Prison in a Bottle
And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me." For he had said to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!"Mark 5:1-20
Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "My name is Legion; for we are many." He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; and the unclean spirits begged him, "Send us into the swine; let us enter them." So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea. The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country.
Then people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. Those who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it. Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus refused, and said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you." And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.
Ginny was in a love affair.
Her lover was a wine bottle. They met every night around 7 p.m. and continued into the night until the bottle was empty. Her young children were in bed by eight and her husband, who tuned out years ago, wasted in front of the television while Ginny indulged her romance.
The bottle was full of promises: peace in stressful times, confidence when she felt insecure, and relief from the demon-memories. When she was with it, they melted into one another; she had at last found a safe, cozy place of acceptance and love, an uncomplicated lover to take away the pain.
But as time went on, her savior became another demon—the worst one. Her lover took possession of her.
“He came to relieve my pain but ended up giving me more pain than I ever imagined. I was trapped like a caged animal. I couldn’t go to a dinner party without wondering if wine would be served. If it was only iced tea, I faked an emergency to escape home to the comfort of my bottle. Relationships were avenues to feed my addiction or I shunned them entirely. My life was full of lies to cover my affair. As time went on, it progressively worsened until I was such a wreck and made such a mess of my relationships that I finally reached for help. It came down to me dying or the alcoholic in me dying. I chose the latter, but it wasn’t easy. I couldn’t have broken free without the power of God and the support of Alcoholics Anonymous. The power of God freed me from the grip of my demon lover.”
Ginny’s free from alcohol, but life isn’t happily ever after. Her former lover whispers daily for her return. In her addiction’s early days, life seemed much less difficult. As the AA saying stresses, she takes one day at a time. And she finds strength in the presence of the One able to lead anyone, haunted by demons of any kind, into “our right minds.”