Hope starts with complete surrender!
Peace of mind starts with Hope!
Forgiveness is the key to achieving serenity!
Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life!
When I was at the end of my 28 year journey of chemical dependency and manic depression, I had no hope. I was crushed physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I was knocking on Death’s door and I was wild, reckless and dangerous to myself. My soul was like a smoldering dead fire, that ached with every hate-filled breath that I took. I did not even recognize myself, and looking into the mirror was a scary experience. My true self was buried somewhere, miles beneath the destruction and rubble that I had created. I had come to hate myself and to hate the people on the street around me, who desired my destruction and humiliation.
The miracle of my final surrender took place in an electrical utility closet in an alley behind my favorite bar, where I slept at night to get away from the murderers, thieves and pschopaths that roamed the night, looking for their next victim. I had been homeless, living outside on the streets for one year. Homelessness, real living-outside homelessness, takes a terrible toll on the homeless person. The first casualty is the body which slowly disintegrates and fades to a mere shadow of its former self. The emotions become high strung and volatile, ready to implode or strike out in anger at any given moment. The mind becomes paranoid and dominated with fear, anger and hate. The spirit becomes crushed and hope slowly dies.
One glorious but painful morning, I woke up in the tiny closet and as soon as I opened my eyes, an avalanche of pain, horror, fear, anger and rage crashed into my mind and my emotions and what was left of my spirit. I cried a primordial scream as my spirit finally surrendered to God. In that moment, the scales that had covered my eyes and blinded me to my addiction, fell away and for the first time I could see the destruction I had caused. SURRENDER is hard to do, and for me it took 28 years. As I surrendered to God, I instinctively cried out with a very simple, but powerful prayer, “JESUS , PLEASE HELP ME! With the help of family and friends, two days later, I was sitting in a circle of newly recovering addicts at Hazelden Foundation, a treatment center in Minnesota. This was the beginning my new life of sobriety and freedom.
As I began to adjust to civilization at Hazelden and interacting with sober people, I looked around and saw that the other patients were changing right in front of my eyes as their spirits, bodies and minds started to heal. I said to myself, “Hey, if they can get better and if they can find healing, then so can I. I was staring into the face of HOPE and for the first time in years, I saw the possibility that I could recover. I was willing to go to any lengths to get and stay sober. Hazelden recommended that I commit to nine months of treatment — One month in in-patient primary treatment, four months in the in-patient Extended Care Unit and four months in a halfway house. I told them, “Yes, yes, yes, I will do anything it takes to become my true self again, and to achieve sobriety, peace and freedom”. I never wanted to go back to the hell of homelessness and active addiction.
The 12 steps of recovery teach us how to come back to our true selves. I have done the 12 steps countless times and they are God’s gift to addicts. The 12 Steps give us surrender, hope, faith, house cleaning through a personal moral inventory, restitution through amends, and finally the gift of helping other addicts, who in turn will help even more addicts. When I did my 4th and 5th steps and my 8th and 9th steps, I uncovered many different types of poisons that were eating me alive. I learned that having resentments is like me drinking poison, and then waiting for the other guy to die! Resentments eat the container that they live in. Resentments were killing me and they helped to fuel my addiction.
When addicts feel any emotion, like loneliness, anger, hatred, fear, sadness, confusion, depression or happiness–most of the time they automatically self-medicate and get high to avoid feeling the pain. Addicts are ultra-sensitive. Another amazing thing about us addicts, is that any emotion that we feel, we feel with heightened intensity. When we feel lonely, we feel loneliness in our bones and it aches with a throbbing pain that burns our spirits. When we feel anger, it can quickly escalate to rage. When we feel fear, it can easily turn to terror and paranoia. Sadness and depression can degenerate into suicidal thoughts or actions.
When I did my first 4th and 5th steps and took a fearless moral inventory of myself, I learned that as I listed the resentments that I had against my family and friends, when I focused on what “My Part” was in the relationship, I began to see that My Part, what I had done to hurt the other person, was quite big. Then I began to experience an amazing thing. The resentments that I had listed against my father, for example, began to lose their potency when I acknowledged my own faults and transgressions. In other words, I had been carrying severe and long-held resentments against my father, but when I factored in my own terrible actions in the relationship, my anger and my resentments lost much of their intensity.
Making direct amends in step nine, helped to repair damaged relationships. FORGIVENESS is one of the most powerful and necessary actions that all addicts need to take in order to win peace, serenity and love. Forgiveness gives us instant peace, instant freedom. We are no longer chained to our resentments, our anger, our lifetime of pain. We used to hold on tightly to our resentments and anger and hurts like they were our prized possessions, until pain forced us into a corner and the time had come to let it all go. We had to give it all to God, so that we could be free, so that we could recover from our addiction. Forgiveness is a spiritual key to freedom.
Check out my book, “Saved By the Prince of Peace–Dungeon To Sky.” My website is: http://www.dungeontosky.com
The purpose of the book is to give Hope, Encouragement, Faith and Love to the addict who might think that he or she cannot recover. If I can recover after 13 treatment centers, manic depression and one year of homelessness, then any one can recover!
On my website, you will find over 100 blogs on addiction and recovery, a media button that has a video of me telling my story and seven podcast recordings of radio interviews I did all over the country.
Peace and Love to you!