one of His beloved children, shortcomings and all.

Psalms 139:13-15 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven in the darkness of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

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