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What Happened to Al?

An excerpt from Whole and Reconciled, my most recent book:

“The conviction that I alone could bring meaning to my life led to an intense (if not frenetic) pursuit of self-betterment as I overachieved in academics, sports, and popularity. The confusion and pain within, however, also led me to self-medicate almost daily. I pursued a life of drugs and parties like I did everything else—fully and with excellence! Martin Luther’s famous dictum “Be a sinner and sin boldly” comes to mind as I think about that period in my life. In short, I was a popular, above-average athlete with a 3.8 GPA, but I had a serious substance abuse problem. In retrospect, the need for affirmation and a sense of meaning tied all these pursuits together, though none of them satisfied the need.

But then I encountered something called the gospel—the good news that God is real, that God can be known in Jesus Christ, and that God in Christ loves me/us. Surrendering to these gospel truths, I repented; that is, I turned from former ways, and I began heading in a new direction, setting my sights on Christ and Christ’s purposes. This left many of my friends scratching their heads. What happened to Al?”

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