A Christian story inspired by "Sober Up" by AJR
| "I'm sorry, but we are not able to hire you at this time." The recruitment officer sat on the other end of the table with her hands folded.
The man applying for the job, Eric Hauser, replied with a somber, "Ok, thanks for your time," and departed. After leaving the building, he took a walk down the city street and said to himself, " I don't even feel pain from rejections any more now that I'm a grown man. Growing up made me numb. I wish I could feel things again."
He passed a convenience store, entered, and purchased a bottle of white wine. Sitting outside on the ground, he popped open the bottle. Just as he brought it to his lips, he heard a tap behind him. Turning around, he looked into a window to see a young boy standing where his reflection should have been.
"Stop it," said the boy. "I don't want to grow up to be a drunk."
"Kid, you'll need it to deal with everything that's coming." Eric took a sip.
"No! There's got to be a better way!" The kid stomped his foot. "Isn't wine what got you into this situation?"
Eric thought back on the past month. He had spent so much on drinking that he didn't have enough for rent. He recalled his landlord forgiving him the one month's rent with the words,"If you miss rent again, you'll be on the streets."
"Is it worth it?" asked the boy. "I heard you say you want to feel things again, yet you numb yourself with wine. That doesn't make any sense." The reflection reached out from the window, grabbed Eric, and pulled him into an alternate dimension.
"What the hell?" said Eric.
"I have pulled you out of the space/time continuum to show you something," said Young Eric. "From here we can travel to any point in our life. I need to show you the future." The Erics joined hands, and after a sucking sensation, landed at a cemetery. Eric looked around, seeing his own casket next to the grave. Only his immediate family gathered to mourn. "Where is everyone?" asked Eric.
"You cut off all your relationships because all you wanted to do was drink," said Young Eric.
"I always imagined my funeral would be packed," said Eric.
"Without alcohol, it would be. There's so much you would have accomplished if you weren't consumed with your addiction. You drank so much our liver failed and we died."
Adult Eric's eyes widened. "So this... is it?"
The Erics watched as the casket descended into the ground. Their mother stood nearby, weeping. Adult Eric ran up to her and tried to hug her, but his arms went right through her. "They can't detect us," said Young Eric.
"This can't be real!" said Adult Eric.
"It doesn't have to be," said Young Eric. "You can't change where we began, but you can make choices in the present that will change where we end up." He faded away.
Adult Eric felt himself sinking into the ground. Looking down, he saw flames, along with pairs of red eyes staring into his soul. A smell of sulfur permeated the air. Looking up, he saw Jesus standing in the clouds. "Jesus, save me! I can't save myself. I need You! I promise to do better!" Eric wiped tears away from his eyes.
"I forgive you, my child. I paid for all your sins before you even existed to commit them," said Jesus. He reached down, grabbed Eric's hand, and pulled him upward. Eric closed his eyes.
When he opened them, he found himself on the sidewalk, with the bottle of wine nearby. He reached for it, and then paused. "No," he said. "I'm done with that." He stood up and walked away from the bottle.
Over the course of the next few months, Eric found a job as a photographer and made enough to cover rent. He even began placing in photography contests. Every time he found himself wanting to drink, he replaced it with a prayer instead. Months passed without him taking a sip.
Eric reflected on his otherworldly journey. "I am so glad I met my younger self and kicked the habit. I love having a clear frame of mind and not feeling hung over any more. Now, I have the focus to do creative things instead. Life is so much happier."
"The future is not something before us, it's something within us." ~ Gavin Newsom