I was at a Steubenville Youth Conference, and we just had a powerful evening of prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, and empowerment. At conferences like these, I always offer to stay up late and talk with any of the youth if they need some guidance. Sure enough, at this particular conference, one teen took me up on the offer. Her name was “Julia.”
As soon as we sat down to talk, Julia blurted out, “I can’t stop drinking.”
I knew a little bit about Julia’s background before I took her to the youth conference. Julia was a junior in high school and she had a reputation that followed her. She got drunk at parties nearly every weekend, had experimented with drug use, and she had a reputation of being promiscuous. I believe she was even hung-over when she arrived at the youth conference.
Julia was also a sweet girl, very beautiful, artistic, and full of good intentions. She had encountered Jesus in a powerful way that evening and was wrestling with her own sin and brokenness.
But the conversation went in a direction that I was not expecting.
I said to her, “You are not alone in wrestling with this problem. The first step is to admit that you have a problem with drinking and to come closer to Jesus...”
She interrupted me, “That’s not the problem. I would have no issue giving up drinking and partying. I know that is what God wants me to do and I want to do it. I don’t even like getting drunk…
…the problem is, I can’t leave my friends.”