Rich Whitman

For most of my adult life I have attended church and in 1990 I started attending FBCNL. Even though I regularly attended church and was involved in Sunday school classes and bible studies I never felt secure in my salvation. I had so much doubt even after making a profession of faith and being baptized. That’s because I was living such a double life. I would go to church and play the religious game and then walk right out the door and live like I always had. There was no evident change in my  life.  I knew that I needed Christ in my life but my desire to live like the world was so much greater. Deep down inside I knew that I had another god that was not the god of the bible. 

The god that I was  worshiping was alcohol. It hadn’t always been that way  but around the year 2000 I began to notice that I was drinking regularly and my life began to revolve around it. Whatever I did it always seemed that alcohol was involved and I would choose it always over church activities. During this time I was very functional. I was teaching and coaching but whenever those responsibilities were over I would begin to drink. I had so much shame and guilt. I would hear comments at church. How can a person drink and be a Christian or all the statements condemning those who drank. I had so much doubt about my salvation and was always living in fear that someone would find out about my secret.


Finally in 2014 I had reached my breaking point. My drinking was out of control and was putting a strain on my marriage. I knew I needed to quit and I knew I needed the Lord in my life. I was tired of living this double life. One foot in church and the other in the world. I needed to either be all in for Christ or walk away from him and give my life the world.


On December 8, 2014 I paced the halls of the church searching for the courage to go into Pastor Stephen’s office and confess this heavy burden that I had been carrying for so many years. In his office I accepted Christ as my personal savior. Stephen suggested attending Celebrate Recovery a Christian based recovery program at Fairhaven Church in Centerville. I attended that same night and I have been free from alcohol since surrendering my life to Christ that Monday in December of 2014.

I cannot take any credit for my recovery. Christ is the one who rescued me from my sinful nature. Time and time again I said I was going to quit and give my life to Christ but I would always go right back to doing what I had been doing the very next day. It took time for me to understand why I was drawn to alcohol. As I look back over my life I can’t blame it on my upbringing. I was in no way abused and neither of my parents used alcohol. I believe that my attraction to alcohol had to do with the type of personality that I have. 

In many ways I have an obsessive compulsive personality. Everything in my life is very organized and all about routine. I tend to do things somewhat obsessively. I would do my lesson plans for school and practice schedules over and over until I perfected them. I work out everyday and struggle to just take a day off. I eat certain foods obsessively and I am wired to always write out my plans for each day. I would even organize the clothes I was going to wear for each day when I was still teaching. Looking back I really believe that this type of personality is very susceptible to addiction. So what started out as occasional drinking when I was young led to this same obsessive compulsive approach toward alcohol.  

I praise God for His amazing patience, mercy, and grace. My life today is nothing like it was ten years ago. Today I am not really tempted or have a desire to drink. God has set me free from this addiction. Just the same every day I still struggle with obsessive behaviors. The most important thing for me in my battle with obsessive behavior and addiction is for me to keep rooted in my faith in Christ. 

To do this I have to spend time everyday with Him. I have to be in His word spending  time putting it into my heart and mind. I have to talk to Him and listen to his voice, and I need to worship with my church family regularly. It is also important to keep myself surrounded with other Christians.   I am involved in serving at the church, working around the grounds, leading bible studies, and discipleship training. I am also currently visiting local chapters of Celebrate Recovery sharing my testimony as well as the gospel message. God has changed the desires of my heart. 

I look forward to being in His word daily and being a part of different study groups in the church. I look forward to being with my church family every week. If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation,  the old things have passed away,  behold, new things have come (2Corinthians:17). I can honestly say that Christ delivered me from my bondage and has made me a new creation.

My message to you is a message of hope. Maybe you are struggling with an addiction or you are living a double life like I was. Don’t give up! Christ can do a great work in your life just as He has done in mine.