"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to
your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment." (Marcus Aurelius)
Jeff’s dad was a businessman and his mother a lawyer, good people who liked to
unwind after work with a drink or two or three. Jeff was a bright kid so his parents did
not panic when they found their middle school boy passed out on floor beside one of their
empty booze bottles.
Jeff excelled academically and graduated from a top-notch college with a degree in
engineering. He landed a nice job making great money. He met Rachel, the girl of his
dreams, and quit drinking for a while, managing to hide his drinking problem with
This talented and bright young man always managed to dry out before hitting bottom
until the day he failed a random drug test and was fired from his job. He was unhappy
and depressed; he became so difficult to live with that Rachel was forced to move out. In
spite of these setbacks, Jeff was doing well financially through his investments, rentals
and consultant work.
One day he called and asked Rachel to take him to the doctor. He had fallen down the
stairs leading to their basement and became pinned against a door. He laid there upside
down for eight hours until he finally managed to free himself; it was a close call. “How
did you get out of that predicament?” Rachel asked. “I prayed to God and asked Him to
help me. I told the Lord that I would stop drinking and taking drugs if He helped me get
out of there.”
Two weeks passed and Rachel stopped by to get some things. The house was
cluttered with empty vodka bottles. She picked up one and yelled, “Is this stuff really
making you happy?” He flew into a rage, grabbed her around the throat and put a gun to
her head. She pleaded, “Jeff, don’t do this. Please don’t kill me …!” He removed the gun
from Rachel’s head and pointed it towards his temple and pulled back the hammer.
Rachel reacted quickly and slapped the gun from his hand. She was then able to persuade
him to sit down, promising to take the weapon to the garage and come back. With her
heart pounding, she picked it up, ran away from the house and reported the incident to the
The next day Jeff called and acted as if nothing happened. Rachel questioned him,
“Do you even remember what you did yesterday? “Yes, I remember,” he replied without
an apology or the least bit of remorse. After that he did not call for days, which was
unlike him, so Rachel fearing the worse, called the police. Two officers accompanied her
to the house. When she opened the door, her dog darted out. The smell coming from
inside was atrocious. With guns drawn the officers entered the dwelling. Rachel heard
voices as she stood at the front door. She began to call out, “Jeff! Jeff! It’s me, Rachel,
are you all right?” One of the officers replied, “He's not going to answer you."
Jeff had again fallen while on his way to the basement and landed upside down at the
bottom of the stairs, his head pinned against a door. With the weight of his body pressing
against him, he asphyxiated and died. The coroner said he was so intoxicated that he was
not aware of his predicament. The dog, locked on the stairway for days, survived by
eating Jeff’s flesh. The nightmare of this tragedy was not Jeff’s horrible death, but that he
allowed a senseless addiction to destroy him at age thirty-two.
The Lord answered his prayer the first time, but the inevitable loomed on the horizon because he was not willing to seek help.